John Cooper grabs the comedian to chat about his new Edinburgh show "Now I Know My BBC"
This year's Edinburgh festival is in full swing and with it Toby Hadoke 's new show "Now I Know My BBC", an affectionate and stroppy love letter to Auntie Beeb touching on shows such as Quatermass , Doomwatch and Survivors . Toby's previous show "Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf" received five-star reviews in 2007 and toured the UK. I stole some of his time to catch up and talk about his new show.
John Cooper: You're well into your Edinburgh run now. What has the response been like so far?
Toby Hadoke: Good! Everyone seems to like the show. I've not had a bad review. Personally, I thought it took me a week or so to really kick the thing in, and it is better now that I've had time to bed it down and chop out some of the fat. And just remember the bloody words, frankly. But the audiences have been really supportive and I'm enjoying doing it. I was so worried that I could never do a decent follow up to "Moths", and I'm pleased to say I've exorcised that demon - it's a good show, and if you liked "Moths", you'll like this. There's definitely polemic involved, which is a tough line to negotiate; but when it flies, it really works, and I'm quite proud of that.
Cooper: Has anyone from the BBC seen it and given you feedback?
Hadoke: Yes - Nicholas Parsons! He stayed behind and said really complimentary things. What a generous gesture and rather a thrilling moment for someone like me who has been listening to Just A Minute for as long as I can remember. And a gentleman called Paul who works at the BBC came to a preview and seemed really happy that someone was speaking up for the corporation. He thanked me quite genuinely, which was something I hadn't expected.
Cooper: Your show has been described as a love letter to the Beeb. If your performance changes any one thing about the big British corporation, what would you like it to be?
Hadoke: That they stop shrinking the credits or talking over the theme tunes. They are both acts of the devil.
Cooper: When you did your Doctor Who themed show a few years back actors from the classic series came to see it. Have any other genre actors come to see this show?
Hadoke: Well, thanks to "Moths" I now have a few genre movers and shakers amongst my mates, so the previews were well supported by the likes of Rob Shearman. I have given a flyer to David Verrey who was Joe Green in 'Aliens Of London". I've not seen him in yet, but he wished me "all the best", not unkindly.
Cooper: You only have to look at the Beeb's back catalogue of sci-fi to see there's a lot to talk about, but with Edinburgh shows running to an hour, was there anything you really wanted to cover that you had to leave out?
Hadoke: I've had to cut some material that was in the first couple of shows which overran a bit. So out have gone The Wombles , Boys From The Blackstuff and - an especial favourite of mine - a joke about A For Andromeda . To do a gag about something that hasn't existed since before I was born was a daft achievement that tickled me.
Cooper: You have an encyclopaedic knowledge of actors from great British telly shows - knowing what we geeks are like, has anyone challenged your knowledge?
Hadoke: My mate Steve Berry didn't challenge me so much as point out something about a Grange Hill episode ending I allude to. In the context of the show my observation works because I'm generalising, but the most fastidious could get pernickety about it if they wished.
Cooper: If you were commissioned to bring back a classic sci-fi or fantasy show, what would it be?
Hadoke: I'd love to re-stage some of Nigel Kneale's missing work like The Road and The Creature .
Cooper: Are there any other sci-fi related show at the fringe this years you've seen that you'd recommend to festival visiting punters?
Hadoke: Yeah, Chris Stokes and Graham Goring will have plenty of geekery in their very funny show "Nerds Of A Feather", and the wonderful Jeremy Lion has a time-travelling shed that he promises is absolutely nothing like the TARDIS, oh deary me no, honest guv'nor. It's terrifically funny. And "Adam Riches Rides" features Pierce Brosnan coming out as a centaur. If that's not sci-fi I don't know what is!
If you're heading up to the Edinburgh festival or you're already there, you can catch Toby's show at The Underbelly (Venue 61) 5 to 29 August (except 18 August) at 18:55pm. Also for one night only "Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf" is at the EICC, 20 August. For tickets, visit the Underbelly site .