Summary: Although most people know Miranda Hart from her award winning TV sitcom ‘Miranda’ (now in it’s third series), this was not her first show. ‘Miranda Hart’s Joke Shop’ is a semi-autobiographical series,which was first broadcast in 2008 on BBC Radio 2. When the series starts Miranda has just bought a joke shop with her inheritance, with her friend Stevie helping with the organisation. The radio show has similar reoccurring themes as the TV series, like the embarrassment of her mother Penny, the impossible task of trying to get people to take her seriously, attempting to understand how to be a girly girl and her difficulty in acting natural in front of Gary.
Characters/Actors:Miranda Hart (Miranda, Call the Midwife, French and Saunders) stars as herself, 6 feet 1 inch, she has never really fitted in, is mistaken for a man far too often, but despite, still manages to have a laugh. This comes in handy as she owns a joke shop with her childhood friend Stevie, played by Sarah Hadland (Miranda, Bleak Expectations, Magicians). Stevie believes that she has much better social skills than Miranda, especially when it comes to men. This is probably true, so Stevie is often seen trying to teach her a thing or two. Another of Miranda’s friends, Tilly, is played by Catherine Shepherd (Servants, Magicians Gates). Tilly is everything that Miranda isn't much to the disappointment of Penny, Miranda’s mother, played by Patricia Hodge (Miranda, Inspector Morse, The Naked Civil Servant). Penny’s motives in life tend to revolve around a) finding Miranda a husband and b) finding Miranda a ‘proper’ job. Both Gary, played by Tom Ellis (Miranda, The Secret of Crickley Hall, The Catherine Tate Show), and Clive, played by Jason Watkins (Being Human, Nativity!, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason), work in a local restaurant. They provide Miranda with non-female opinions on situations.
Belinda Stewart-Wilson and Dan Starkey play various roles.
Personal opinion: I love this style of comedy, where the main character talks directly to the audience as well as her interaction with other characters. It gives it a more personal feel and you start to relate to her more. The only negative thing I have to say about it, is that since it was developed for TV it leaves less up to your imagination. For example, you know what the sets look like, how the characters look and behave. For me that ruins a little bit of the magic of radio for me, but I love it all the same.
BBC Radio 4Extra have just finished repeating the series. Episode 4 is still avaliable on iPlayer. The Pilot episode is being repeated on Sunday 27th Jan ‘13, 22:30 GMT, on BBC Radio 4Extra. When it is on iPlayer I will put a link here.
The third series of Miranda (TV Series) is also being shown on BBC One. Past episodes can still be found on iPlayer.
Written by Miranda Hart, James Cary, and Tony Roche, with additional material from Sarah Hadland, Richard Hurst, Leisa Rea, and Paul Kerensa. Produced by Dawn Ellis
The little bit at the end: Information from here, here and here. Thanks to fillingmysoul for proof reading. Previous Comedy of the Week’s here. Any comments or suggestions pop something in my ask box.