The Week In Radio: Odd couple make the chattering classes chuckle

Have you ever said to yourself, "Why is there never enough BBC drama about middle-class people with young children living in north London?" No? Me neither. I know Outnumbered was very successful on TV, but sometimes feels like the whole of north London is squabbling, parenting and getting a divorce right here in my (south London) kitchen.

If though, you are one of those people who want to hear more about north London, or indeed the talented David Tennant, who pops up like a specially resilient strain of ground elder in every part of our cultural experience these days, then The Gobetweenies is for you. It features the kind of hands-on, amicably divorced parents who discuss Duchamp's urinals with their children over tea. Mimi, played by Sarah Alexander, is "a smart award-winning children's fiction writer" intent on 24/7 education. As one of her children says, "anything you ever want to talk about it's bingo, she's off to get a book." David Tennant as Joe frets satirically about the agony of children having to shuttle between two sets of parents, and decides to move back in. Phoebe Abbott, who sounds uncannily like Pip in The Archers, plays an irritating child very convincingly. Anyone who rues the day that "parent" became a verb will hate this, but to the rest of us it's all very recognisable. It's occasionally funny. Whether that makes it satire is another matter.

Yet, as the rose garden partnership sours in all its acrimonious glory, D.I.V.O.R.C.E is everywhere you look. Alex Jennings and Tamsin Greig were caustic and affectionate as middle-class divorcées in That's Mine, This Is Yours, Peter Souter's romantic comedy directed by Gordon House, and in this week's From Fact to Fiction, we had a couple splitting up over AV of all things. I have an unabashed admiration for the writers of this series, who have to turn around a play in days, and Hugh Costello accomplished the near-impossible task of making electoral reform tremble with sexual metaphor. English lecturer Paul, a No man, sees his wife's Sophie Yes vote as a kind of female challenge to the masculine order. "Yes. The female word, Joyce called it. Voluptuous Molly Bloom." I'd never thought of AV in Joycean terms, but put that way, it did make a kind of sense.

If you want a lasting relationship in politics though, don't go for a coalition partner, or even a dog, but a ministerial driver. In the hope, presumably, of blowing open sensational political secrets, Ben Wright used the Freedom of Information Act to acquire records of the Government car service and revealed... well, let's just say no injunctions were necessary. Geoffrey Howe's driver was one of the family, invited to stay the night and "Lady Howe cooked my breakfast". Mrs Thatcher was so nervous when going to see the Queen that she allowed way too much time. "I used to park in a lay-by down by the Thames," her driver recalled. "We'd sit there for hours." And Lord Hailsham would dump his red box in the car, à la Cameron, and bike all the way to the office from Wimbledon Common wearing a bowler hat. "I always let him win," said his driver, indulgently.

But we live in more brutal times, and it was a far more embarrassing political revelation that brought Jeremy Vine a Gold in this week's Sony Radio Academy Awards for his "bigot-gate" interview with Gordon Brown. That interview, in which Brown writhed like a tragic bull impaled by his own remark, showed Vine at his nimble best, quick, unflappable, and well deserving of his second accolade, Speech Broadcaster of the Year. Overall, though, the awards that saw talkSPORT win Station of the Year and 5Live take six Golds, was a triumph for blokiness. So if middle-class relationships aren't your thing, fear not, because in future there's going to be plenty more sport.

Arts and Entertainment
Just folk: The Unthanks

music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne with his Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rowan Atkinson is bringing out Mr Bean for Comic Relief

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea