The BBC's Old Harry's Game Beats Lucifer Every Time – And It's Free

Everyone loves Lucifer, right? TV series first on Fox, now on Netflix, in which Tom Ellis plays the devil, and based on the Neil Gaiman version of the character from Sandman and Mike Carey's long-running spinoff series, Lucifer, crossed with a cop show because that's what America does. But while such devilish entertainment, is top-notch fun, may I suggest another version of Old Nick to while away the hours in lockdown? Old Harry's Game...

The BBC's Old Harry's Game Beats #Lucifer Every Time - And It's Free
The BBC's Old Harry's Game Beats #Lucifer Every Time – And It's Free

Old Harry's Game is radio sitcom created by and starring Andy Hamilton, it tells the story of Satan, and a small collection of human who he spares special tortures for, as he governs his domain and seeks to continue to sow discord into the hearts of men. Preceding The Good Place, it seems that pretty much every human in history has ended up in Hell, including ones you might have thought would have made it up there, and Hell is bursting at the seams. Which turns the series into a bit of a procedural of the damned. The show ran for 17 years, in one form or another, including an abortive animated TV pilot. And the BBC have made many episodes available, free, globally, right now.

Notable characters in Old Harry's Game include Satan, of course, played by Andy Hamilton, doing his best to keep Hell going, and subject to regular bouts of anger and ennuii. James Grout starred as The Professor, an agnostic who managed to convince himself that Hell was a dream. Robert Duncan played Scumspawn, a grovelling demon who had been led to bring comfort to some of his charged rather than torture. Jimmy Mulville was Thomas, the worst human (no longer) alive, who becomes the butt (literally sometimes) of Satan's rage while the Professor tries to redeem him. The show would later introduce Edith played by Annette Crosbie as Thomas' mother-in-law, to make both of their hells even worse, though she ends up becoming Satan's biographer.

Old Harry's Game also introduced their versions of many historical figures in hell, including a foul-mouthed and extremely violent Jane Austen, a sexually predatory Florence Nightingale, who also ran a Victorian London opium cartel, a Samson who actually killed only one Philistine, a schoolboy, and a vacuous Helen of Troy. While Satan takes on the guises of many influential and important people in society and the media in order to twist humanity's behaviour this way and that, in one series trying to get humanity to repent, become better people and avoid filling Hell up quite so much…

You can find all the 44 available episodes of Old Harry's Game here – while there is some continuity, they play pretty fast and loose with it, so feel free to just drop in for a hellish flavour..,. and if you want to go back to episode one, you can start right here.

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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