Appearances – Radio
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
Bill appeared as “Rushton” in this BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Robert Tressell’s classic socialist novel “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists”. This 3 part series, which also features Andrew Lincoln, Johnny Vegas and Kevin Eldon, tells the story of a group of painter-decorators in the early 1900s who break their backs to make money for their rich bosses whilst fellow workman Frank Owen desperately attempts to convince them that their could be a better way.
Desert Island Discs
Bill had the pleasure of being Kirsty’s castaway and chose the following:
1. Memphis Soul Stew
Performer King Curtis
Composer Curtis Ousley; Kilynn-Pronto
2. Teenage Kicks
Performer The Undertones
3. Once in a Lifetime
Performer Talking Heads
Composer David Byrne, Brian Eno & Chris Frantz
4. Mozart’s Coronation Concerto
Performer English Chamber Orchestra with Murray Perahia
5. Rebel Rebel
Performer David Bowie
Composer David Bowie
6. Talk of the Town
Composer C. Hynde
Performer Enong Jubaedah and Mang Maman
8. In Paradisum
Performer New Philharmonia Orchestra & Choir of King’s College, Cambridge conducted by Sir David Willcocks
Composer Gabriel Faure
Record: Once in a Lifetime
Book: Collected works of Somerset Maugham
Luxury: a pack of cards
The Museum of Curiosity
Bill co-hosted this comedy panel game on BBC Radio 4, where the panel attempts to donate a range of curious objects to the museum, acting as curator of the museum. Also starring John Lloyd as "The Professor of Ignorance at the University of Buckingham" and owner of the fictional "Museum of Curiosity".
In this epic, one-off, special-edition, musical extravaganza, Bill joined forces with the BBC Concert Orchestra to present an evening of laughter and music – a sort of comedy concerto – for the benefit of Comic Relief.
Recorded at London’s South Bank Centre, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, the event gave us a guided tour through the instruments of the orchestra, with music as diverse as the William Tell Overture, the Carnival of the Animals, and the theme from Shaft. The orchestra was conducted by Oscar-winning composer Anne Dudley, and she performed some of her own compositions, including a ‘Cavalcade of the Unloved’ – an alternative to the Carnival of the Animals featuring rather more unpleasant creatures.
Bill also demonstrated the theremin, played a telescopic alpine horn, and performed a selection of his own compositions, including Insect Nation and The Leg of Time, with full orchestral arrangement. All in all, a delightful event, enlightening and entertaining in equal measures. Produced by Neil Varley.
Photos by Marilyn Kingwill.
Just a Minute
2003 & 2005
Panel game where contestants must talk on a given subject for one minute without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Hosted by Nicholas Parsons, with regular panellists Paul Merton, Tony Hawks and Clement Freud. Bill has now appeared three times, twice in 2003, and once in 2005. Although initially displaying some frustration over some of the more pedantic aspects of the game, he has since proved a competent player.
The 99p Challenge
Comedy quiz show where contestants must think up funny ideas for things such as relaxation tapes, and wrong number phone calls. Regulars include Armando Iannucci, Simon Pegg and Peter Baynham. Hosted by Sue Perkins, Bill features in 2 episodes.
I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue
Comedy quiz show featuring rounds such as “one song to the tune of another”, “new definitions” and “Mornington Crescent”. Humphrey Littleton hosts, with panellists Graham Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Barry Cryer and able assistance from the lovely Samantha. Bill has appeared twice, and among his most memorable contributions is a version of “Run, Rabbit, Run“ sung to the tune of “Stormy Weather”.
A series of 11 adverts narrated by Bill in which he talks about strange experiences in places such as Africa, Edinburgh, Madrid, Venice, and New York; using music to illustrate his point.