Richard Herring introduces each of his guests on his RHLSTP podcast (audio / video) by highlighting the most obscure roles they’ve done, which have been excruciatingly excavated from the farthest reaches of pop culture (by which I mean Herring poked around on Internet Movie Database for about a minute). So, for you trivia nerds, here are some of your favorite people in the roles you’ve never heard of.
John Lloyd is a tv/radio writer and producer known for many things, including The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Blackadder, and QI. He co-authored The Meaning of Liff and currently hosts The Museum of Curiosity.
Doctor Snuggles (1979)
In the mid-70s, John Lloyd and Douglas Adams were radio producers, but they moonlighted as writers. They co-wrote two episodes of a kids cartoon show called Doctor Snuggles. The episodes were called “The Remarkable Fidgety River” and “The Great Disappearing Mystery.” Lloyd and Adams spent a lot of time together, writing together, sharing flats, and eating burgers at Tootsies. Besides The Meaning of Liff and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, another project they worked on together was a sitcom idea called Snow Seven and the White Dwarfs, which was about two astronomers in an observatory on Mount Everest.
Victoria Coren Mitchell
Victoria Coren Mitchell is a newspaper columnist, author, and host of the quiz show Only Connect. She also set out to make the best porn film ever and has won 2.4 million dollars in poker games. The yin to David Mitchell’s yang, basically.
I Love the 1980s (2001)
VH1 remade this show in America. I Love the 80s is the name of the BBC series, but each episode deals with just one decade. Victoria Coren Mitchell was one of many British celebs chosen to reminisce on music, TV, and trends of 1980 and 1988.
Dara O Briain
Dara O Briain is best known as a standup comic and frequent panel show participant, including Mock the Week where he is the host. He also went on the road with fellow Irishman Ed Byrne in Dara and Ed’s Big Adventure earlier this year. He presents Stargazing Live with Prof. Brian Cox.
Don’t Feed the Gondolas (1997-2000)
There is a myth in Ireland that when the council were discussing putting a gondola in a lake, the Councillor argued, “That’s all very well, but who’s going to feed it?” Some attribute this to Jimmy Mahoney or Jackie Healy-Rae, but it is most often attributed to Jimmy Miley. Thus is the namesake of the Irish TV panel show Don’t Feed the Gondolas where Dara O Briain served as one of the team captains. “Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.” It was hosted by Sean Moncrieff and discussed topical issues, interspliced with cut-away sketches and prank phone calls.
Dave Gorman is best known as a standup comic, his schtick being nearer investigative journalism than any form of standup you’ve seen before. Using visual aids to his benefit, Gorman has presented his findings live, via book, and via TV shows like Dave Gorman Gets Straight to the Point, Modern Life is Goodish, and Googlewhack.
The Top of the Form Story (2006)
Top of the Form was a University Challenge-like show that began in 1948 and ran for 38 years. In 2006, BBC Four hired Dave Gorman to host a one-hour TV documentary on the history of the game show. This included interviews with Top of the Form hosts Geoffrey Wheeler, Paddy Feeny, Bob Holness, Tim Gudgin, and others, plus interviews with the children contestants all grown up. Gorman recalls that it was freezing cold filming that show, so the only comment he ever gets on it is why is his nose so red?
Jack and the Beanstalk (1998)
Simon Nye wrote four pantomimes for ITV, starting with Jack in the Beanstalk in 1998, where Peter Serafinowicz played Henchman #2, a character he was promised would have more lines by the time it was performed at the Old Vic Theatre, but sadly, the lines were reduced to none. Serafinowicz says, “I just stood on ITV in this horrible skintight purple and green thing with a skullcap on, and it was just really horrible, actually.” The show starred Julie Walters, Griff Rhys Jones, Neil Morrissey, and Julian Clary. “I regret doing that because I felt like I was around these people I thought were really great and I felt like just this big extra.” Cheer up, Peter. You didn’t have as bad a time as Lee Mack, who, four years later in the fourth ITV panto, broke his ribs in a prat fall, but because it was in front of a live audience, he had to do the rest of the show with busted rib bones.
You can listen to Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast (pronounced Rehellisteppa) for free on Comedy.co.uk or buy the video versions from Go Faster Stripe for just five pounds. There are some video episodes on YouTube for free, but if you want to help the show continue, don’t forget to buy some episodes, too.