Gareth Gwynn

Comedy Writer, Presenter & Producer

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June 2024 - Rik Mayall, Panglobal Phenomenon

In 2004, Rik Mayall was commissioned by Harper Collins to write an autobiography. Given Rik's towering achievements in film and TV and the drama surrounding a serious quad bike accident in 1998, a memoir by Rik Mayall would be a sure-fire best seller.

There was only one problem. Rik really didn’t want to write an autobiography.

With co-writer Max Kinnings, Rik submitted Bigger Than Hitler, Better Than Christ - a memoir by THE Rik Mayall, a monstrous egomaniac, keen to tell his absurd, self-aggrandizing life-story about how he'd waged a 30 year war on showbusiness.

Rik’s method of writing involved “jamming”, improvising in front of  constantly rolling dictaphone - and it’s these recordings which form the backbone of Rik Mayall, Panglobal Phenomenon.

Presented by Max himself, I've produced this show for BBC Radio 4's Archive On 4 slot, and it has been the screensaver inside my brain for months now. It features interviews with Ben Elton, Helen Lederer, Peter Richardson, Bob Baldwin, Sanjeev Kohli as well as publisher, Trevor Dolby, and Rik's children - who help provide context to the audio (and correct a few errors on the way!) I've produced it for Mighty Bunny productions with Simon Nicholls as exec producer and archive restoration by Andy Goddard - who has thrown absolutely everything at these 20 year old dictaphone recordings. The show is on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday 1st June at 8pm and will be on BBC Sounds afterwards.

Also available on BBC Sounds (and part of the same Archive On 4 strand) is Gareth Gwynn Hasn't Fin-, a documentary about unfinished and abandoned projects. Covering everything from the Beach Boys Smile to the Sagrada Familia, and an awful lot in between, it attempts deal with some of the reasons things might fall by the wayside - but also why we're so fascinated by the stories of things that fail. 

The press release I wasn't allowed to use is here and the photos that got rejected by the BBC Sounds photo editor are here - and the whole thing was the subject to a suitably incomplete review in the Radio Times (left).

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