Sunday, 19 January 2020

Not the A to Z of Radio Comedy: K is for Keep It Maclean



I see that Crackerjack (CRACKERJACK!!!) is back on television with Sam and Mark breathing life into the 60-odd year old brand. Amongst the faces popping up on the first show from its earlier incarnation was Don Maclean (pictured above).

During the 70s Maclean was partnered with Peter Glaze doing those Crackerjack comedy routines and song parodies as well as providing the comic relief on The Black and White Minstrel Show. By 1977 he was appearing on Radio 2, first on the comedy panel show Wit's End and then with his own sketch show Maclean Up Britain. Here he teamed up with one of his Crackerjack co-stars Jan Hunt, that man of voices Chris Emmett (Week Ending, The News Huddlines and The Burkiss Way), Bob Todd (stooge to Benny Hill and Spike Milligan on the Q series) and Gordon Clyde (the interviewer on The Dick Emery Show and presenter of The Pleasure's Yours on the World Service).     


Don's show made a return in 1980 for a further three series but now re-titled Keep It Maclean. The cast, apart from Todd all returned with scripts provided by Tony Hare who had also written for Crackerjack and would go on to be one of the chief writers on The News Huddlines. The other writers were Howard Imber who'd contributed to Week Ending, TISWAS and Bullseye and later a comedy quiz vehicle for Maclean called The Clever Dick-athlon, as well as Jimmy Mulville and Rory McGrath just before they went off to write and perform on the telly.

From the start of the third series on 5 September 1982 comes this edition of Keep It Maclean. The comedy does, as those programme warnings on Talking Pictures TV sometimes say reflect "the prevailing attitudes of the time". Listen out though for a delightful musical tribute to radio stars of the past sung by Don to the tune of In Party Mood and with lyrics by Frankie Desmond.


Don Maclean continued to appear on Radio 2 comedy shows such as The Press Gang and The Name's the Game before taking over the Sunday morning religious slot Good Morning Sunday in 1990 where he was heard each week for the next 16 years.  

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