Review: Menston Green / Director: Alex Skerratt / Author: Alex Skerratt / Publisher: Skerratt Media / Starring: Colin Baker, Alex Skerratt, Vicki Glover, Warwick St. John / Release Date: Out Now
Menston Green is the longest running soap opera in the world and IBC1’s flagship show. However, with its ratings in freefall, drastic action must be taken. Producer Mr Cutler (Baker) passes on the reins to the extremely nice (but extremely dim) Dale Delaney (Skerratt) with the added bonus of a 90% budget cut. He enlists the help of an extremely motley crew: sweet-natured script writer Apple (Vicki Glover), passionate director Clifford (St. John), and absent-minded make-up artist Britney (Robson), in order to bring his vision of a convenience store filled with sexy graduates to life. However, Dale is soon hit with his problems including his failed attempts to get rid of Menston Green stalwart Maurice (Bob Mallow) and the on-going battle between Apple and Clifford who, still smarting from the cancellation of his hit show Blake’s Rebels, is slowly pushing the quaint village soap to the farthest reaches of time and space...
This is a delightful treat for radio comedy fans, sci-fi fanatics and those with a fascination for television. What it benefits from in its writing is very witty observations. Alex Skerratt (as writer, producer and director!) creates a world that feels very real to the listener; IBC1 is used to lampoon (with the help of noted mimic Wink Taylor) the familiar major TV channel to such an extent that you may find it hard to distinguish which one is the real channel. It offers laugh out loud moments, as well as affectionate nods for every avid TV fan to listen out for.
Meanwhile, Menston Green’s cast are perfect for the roles that have been crafted for them. Avid fans of Doctor Who will appreciate the irony of Colin Baker ultimately deciding whether or not the show will head towards an ‘indefinite hiatus’. Elsewhere, the on-air chemistry among Menston Green’s crew is wonderful; whether its Dale’s pleasantries with the bright Vicki Glover or the amusingly sardonic Bob Mallow, or Warwick St. John’s blind enthusiasm for his work, you never get bored of listening to such a talented cast.
The only hiccup that occurs with Menston Green is, that amidst the good humour and affectionate nods, some of the jokes do miss their target. However, aside from a few mishaps in that regard, Menston Green exudes a genuine love of television and sci-fi. It offers a rare opportunity for soaps and sci-fi to look at themselves, laugh and say “what we do is insane!” before carrying on with its next drama or adventure. Here’s hoping Skerratt Media has more adventures in the pipeline.