Radio Active (radio series)

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Radio Active was a radio comedy programme, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 during the 1980s. The first episode was broadcast in 1980, and it ran for seven series. The show starred, among others, Angus Deayton, Geoffrey Perkins, Michael Fenton Stevens, Helen Atkinson-Wood and Philip Pope.


Programme format


The show was based on a fictional radio station (described as "Britain's first national local radio station") and the programmes that it might transmit. Characters on the show were mostly named after pieces of sound equipment, including:

  • rising star Mike Flex (Perkins),
  • aged fading star Mike Channel (Deayton),
  • "children's favourite" "Uncle" Mike Stand (Stevens)
  • the food-obsessed Anna Daptor (Atkinson-Wood)

Also on the station's staff were:

  • the incomprehensible Nigel Pry (Pope),
  • the incompetent hospital-radio trained Martin Brown (Stevens),
  • the carefully enunciated "oh-so-daring" Mike Hunt (Deayton),
  • brusque owner Sir Norman Tonsil (Deayton),
  • Norwegian correspondent Oivind Vinstra (Perkins), whose command of English was negligible
  • Head of Religious Affairs The Right Reverend Reverend Wright (Deayton), who had a mail-order bride

Other regular characters included:


Angus Deayton and Geoffrey Perkins wrote most of the material, with significant additional contributions from, at various times, Jon Canter, Richard Curtis, Terence Dackombe, Michael Fenton Stevens, Jack (then John) Docherty and Moray Hunter, and the various musical elements provided by Philip Pope. Four producers worked on the series over the years (Jimmy Mulville, Jamie Rix, Paul Mayhew-Archer and David Tyler).

Recurring elements

The show had its origins in the University of Oxford student drama community, especially in the musical parodies of Philip Pope, which were regularly featured on Radio Active. The best known of these is the Bee Gees parody The Hee Bee Gee Bees, with their song "Meaningless Songs (In Very High Voices)", which became a moderate hit.

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