Created by Fast Show veterans Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse, Radio 4's spoof phone-in talk show Down The Line is quite possibly the funniest thing I've heard on the radio since Dave Lee-Travis's (pompous and unintentionally hilarious) on-air resignation speech from Radio 1. I'd even go as far as to bracket Down The Line in with other modern radio greats such as On The Hour and Knowing Me, Knowing You. It really is that good.
DTL (as opposed to DLT) is such a convincing parody of a downmarket phone-in show that when it first aired there was outrage amongst Radio 4 diehards who didn't realise that the whole thing was a spoof - they just assumed their beloved station was going to rack and ruin.
But they needn't have worried. Featuring a cast of regular "callers" including the aforementioned Higson and Whitehouse plus Amelia Bullmore, Simon Day, Felix Dexter and Lucy Montgomery, with Rhys Thomas as nice-but-dim host Gary Bellamy, Down The Line was never going to be anything other than a brilliantly funny satire.
The complete first series is available to buy as a BBC Audio triple CD set. At a bargain £9.99 from Play.com, it would surely make for the ideal stocking filler this year for the comedy fan in your life!
Still not convinced? Then have a listen to this two-minute clip featuring caller Humphrey Milner (Charlie Higson) furnishing our host with a suggestion for the day's hot topic - naming a new colour.
If that didn't cause you to laugh out loud at least once, then it's probably safe to say that Down The Line isn't the show for you. But if you did enjoy it, then go on - buy the CDs! What are you waiting for - Christmas? ;)
(I'll never have a better opportunity to slip in this one-hit wonder from the eighties - which reached the dizzy heights of #27 in the UK pop 40 over Christmas 1985 - so without further ado, here's the Concept!)
The Concept - Mr DJ mp3
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