You may have noticed a slight obsession from Bleeding Cool for the work of John Finnemore. The finest broadcast comedy writer in Britain today, his work is mostly confined to the radio, including the sitcom Cabin Pressure, the short plays Double Acts, and the sketch show John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme. He is also working with Armando Iannucci on a project, which saw him also write for and appear briefly in Armando Iannucci's sci-fi comedy Avenue Five. And now, it appears, he is co-writing Good Omens with Neil Gaiman, and I cannot be more excited. Neil says, "I have enlisted some wonderful collaborators, and John Finnemore has come on board to carry the torch with me. There are so many questions people have asked about what happened next, and also, what happened before, to our favourite Angel and Demon. Here are the answers you've been hoping for. We are back in Soho, and all through time and space, solving a mystery, which starts with an angel wandering through Soho, with no memory."
It is my contention that the novel Good Omens by Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett was, at the time, their respective finest works. And that the experience improved each of their output going forward. Gaiman wrote with a lighter, more whimsical touch in his other work, and Terry Pratchett found darker themes to draw on without losing the funny. Pure supposition on my part, but it seems to hold.
The first Good Omens TV season, written by Gaiman alone, was an adaptation of the novel he wrote with Pratchett. The second season will have to be something new. Mostly. Gaiman recalls sharing a hotel room, plotting a sequel with Sir Terry, "we lay in our respective beds and having nothing else to do, we plotted the sequel to Good Omens. It was a good one, too. We fully intended to write it whenever we next had three or four months free. Only I went to live in America and Terry stayed in the UK, and after Good Omens was published, Sandman became SANDMAN and Discworld became DISCWORLD™ and there wasn't ever a good time. But we never forgot it."
But in order to regain some of that same dynamic, he has brought in someone with similar taste and background, considered a genius comedy writer, and basically, John Finnemore might be in the position to give Neil Gaiman Pratchett-like energy to reach new heights together. Now I think about it, Pratchett, Gaiman, and Finnemore are all heavily influenced by Douglas Adams and the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. Which is a really, really good thing too.
This is perfection perfected, with David Tennant and Michael Sheen reprieving their roles. And if anyone is not sure, right now, you can listen to John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme Series 9 on the BBC, globally streaming for free, a multi-generational anti-chronological run through the lives of one family – even if they don't all know it – over a hundred and twenty-two years. I went on about it a lot and said it's the best thing the BBC has put out all year, probably since I May Destroy You, and is the perfect introduction to all things Finnemore. And given the propensity for Good Omens to tell tales across history with Crowley and Aziraphale, perhaps a suggestion of what may come.
While I'm on a roll, the first season of Good Omens ended memorably with Tori Amos singing A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square, while the angels dined at the Ritz – and a considerable chunk of the recent John Finnemore Souvenir Programme Series 9 involved that song as well. Will there be a link? Could we get an angelic rendition of Woof Woof Woof, Goes The Wolfhound?