Complete History of the BBC (Abridged)

We were welcomed into the Cathode Ray Museum of Broadcasting, East Cheam by Terence (played by Bob Sinfield) in full evening dress. He was immediately the archetypal vintage BBC host; charming, welcoming and with perfect Received Pronunciation.

Once the action started though, it feels as if we were stuck in the 1950's with a hen-pecked husband and a matriarchal, eye-rolling, sour wife.

We were no longer the audience but the museum tour group who were to be taken on a journey through the BBC’s history; exploring broadcasting through the war, costume dramas, game shows and sitcoms. We were encouraged to reminisce about the golden age of the British Broadcasting Corporation and were reminded of childhood favourites such as Bill and Ben and Playschool utilising museum ‘artifacts’ to illustrate the important moments of Aunty’s life.

Once the action started though, it feels as if we were stuck in the 1950's with a hen-pecked husband and a matriarchal, eye-rolling, sour wife. It's hard to believe that Terence and Ingrid are married. There is the odd casting for a start - a large age gap that would be more akin to father and daughter. There was no chemistry between Ingrid (Alix Cavanagh) and Terence. I kept wondering why she wouldn’t just leave if she hates him that much.

Sinfield is clearly talented, stuck in a show that lacks interesting direction with poor dialogue and stereotypical stock characters.

This was obviously no Reduced Shakespeare Company as I was expecting. It felt more like a Theatre in Education play. The actors would be more at home playing to a group of primary school children who are doing an historical project about the BBC.

On a more positive note, the authors (Cavanagh with additional material by Gordon Ridout and Malcolm McKenzie) have clearly done their homework and their passion about the subject does shine through. This should be booked by schools as this is where it belongs; it would make the perfect wraparound educational performance to supplement a project on the interesting and important history of our unique BBC.

But sadly, in its current guise, Lord Reith would definitely be changing channel.

Reviews by Lou Rogers

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

After a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, join BBC enthusiast Terence and the long-suffering Ingrid as they present a history of the greatest public broadcasting institution ever. But can their marriage take the strain as Terence grows ever more frantic in his devotion and Ingrid worries about the missing Charlie? "…utterly sublime with a great balance of comedy and pathos." (The Cult Den), "…upbeat and fun…" **** (British Theatre Guide), "Light-hearted, witty and informative…" (East Coast FM)