Advent calendar 7: The Battle of Marathon

On the seventh day of Christmas,
The Bakery gave to me:
A failed attempt to get on BBC Radio 4

Last year, myself and Chef Dan wrote a couple of comedy sketches for a relatively rare window of opportunity at BBC Radio 4. The brief being to write material that in some way included communication using modern technology.

We suspected that everyone else would submit scripts about annoying ring tones on the bus and malfunctioning Sat Navs, so we were adamant to take a different approach.

Our first sketch then, was a reimagining of the ancient Battle of Marathon. Only this time, Pheidippides has issues summoning the Spartan reinforcements in time…

This was the sketch that received the most positive feedback from the script editor via producer Ed Morrish. It was included in their ‘yes’ pile and lined-up for inclusion in the rehearsal script ahead of recording.

The rehearsal scripts apparently include twice as much material as is actually needed. So, by this stage your sketch has exactly a 50% chance of getting in the programme. If successful, the actors would record it in front of an audience, and you would receive a writer’s credit and a fee, in time for broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Alas, we didn’t make it. Although we did receive an encouraging e-mail saying that our material was good enough for inclusion, but fell victim to the necessarily ruthless 50% culling, along with scores of other sketches. Such is the nature of broadcasting.

So, here it is, specially recorded by The Bakery and heard here for the first time on the advent calendar: The Battle of Marathon Sketch, written and performed by Richard Dadd and Dan Fryer.


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  1. Tom German Doesnt live here anymore

    I really like this. It reminds me of lots of late night conversations about Warhols and lucky dip greeks. You could have ended with a gag about them bringing a massive wooden horse rather than anything useful like a rope or a multi tool… Think my history may be wrong here 😕

    • Ha ha!

      I was especially hoping you’d enjoy this, Tom. And I selected the image on the strength of it looking like something I can imagine you having on your bedroom wall.

      Regarding historical accuracy: BBC Radio 4 would be the worst place to confuse the Battle of Marathon with the Siege of Troy! Can you imagine the academic middle class uproar?

  2. What a shame it was only 60 seconds long!

    • Think of it as the audio equivalent of a tiny advent calendar chocolate. I think I spoilt you with my first post being 11 minutes! 1 to 3 minutes is pretty standard length for a comedy sketch. They advised keeping things short and punchy.

      Our other submitted sketch was longer than this one, and one of the pieces of feedback it received was a request to cut it down slightly.

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