BBC Radio 4

"But how big is his danda?": a look back at Goodness Gracious Me

The cast of Goodness Gracious Me stand in a circle, from left: Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal, Nina Wadia and Kulvinder Ghir

It is 25 years since children first ran around playgrounds shouting the catchphrase: “Kiss my chuddies!” And a quarter of a century since we laughed at the competitive mothers determined to outdo each other – one even demanding: “Yes, but how big is his danda?” – and winced at the rudeness of the ignorant diners “going for an English.”

To celebrate the silver anniversary of the trailblazing BBC sketch show Goodness Gracious Me, three of the creatives reunited at an event sponsored by the RTS Midlands centre in Birmingham.

Ear Candy: Call Jonathan Pie

Tom Walker’s inspiration for the character, essentially a politically charged Alan Partridge, was his assumption that newsreaders must be frustrated having to stick so rigidly and impartially to the agenda. Especially when covering the dire state of modern politics.

I’m not saying that the likes of Emily Maitlis, Jon Sopel and Andrew Marr dreamed of exorcising their frustration by going off on one of Pie’s shouty and sweary monologues, but they did all leave for less impartial pastures.

Ear Candy: Things Fell Apart

Credit: BBC

In Things Fell Apart, he excavates the battlegrounds of the American culture wars to find their origin stories, and explains how, exactly, things fell apart and left the country so fractured and polarised. Abortion, homosexuality, cancel culture, Satanism – he picks the biggest and most violent battles. But the episodes start in such obscure places and take such unexpected turns that each one is a revelatory listen. 

BBC Arts commissions new programmes in year-long celebration of literature

Novels That Shaped Our World Festival panel (Credit: BBC)

The programmes explore both classic and contemporary fiction, from celebrated authors and those less well-known.

BBC’s regular book programmes such as The Radio Two Book Club with Jo Whiley, The Verb on BBC Radio Three, World Book Club on the World Service and Open Book on Radio Four will feature specials throughout the year.

A festival has also been set up in partnership with libraries and reading groups around the UK.

Stewart Purvis: The challenges of Brexit on political coverage

Our Next Prime Minister (Credit: BBC)

In May 2018, the top two UK parties, as measured in opinion polls and real votes cast in elections, were Labour and the Conservatives. A year later, they had been displaced by the Brexit Party and the Liberal Democrats.

One man’s journey during just three of those 12 months helps to illustrate this wacky new world of UK politics. In March 2019, he left one party to help create another, which started with one name, changed to a different one and then changed back. He then joined a third party, saying that he should probably have gone with it in the first place.