Old Harry's Game
Radio Series 6

Starring: Andy Hamilton, Annette Crosbie, Jimmy Mulville, and Robert Duncan
BBC Audio
RRP: £15.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 405 68788 1
Available 05 November 2007

The complete sixth series of the fiendishly funny award-winning comedy starring Andy Hamilton and Annette Crosbie...

Old Harry's Game: Radio Series 6 contains all six episodes from the sixth series of BBC Radio 4's Sony Award-winning comedy set in Hell.

It's not easy being Satan. There are the long hours (that stretch into eternity), and Hell seems to have more admissions than it can cope with. One of the new arrivals is Edith (played by One Foot in the Grave's Annette Crosbie), an historian, athlete and humanitarian. And she's trouble: she refuses to believe she's dead, she knows Thomas and she's not afraid of Satan.

Even when Satan shows her some of Hell's sights, like the torment on hand for all the Hell's famous big drinkers (Mahatma Gandhi, Dylan Thomas, Ernest Hemingway and Oliver Reed) who are all trapped in a pub where they can never quite catch the bartender's eye, she still won't believe she's dead. And when the pit of extremely pregnant popes and the pit of spit-roasted celebrity chefs doesn't do the trick Satan shows lets her visit her own autopsy where she learns that she committed suicide.

Unable to believe this apparent fact, Edith enters into a deal with the Devil. He will go out into the world to find out the truth about her death and in return Edith must write Satan's biography. Over the course of the six episodes, Satan visits Earth to find out how Edith died and is surprised at the truth. He tells Edith, who refuses to believe what Satan has unearthed, who sends him off to prove his theory conclusively. Meanwhile Satan's biography is turning into a bit of a work of fiction. If you believe Satan's side of things he wasn't such a bad bloke, just misunderstood. Apparently God has a misplaced temper and Satan and Jesus just didn't get along.

This series is still hitting the mark - which is impressive after six years of basically the same gag. How on Earth Hamilton manages to get away with it is anyone's guess - but thank goodness he does. And the fact that all the gags are held together by the thinnest of plot devices - basically Satan becoming a bit of a detective, is almost criminally shallow - but it works so well that you don't even notice the paper thin plot.

Annette Crosbie plays the role of Edith totally straight, which helps to make her character all the more believable and funny. Hamilton also flies close to the wind with his gags about suicide bombers being in for a bit of a shock when they reach "paradise", and there are plenty of topical jokes aimed at authority figures and celebrities.

Darren Rea

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