Tomorrow, Today!

Last updated

Tomorrow, Today!
Genre Comedy
Running time30 minutes
Country of origin Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Language(s) English
Home station BBC Radio 4
Starring Peter Bowles
Cheryl Campbell
John Fortune
Jon Glover
Joseph Kloska
Written by Christopher William Hill
Original release2006 – 2008
No. of series2
No. of episodes10 (4, 6)
Audio format Stereophonic sound

Tomorrow, Today! was a radio sitcom originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between 2006 and 2008. It is itself a spoof of radio science fiction dramas of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The writer is Christopher William Hill.

A sitcom, clipping for situational comedy, is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who carry over from episode to episode. Sitcoms can be contrasted with sketch comedy, where a troupe may use new characters in each sketch, and stand-up comedy, where a comedian tells jokes and stories to an audience. Sitcoms originated in radio, but today are found mostly on television as one of its dominant narrative forms. This form can also include mockumentaries.

BBC Radio 4 British domestic radio station, owned and operated by the BBC

BBC Radio 4 is a radio station owned and operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is Gwyneth Williams, and the station is part of BBC Radio and the BBC Radio department. The station is broadcast from the BBC's headquarters at Broadcasting House, London. On 21 January 2019 Williams announced she was quitting the role. There are no details of when or who will be her replacement.

Science fiction Genre of speculative fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that has been called the "literature of ideas". It typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, time travel, parallel universes, fictional worlds, space exploration, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations.

The action takes place in a BBC studio in 1961, where a motley crew of "bright young things" and aging actors produce a futuristic drama set in the year 2006, which of course is a world of space flight, ray guns, and contact with aliens. The show is called "Tomorrow, Today!" and is basically a soap opera. The lead roles are played by Nigel Lavery (Peter Bowles) and Sylvia Hann (Cheryl Campbell) who hate their jobs only slightly more than they hate each other. Their off-mike conversations are laced with carping comments and innuendo about each other's long-lost youth and popularity. Sylvia was once the voice of "Listen with Mother". The "comic relief" for the radio production is provided by a stereotypical Welshman, "Taffy" Jones, played by the very non-Welsh Douglas Bennings (Jon Glover).

A soap opera is an ongoing drama serial on television or radio, featuring the lives of many characters and their emotional relationships. The term soap opera originated from radio dramas being sponsored by soap manufacturers.

Peter Bowles is an English actor of stage and television.

Cheryl Campbell is an English actor of stage, film and television. She starred opposite Bob Hoskins in the 1978 BBC drama Pennies From Heaven, before going on to win the 1980 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for Testament of Youth and Malice Aforethought, and the 1982 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Revival for A Doll's House. Her film appearances include Chariots of Fire (1981), Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) and The Shooting Party (1985).

The show is about to be terminated, much to the relief of the leads who are contractually committed to it. However the BBC decides that, thanks to the Soviet Union's apparent lead in space travel, national morale requires it to continue with a new pro-British, anti-Soviet slant. Writer and producer Hugo Kellerman (Joseph Kloska) introduces new aliens with a Communist philosophy and has them do battle with his heroes. BBC executive Godfrey Winnard (John Fortune) watches over the new production and keeps adding new elements to the mix, such as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (Leslie Phillips) brought in to play an android.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Joseph Anthony Kloska is an English actor. He began his career in radio, moving on to work in television, theatre, and film.

John Fortune was an English satirist, comedian, writer, and actor, best known for his work with John Bird and Rory Bremner on the TV series Bremner, Bird and Fortune. He was educated at Bristol Cathedral School and King's College, Cambridge, where he was to meet and form a lasting friendship with John Bird. He was a member of the semi-secretive Cambridge Apostles society, a debating club largely reserved for the brightest students.

The series also spoofs the origins of shows such as Doctor Who . In the second series, set in 1962, Hugo is commissioned to devise a science fiction series for children's television and, thanks to a series of mishaps on the way to Television Centre, has the idea for "Professor Fabula and the Diloks", featuring a scientist who travels through time and space in a police call box, accompanied by a robotic dog. Unfortunately the idea is squelched due to salacious interpretations of the Professor's status as a single man wandering in time and space with a dog.

<i>Doctor Who</i> British science fiction TV series

Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC since 1963. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called "the Doctor", an extraterrestrial being, to all appearances human, from the planet Gallifrey. The Doctor explores the universe in a time-travelling space ship called the TARDIS. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Accompanied by a number of companions, the Doctor combats a variety of foes while working to save civilisations and help people in need.

In the final episode of the second series, the entire production relocates to Wales as the Cuban Missile Crisis threatens to bring down a holocaust. There they discover that "Taffy" Jones, killed off and replaced by an equally stereotypical Scot (also voiced by Douglas) was immensely popular among the locals. Faced with mobs of angry Welsh fans calling him "Taffy killer", Hugo writes in a resurrection for the character, but Douglas's "more authentic" reading of the part causes the disgusted locals to cut power to the studio, which the team interprets as the arrival of Armageddon.

Cuban Missile Crisis The conflict between the US and Cuba over nuclear missile threats from communist Cuba.

The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis of 1962, the Caribbean Crisis, or the Missile Scare, was a 13-day confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union initiated by the American discovery of Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba. The confrontation is often considered the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war.

Both series are regularly rebroadcast on Radio 4 Extra.

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