John Finnemore is doing something incredible with the new series of John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme (start with episode one and move on; episode four came out yesterday and there will be two more; get them quick before they go off the BBC site).
I’ve mentioned Finnemore before because he did Cabin Pressure, one of the best radio comedies ever. The Souvenir Programme has run as a very good, sometimes marvellous, sketch comedy show, until this current series, where the pandemic made him work in different ways, with no audience.
The first episode opens with a family having a Christmas dinner over Zoom. It moves back in time, scene by scene, following Russ, a young father who is in the call with his mother, grandfather and others. The second episode opens with Russ and his mother Deborah talking over Zoom about how they’re both secretly enjoying the changes the pandemic has brought, then follows Deborah back in time, scene by scene, through her life. Listen for yourself to find out how the third and fourth episodes go.
I don’t know how Finnemore’s going to end it, but I’m certain it’s going to be good. I think he’s doing something incredible here, and when it ends it will be not just some of his finest work but a radio series that will last forever.