2016 was dire

Happy New Year everyone! My first act of 2017 was to scatter the accursed ashes of 2016 into the winds of time via the medium of a parody song. Basically, my dad was amusing himself over Christmas by trying to rewrite Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” to incorporate the ever-expanding list of celebrity deaths in 2016. Now I am no singer/songwriter, but as the death toll rose, I couldn’t help getting drawn into the gravitational pull of this ludicrous creative endeavour, until I ended up rewriting most of the song myself. I have put FAR too much hard work into this… Fun fact: there is one person who appears in this list who also appears in the original song. Clue: it’s not Paul Daniels.

The Bakery completes a TV pilot

Our completed TV pilot has now been delivered to the channel for them to consider. To celebrate this milestone, here is another screen-grab to tease you. Will The Bakery soon be embarking on production of its first ever TV series? Watch this space…

The Bakery is filming a TV pilot

This is an image from it. And that’s all we’re telling you for now.

Not quite 3 million years later…

Remember being a kid? Remember spending all day drawing? Sprawled on the carpet with a biro, a pad of paper and a glass of squash – and letting your imagination take you to the farthest corners of the Universe. Drawing on rainy Sundays. After school. On the 6 week holidays… I was an indoors boy. Not for me the footballs and recreation grounds. No. Outside my front door lay only suburbia. The real adventures were to be found within the pages of my notepads. I can remember the genuine thrill I got from buying a tub of 50 biros from Woolworth’s. That’s right. A thrill. Fifty biros – that would keep me going for ages! It’s hard now to explain my excitement about biros. Now I’m an adult, I have tragically morphed into the kind of tedious dullard to whom biros are merely a tool for filling in forms. Biros are for addressing envelopes. They are for writing birthday cards. They languish in drawers with screws and buttons and receipts. But in those days, biros were reservoirs of stories and pictures. All I had to do was take off the lid, find some paper, and let all the stories...

RETROSPECTIVE: The Wicked Pig saga – Chapter 4

It was the Autumn of 2010. We had just finished filming the third of our challenge videos, and submitted it to the marketing agency. Looking back, we might as well have picked up our ball and gone home at this point. Because Episode 3 would prove to be the final instalment released. But we didn’t know that. And so we would spend the closing months of 2010 completely wasting our time making an Episode 4 that wouldn’t see the light of day. Until now that is! Further down this blog post, we shall at last unveil the never-before-seen concluding episode of the Wicked Pig Challenges, and thus resolve a cliffhanger that has been hanging for half a decade now. But first, join me as I go into minute detail about the trials and tribulations of getting the bloody thing made in the first place… You will recall that our third challenge had been to invade France. The origins of this challenge lie in our original pitch document, when we had suggested the challenge of: “How many countries can you drink a cup of tea in, in 24 hours?” I still think this is an excellent challenge, and I wish...

RETROSPECTIVE: The Wicked Pig saga – Chapter 3

The story so far: Chapter 1 is here and Chapter 2 here, after which our heroes turned their weary minds to the third challenge… It’s hard to overstate the extent to which making these videos was beginning to occupy all our time. During the week, Dan and I both worked at the same IT office in the University of Kent, but our weekends and evenings were now wall-to-wall Wicked Pig Challenges. Our girlfriends may have been understanding, but life was increasingly looking like the scene in Disparate Set Pieces where we talk over Becky’s head. Of course, all-encompassing projects were nothing new for The Bakery. Mine and Dan’s friendship was cemented during the monumental production of Konkers, after all. But this was different… You see, with a normal Bakery project, all we have to do is satisfy ourselves. We just have to make something we think is good. And that is motivation enough. But in Wicked Pig Land, we found ourselves frustratingly beholden to baffling feedback; required to re-edit and re-edit, dragging the production out, and squeezing much of the fun out of the process. It was a collaboration of the worst kind, because we really didn’t feel like...

RETROSPECTIVE: The Wicked Pig saga – Chapter 2

The story so far: Dan and Richard have accidentally become the faces of Wicked Pig Pork snacks, and are now obliged to produce regular YouTube videos tackling comedy challenges. In their first video, they attempt to make a million pounds by painting faces on eggs. But as they await their second challenge, they are perturbed by the marketing agency in charge, who are showing worrying signs they might not know how to run a campaign properly. Richard takes up the story… A package arrived by courier. We eyed it suspiciously. It was a squarish box from the marketing agency, very unlike the slim brown envelope which the first challenge had arrived in. This box gave us an uneasy feeling. We filmed ourselves opening the box, just as we had filmed ourselves opening the challenge envelope at the start of episode one. This was to be the start of episode two. But what we found inside… oh, I’m wincing just to write this… Inside were luminous lycra dancing outfits. Just to clarify, we had specifically asked the marketing agency to set us simple challenges. The kind that could be summed up in one line. Challenges that should not, in themselves, be...

RETROSPECTIVE: The Wicked Pig saga – Chapter 1

Some of you may remember a few years back when myself and Dan unexpectedly became the official faces of a short lived pork snack… For anyone new to the party, we entered a film competition on a whim asking for “a new comedy double act.” The prize was £2,000 and the opportunity to be the “faces of Wicked Pig pork snacks” – whatever that meant. For a laugh we entered. We didn’t think we’d win. Anyway, we won. That wiped the smile off our faces. Our winning entry was a film called Disparate Set Pieces, which followed myself and Dan playing caricatured versions of ourselves, attempting to make a competition-winning short film to enter into the Wicked Pig competition. Get us and our postmodernism. We shot it in a “found footage” home video style, and amused ourselves with the idea that somebody might mistake the idiot characters of “Dan and Richard” for real people. We kind of suspected that nobody would find it funny unless they knew us, and we were fine with that. But it turns out we were wrong. If you’d like to watch it, here it is, otherwise scroll down for the rest of the story…...

Election night stand-up

I was back in my home town last night for the excellent Manilla Road comedy club at The Victoria pub in Birmingham City Centre! They say nothing goes out of date quicker than topical comedy, but on the night of the General Election I thought it would be a missed opportunity to stick to UHT Long-Life Comedy. So for the first time ever I did a set entirely composed of stuff from the news. As always it was a great night with Jim the hairy compere steering his eclectic ship towards the smashing headliner, the furious and fiery Ian Cognito. Bostin – as they say round these parts.

Audiobooks

  I’ve always fancied narrating an audiobook. Getting to interpret a whole cast of characters, immersing myself in a novel – and recently, I’ve got to do exactly that. At over 10 hours long, I certainly don’t expect you all to listen to it – it’s a rather more gargantuan project than anything we usually blog up here – but it was a lot of fun. The novel is a wartime adventure story about a daring young man who gets unexpectedly assigned to a top secret mission that could help Britain win the war… Above are two reels comprised of extracts from the book. Please note, I’ve added in the sound effects to give a bit of oomph, and to act as an audio shorthand for the 10 hours worth of plot and prose which the novel contains. The full audiobook itself contains no sound effects.