Down The Line Is Back: Gary Bellamy’s People Pulse
DOWN The Line, the best radio comedy in years, is back. Penned and performed by The Fast Show’s Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson, backed by an array of comedy talent (in the true sense of the word), the show is, as you would expect, very funny indeed.
It’s a spoof radio phone-in so convincing that it had Radio 4 listeners up in arms, believing it to be real. But it is also a sharp satire on broadcasting etiquette, and a vivid portrait of the state of the nation in 2011.
Christopher Nibbs (aka ‘Nibbsy’ or ‘The Nibbster’), Khalid, The Pearly King, Graham Downes (pictured), Chuck Perry and the rest of the regular callers are a rogues gallery of talk-radio stereotypes, by turns self-important, deluded, banal, pitiful, and cheerfully ignorant. All are drawn, like moths to the flame, by the twenty-first century mantra: Have Your Say.
Holding the ring and attempting to make sense of it all is radio-host-turned-TV-celebrity Gary Bellamy (played by Rhys Thomas), whose efforts to impose order and reason are fatally undermined by his callowness, shallowness and a lack of any views or standards beyond those imposed by the broadcasting guidelines.
Like many radio comedy shows it transferred to television (Ballamy’s People) with mixed results. Now it’s back where it belongs, on national radio, with its finger firmly on the erratic pulse of the Great British Public.
By ‘The Angry Red Tomato’