Download We are the BBC from the Wireless Theatre Company
Wireless Theatre Company, June 2012
At a time when the BBC is under pressure for its mismanagement of the Savile affair, it's nice to come across an affectionate comedy that gently makes fun of the artificial world of television, while ensuring - at least in part - that right will prevail.
Rob Sterling Davies (Adam Hall) has it all; having apparently penned a succesful ninety-minute drama starring Stephen Fry (playing himself), he finds himself catapulted to stardom as an actor, television performer, and miscellaneous celebrity. Hollywood beckons, with an offer to write three screenplays that he cannot refuse; as he explains in almost painstaking detail to Nicholas Parsons (also playing himself) in an interview.
The only snag is that Davies has not written the play at all, but rather stolen it from an unknown Welsh scriptwriter Talfryn (Andrew Macbean) and passed it off as his own. Talfryn's girlfriend Bulah (Susan Casanove) tries her best to make the scandal public, but as ever the celebrity mobilizes powerful forces - including an injunction - to suppress it. However, when one door closes, another opens; at the end of the play we are left in no doubt that the truth will out, and Davies will be exposed as a fraud and a bigot.
Jack Bowman's production unfolds at a great lick, allowing plenty of time for jokes about television programmes old and new. Stephen Fry only has a small role, but sounds suitably nauseated by Davies' presence around him. Likewise Nicholas Parsons; although sustaining a facade of politeness, it's clear he loathes Davies. Adam Hall gives a memorable performance in the central role; he is the kind of person everyone loves to hate - his smooth television persona offset by his obnoxiousness off-screen.
We are the BBC is currently Wireless Theatre's most downloaded drama; it's not hard to see why.