The News Huddlines, 1975
In Tribute To Roy Hudd, Who has Died, Aged 83
The long running Radio series The News Huddlines was the BBC Radio 2 topical comedy sketch show starring Roy Hudd. The series ran for fifty one series from 1975 until 2001, when Hudd cancelled the proposed next series after landing the part of undertaker Archie Shuttleworth in Coronation Street.
The show’s regular cast comprised of comedy performers: Roy Hudd, June Whitfield, and Chris Emmett. The announcer was Richard Clegg and the music was directed and performed by Peter Moss and The Huddliners.
Hudd and Emmett were with the show from the beginning. June Whitfield joined the cast in 1984, taking over from Alison Steadman, who in her turn had replaced original cast member Janet Brown.
The New Huddlines became British radio’s longest-running audience comedy in 1994 and became the second longest-running overall behind Week Ending, which was terminated in 1998. Huddlines would have overtaken it in 2003 had it not been terminated with a Christmas special in 2001.
The material used in Huddlines was in a traditional British comedy style, usually aimed at an older audience, with every gag ending on a recognisable punchline.
Shows were loosely based around a series of ‘news items’ — usually convenient pegs on which to hang one-liners of greater or lesser topicality — and sketches about events in the week’s news.
The sketches were usually about public figures, many of whom reappear regularly and have distinctively exaggerated or fanciful characterisations. For example, the ex-prime minister’s wife Norma Major, who was voiced by June Whitfield, seemed to bear an uncanny resemblance to Eth, her character in The Glums,(a widely-remembered segment in the 1950s series Take It From Here). Certain members of the royal family (a Huddlines staple) are likewise not copied from life, such as The Queen Mother, who was portrayed with a Cockney accent.
Channel: BBC Radio 2
Written By: Various
Original Transmission Years: 1975 – 2001