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Edinburgh Fringe 2010

Now I Know My BBC

Toby Hadoke

Genre: Storytelling

Venue: UdderBelly


Low Down

This is a love letter, and a reminder that the BBC, whilst educating, entertaining and informing, has the power to genuinely change lives. This message is delivered – pretty much in a BBC RP style voice, thanks to Toby’s accidentally sounding posh – via the claim that the BBC has, in its small quiet way, profoundly changed Toby Hadoke’s own life. Along the way, Toby himself manages to educate, entertain and inform in no small measure.


It’s essentially a potted history of Toby’s own relationship with the BBC – not with television, not with commercial TV, which he’s careful not to overly demean – mainly because the BBC is about the only business with which you can have a genuine emotional attachment with. In this, it’s fair to say that he’s very likely preaching to the converted – it would be a surprise to find anyone in the audience who wasn’t at least a reasonably staunch defender of the licence fee, but it’s good to have these things reconfirmed. We’ve already lost the art of enjoying children’s television before it had be separated by title from ‘grown up’ television, and we run the risk of losing the BBC altogether.

It takes a good while for Toby to warm to the major theme of his piece, and we could have stood to see a great deal more manifesto than straight stand up, because what’s being discussed here: while it’s possible that Toby might not be comfortable getting out and out angry, his passion and love for this vitally important organisation is clear and vital.
With lots of little details along the way (not least, how actually to pronounce Toby’s surname), and pleasant murmurs of recognition for the likes of Quatermass’ continuity announcer, this is a warm, funny and affectionate paean to the BBC, with even an indication as to how the BBC can have a direct effect on your love life (perhaps surprisingly, Toby’s poster girl does not appear to be Joan Bakewell). We feel obliged to say, since this is a BBC related show, that other stand-up comedians are available. Very few of them are as warm, engaging, and subtly passionate.