Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ed Reardon's Week

Now, a side-trip for Ed Reardon's Week, a comedic tour de force from BBC 4, written by Chris Douglas and Andrew Nickolds and starring Chris Douglas as Ed Reardon.

Ed, a once barely successful writer, now pathetically past his prime, is prone to fevered rants. While the one below isn't his most spectacular, it is one of my favorites due to the multifaceted arrogance and the undertones of Ed's weaknesses (penury, pedantry, and bitterness). I've transcribed it from the beginning of "The Libel Action," the last episode (aired 19 January 2007)of the third and most recent season of the program. We begin with Ed telephoning his local council, interrupted by a brief voicover where he relates what he's typing in his journal, and then we return for the denoument of the call.
Ed speaking on the phone
Hello? Can I speak to someone connected with the Council's "Towards a Brighter Berkhamsted campaign?" [Pause] Well, yes it could be either of those departments because it could be an environmental issue but it's also as you may have deduced from the tone of my voice a complaint.

Ed's voiceover interrupts while he types his diary entry:
"Monday. What was it exactly that made local councils the length and breadth of the country decide that all street furniture should sanctify the Victorian era? It seems no town centre is complete without gold and black painted bollards, cast iron signs pointing gothically to the disabled toilets in the short stay car park, and perpetually dripping hanging baskets, making a trip to a news agents' for the innocent pipe smoker an unwarranted hazard. And whereas 150 years ago small boys used to be sent up chimneys or down the mines, now the 12-year olds are given six figure salaries to come up with slogans such as "It's time to big up Berko!" -- the inspirational text which shouts at me from my morning mail.

Ed, continuing the phone call to his local council:
Yes, I'm looking at the letter concerning the renovations to the parade of shops above which I live. Yes, it seems I'm being asked to contribute 900 pounds towards the carving of the words "Parade Emporiums" on the pediment above my flat.


Well I'll tell you exactly what the problem is. It could hardly be a less appropriate heading for a nail bar, a chip shop, and a hairdresser's stroke tattoo parlor, even if the correct usage "emporia" were to be applied, which I don't suppose is at all likely.


Well, look, I have no desire to be accused of child abuse this early in the day, but if you think for a moment that I'm prepared to fork out for a piece of [ Yelling angrily ] BOGUS VICTORIANA WHICH I NEITHER WANT NOR RECOGNIZE AS A CORRECT PLURAL FORM THEN.... hello? Hello? No. Gone.

All three seasons are hilarious. Recommended.

1 comment:

max said...

I ended up on this page through a search on Ed Reardon's week, hoping in some rumour of another series.
I found one such rumour and I hope it's got some basis.
Anyway, here's my transcript from the opening of the series 4 episode "the old boys network":

"Thursday, there is a theory that listening to morning news programs keeps one in touch. Nothing of the sort. It merely introduces one to a freemasonry of narcissistic windbags, who were at university with each other, pontificating about what they consider to be important, or reading out what their fellow Oxbridge alumnae have written in the newspaper that morning, all of it larded with threat that more of the same asinine dribble is to follow in the next hour. It is at this moment that the wise man turns to Radio 3, whose contributors have lived a bit and created something that will last, unlike the mutually back-scratching banter as perpetrated by Mr Humphreys and Naughtie."

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