It is with deep sadness that we are sharing the news that radio show regular Dave Mounfield has died. He had been undergoing treatment for an illness and died in hospital on Saturday. Dave was an ever-present cast member in Count Arthur Strong’s Radio Show, from the pilots in 2004 to the BBC Radio 4 Christmas Special in 2019 where, despite knowing he was ill, he was on great form as usual.
Dave was well known on the Brighton comedy scene when he joined the Count Arthur Strong’s Radio repertory company in 2004. He appeared in the non-broadcast pilots recorded at Komedia Brighton and was one of two cast members, alongside Alastair Kerr, to appear in every episode of the Count Arthur Strong Radio Show. They performed most regularly in Count Arthur Strong’s long running show with Terry Kilkelly and Mel Geidroyc. Dave played a multitude of characters but will be remembered most fondly as café owner Gerry and as Arthur’s much loved and long-suffering side kick, Geoffrey. The sitcom picked up the Sony Award for Best Radio Comedy in 2009 and was voted The British Comedy Guide’s Best Radio Sitcom in 2016, 2018 and 2019. The most recent airing of Count Arthur Strong’s Radio Show was primetime BBC Radio 4, Christmas Day 2019.
Dave will be greatly missed by all the Count Arthur Strong Radio Show team and our thoughts are with his family.
Count Arthur has been shortlisted for Best Radio Comedy award Shortlists were drawn up by a panel of independent comedy industry figures, and the winners will be decided by a vote among Chortle readers. The results will be published shortly.
VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!! SHEFFIELD DATE HAS CHANGED!
Due to huge demand (and a few technical issues) we have decided to move the Sheffield show so that everyone can come and see it properly. Please note that the date AND the venue have changed.
The new date is Tues 17 Sep (which will make it the first date on the tour) and we will be playing the gorgeous Lyceum Theatre (Sheffield… obviously).
The venue has emailed all the existing ticket holders with links and details of what they must do (It will involve being refunded for your existing tickets and buying new ones). Please act quickly to make sure you get the good seats. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause but promise that your experience will be all the better for it.You get to see the world premiere apart from anything else…
For anyone who hasn’t bought tickets yet, you can go to https://www.livenation.co.uk/show/1243278/count-arthur-strong-is-there-anybody-out-there-/sheffield/2019-09-17/en
It has been announced that the Christmas episode of Count Arthur Strong’s Radio Show! has won the Best Radio Sitcom 2018 category in the comedy.co.uk awards. This is the second time the show has won the award which is decided purely by a public vote.
Count Arthur Strong says: “I am literally highly delighted on behalf of all involved to accept this prestigious award for Best Radio Sitcom, for the SECOND TIME (please note BBBC). When I was evacuated to Doncaster as a small boy during the war, I never thought for one minute that this accolade would be happening to me today. How could I? I’m not sodding Nostrodamus. Bless all who voted for me. This is how you do a flipping referendum. Looking forward to receiving the cheque. End of this message.”
(Please note that you can always buy your tickets direct from the theatre but some may not have them on sale until much later.)
As well as being the all round entertainer we all know and love from the telly, Count Arthur Strong is also a lifelong fan of astronomy, since having been given a microscope, or whatever it is they use, for Christmas when he was a small precocious baby. In fact it’s said the first word he spoke was ‘Uranus’. In this, his brand new show, he seamlessly combines the very best showbiz entertainment you’ll currently find, in the world, possibly? as he wrestles with some of the big questions that other all round entertainers shy away from. Such as:
Are we alone in the universe?
Is there life on Mars bars?
2lbs of potatoes.
Packet of ginger nuts.
Don’t lose this shopping list.
Arthur says: “Do not miss this not to be missed type of thing! If I wasn’t in the show I’d definitely be in the audience watching myself intently. Laughing and learning in equal measure. Thoroughly happy to pay the admission fee and definitely not asking for a refund. Also not rustling sweet wrappers and fiddling with my sodding telephone with a gormless expression on my face. See you there!”
Now available to order on the Count Arthur website. Count Arthur Strong’s Radio Show! Christmas Specials 2014-2015 (1CD). We will be delivering as soon as they come into the warehouse. Click here to order a copy now.
2014 – ARTHUR IN PANTOLAND?
Count Arthur is saved from the seemingly simple task of writing his Christmas cards by a call from the Vicar. An invitation to star in the local pantomime gets Arthur excited about a possible return to the stage.
2015 – THE CHRISTMAS ‘DO’
Christmas creeps up on Arthur, leaving him little time to plan his festive arrangements (“We’ve only just celebrated Easter!”). Could the lack of seasonal planning possibly see Arthur miss out on his turkey?
EXTRA LONDON DATE ADDED TO TOUR. We have added another show at the Leicester Square Theatre on Sunday 24th June. This will now make it the last day of the tour! To get your tickets (and I would be quick as they are going to sell fast!) go to https://tinyurl.com/yacdtynv Good Luck and see you there!
Article: Demise of Count Arthur Strong signals the end of the family sitcom
August 14, 2017 by Alec Charles
So, the BBC has decided to cancel its sitcom Count Arthur Strong after three series – presumably in favour of spending its dwindling budget on something more “edgy”. Or perhaps another cooking show?
It’s a sign of the times – the show was developed out of the long-running Radio 4 series created by Steve Delaney in 2005 following the stage success of his monstrous creation, the obscure variety star Count Arthur Strong. The television incarnation was co-authored by Graham Linehan, the genius who had revived the studio-based sitcom in such hits as Father Ted, Black Books and The IT Crowd. It tempted the well-respected Rory Kinnear into its cast. And it was very funny.
But it had also been treated by BBC schedulers with an inconsistency bordering on sabotage. When its third series moved to a mid-evening slot (its first two series having languished post-watershed) it was heralded as “the new family comedy the BBC is looking for” – but had then repeatedly lost its spot in weekly schedules.
The count never had the opportunity to develop a regular following – and the show was never repeated. “It was the lack of repeats that killed us,” tweeted Linehan. “Might as well’ve just chucked each series down a crevasse.”
It wasn’t crude, cynical or cruel. Like so many classic sitcoms, its ensemble cast of adorable eccentrics performed its verbal, visual and situational gags before a live studio audience to provide fun and laughter (and the occasional moment of emotional resonance) for all the family.
It wasn’t Peep Show or The Office or Mrs Brown’s Boys. It wasn’t experimental or mockumentary or bawdy. It was just very funny. And the BBC didn’t know what to do with it. Its breadth of appeal no longer aligned with perceptions of comedy’s increasingly niche markets.
Its cancellation echoes the demise, 21 years ago, of The Thin Blue Line, Ben Elton’s doomed attempt “to restage his beloved Dad’s Army”. Following Elton’s edgier and trendier successes with The Young Ones and Blackadder, The Thin Blue Line had returned British sitcom to its basics, a comedy of character, language and situation in the style of the classics of David Croft, Jimmy Perry and Jeremy Lloyd.
The problem was that Elton’s gentle farce wasn’t what audiences or programmers had expected. Count Arthur Strong was, similarly, too traditional for perceived tastes. Edgy seems better than funny, marginal is sexier than mainstream. Yet social media is abuzz with outrage from the show’s fans. The fictional Count Arthur’s own Twitter feed retweeted a number of such responses.
Many tweets emphasised the show’s rare inter-generational appeal: “Enjoyed by every generation … the whole family watch … even my mum loves it … good family comedy … the only comedy me, my dad and my grandad all equally crack up to … it got us all together on the sofa chuckling … the only show the whole family sits down and watches together … the first sitcom I and my Dad have laughed about together in years … a comedy which all ages can watch”.
An online petition has been launched in a bid to reverse the BBC’s decision. At the time of writing it had gathered more than 4,500 signatures in just a few days.
But Linehan is now working – with Sharon Horgan, Diane Morgan and Holly Walsh – on a full series of Motherland, the continuation of a not-unfunny pilot from the BBC’s otherwise bleak 2016 sitcom season – a series of remakes, reboots and pilots, which mostly demonstrated that funny’s no longer edgy and that edgy’s rarely funny.
Motherland’s pilot offered a decent blend of jokes and edge. Echoing the tone of Horgan’s sitcom Catastrophe, it won praise for its “painfully realistic portrayal of the trials and traumas of motherhood”. It was very Channel 4.
Yet when you’ve assembled such talents as Horgan, Morgan, Walsh and Linehan on one project, you might want more laughs. Laughs enough at least to attract the kind of family audiences which BBC programming has traditionally sustained: from Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game to Bruce Forsyth’s Strictly Come Dancing; from Mel and Sue in The Great British Bake-Off to Mel and Sue in the rebooted Generation Game – and anything from David Attenborough and Doctor Who through the ages. These are programmes the family once sat together in front of – and the traditional sitcom once sat at the heart of such programming.
The BBC axed Count Arthur Strong four days after the publication of an Ofcom report on trends in TV viewing which suggested that “watching TV is a solo activity” and that “each member of the family is watching a different programme on a separate screen.”
In the age of box set binges, and of risque reality dating shows such as Naked Attraction and Love Island, that’s unsurprising. What, after all, is there for families to share? Dad’s Army still reruns on Saturdays, but the cancellation of Count Arthur Strong – a show about the joys and absurdities of friendship and family – diminishes such viewing options just slightly further.
The resulting social media furore is about more than the fate of one show. It invokes a nostalgia for a mode of broadcasting with a broader appeal – broadcasting to bring people together in a spirit of renewed social cohesion. This might, of course, be a forlorn hope – but it seems a sincere and not uncommon one.
We would like to announce that, as already reported in the Radio Times, the BBC One sitcom Count Arthur Strong is regretfully not going to run to a fourth series. A recent BBC announcement stated: “There are no current plans for a further series of Count Arthur Strong on the BBC’. Series co-creator Graham Linehan took to Twitter to thank the BBC Comedy department for their support but also noted that it was difficult to impossible for any series to establish without the support of repeats. On seeing the announcement on Twitter the Count Arthur fans took to social media to voice their surprise and disappointment, even setting up a Change.org petition which clocked up thousands of signatures in the first 24 hours.
The show, written by the characters creator Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan, first aired on BBC Two in 2013 was instantly recommissioned and transferred to BBC One. The second series, aired in summer 2015 (with its transmission run unfortunately interrupted by that year’s general election), drew around 1.2m viewers in 10:35pm slot. Production on a third series was completed in the Autumn of 2016 and the show finally aired in May 2017 in the 8:30pm Friday night slot. The series opened to wide critical acclaim, however, broadcasts halted after two episodes with the snap election resulting in a two week break. Further transmission changes included the penultimate episode being moved to BBC Two due to Wimbledon coverage and series three ended up drawing a similar audience to series two.
Having set out in partnership with Steve Delaney in 2002 with the main objective of creating a Count Arthur Strong TV sitcom, Komedia Entertainment are thankful to the BBC for their support of the character and to their production partners in realising the creation of 20 high quality episodes which will be enjoyed by existing fans and discovered by new ones for years to come.
The three series were co-produced by Komedia Entertainment and Retort TV and the most recent series has just been released on DVD by Network.