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Published on August 19th, 2010 | by Elton Townend Jones

Toby Hadoke’s Now I Know My BBC


But it’s not all about the programmes.  I’m not sure whether Hadoke has realised that this show is a genuine sequel to Moths (nor am I sure that I did until I had long left the venue), but by once again using BBC output as a mirror to his own youthful experiences, this is perhaps the second in what will prove many chapters of a life long lived in the company of Reith’s electric baby-sitter.  Once again we meet younger versions of Hadoke in the anecdotes and stories he tells, often touching upon ground covered in the last show but from different angles and with new information.

Consequently, BBC, like Moths is a love letter to its perceived subject (I say ‘perceived’ because both shows are really about growing up, or rather ‘getting older and having/choosing to change’). BBC, however, would appear to be the greater romance.  There is a beautiful and delicate little love story at the heart of BBC– I won’t betray its details here – but there is also a profound passion, which Hadoke displays with exuberance and gravitas.  In terms of performance, Hadoke is perhaps never better than when defending the BBC as a treasure we discard at our most shameful peril.  His fervour is ignited by despair and disappointment at our complicity in the rise and fall of Susan Boyle and her svengalis; at the Daily Mail; at the BNP; at over-running snooker.  But he is never cruel or cowardly; he covers everything from school bullying to the death of Freddie Mercury, but there is no strong language and no one suffers on the receiving end of a Hadoke joke (although the snooker players gag comes close).

Oh, and for those of you that were worried, Doctor Who is never far away from the action, whether in the frightening certitude of the Daleks or in Hadoke’s cheery confessional about chronological DVD storage (which had my wife digging her elbow quite deeply into my ribs).

This is a lovely show, a fine and affectionate piece of work.  But it is also a brave and determined piece, unafraid to ask questions about the future of an equally brave and determined institution that we could easily lose and very, very soon.  As Doctor Who fans, we can only surely agree (for once) that we love the BBC.  If anything, Toby Hadoke seems to be perhaps our best hope for leading the vocal appreciation of this wonderful and rich contributor to British life, envied the world over for its unflinching quality.  As a clarion call, Now I know My BBC is informative and educational, but never preachy.  It is nostalgic and romantic – but never sentimental.  Above all, it is very, very funny.  Miss it at your peril.

Now I Know My BBC is playing at Underbelly, Cowgate, 56 Cowgate, Edinburgh (entrances on Cowgate and Victoria Street) from 18 – 29 August.

Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf is playing a one-off show at Venue 150 @ EICC, 150 Morrison Street, Edinburgh on 20 August.

Elton Townend Jones’ Dyad Productions present I, Elizabeth at Assembly @ George Street, Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, Edinburgh from 18 – 30 August.

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About the Author

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Elton Townend-Jones is a journalist, playwright, actor, theatre producer and philosopher. He does ‘80s zeitgeist at www.25yearstoolate.blogspot.com.



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