On The Hour

On The Hour was a British radio programme that parodied current affairs broadcasting.

It was written by Chris Morris, Armando Iannucci, Steven Wells, Andrew Glover, Stewart Lee, Richard Herring and David Quantick and starred Morris as the overzealous, self-important and relatively insane principal anchor (for which he used his own name). He was aided and abetted by the brilliant cast of Steve Coogan, Patrick Marber, David Schneider, Doon Mackichan and Rebecca Front as news reporters, presenters, interviewees, etc. It also featured the very first appearance of Coogan's popular character Alan Partridge as the Sportsdesk reporter.

Surrealism was an important part of the programme, especially since every drop of pure nonsense ('More Oxygen Needed says France', 'Glass-Faced Man Too Disgusting For Trial', etc) was delivered in an amazingly accurate rendition of the straight-faced manner in which news stories are dealt, and it has often been quoted that Morris' initial intention was indeed to show how the public would believe anything if it was delivered with a straight-face. And it did fool many people, with some listeners ringing in to complain about how the anchor treated his guests.

However, the satirical edge was equally significant. Not just in commenting on how news programmes can spend an awful lot of time informing you that they're reporting the news ('THIS IS THE NEWS!') and repeating the show's title but also on newsspeak, media-manipulation, exploitation of tragedies, patronising mistreatment of the general public, not checking the facts - personified by Marber's Peter O'Hanrahahanrahan - and generally viewing itself as infallible ('On The Hour - Towards A New Eden'). There was also time to satirise party political broadcasts, chummy yet vacuous Radio One DJs in the form of Morris' Wayne Carr, religious broadcasting, glossy magazines, 'fun' local events, local radio, youth information shows, Radio Four plays, Royal ceremonies and even satirical comedies that don't hit the mark - as well as the basic absurdity of life.

The programme also utilised impressive editing of out-of-context sound-clips in order to cement its illogicality into some reality and Morris' prank phone calls, which were always a lot of fun.

Twelve episodes were made (including a Christmas special, of which two versions exist) and broadcast in 1991 and 1992. At the end of the series, the inevitable happened and On The Hour became a rolling 24-hour newszenith of an information-station - letting people know exactly what was happening forever and ever. The team, (minus Lee and Herring due to creative/legal disputes, who were replaced by Peter Baynham and Father Ted writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews) subsequently made a television series loosely based on it called The Day Today.Template:BBC-stub

External links

http://chilled.cream.org/forums/onthehour.php - for a full episode guide and downloads of every episode bar one.


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