Karine Polwart shares some of her favourite places in nature which have inspired her music making.

Part 1 of the chat Karine had with Mark Stephen and Helen Needham.

Source: BBC Radio Scotland – Scotland Outdoors, Singer and songwriter Karine Polwart shares some of her favourite places in nature which have inspired her music making.

Diane Morgan: ‘It sounds mad that I wrote, directed and star in Mandy. Like I’m Orson Welles’

The motherland star on being showrunner on her new sitcom, working with famous friends – and being distantly related to Bet Lynch

Bolton-born Diane Morgan, 44, went to acting school, then worked in a chip shop and in telesales before trying standup aged 30. She’s now best known for her deadpan portrayal of dimwit TV pundit Philomena Cunk on Charlie Brooker’s Wipe series and the spin-off Cunk mockumentaries. Morgan also appears in parenting sitcom Motherland and Ricky Gervais’s black comedy After Life. She stars in the forthcoming BBC sitcom Mandy, the first show that she has both written and directed.

What inspired Mandy?
She’s based on a real person. I can’t say who she is but I met her and thought, if I ever get the chance, I’d love to play you. I just started impersonating her around the house, so when I got the opportunity to do this 15-minute comedy pilot for the BBC, I went: “I’m going to do that woman!” Her hair, clothes, voice, everything – it’s all exactly the same. Now they’ve given me a whole series, more fool them. I got Mandy’s entire costume off eBay. This woman was having a clear-out, selling her whole wardrobe, and it was all so Mandy. I bought up the lot. It’s quite a handy technique if you want lots of similar clothes for a character.

The show has a distinctive, daft tone. How did that come about?
Most people nowadays are doing downbeat, naturalistic comedy. I wanted to do something mad and silly. I crave silliness. A bit of pure escapism. It’s turned out much weirder than I imagined. It’s quite visual, like a Viz cartoon, but I’m happy with it. And Mandy by Barry Manilow is the theme song. I didn’t think we’d get the rights. I tried to get Jarvis Cocker to sing it but he never got back to me. I was worried we’d have to use the Westlife version instead, so I’m chuffed we got the original.

Each episode has a surprise guest star. How was working with Shaun Ryder from Happy Mondays?
When I was writing, I’d think: “Ooh, I wonder if we could get such-and-such?” Amazingly, they all said yes. I felt like Morecambe and Wise. I asked myself, if Mandy had an ex-husband, who would it be? Mark E Smith’s died, so it had to be Shaun Ryder. He got to fire two guns for this shootout scene and it was his best day out ever. Shaun was like: “I’m not an actor, I hope I’m not shit”, but he was brilliant.

BBC Folk Music Programme Changes Criticised

Open letter to BBC asks for confirmation of the broadcaster’s commitment to folk music.

Following the cancellation of various folk music radio shows across the BBC in England, CEO of English Folk Expo, Tom Besford, has written an open letter, asking for clarity on the media organisation’s commitment to folk music. 

Addressed to James Purnell, BBC’s Director of Radio and Education, the letter calls for the BBC’s support of folk, roots and acoustic music through music programming. During the pandemic, various folk music shows have been cancelled, including BBC Radio Sheffield’s New Traditions with Greg Russell, BBC Radio Shropshire’s Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk, Johnny Coppin on BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s The Folk ShowKent Folk on BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Thursday Night Folk, and The Durbervilles on BBC Radio Leeds, among others. 

Additionally, The Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 2, England’s main folk music show on the BBC, was changed from 7pm to 9pm before the pandemic, and since then it has been temporarily changed to a now pre-recorded show airing at 11pm. 

The letter from Besford reads: 

Folk music relies on the support of the subsidised BBC. Musicians need the air play not just for profile, not just to keep audiences engaged with specialist music, but for the financial return from music licensing. Many also fear that once we come through this crisis back towards normality, there is a risk that much of this valued and loved content may never return. 

English Folk Expo calls on the BBC to play their part in supporting specialist music, reinstate the axed shows, return the main national show to a more prominent time slot and make announcements on the annual Folk Awards (or equivalent replacement). It is during a crisis such as this that the licence fee payers expect the BBC to provide cultural leadership, not remove support from an industry already brought to its knees.

To read the full letter, visit https://www.englishfolkexpo.com/folk-on-the-bbc-an-open-letter/

Source: BBC Folk Music Programme Changes Criticised

Read more about British Folk Music on THE HOBBLEDEHOY

Burnistoun “Mad Uncles”

BBC Scotland and BBC One Scotland and BBC Two Scotland sketch show from Robert Florence and Iain Connell. 22 episodes 2009 – 2019.

Robert Florence and Iain Connell write and perform this sketch show set in a fictional Scottish location that somehow seems eerily familiar. Burnistoun has its own newspaper, furniture store, gym, pub and all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant, radio station and even an ice-cream van.

Characters include Uncle Willie the man who insists on having his own funeral before he dies, wannabe girl-band singer Jackie McGlade who can make any tune sexy except football songs, and John and Terry two pub pals who insist they do not fantasize about each other sexually.

Other Burnistoun characters include disgruntled serial killer The Burnistoun Butcher, and snippy siblings, Paul and Walter, who share high drama inside their ice cream van.

More about Burnistoun at Comedy UK