Jon Holmes Recreates BBC Radio In His Own Image With The Skewer

Jon Holmes has been an acerbic topical comedian for many years, contributing to radio shows such as The Now Show and Listen Against. Still, his radio history is long and varied, from student radio at Canterbury University, his Grievous Bodily Radio show for BBC Radio 4 back in 1997, and The Jon & Andy Show with Andy Hurst, which won him a Gold Sony Radio Academy Award. He also co-created the long-running impressions show Dead Ringers, replacing WeekEnding, winning a second gold Sony. A run at Virgin Radio saw him fired after the station was fined £75,000 for taste and decency offenses after his feature "Swearing Radio Hangman for the Under-12s" persuaded a nine-year-old girl to spell out and then repeat the phrase "soapy tit wank". He also worked with Armando Iannucci on Gash, Time Trumpet, and won a sixth Sony Award for his work on Radio 4's Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive. 

Jon Holmes Recreates BBC Radio In His Own Image With The Skewer
The Skewer logo from the BBC.

In 2007, his new Radio 4 series, Listen Against, took existing radio programmes and messed around with them audibly. In this regard, he began following in the footsteps of true radio comedy legends famed for messing with the medium, notably Kenny Everett, Victor-Lewis Smith, and Chris Morris. Between 2006 until 2012, Holmes presented a BBC Radio 6 Music show that was regularly compared to Chris Morris' radio work too.

But it has taken another thirteen years, with presenting jobs all over the place, popping up on  Have I Got News for You, Mock the Week, and looking through the newspapers for Sky TV, for that spirit to come to true fruition. The second series of The Skewer for 2020 sees Jon Holmes takes the week's news and recut it with music and lines of popular culture into a half-hour continuous stream of consciousness. Airing on Radio 4, it is closer to Blue Jam than to On The Hour, though very much of the moment. The singalong of "JK Rowling is a TERF," the masing up of Tory policy announcements with the music and rantings of Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David. It concluded with a "pretty Pretty Pretty… Patel" and giving us a mashup of Beats International and Coronavirus briefing, "Tank fly boss walk jam nitty-gritty. You're listening to Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty. This is jam hot."

The Skewer is so concentrated it feels it must have taken much more than the week it represents to put together. Jon Holmes is like an owl stretching time – and that was also a clear influence too. It streams free, globally, in full, right here.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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