I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again…Again with Barnaby Eaton-Jones and Tim Brooke-Taylor

The OFFSTAGE Theatre Group recreates the anarchic and deliciously surreal cult comedy show I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again that laid waste to BBC Radio in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

From Professor Prune and the Electric Time Trousers to ever-frisky Lady Constance de Coverlet, this is a chance to meet – or happily catch up with – much-loved characters first created by Tim Brooke-Taylor, John Cleese, Graeme Garden, David Hatch, Jo Kendall and Bill Oddie.

A Greatest Hits compilation of original material by Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, this knockabout show celebrates the radio series that gave birth to The Goodies and Monty Python’s Flying Circus – not to mention I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue.

Diretor and Producer Barnaby Eaton-Jones along with orginal cast member Tim Brooke Taylor spoke to us about the show, his favourite sketch, the cultural legacy of the show and more.

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What can audiences expect from I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again…Again?

BARNABY EATON-JONES: Hello! Well, as the Producer of the show (and, for my sins, the one who adapted and directed it, as well as performing in it – accusations of an ego the size of an inflatable elephant denied), it is a sort of ‘greatest hits’ version of the original radio series. Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie wrote the bulk of the latter series and contributed huge swathes to the earlier series, and it’s their material we draw from exclusively. As Tim will attest to, the original show had a young cast and attracted a young audience; who treated the show in the same way that The Beatles fans treated their idols on stage – with a lot of shouting, screaming and participation. So, the energy and anarchic spirit was something I was keen to keep in there, as well as encouraging the audience to be another member of the cast (almost). It’s not a Pantomime but we hope they’ll cheer at good jokes, groan at puns, and applaud enthusiastically every time the cast get the choreography right on the smattering of Bill Oddie’s incredibly catchy songs we perform. The main thing is, it’s very, very funny. The cast and band are still falling about laughing at jokes they’ve now rehearsed and performed a fair few times! So, that’s a good sign.

TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR: One of the best bits of my working life has been the cast recordings of I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again and we all had huge fun, as did the audience (as mentioned). Watching Barnaby and his talented team in this revival, having just as much fun (and the audience even more so!), has brought back very happy memories indeed and I’m excited to be re-joining the show in Swindon!

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Photo Credit: OFFSTAGE Theatre Group

What is your favourite sketch from I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again?

TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR: It’s very difficult to say but some of my favourites were the weekly series which ran for entire series of the show, such as ‘The Curse of the Flying Wombat’ and ‘Professor Prune and the Electric Time Trousers’ (the latter of which is featured in the touring show).

BARNABY EATON-JONES: I personally like those too and I’ve been having great fun channelling Graeme Garden’s unique voice as Professor Prune.

ISIRTA (Original Cast)

Photo Credit: I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again

How did you approach putting the script together for the show?

BARNABY EATON-JONES: With much agonising of what we couldn’t use, as the show ran for nine series. So, we could technically do a different show for all nine dates of the tour with the ‘greatest hits’ from each series. But, the main thing was to include well-loved sketches, songs and characters that fans of the show would know and to make those accessible to anyone who only had a vague memory of the show or who had never heard it before! As I said earlier, the great thing is that the material is so very strong, so – although it’s been a delicate jigsaw puzzle to sometimes squash the best bit of three sketches into one sketch – we’ve been delighted by how much audiences have responded to it.

ISIRTAA Original

Photo Credit: I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again

What is the legacy of I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again?

TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR: A lot of influence on producing Monty Python’s Flying Circus, as John Cleese was an original performer/writer in all series of the show, alongside Graham Chapman as performer/writer in the first series (with Eric Idle contributing a lot of material for the first few series). And, of course, The Goodies, with myself, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie. It was also the precursor of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue too!

BARNABY EATON-JONES: I do find that fascinating, how the incredibly long-running and still immensely popular panel show, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, came to be – essentially because Graeme Garden was weary of having to write so much new material and came up with something that was more improvised and less rowdy – but there are elements of the shows that cross over, which you may spot. Of course, the original line-up was heavily skewed to I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again performers until it settled into the pattern that everyone knows and loves – which has evolved slightly due to the loss of Willie Rushton and, more recently, the deadpan host Humphrey Littleton.

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Photo Credit: OFFSTAGE Theatre Group

What future projects are you working on?

TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR: We’ve just finished a nationwide tour of a stage version of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. The next series of that starts recording in a couple of weeks! They’re in Guildford, Birmingham, Halifax, etc. News and tickets on that here: http://www.isihac.net/tour_dates.php. I also do intermittent Oh Goody! An Audience with Tim Brooke-Taylor shows, where I share the stage with Chris Serle. The next ones coming up are on April 29th in Dundee and May 7th at Hexham Book Festival. But, for a full list of the shows, have a browse here: http://www.cliveconwayproductions.com/whats-on/location/341/event/oh-goody.html

BARNABY EATON-JONES: I’m producing a brand-new series of the ‘80s classic television show Robin of Sherwood but this time on audio – with the original cast returning (including Michael Praed and Jason Connery as both versions of Robin Hood from the series). That’s courtesy of the lovely people at ITV Global Entertainment. Head on over to www.spitefupuppet.com for more information on that. I really also hope, if the audiences love it enough, that we can extend this tour of I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again… Again and take it to a few more places, as it’s such a happy show to perform and for an audience to enjoy.

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I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again…Again will be at the Swindon Arts Centre on Friday 9th June.

For more information and to buy tickets please visit: http://bit.ly/ISIRTASAC

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