To bloop or not to bloop?

A new CD of radio cock-ups isn't as funny as it might be.

HOWLERS, TYPOS and malapropisms have always been a source of entertainment; but the last couple of decades have seen a dramatic rise in our consumption of them, particularly on television. No doubt this is partly a matter of economics - out-takes are pretty cheap, and I can't imagine it costs that much to hire Denis Norden for the evening. Perhaps, too, it says something about the decline of deference, our eagerness to see even minor authority figures, such as newsreaders and weathermen, caught with their pants down. More optimistically, it may say something about an increased public tolerance for fallibility, because, as often as not, it is shared embarrassment rather than pure schadenfreude which prompts us to laugh at mistakes and accidents.

All of these factors play a part in Bloopers Gold, a CD compilation of "classic" radio moments being sold in aid of the British Wireless for the Blind Fund, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Unfortunately, Jonathan Hewat, who has compiled, produced and presents the entire thing, has not given much thought to what it is that makes a "blooper" funny. This has two results: one is that his commentary, with its relentlessly facetious "Dear, oh dear" tone of voice, too often undermines the rather sad humour of the piece. There is nothing intrinsically amusing about hearing a newsreader suffering a fit of the giggles over the Rev Canaan Banana (not unless you are under 10); it is the crack in the facade, the unintended admission of frailty, which makes it rather sweet.

The other, more damaging result is that he has chosen a lot of bloopers which just aren't funny. Too many of these revolve round double (or near double) entendres: a woman called Regina, a rowing cox, and more quips about balls than you could shake a stick at. (You would think that sports commentators would work through the humorous possibilities of balls at a very early stage in their careers. You would be sadly mistaken.) In some cases, the simple inability to pronounce a word is supposed to be the cue for humour, but this doesn't always work - for instance, "invalidity benefit" is such an inherently unfunny concept that no amount of stammering and gibbering can change it.

Some of the other extracts here do not involve things going wrong at all. One of these is the hysterically triumphant Norwegian football commentator ("Maggie Thatcher! Can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher! Your boys took a hell of a beating!") - not that anybody will be unhappy to own a copy of this extraordinary moment. Apart from anything else, you can take the time to replay it, and wonder exactly why he invoked Anthony Eden and Clement Attlee as champions of Albion.

The one unquestioned classic here is the great Hastings Banda interview, in which the future dictator of Malawi answers each question with a confident "I won't tell you that". "Are you going to tell me anything?" "Nothing." "Are you going to tell me why you've been to Portugal?" "That's my business." It is a masterpiece of patient inquiry to compare with Paxman's grilling of Michael Howard. Elsewhere, there is one perfectly-timed belch, a reference to Eric Cantona's fracas with a Crystal Phallus pan, Brian Johnston giggling, and a quiz competitor asked who wrote Mein Kampf: heavy hinting helps him to work out that the first name is Adolf and the first syllable of the surname is Hit, but he still can't quite put his finger on it.

Of course, the real difficulty with marketing this CD is that these days you can get all the bloopers you want for free just by listening to the BBC radio news. Ah well, it is for charity.

To order `Bloopers Gold' or `Bloopers Silver', send a cheque for pounds 8.99, payable to `46 Design', to Bloopers Gold CD, BWFB, Gabriel House, 34 New Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4QR

Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’


Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'


Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from


Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Arts and Entertainment


These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells