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Vent Comedy Radio Programme


Information, cast list and episode details of the Vent Comedy Radio Programme

Vent is a BBC Radio 4 comedy which was broadcast in 2006. Each episode of Vent was thirty minutes long. It starred Neil Pearson as an editor and writer for Smash Hits magazine who is in a coma and able to chat to his young daughter and fellow hospital patients, but not the nurses, doctors, his wife or her mother. The series has a running theme of Ben listening to a comedy sitcom about patients in coma and flashbacks throughout his past life.


Vent Cast List

Ben the Coma Patient - Neil Pearson
Mary - Fiona Allen
Mum - Josie Lawrence
Blitz - Leslie Ash
John Dee - David Mitchell
Susan - Nicola Walker

Other characters were played by Mark Perry, Dave Lamb, Jo Martin, Lucy Montgomery, Nicholas Hutchison, Tim Whitnall, Sue Vincent, Clare Grogan, Hils Barker, Barunka O'Shaughnessy, Laura Aikman and Scarlett Milburn-Smith.

The Vent comedy radio programme was written by Nigel Smith and the producer was Gareth Edwards.


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Vent Episode Guide

Series One:

1. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

Ben is a coma patient and introduces the listener to his family who are keeping a bedside vigil. His wife Mary and her mum play some of his favourite music to try and wake him up. Ben has visions of Sue Lawley, Robbie Williams and then discovers he can talk with his young daughter and communicate with fellow coma patients on the ward.
Originally broadcast on Tuesday 11 July 2006 at 11pm.


2. Don't Bet on It

Ben's relatives put on the horse racing in an attempt to get him out of his coma. Ben is able to predict the race winners to his daughter and the other patients. He meets another psychic in his brain: John Dee who was the fortune teller for Queen Elizabeth I. John Dee helpfully predicts Ben's future.
Originally broadcast on Tuesday 18 July 2006 at 11pm.


3. Wouldn't You Like to Get Away

Mary and Mum have a break whilst Ben's unconscious body gets driven to a medical conference in Birmingham. But they can't quite bring themselves to break their routine and leave the hospital so sit by where his bed usually is. Meanwhile, Ben's mind also takes a trip. Unfortunately, it's a trip back to the hotel in Paris where he had the most miserable night of his life. His daughter finds Nellie, his old camper van, and helps Ben to relive the greatest holiday of his life. He has arguments with several people about whether Noggin the Nog is better than The Clangers.
Originally broadcast on Tuesday 25 July 2006 at 11pm.


4. Switching Off

Ben's doctors wonder if lying in a coma might be making him depressed. They send in the hospital psychiatrist, Doctor Susan Bennett, to talk to him. This has a surprising effect on Ben, Mary and Mum. Blitz, his daughter, becomes jealous of this new woman in his life. Meanwhile Ben's unconscious mind takes him back to his previous experience of therapy - having a row with Mary about their marriage guidance counsellor. His wife and mother discuss how bored they are becoming and his wife particularly regrets her £1000 gym membership.
Originally broadcast on Tuesday 1 August 2006 at 11pm.


5. Gravity Gets You Down

Ben's new physiotherapist must be good - she manages to get him awake enough to punch her! Perhaps he didn't like her spilling coffee on his arm and her calling him a cabbage. And what are a tough-as-nails agent, a giant winged angel and Elvis doing in his unconscious mind? His mother and wife have a huge arguement so Ben makes then stop by squeezing their hands. While they get all excited Ben continues his conversation with Elvis at Graceland.
Originally broadcast on Tuesday 8 August 2006 at 11pm.


6. Switching Off

As he lies unconscious in Intensive Care, Ben's mind takes him on his most difficult journey yet, through the landscape of his own chaotic brain, which looks suspiciously like Mordor. He gets annoyed with Gollum using a mobile phone and disturbing his peace so throws a rock at Gollum and makes him fall off the cliff. Things don't get any better when he discovers that he is down to his last packet of pickled onion Monster Munch crisps. As he wonders if he will feel any pain when he wakes up from his coma Ben remembers the stress of wedding invitations and the pain Mary experienced in child birth.
The doctors switch off his ventilator and Ben and his daughter move from the hills into a cavern where they meet Sally James from Tiswas. Then comes flames and the word love, will Ben wake up....
Originally broadcast on Tuesday 15 August 2006 at 11pm.



The theme tune to Vent was I think I'd better leave right now sung by ?

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Series Two

Series Two of the Vent comedy radio programme started on Tuesday 25 September 2007 from 11pm until 11:30pm on BBC Radio 4. Each episode was untitled.

Episode 1
Auditions have started for the voice of God for the annual Christmas nativity play for the hospital. Ben hears the auditions but is still in coma in this first episode of the Vent comedy radio programme. He starts a list with all the time he has and all the first questions on his list are Why Me? Though he admits that his first is I miss you Mary.

Ben and his daughter finds themselves in the Garden of Eden and try to avoid the snake. He finds a big apple to throw at the snake. He dreams of being stung by a huge wasp when a Doctor takes a blood sample. Then he and his daughter get thrown off Noah's Ark. They realise that they are going through the story of the Old testament and try to name the first 12 books of the bible so that they know what will happen to them. Jeremy Paxman interviews God and asks him what he thinks he is doing. Meanwhile Ben and his daughter arrive in the New Testament section of the Bible.

Back to the reality of Vent Ben's mum and wife worry about what to buy him as a Christmas present. The nurses buy him a television.

Ben remembers back to when his wife and he were trying to move a Chesterfield up the stairs whilst she was pregnant. Her waters break half way up the hallway. On the drive to the maternity hospital Ben realises he has lost the bag with all his wives necessary bits and pieces for her hospital stay. Things get worse when Mary sees Ben's mother in the delivery room to check her dilation.

Ben wakes up at the end of his voyage through the Bible and Mary gives him some paper and pen to write a message because he cannot speak. He writes "I'm dying for a pint!"



Episode 2 of Vent was broadcast on BBC radio 4 at 11pm until 11:30pm on Tuesday 2 October 2007. Ben is the 100th patient saved since the hospital was bought over and the doctor gets a free gift from a magazine and a free pen. Ben gets nothing, not even the use of the pen for the only part of his body that is working, his hand.

Ben and his daughter Blitz travel back to 1973 where Ben finds a Brut aftershave wearing detective motivational life coach with strange techniques and a Stag Triumph car. In his dreams the skies start closing whilst in reality the machines start beeping and Ben starts choking on his tube. Blitz is gone but now Mary is with him.



Episode 3 of Vent was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 11pm on the 9 October 2007. Mary wonders why Ben has never ha a firm diagnose whilst Ben ponders on a typical day in the high dependency unit. Whilst he is talking about his day he is interrupted by his daughter. Though Ben is more interested in getting to know the other patient. In their dream fantasy they book a room together in the Honeymoon suite of a top hotel in Torquay but the moment is spoiled when his daughter Blitz appears as the receptionist. He pretends the room is for his wife Mary. In reality she is a coma girl three beds down who had a car crash on her wedding day. Her hospital gown is a Vivienne Westwood creation by ITU and as he undoes it Blitz knocks on the door, mum is on the way.

Mary is overworked and finds it tiring to keep visiting Ben. She faints whilst at his bedside. She enters Ben's fantasy world and meets the coma girls groom, George, and he asks Mary to join him in their Honeymoon suite so as not to waste it since his fiancé is in a coma. Whilst making their way to the bed Mary wakes up and returns to reality.

In his past he meets his ex girlfriend Andrea (Clare Grogan) who coes over a baby Beatrice (Blitz). She is now a singer with a contract with EMI record label. He invites her home and pretends he is no longer with Mary. She comes home to catch Ben and Andrea in a compromising position. Mary lands on an assault charge for hitting Andrea over the head with some extra virgin oil.



Episode 4 of Vent was broadcast on BBCRadio4 at 11pm on the 16 October 2007. Ben is awake in ITU at 3am on a Wednesday morning. The Consultant Neurologist is also awake writing reports and yearns to go home to Nicole. He misses his other home thanks to the photos in the Sunday People. He regrets the canteen curry. He phones Nicole and is cross with him for interrupting her at her party.

Ben worries about stokes, MRSA, motor neurone disease and being smacked on the head by a Renault Clio. Mary, his wife, has not been to visit for two days because she is at a conference at Brussels.

Ben hears the voices of the other patient's and their relatives.

At the conference Mary is feeling lonely and talks to the bar tender at the Brussels Hotel. It reminds her of the ITU - clean and sterile. She has two room keys, one is her own but whose is the other room key? It belongs to a client who can give her a big contract but what does he want in return and will Mary give into temptation because she aches to be held. She decides that she has waited 35 years for Ben and can wait a while longer.

Ben reminisces about his student days, parties, slim girls on his lap, home cooking, cheap wine and drugs. He enjoys a spliff with someone who could be his daughter of the future.

His mum is at home eating chocolate hobnobs and watching CSI Miami whilst she baby sits. She feels lonely and thinks about calling the Samaritans and then considers phoning Quiz Call because she likes Siobhan.

An alarm in the ward goes off, the ITU nurse has burnt her toast.



Episode 5 of Vent was broadcast on BBC Radio4 at 11pm on the 23 October 2007. The alternative therapist looks a lot like the mad physiotherapist. His mother does not believe in healing crystals and acupuncture but the science of medicine and a daily bed bath in Lourdes water.

Ben ponders mysteries like Jade Goodies career and why he is in coma until an older Blitz appears. She suggests that he seek the help of a script doctor to help him make sense of everything and put things in order. Ben consider this Hollywood effect but wonders what actor should play him and how will the story end? Colin Farrell or Ian Hislop are possible actors.

The local newspaper has an article about Ben, Mary and the nursing team. The editor is about to run Ben's articles again which Mary never liked because they discussed her naughty nurse's uniform and Brazilian wax.



Episode 6 of Vent was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 11 pm on the 30 October 2007. It was the last episode of series two of Vent. The doctor comes for a last look at Ben before he retires. He is dressed as Great Uncle Bulgaria the Womble for a fun run. Decisions have to be made about Ben's future but are the doctor's best suited to make such a big decision. Have the steroids and antibiotics worked and will Ben be able to be successfully weaned off the ventilator?

Ben realises he is travelling and gets help to pack in his dreams from his older daughter Blitz. He does not know if he is ready to move from the safety of his dreams and his unconscious fantasies. Is he strong enough to face a possible real future of pain and disabilities, rehab units and social services. He has one last dream holiday with Blitz and she suggest he remembers this time by writing a sitcom, memoir and a novel.

Flashbacks in this final episode of Vent included why Ben is in a coma and the reactions of Mary and his mum.

The tracheotomy comes out successfully and in his dreams Blitz becomes younger as his wife enters his mind. In reality Ben is breathing on his own but his heart is causing the doctors and nurses concern. In his dreams a storm whips up and the sky is closing. Ben wakes up and shouts for Blitz and when he realises where he is he tells Mary he loves her.




Vent: Series Three

Series three of Vent started in November 2009 with a one hour drama on the Friday Play on BBC Radio 4. On 3 December 2009 series 3 of Vent started on Radio4 as 30 minute long episodes entitled:

Loneliness is a Crowded Head.
Victoria
When Was The Last Time You Saw Your Godfather.
Stand In




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