Oldie lunch

The rules of the Oldie lunch say speakers should talk for just ten minutes, but Barry Cryer put me at my ease in the bar before the event – “Don’t look at your watch,” he advised me. “Just stop talking if you see them yawning through gritted teeth!”

Here’s the speech I gave, at Simpson’s in the Strand, on 22 November 2011. My subject was Galton and Simpson, The Men Who Invented Sitcom... and Ray & Alan were sitting to my right, disagreeing cheerfully with the accolade. I couldn’t hear their whispers, but it turned out later that they were telling the Independent’s diarist that they didn’t invent the genre at all: they got the original idea from listening to AFN Stuttgart in the 40s. I refuse to accept that German radio dreamed up sitcom, so I shall continue to credit Ray and Alan with the invention.

Here’s the piece in the Indie, and here’s a podcast of the speech itself. If you think I sound nervous, you’re right!