FROM THE ARCHIVES: Professor Frederick Snore (12/11/08)

Welcome to episode five of From The Archives, in which I guide you down memory lane through the comedy series I wrote when I was a student.
This week's episode is a little poignant because the man who inspired it recently passed away. As the name suggests, Professor Frederick Snore owes a really big debt to Sir Patrick Moore, the amateur astronomer and cantankerous presenter of The Sky at Night. While I never really watched the show, or approved of Moore's political views, he remains something of an endearing presence in popular culture and is very easy to parody.
Tom and I always looked to tie episodes of The Yesterday Show into current events, albeit in a way subtle and tangential enough that they wouldn't date badly (well, judge for yourselves on that front). This show coincided with the annual arrival of the Leonids, and so it seemed an ideal time to wheel out the impression and do something with it. We envisioned the character as an expert who secretly knew nothing about what he was supposed to be an expert on, and who got around this by just repeating or rephrasing the interviewer's questions. The narcolepsy aspect of the character was just a way to break up the rhythm of the piece and, from the character's point of view, to buy him some time.
The beginning and ending of this episode are in hindsight pretty reflective of the whole show. On the one hand, the opening with Roger Ingerman was a decent idea that never sounded as good as it read on paper; I did my best impersonation of Will Self, but it wasn't funny enough to warrant a second outing. On the other hand, Alex's 'interview' with Lewis Hamilton is quite an old joke - we took the interview Hamilton did on Top Gear, cut it up and played it out like a prank phone call. And yet it really worked - particularly the amount of mileage we got out of the phrase "I shunted it" (you'll understand when you hear it).
So, if you're curious about the Leonids, or how Nicole Scherzinger helps Lewis before race day, sit back and enjoy Episode 5 of The Yesterday Show!