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‘Down The Line’
Clear your history. IMDb Everywhere. Follow IMDb on. DPReview Digital Photography. Audible Download Audio Books. When the shows are repeated, there are plans to include additional material that wasn't ready for this series, and perhaps integrate calls and emails from real people responding to the on-air debates - but only with their permission. The shows were semi-improvised and Whitehouse, who had never worked in radio before, is clearly smitten. But here we could run round doing daft voices and say whatever we wanted - that's the joy of it.
When you're on a phone-in show, you can discuss any topic.
Gary didn't necessarily know what the calls were going to be, or what the callers were going to say. Some were loosely scripted, but a lot of them were made up entirely on the spot.
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It was all very - I hesitate to use the word - organic. Given the show's high-profile cast, the low-key launch is all the more remarkable.
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We thought it was much more interesting to get the thing out and see how people react. It would have been nice if it had ticked along [without revealing it was a spoof or who was responsible], but I suppose these days it's tricky with the internet. There are a lot of comedy nerds out there. Whitehouse says he doesn't know of any other show that parodies phone-ins - perhaps because the real thing almost defies parody. Also, we can steer it where we want in terms of some fairly contentious subjects.
The fact that [the black comedian] Felix Dexter is ringing in and can play parodic characters, black stereotypes, and we can play white stereotypes is fantastic. I thought it was very interesting that in the week we had a show about race, the BNP did very well in the local elections in Barking. There is a kind of political agenda to this because we do talk about freedom of speech, race, religion - there are some political points to be made.
Whitehouse and Co don't get much money for doing the show compared with television - "I'm not getting a Maserati out of it" - but are nevertheless game to do more if Radio 4's bosses and Angry of Tunbridge Wells will let them. How dare we have one of these banal, dumbing-down phone-in shows on Radio 4? Whether we've pulled the trick off or not, I don't know. But they have, hysterically, tear-inducingly, despite what may be a touch of cold feet on someone's part about not letting the uncertainties linger until the bitter end.
As for those persistent emailers who have said they would like Down the Line to go down the tubes, Whitehouse has a message of his own. I'm one of those - I switch the radio off as soon as I hear that theme music, and I urge anyone who doesn't like Down the Line to do the same. Read a book, or go to bed. Gary Bellamy will also be doing a stint in place of Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight next week. What's your point, Stuart?
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Caller 1 Well, my point is this. It's ironic, isn't it, that the once-proud African man, standing on one leg, looking out across the Kalahari desert, once master of all he surveyed, is now exacting a terrible revenge, after centuries of repression, removed from his homeland and subjugated And I feel that it actually demeans both the African man and the European man, that we are now waging a war with parking tickets, pieces of paper and bureaucracy, over this silly notion that no, you can't park your car there, or you can park your car, for example, there.
Bellamy It certainly is ironic.
Down The Line | Frictec Ltd
It's a good point - or is it racist? I'll tell you what - it would be great to hear from someone from the black community to get their views on that, or, in fact, to get their views on anything. So come on: ring in if you're black. Caller 2 I'm calling about freedom of speech because it really is, if you think about it, a cornerstone of British democracy. If you don't have freedom of speech you have a very oppressive society Mickey Hart Mickey Hart.
Down the Line
Robert Hunter Robert Hunter. Tom Constanten Tom Constanten.
Keith Godchaux Keith Godchaux. Brent Mydland Brent Mydland. Vince Welnick Vince Welnick. Sung by Bob Weir with the Grateful Dead from the s through to the s.