The story I am about to tell is one which I have kept locked in the inmost recess of my secret heart, until persuaded otherwise by friends, therapists, and one particularly lenient magistrate.
So opens For One Horrible Moment, Peter Bradshaw’s grim and gothic coming-of-age story set in 1970s Fenland. It was first broadcast on Radio 4 14 years ago; nothing as funny has been broadcast since (though I give honourable mentions to The Sunday Format and Cabin Pressure).
My father, I remember, was an eccentric man, whose idiosyncrasies alienated many people. He suffered from what psychologists now refer to as a narcissistic schizophrenic guilt complex. He would spend many tortured hours pointing at his reflection in the mirror and shouting, ‘That’s the man, officer.’
I hope you are now on the way to being hooked. The glorious bathetic silliness of the thing, allied to Bradshaw’s stilted, deadpan delivery, create a singularly amusing comedy. There’s nothing like it.
BBC Radio 7 has just begun repeating it. Give it a try.