FROM THE ARCHIVES: Arthur Chance (26/11/08)

Welcome to Episode Seven of From The Archives, the section of the blog devoted to the radio comedy series I wrote as a student. And in the aftermath of Valentine's Day, we turn our attention to the birds and bees with Arthur Chance.
This episode is significant in that it marks the first creative input of Sebastian Evans. Seb was and is a very close friend of me and Tom, who would lend his voice and writing to many of the later episodes as well as turning up in the later spin-offs. Seb showed Tom and me a sketch  he had written about a sex education campaigner who is incredibly uncomfortable talking about sex. We loved the idea and the material but the sketch was unfinished, so the second half of the interview with Arthur was entirely improvised. Everything up to "dip the sausage in the mash" is Seb's handiwork, and even now it's really funny.
Arthur Chance appealed to me because he is part of a long line of misguided moral crusaders. He is in the same prudish camp as Mary Whitehouse, having the best intentions and claiming to be working for the public good, but having no idea or experience of the thing he is campaigning against. With his radical and ill thought out proposals, I had in the back of my mind a character called Peter Paget, an MP in Ben Elton's novel High Society (not that one)who attempts to legalise all recreational drugs. The voice is a spluttering rendition of Boris Johnson, who had just been elected Mayor of London.
This episode also sees the conclusion of Alex's arc for the first series. As I mentioned last week, Tom and I had one eye on the Christmas episode that would end the series, for which we intended to bring back several of the characters. We figured that there wouldn't be enough scope to have both Alex and multiple guests within an eight-minute episode, and so we took steps to temporarily write him out. I can't say much more without spoiling it: suffice to say he regrets ringing Tom, but not for the reason you'd think.

So if you're up for a dose of awkward euphemism and moral hypocrisy, sit back and enjoy Arthur Chance squirming in the interview chair:
Next week Christmas will be coming early, as we bring back four of the characters for a discussion of Christmas and a bit of singing. Join us then!


P.S. Before you all make the comparison, I've never seen The 40-Year-Old Virgin.