Tomorrow Today

Information about the comedy radio programme Tomorrow Today which is set in the past about the future with cast list and episode guide:

Tomorrow Today was first broadcast on BBC radio 4 in October 2006. It was a comedy series written by Christopher William Hill. It was set in 1961 during the golden age of radio and centred around a BBC producer who struggled to make a radio soap set in the unimaginably futuristic world of 2006. So turn back the dial on your wireless set and listen to what the BBC Light Service thought of the future - hover ships, robots and space exploration.

Tomorrow Today Episode Guide

Episode 1: Dial M for Martian: Earth Station Alpha is trying to make contact with Mars - does this make science fiction more interesting than fact? Hugo Kellerman needs to convince Godfrey Winnard that space adventures are far more exciting than Mrs Dale and her cooking and The Archers where nothing exciting happens in Ambridge and surrounding Borchester.

The future of Tomorrow Today will be a thing of the past unless Hugo can convince him that listeners love spaceships, flying saucers and space travel. Can he keep the actors motivation if the series does not go to a second series and how can he stop them fighting? Why does Taffy the man of many voices always sound like he is from the Indian subcontinent? Can a twin tub washing machine being played backwards via the echo chamber sound like the backward thrusters of a spaceship? Has seven years on Listen With Mother made Sylvia bitter and twisted?

The Soviets have manned space flights, but Britain have the BBC and some dedicated actors who decide to start acting properly so that the show will go to a second season. But why do they sound even more stilted?

Will Hugo give in to government manipulation to save his beloved Tomorrow Today show from cancellation? The stars of the series get to meet Sir Angus McNairn when listeners get to hear the Martians. Will Hugo get invited to dinner with Sir Angus and the actors?

Originally broadcast on Friday 6 October 2006 11:30-12:00

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Episode 2: To the Moon and Back: Imagine as you sit by your wireless set and you hear the futuristic sound of robots instead of Kenneth Williams.

On Earth Station Alpha, Adam Astral, his wife Eve and Jock destroy the Martians who have attacked Earth. Jock over rolls his r's but still appears in the next episode whilst his boss has a holiday on the moon.

The radio programme gets on the front cover of the Radio Times though the actors are more interested in callously and surreptiously using the radio show to broadcast messages from advertisers like asking for a filter tip cigarette even though the character does not smoke. Is money from advertising deals changing hands? Can Sylvia persuade Hugo to mention the cool menthol taste of Du Barry Cigarettes in exchange for a solo photograph on the front page of the Radio Times magazine.

The actors abscond to independent television and each star in their own television advert for cigarettes.

Is it the last straw for the writer that the actors are using his ideas and characters from his scripts? He bans smoking in the studio and encourages tea and convivial conversation. Is Sylvia’s anger a sign of her addiction to cigarettes?

Her rage rises when Mr Tissard from the Radio Times suggests she wears a goldfish bowl and jumps up and down on a trampoline during the photo shoot so that she looks like she is floating through space.

The writer tries to overcome this advertising by banning cigarettes in the year 2006. The producers and the management do not approve this change in the script - well they are on the board of the tobacco company!

Originally broadcast on Friday 13 October 2006 11:30-12:00

Episode 3: Androids in Love: Top Shakespearean actor Sir Monty Havelock takes time out from King Lear to appear on the show as android Morpheus 7 which is just as well because Douglas cannot impersonate a robot. Will Sir Monty recognise Nigel from his days as a spear carrier?

One afternoon for one line - is that normal for radio?

Forget Ding Dong - Flash Flash is the new catchphrase! Well it is Leslie Phillips! Monty wines and dines Sylvia and Nigel gets jealous.

The run of Lear is cancelled and Monty gets set to become a regular. Sir Monty rewrites the scripts and sends Nigel to the planet Mercury for a few episodes.

Summer seasons at Frinton beckon until Nigel hears about Monty's stage fright that caused his King Lear to be cancelled. He suggests a live performance and Hugo arranges for the next instalment episode to go missing. The actors look forward to doing a live performance with millions of listeners listening to the wireless. Well most of the actors look forward to the live broadcast...

Nigel shows Sir Monty his top acting skills by improvising and disconnects android Morpheus 7 for the good of mankind - and his acting career.
Originally broadcast on Friday 20 October 2006 11:30-12:00

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Episode 4: What Price Utopia: Turn the dial once more and enter world of our children's children where Eve takes delivery of an atomic generator to power all her domestic machines. Adam returns from his trip to Mercury. Eve shows him how to clean his spacesuit using the new atomic energy powdered machines.

Meanwhile back in 1961 the team get leaflets from civil defence about atomic bombs and poor reviews from the newspapers. Not even the Evening Standard likes the Tomorrow Today radio show. The producers set about adding extra oomph to the show by providing Hugo with a model of Utopia, the city of tomorrow. It is named Ideal Town. There are landing pads and atom plants in each neighbourhood. Any resemblance to an existing city are coincidental.

Sir Angus sets plans for The BBC Doomsday Message on the Home Service.

Douglas is invited to a special night time recording with Sir Angus and Colin which involves a briefcase with a special seal, a gun and threats from the KGB. Forget Dimbleby - when the balloon goes up tomorrow morning Douglas will be the voice of the Doomsday Message. He just needs to sound less Italian and more threatening.

Sylvia gets a part in the new series of Nursery Parade. Nigel soon joins her and Douglas and Hugo gate crashes a live performance as the birthday requests are read out. Who is the pink toothbrush and who is Sidney the squirrel?

Nigel sees the model of Ideal Town and recognises it as a New London with a John Profumo monorail station and a senate building. It gets obliterated by the Soviets and the characters die in the explosion.

What does all this mean for Tomorrow Today? Can the BBC Audience Survey save them and the world? Will Hugo accept a free lunch and s much coveted staff contract. Stand by studio...

Originally broadcast on Friday 27 October 2006 11:30-12:00

Tomorrow Today Cast List

Nigel Lavery - Peter Bowles
Sylvia Hann - Cheryl Campbell
Godfrey Winnard - John Fortune
Sir Angus McNairn - Gary Waldhorn
Hugo Kellerman - Joseph Kloska
Douglas Bennings and Harold Macmillan - Jon Glover
Colin Franks - Paul Richard Biggin
Miss Pickford - Miranda Keeling
Waitress - Miranda Keeling
Mr Tissard -
Shakespearean Actor Android and Sir Monty Hevelock - Leslie Phillips.
Keith Wood - Sam Pamphilon
Mrs Tinkler - Rachel Atkins
Graham Tinkler - Lloyd Thomas
Delivery Boy - Alex Lamipekun
Georgina Barrett - Carolyn Pickles
Burton - Peter Marinker
Cynthia Valentine - Rachel Atkins
Fenella Sayers - Ania Gordon
Director - Alex Lamipekun
Angela - Anna Bengo
Continuity and Roger Aspinall - Simon Treves
Veronica Walters - Johannah Tincey
Henderson and Mr Thomas - Ben Crowe
Secretary and Tannoy - Laura Molyneux
Miss Thurwell - Anna Bengo
Porter ...... Peter Marinker

The second series of Tomorrow Today started on Monday 28 January 2008 from 11:30 am to noon. The first episode of Tomorrow Today was not given a title on the broadcast schedule, though others in series two were given names by the BBC. I think though that it was called Dr Chaotica and the Rise of the Atomic Man-Bees
The comedy series is still set in 1962 and given the futuristic sounds of 2008. Tomorrow Today was written by Christopher William Hill. The sound effects scanner sounds like an oven timer and the radio acting is still hammy. Though the merchandise dolls of the actors look more realistic.

Colin Franks has sadly died and Thespis is blamed by the other actors. Though Hugo does not believe this even when thunder and lightning is struck over him. He does not believe in bad luck. Colin's replaced as studio manager is Graham Tinkler who has been working on the light service on MacBeth - which he names directly instead of calling it the Scottish Play in front of the Tomorrow Today actors. He does however have better sound effects. Foe example the ray gun sounds more powerful and the background music has been beefed up.

Doctor Choaitica is the villain and the scripts says he causes an on air death but the actors of Tomorrow Today refuse to act this out because of their superstitions. They do not want to tempt the fate of the curse of Thespis. The actors start to carry a lucky rabbit foot or wear St John's Wort to ward off the evil of Thespis.

MI5 has a dossier about Graham Tinkler which reveals his membership of the Communist party.

When the studio later try to contact Graham they find out that he has been run over by a motor car. By coincidence Hugo crashed his car into a lamppost. Graham is replaced by Keith Wood. Sir Angus McNairn thinks that Hugo Kellerman is a plant from the Intelligence Services and suggests ways he can kill Keith Wood.

A studio sounds effects man from The Archers has died when he locked himself in the sounds effects cupboard and was run through with a pitch fork. His name was Keith Hood. The actors now believe the curse of Thespis has been lifted from the Tomorrow Today radio team.

Squab Is Not the Language of Love: The second episode of series two of Tomorrow Today was broadcast on Monday 4 February 2008 from 11:30am to noon on BBC Radio 4 FM.
The radio heroes are on the planet of Aquarius where the inhabitants are half squid and half crab creatures called sqrab.

In real life the radio actors are getting bad reviews and Georgina Barrett from television centre is trying to poach Hugo. She want Hugo to make a Science Fiction series based in the North to compete with ITV. She's also like the cast of Tomorrow Today radio programme to appear in the TV program.

Hugo has a concept of a man called Professor Fabio travelling in a clock called a Tardid fighting monsters like the dilocks. He now thinks that Nigel and Sylvia can just have cameo roles as Ethel and Frank. They create a fuss until they see the obscene amount of their payment.

Nigel is attacked by a dog and seeks refuge in a telephone box. He shouts out for someone to exterminate the dog. This gives Hugo the idea of a police box that travels in time and space with a robotic dog companion called Fido. The sounds effects man uses a ring modulator to distort Nigel's voice.

At the first filming Sir Angus is there now having decided that television is the way forward. Though some think that a TV programme about a single man in a police dog with a robotic dog will never catch on!

They Come to Freeze Our Children: The third episode of Tomorrow Today radio programme was broadcast on Monday 11 February 2008 from 11:30am to noon on BBC Radio 4 FM. The fictional radio science fiction show is about cryogenics whilst the real life actors have to contend with a child coming to the studio. The producers are running a competition for children to win a day with the cast. But Sylvia trembles at the thought of children being in the studio after a past bad experience with kids. Can she face her worst fear which she has not faced since Tots Time with Cynthia Valentine. Will Cynthia remember that she hit her daughter Angela even though she was trying to stop her chocking on a mint imperial she had given her? What would the audience of Tomorrow Today think of the star not liking kids? Sylvia Hann hits the gin bottle and gets bitten by Lucy the dog owned by Cynthia Valentine.

Nigel Lavery and Sylvia Hann appear on Cynthia's radio show, the Jolly Roger, as their characters Adam Astral and Eve Astral to introduce the art competition which is featured on the Radio Times.

Sir Angus McNairn from the Home Office phones Godfrey Winnard to suggest that Fenella Sayers from Guildford should be the winner of the competition with her macaroni picture. Can the BBC really fix competitions?

Nigel Lavery and Sylvia Hann introduce the winner...Fenella Sayers from Guildford. She is more interested in meeting the Clitheroe Kid. She begins to be rude to the actors just before she gets a part in Tomorrow Today. Fenella reads her lines and reveals she wants to be an actor. Nigel suggests that Sylvia gives the girl a toffee sweet. All that can be heard on the program is Fenella slurping and chewing a toffee. Nigel pays Fenella to clear off but she demands more money. Nigel gives her another sweet and she starts to choke. Sylvia goes to help but she falls over and stops moving. Is she dead? They move her to a cupboard out of the way. She wakes up and finds her Uncle - Sir Angus McNairn - and tells him that she was given chocolate which she is allergic too. Fenella blackmails the actors who pay her off and she then blames Cynthia Valentine instead.

Prey of the Bog Monster was the fourth episode of the Tomorrow Today radio programme and was broadcast on Monday 18 Feb 08 from 11:30am to noon on BBCRadio4 . Godfrey Winnard introduces the mauve book to Hugo Kellerman to prevent any inappropriate words slipping out on the radio recordings. In an attempt to get away from Godfrey Winnard Hugo arranges an outside broadcast and the crew and actors meet by Broadcasting House. Nigel Lavery brings a new lady friend called Veronica Walters who upsets Sylvia Hann by trying to help her with her figure. She has already helped Nigel to loose weight.

The actors and recording crew journey on a Thames Barge so that they can record with the sound effects of the lapping water until the RAF fly past.

Back in the studio Godfrey Winnard tells Sir Angus McNairn that the crew and cast of Tomorrow Today has gone missing and he has found a note from Sylvia that says she has been taken against her will. Sir Angus calls the Intelligence Service.

Back on the boat it has started to rain. They seek cover on an island but when they go back to the barge it has disappeared. The river police later find the motor launch and this confirms Sir Angus' fears that they have been kidnapped and are at Chiswick. Though he now thinks they have defected to the Soviets.

The stranded cast pool their food together - one bar of fruit and nut chocolate. They start to argue over how to share it ad who is the governor of the island.

Veronica Walters cannot believe that Nigel, her Bunny, is a communist and tells Hugo they were heading for Kew to avoid him. Hugo realises it was not a communist defection at all, just the actors getting away from him. He does not pass this information onto the rescue team.

Meanwhile the provisions box has gone and Sylvia has chocolate over her lips. Nigel breaks and tries to swim from the island but the murky water puts him off. However he braves it and as he paddles out he gets stuck in a bog and the crew record the sound as an effect for a bog monster. Sylvia finds a can of dog food meat in the water. The crew get a radio signal and hear the national anthem, they all stand. They then hear the news that they are reported missing. They find the nest of a rare warbler and try to capture the male to eat. They succeed and cook the rare warbler. As they enjoy the roast warbler they find another nest and as they try to capture more to cook Nigel fends them back. He takes the warbler chicks to the other side of the island to save them. Though overnight he eats them. Keith sees a boat and it is crewed by Sir Angus who arrest them for defecting just as Veronica sees that her boyfriend has eaten the warblers. They break up.

Countess Natasha and the Red Menace was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday 25 February 2008 from 11:30 am to 12:00. Countess Natasha and a nuclear war becomes a threat to the astronauts at a time when in real life Sir Angus and the Home Office face the Red Menace. Security becomes tight in the studio when it is announced that next Friday's episode is to star Prime Minister Harold Macmillan as a guest star. A spy has infiltrated the Tomorrow Today radio programme. But how do the writers integrate Harold McMillan in a radio show set decades in the future?

Roger Aspinall is assigned to the studio as an independent editor to vet any embarrassing scripts. Is he all he seems when he speaks Russian and calls everyone comrade?

Sir Angus takes a team of crack interrogators to question the cast of Tomorrow Today. Nigel Lavery tells him that Roger Aspinall is the spy but Sir Angus refuses to believe him because he went to Cambridge. Nigel Lavery sets out to defend the PM himself.

The crew and cast of Tomorrow Today are sent covert messages to a meeting with Sir Angus. He is determined to find the spy who is plotting the downfall of the Government. Is it the script writer because there is a subliminal message in the Tomorrow Today scripts written by Roger Aspinall? Sylvia cannot believe it because she has fallen in love with Roger Aspinall.

A Miss Therwell from Oxford University is sent to replace Roger Aspinall, she too speaks Russian...

Taffy Jones, Protector of the Universe was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday 3 March 2008 from 11:30 am to 12:00. Things are hotting up in Cuba and war with Russia may be imminent and the top secret envelope has to be opened. The crew and cast of Tomorrow Today have to relocate to a holiday camp in Wales for their protection. The trouble is none of the locals can understand the actors and actresses, except for Taffy Jones who was killed in the first series. The actor speaks with his Welsh accent and makes the cast understood by the locals.

When they get to the camp the camp manager can understand them and is not happy to find out who killed Taffy Jones.

The the bomb goes up the cast are responsible for broadcasting to the nation. In the meantime the crew endure the torments of bunk beds, cold water chalet rats, no perm solution and holiday camp entertainment. Nigel suggest that Sylvia enter the glamorous granny competition.

The writer of Tomorrow Today is nicknamed the Taffy Killer and an angry Welsh mob forms at the gate to the holiday camp. Will the writers bring back Taffy Jones?

The war sirens go off and the crew and cast run to the bunker, but it was a practice run by Sir Angus. They record Taffy Jones’ resurrection from the dead. He starts by talking about how to build a nuclear bunker but the power goes off. Sir Angus thinks that they really are at war with Russia and pulls his revolver out. Who should go out and switch on the generator. Nigel Lavery the actor is chosen first at gunpoint to go outside and be some time. Nigel finds out that there is no war, just a power cut. He is joined by Sylvia who was told to leave the bunker by Sir Angus so that oxygen not be expended. Nigel does not tell Sylvia that there is no war and takes her back to her chalet. They hear fireworks as they are kissing and think it is bombs, as does Sir Angus in the bunker. He decides to appoint a new Prime Minister - himself. As he elects his cabinet there is a knock on the door. It is Mr Thomas looking for Mr Kellerman the writer of Tomorrow Today. It’s a bill for the fire in his chalet that started the fireworks in the store next door after he left his stove on. It seems the villagers cut the electricity wires to stop the bad Welsh accent by Taffy Jones. Hugo leaves the bunker and locks everyone in.

Writer - Christopher William Hill

Tomorrow Today Trivia

Peter Bowles played Richard De Vere aka Bedrich Polouvicki in To The Manor Born in the television version of the sitcom.

Cheryl Campbell played the mother, Molly Gilcrest Straud, in the popular TV series William and Mary opposite Martin Clunes and Julie Graham.

Gary Waldhorn is the long suffering father in The Vicar of Dibley. He also played Lionel Bainbridge in Brush Strokes.

Christopher William Hill also wrote the radio play Killing Maestro which was first broadcast on 14 August 2003. It was short listed for a Tinniswood Award. It was about the mysterious deaths during a production of Tristan and Isolde. The Conductor, Sergei Bodanov, convinced himself that he too will die within six weeks of the evil curse. It starred Bill Nighy, Sylvestra La Touzel, Lorelei King, Henry Goodman and Andrew C Wadsworth. The pianist was Colin Guthrie and it was directed by Liz Webb.

Another play written by Christopher William Hill was Love Me Liberace which was the Friday play on 13 February 2004. It was about the libel case between Liberace and the Daily Mirror that took place in 1959. During the trial Liberace befriends an East End boy called Owen who is unsure if he is attracted to men or women. He has been writing to Liberace for three years and learns to play the piano and is attracted to his piano teacher. The play starred Henry Goodman as Liberace, Freddy White as Owen. Other actors were James Fleet, Frances Barber, Philip Fox, Ann Beach, John Rowe and Ioan Meredith. Playing the piano was Colin Guthrie. It was directed by Liz Webb.

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