Made Here: The Good, the Bad and the Unexpected, BBC Radio Scotland

THE Good, the Bad and the Unexpected’ is a new comedy panel show, hosted by Julia Sutherland, where team captains, Jo Caulfield and Mark Nelson, compete to impress the crowd with their tales of joy and woe.

In today’s pilot episode – on BBC Radio Scotland, at 13.32 – the line-up is completed with comedians, Gary Delaney and Glasgow’s Susan Calman.

‘The Good, the Bad and the Unexpected’ is a Dabster Production.

Here, producer, Al Lorraine, answers the questions…

Who commissioned the series?

It has been piloted by Jeff Zycinski, head of radio for BBC Radio Scotland. Dabster and the Edinburgh Comedy Collective have been hosting GBU for two years at The Stand Comedy Club, originally as an incentive to write and work with new comedians on a regular basis. The format settled and improved and, with Jeff’s interest in getting more comedy onto Radio Scotland, he has commissioned this pilot to find out if the programme is just as funny on the radio as it is in the club. (It is.)

Explain the thinking behind the production’s ‘sound and feel’.

We wanted to make a comedy show that was packed full of jokes. As radio audiences tune in throughout programmes, we wanted to make sure that the listeners would hear as many jokes as possible in a short period of time (and then stay tuned for the rest of the show).

To do this, we had to capture the energy and freedom of late night comedy and produce it for a daytime audience. The format is a platform for the panellists to perform stand-up comedy in a new way. In the first round, the teams take to the stage together to characterise themselves answering the big questions… ‘Beatles or Stones?’ From there, the panellists share with us something that you don’t often hear in comedy; something from their lives that is good, joyful, positive, lucky or lovely.

Of course, comedy is tragedy, so where would the fun be if we didn’t hear something awful, terrible, unfortunate or just plain bad too?

Dabster Productions were keen to produce a well-natured show so, whilst there is an element of competition, the final round of ‘unexpected’ questions isn’t a battle, more of a pillow fight of each other’s wits.

Who are the key personnel?

Jo Caulfield and Kevin Anderson approached Dabster with the original idea for the show, to be performed live at The Stand and later podcasted. The night was hosted monthly from January two years ago, with a roster of returning talent complimenting special and surprise guests along the way. Producers, Richard Melvin and I, focused and distilled the best of the ideas and writing towards a final format more suitable for radio audiences, whereupon the pilot was commissioned.

The show is presented by Julia Sutherland who keeps the ‘train on the tracks and on time’, whilst regular team captains, Jo Caulfield and Mark Nelson, help their guests keep up in this fast-paced show.

What kit and software?

The live show was recorded with SM58’s to retain the rawness of live performance, with Rode M3s in stereo capturing the audience and ambience. The programme was edited on Cubase and coffee.

What have been the main production challenges?

One challenge in production was that of decency and compliance. Live comedy is the last art form that has escaped censorship, which is to be celebrated and encouraged. A good comedian can convey ideas without explicitly saying them, and often that nuance is lost in broadcast. So, to keep our programme exciting, challenging and, most of all, funny, we were faced with a number of editing decisions that lost jokes we were sad to see go. Having said that, we believe that we’ve produced a show that is perfect for daytime listeners of any age.

What did you most learn and enjoy from the experience?

Take an idea, try it out, change it and watch it grow. Our two years of development allowed us time to try all sorts of different ideas, some of which grew and flourished, some of which didn’t appear again – but we wouldn’t have known without trying it out in front of an audience and listening back to the ‘album’ in the cold light of day. Now we have a format that works in both environments and it’s a great listen.

The original podcast series is available on iTunes, here.