->''"I am Satan - Master of Flesh and Ruler of the Abyss. Many times you have summoned me, with your naked pagan dances and your sacrificial bloodlettings, but now I have chosen to manifest myself to you so that you may know my will. ... that I, Satan, thy Lord and Master do herby command all gathered here for this most profane and satanic ritual to stop now as it's embarrassing."''
-->-- '''Satan''' - ''Old Harry's Game'' Series 3, Episode 1

''Old Harry's Game'' is a British radio comedy written and directed by Andy Hamilton. The main character is {{Satan}} (yes, that Satan), who acts like a world-weary, cynical prison warder, presiding over an increasingly run-down and over-crowded Hell.

Many of the plots of the first four series involve Satan having lengthy philosophical discussions with the Professor, played by James Grout, a WideEyedIdealist and FlatEarthAtheist. Satan would often try to persuade the Professor that HumansAreBastards, while the Professor would [[HumansAreGood take the opposite view]]. Satan's chief minion was originally ReliableTraitor Gary, replaced by [[BumblingSidekick cringing lackey]] Scumspawn. Other characters included Thomas, a man with no redeeming qualities (and the driver of the car that killed both himself and the Professor), and numerous historical figures who had somehow ended up in Hell (including foul-mouthed Jane Austen, hypocritical Thomas Jefferson and meretricious Will Shakespeare).

In season five, Satan left Hell, inverting his usual role by visiting world leaders and trying to persuade them to get people to live more virtuous lives in order to ease the over-crowding in Hell. At the end of each episode he would return to Hell in order to sort out the messes his subordinates had made in his absence.

Season six introduced Edith, an academic who agreed to write a biography of Satan in return for him looking into the mysterious events surrounding her death. (She's also Thomas's mother-in-law, and loathes him as much as ... well, anyone who's met him. Naturally, Satan makes them roommates.) In season seven, a dog and a baby arrive in Hell, due to a cock-up in Heaven's new computer systems; Satan ends up trying to locate the baby's new parents, while Thomas, surprisingly, finds himself literally [[PetTheDog Petting The Dog]].

The show is lighter and funnier than it sounds, and usually manages to avoid being {{Anvilicious}} in its handling of weighty philosophical issues.

A clay-motion television adaptation is in the works (with no set release date).

!!''Old Harry's Game'' includes examples of:
* AffablyEvil: Satan.
* TheAgeless: Everyone in Hell remains the same age they were when they died, forever. Satan mentions in passing that the upshot of this is that many of the damned are aged, senile and don't really understand where they are.
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: In-universe. Most notably Creator/JaneAusten, who's a violent, cockney-accented thug and Will Shakespeare, portrayed as a dopey Brummie who only wrote the jokes in his plays, the real author being his mate Trevor.
* AndStarring: "And Andy Hamilton as Satan". He may well have written the show just to hear that credit.
* AntiHero: Satan.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: Satan's list of the types of sinners who are continually arriving includes murderers, rapists, blackmailers, robbers, arsonists, and people who support Manchester United Football Club who aren't from Manchester (which is all of them).
** "Murderers" has the character of Mordecai, author of The Book of Leviticus, The Book of Deuteronomy, and The Book of Happy Gardening Tips.
* ArcWords: "Hope". It's the Professor's last name, the name of Satan's lost love interest, and is the topic of several episodes. Essentially, it's the one way to deal with being in Hell, and the one thing Satan can never have.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: [[spoiler: The Professor]]
* AxCrazy: Creator/JaneAusten.
* BerserkButton: God does not like non-believers or being called by his real name - ([[spoiler: Nigel - Jehovah is his middle name]])
* BewareTheNiceOnes:
** The Professor is very forgiving and tolerant, but when Thomas inadvertently drives his assistant to suicide and then blames her for being too passive, the Prof. lectures him on the link between action and consequence.
-->'''The Professor''': See, this ''(punches Thomas in the face)'' is an action, and your nosebleed is a consequence. ''(punches him again)'' Action, consequence. See?
** He also admits to having fantasized about killing Dicky Freestone, a former colleague who stole the credit for his research.
** Even Buddha acknowledges the joy of torturing Richard Nixon.
* BlackHumour: A thick vein runs through the whole series, given that it's a comedy in which Satan is the protagonist and a large amount of the early jokes revolved around the ironic punishments meted out to sinners, but Series 2 Episode 2 stands out in particular as it centres on what happens to a dead suicide bomber. [[WordOfGod Word of Satan]] says this is still one of his favourite episodes.
-->'''Wazim Al-Habib:''' Did I not lay down my life for the one true religion? Did I not pack a lorry full of gelignite and drive it at high speed into the infidel's top-security military base? I did! I remember the explosion!\\
'''Satan:''' Oh yeah, there was an explosion, but it wasn't exactly a top-security military base. It was more of a... well, it was a hairdresser's.
--->-- "Series Two, Episode 2"
* BritishBrevity: Each series lasts for only 6 half-hour episodes, except series 5 which only got four episodes.
** The show started in 1995 and has had seven seasons, two Christmas specials and a 2012 Olympics special. This counts up to fifty-four episodes over fifteen-years.
* ButtMonkey: Thomas. At one point, literally, when he's transformed by Satan into a piece of amoebic dysentery in Robert Maxwell's alimentary canal.
* CatchPhrase: Thomas's 'What? Why are you looking at me like that?' everytime he says something particularly diabolical offhand.
* CelestialBureaucracy: Hell appears to be marginally better-organized than Heaven.
** Particularly when Heaven tries to install new software.
* ChildrenAreInnocent: And therefore cannot be sent to Hell. Much of series 7 revolves around this point.
* ChristmasEpisode: Three of them - in the 2010 one Satan tries to cancel Christmas.
* TheCoconutEffect: When demons walk into a scene, the stock "horse hooves galloping" sound is used.
* ConservationOfCompetence: Satan appears to be the only demon in hell who can tell his arse from his elbow.
* ContinuityNod: In Season Seven, Thomas recalls the spoon prank that Gary played on him in Season One
* CoolAndUnusualPunishment: ''passim'' (it is, after all, a sitcom set in Hell).
* CorruptChurch: Frequently. Satan observes that he's ''"got every dead Pope in there since 1472"'' in reference to the Pope Enclosure in the first episode, and then there's the Rev. Elmer Butt who appears in Season 2, an American televangelist who bribes IRS officials (73 times) and had sex with a 14-year old girl.
* DeadpanSnarker: Satan. He's written and played by Andy Hamilton, so it comes with the territory.
* DealWithTheDevil: Satan briefly alludes to having signed UsefulNotes/TonyBlair up to such a deal.
* DemonicPossession: Satan has no problems with taking on the guise of humans, but he draws the line at actually entering them.
-->'''Satan:''' I would never, ''ever'', enter the body of a human being, because I know what they do with them. [[NauseaFuel And the thought's making me quite ill, actually]].
* DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu:
** Thomas is initially fearful and reverent in God's presence... until he finds out that [[spoiler:God's real name is Nigel]], at which point he begins laughing in God's face.
** The Professor periodically attempts to assess Satan's psychology. Most of what he comes up with is not very flattering.
* DoomsdayDevice: When Satan arranges for the Grand Unified Theory of physics to be published in the living world, the British government (and presumbly others) immediately start pumping money into research with the hope of using it to build a bomb capable of destroying the universe.
* DracoInLeatherPants: InUniverse. Thomas considers Judas Iscariot to be TheHero of the Bible. He also views ''Literature/AChristmasCarol'' as a sad story about an entrepreneur going insane.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Thomas is such an awful creep that ''Judas Iscariot'' calls him "The Guv'nor".
** Saddam Hussein once refused to buy weapons off Thomas because he thought Thomas was too dodgy.
** UpToEleven: Thomas is such a horrendous human being that his behaviour shocks Satan; his EstablishingCharacterMoment is when he [[MoralEventHorizon tries to offer up his young son to go to hell instead of him]].
--> '''Satan:''' Thomas, I'm shocked! And I'm the Devil -- it takes a ''lot'' to shock me!
** In one instance, Satan temporarily puts Nero in charge of Hell, and he is so insane and depraved that even the demons are disgusted.
** In one episode, Satan claims that not directly killing people is one of his two morals. There used to be three, but he got cynical. He never explicitly says what the other is, but he does mention at another point that he never possesses people who aren't old enough to make moral choices.
** Another episode has Satan put Thomas in The Pit of Demons Who Are Too Violent Even For Hell.
* EvilCannotComprehendGood:
** One of Satan's defining character traits is his refusal to believe that humans can ''be'' good, and several episodes revolve around him trying to prove otherwise in some way.
** Thomas believes that anyone who uses a position of power to help others is only doing it for PR. He has claimed that UsefulNotes/MahatmaGandhi arranged his own assassination so Creator/DavidAttenborough would make a movie about him and that UsefulNotes/NelsonMandela's whole life work was just done in the hopes of meeting Music/TheSpiceGirls. Both times, [[EvenEvilHasStandards even Satan is a little stunned]].
** Thomas also considers "Maybe you shouldn't [kill your grandmother" to be a "strange thing" to tell someone. PlayedForLaughs.
* EvilGloating: Satan loves to gloat. Especially when religious fundamentalists arrive. Several times, he's made bets with the Professor where the prize is [[FortheEvulz strictly gloating rights]].
* EvilLaugh: Satan does it to be impressive. Thomas occasionally does it because he's Thomas. [[MinionWithAnFInEvil Scumspawn]] tries, bless him.
--> '''Thomas:''' Ooh! Do you mind if I join you in your evil laughter?
* EvilTwin: Inverted; Thomas has a less-evil twin, Clive.
* FallenAngel: Satan, of course. Some of the other demons in Hell (including Gary and Scumspawn) are also fallen angels who supported his rebellion.
** And at the end of season 7, [[spoiler:Gabriel]].
* FaustianRebellion: Several Demons are persuaded to rebel against their overlord, egged on by Thomas. [[spoiler:Satan seriously considers letting them win, but realises that he can't bear to lose to Gary.]]
* FortheEvulz: Satan's MO.
* TheFunInFuneral: Referenced by Satan: "I always laugh at funerals."
* GilliganCut: A few.
* GodIsEvil: Not quite... God is petty, easily-offended and vengeful. The reason Hell is so overcrowded is that God has set such impossibly high standards that almost nobody gets into Heaven. He has given up listening to the prayers of the faithful, but he will turn up if there's a chance of a nice pancake.
** And as of season seven has completely lost interest in humanity, and gone on sabbatical. Apparently Sarah Palin was the last straw.
* GoodCannotComprehendEvil: One episode has Satan and the Professor embarking on a JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind to see why Thomas is the way he is. At one point, the Professor comes across a hidden-away memory which is marked with tons of warnings not to open it, which shows Thomas as a child being bullied by his classmates. The Professor assumes that this is a FreudianExcuse that Thomas locked away because it was painful for him to remember, but when he tries to offer Thomas consolation, [[spoiler:Thomas accidentally reveals that the memory was actually of an unspecified crime (presumably involving killing the bullies) and he had hidden it away to avoid accidentally incriminating himself]].
* TheGrimReaper: in one of the Christmas episodes Satan asks the Deaths to bring someone back to life. ChessWithDeath is averted.
* {{Hell}}
* HellishPupils: Since ''Old Harry's Game'' is a radio show, we have to take their word for it.
* HellHasNewManagement: Roland Kingworthy attempts this in season 5. He starts by bringing the demons onto his side with his effortless charm. Satan talks his army out of attacking, and Roland immediately claims he was attempting to expose the treacherous demons. Satan doesn't believe a word of it, and has an abyss he's been saving specially...
-->'''Satan''': ''I never trust anyone who puts that much effort into his effortless charm.''
* HellHound: Satan's pet dog, Cerberus.
* AHellOfATime
* HeterosexualLifePartners: "Scumspawn, we are ''not'' a gay couple."
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Many of the damned souls Satan takes the Professor and Edith to meet.
* HollywoodAtheist,
** Downplayed; The Professor is doesn't believe in the existence of God but is undoubtedly the kindest and most idealistic character in the series.
** ''The Buddha'' is in Hell, because he didn't believe in God. Nietzsche is in Hell, too.
* HornyDevils:
** In Season One Thomas offers to take over the tedious task of ravishing Marilyn Monroe from Gary.
** Averted as all the devils have no genitalia so they can't. Satan, as well as being able to shape-shift, can change the form of his demons and the damned as their CoolAndUnusualPunishment requires it
* IgnoreTheDisability: Satan becomes this toward the Professor [[spoiler: when he discovers that the Professor's wife was in a coma]].
* InkSuitActor: In a pilot [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc7WnDgt0yY stop-motion adaptation]], Satan has been modelled to resemble Andy Hamilton (plus wings and a tail).
* InsultBackfire: Satan, often.
* IronicEcho: In the episode "The Beautiful Game", the Professor appoints Thomas as England captain for the Underworld Cup, in the belief that he'll rise to the challenge and prove himself, much to Satan's disbelief. The Professor says "I'd hate to be as cynical as you, you know. Always seeing the worst aspects of people." Then Satan appoints Scumspawn referee, and the Professor accuses him of deliberately trying to turn the tournament into a disaster. "I'd hate to be as cynical as you, Prof. Always seeing the worst in devils."
* IronicHell: most of them.
** Damned Jockeys are made to carry people around Hell on their backs.
** Mozart is tormented by having a demon in the form of a giant tapeworm play him his own music. On a Hammond Organ.
-->'''Professor:''' How can a giant tapeworm play the Hammond organ?\\
'''Satan:''' Very badly, as I'm sure old Wolfgang would appreciate.
--->"Season Two, Episode One"
* IShallTauntYou: Satan wants to get God's attention to discuss the overcrowding issue. Since the usual channels aren't working, he tries to first [[ComedicSociopath torture]] Thomas into calling God's name in vain [[InvoluntaryShapeshifter by turning him into a pancake]] [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment and frying him]]. When that doesn't work, he gives up and settles for [[BlasphemousBoast shouting insults]].
-->'''Satan:''' Jesus had it coming! You only chose the Jews as your chosen people cos the Welsh didn't want you! Richard Dawkins is brilliant!
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: It is buried '''extremely''' deeply in his cold, unwelcoming shell but ''sometimes'' (okay, twice) Thomas does do some nice things. One of the season two episodes had the OnceAnEpisode Professor vs Satan beat be whether or not Thomas had any good in him. [[spoiler: He does.]]
** Satan showing this tendency also is a major plot point of several episodes (though Satan would argue that he was never more cruel than people deserved anyway.)
* JesusWasWayCool: Even though God's kind of a dick, Jesus is spoken of as good and holy; even Satan seems to respect him (in a WorthyOpponent kind of way). He's rather embarrassed about the time he punched him for being "holier-than-thou", and gets very defensive if it's brought up.
--> '''Edith:''' Well, thank you for your concern, but if it's all the same to you, I'd rather ''not'' be taking advice about handling my emotions from someone who ''punched Jesus'' because he was pissed!\\
'''Scumspawn:''' [[CompletelyMissingThePoint Jesus was pissed?!]]
* KingOfAllCosmos: God is a bit like this. [[spoiler: He created the Earth while he was drunk and created the first few single-celled organisms as part of a bet to see which would evolve into intelligent life first. He's rather upset that it's "all got out of hand", and refuses to take responsibility for any of it.]]
* LargeHam: In-universe, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Garrick Garrick, Colossus Of The Shakespearean Stage]].
* ListOfTransgressions: In episode one, when Thomas arrives in Hell, Satan can't find his list -- only finding the various things he did for charity and when he's about to let Thomas go he finds the list. It's very long.
* MinionWithAnFInEvil: Scumspawn.
* MoralityPet: Almost every good deed Thomas does in the series is to help Scumspawn.
* MysteryWriterDetective: Parodied when Satan summons the spirits of Creator/ArthurConanDoyle and Creator/AgathaChristie to solve Edith's murder, but they turn out to be completely useless. Dame Agatha suggests her own plots, regardless of their relevance, and Sir Arthur keeps going on about ghosts and fairies.
-->'''Agatha''': I'm sorry, but I'm doing my best here. Usually I know who the killer is before I start out.
* NobleDemon: Satan.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Very averted. Living celebrities, particularly those involved in some sort of scandal, are frequently mocked, and deceased ones inevitably end up in Hell, where they're harmed a lot as a matter of course.
* NoodleIncident and YouDoNotWantToKnow: [[spoiler:Whatever it is that humans do with cellophane that gets them sent to Hell.]]
* NotGrowingUpSucks: This is why Satan spends much of series 7 trying to return baby Patrick to the living world instead of to Heaven. As there is [[TheAgeless no aging]] in Heaven or Hell, it is the only way to stop Patrcik from remaining a baby forever.
* OnceAnEpisode: Some sort of debate between Satan and the Prof, the former always taking the pessimistic side and the latter always taking the optimistic.
* PhraseCatcher: Anyone who accompanies Satan to the land of the living will invariably ask "Are you sure they can't see us?". Even The Professor keeps asking long past the point where he should be used to it.
* PlotTriggeringDeath: The series is set up by Thomas and the Professor dying in a car crash. On a smaller scale, many single-episode subplots are also triggered by the deaths of guest characters in what could be considered an inversion of BodyOfTheWeek. Soul of the Week, if you will.
* PrescienceIsPredictable: God's mid-eternity crisis.
* PurityPersonified: Hope in the first Christmas special.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: Thomas gets two of these: in the first episode of Season 5, he blames God for the overcrowding in Hell, and in the final episode of Season 7, he stands up for Scumspawn, as mentioned above.
* RetCon: In Season 3, we meet the Angel Graham, the messenger who told Mary she was with child, who's annoyed [[AccidentalMisnaming his name was miswritten]]. In Season 7, we meet a completely different Angel Gabriel.
** When The Prof first appeared in Season One, he was named Professor Richard Whittingham.
** The notion of there being no concept of time in Hell, which was heavily referenced in the first couple of series, was later dropped, presumably because it didn't make sense when Satan could move freely between Hell and Earth anyway.
* RunningGag: 'Scumspawn, you're the only demon in Hell who...' (does something exceptionally un-demonic, for example, donating to a donkey sanctuary).
-->'''Satan:''' You're the only demon I know who collects Toys/{{Furb|y}}ies.
** Jane Austen being violent and crazy enough to frighten most of the demons in hell.
** Season Two's running gag was Scumspawn desperately trying to get the job as Gary's replacement and the various candidates Satan considered instead of him, including a villainous dolphin and a sentient computer.
** The Pope Enclosure, and Satan keeping all of the damned Pontiffs perpetually pregnant was referenced with regularity during the first two seasons, and about OnceASeason thereafter.
** Whenever Satan takes one of the other characters to see the living world, being asked "are you sure they can't see us?" and Satan pointing out what would happen if they could.
** Any character protesting that they don't have to do something just because Satan tells them to, prompting the response "You ''really'' haven't got the hang of this place, have you?"
** Whenever Satan wants to take on a role in the real world, such as chairman of the General Synod, or head of the BBC board of governors, the previous incumbent will "mysteriously" meet with an unusual accident, often involving misplaced wild animals.
** The old chestnut about Manchester United supporters living everywhere except Manchester.
** UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler has a different excuse for the Holocaust each time he appears.
* SapientCetaceans: Dophins are the only non-humans who have enough awareness to be damned. The most evil dolphin who ever lived is called [[FluffyTheTerrible Chuckles]].
* SatanIsGood: Well, not quite; he comes off as a PunchClockVillain who feels he ought to be pure evil and is trying very hard to play the part.
* SchmuckBait:
--> '''Satan:''' Well, if it says "Danger, do not open", Prof, it's probably best if you don't actually--\\
''[sound of hatch opening]''\\
'''Satan:''' Why did I even waste my breath?
* ShoutOut: When Satan summmons Creator/AgathaChristie and Creator/ArthurConanDoyle to help solve Edith's murder, Dame Agatha suggests the plots of ''The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side'' and ''Murder on the Orient Express''.
* SixIsNine: Satan receives a phone call intended for the emergency services because the caller had the phone upside down.
* SmallNameBigEgo: Thomas.
* StoryArc: Season 2 has Satan's search for a new assistant, Season 5 concerns Satan's attempts to reduce the amount of sin in the world, Season 6 has Edith's WhoDunnitToMe storyline, and Season 7 has a story arc about a dog and a baby being sent to Hell.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: After [[spoiler:the Professor AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence, the historian Edith takes his role.]]
* TakeThat: A lot of insults are hurled at Robert Maxwell, UsefulNotes/RichardNixon, and Jeffrey Archer.
* TemptingFate:
-->'''Satan:''' Watch your mouth, Thomas, or-- \\
'''Thomas:''' Or ''what?'' Don't tell me, you'll punish me. I don't care. You've covered me in boils, you've transformed me into various vegetables and household appliances, you've bred locusts and raced ferrets ''inside'' me... What more could you possibly do, eh? Turn me into a warthog's scrotum? \\
''[He is immediately turned into a warthog's scrotum.]'' \\
'''Professor:''' Oh, really. \\
'''Satan:''' Well, he shouldn't put ideas into my head, should he?
* TooDumbToLive:
-->'''Satan:''' Thomas? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you just called me, ''Satan''... a whinger. Now, do you really think that was wise?
** Also how Gary the teenager, aka 'explodingidiot' ([[OneSteveLimit not to be confused with Gary the demon]]) died in series 6, episode 1: placing lighted sticks of gelignite between his legs as a YouTube stunt.
* TooSpicyForYogSothoth
* {{Understatement}}: "I'm in Hell, which is a setback."
* VillainHasAPoint: Whenever Satan and the professor have an argument (which is what drives most episodes in the first four series), Satan's cynical view of human nature is generally borne out, though never so completely that the professor will concede.
** In series 6, Edith's friend, rival historian [[spoiler:and killer]] Rosemary, complains that Edith's habit of putting her awards in a box in the attic was [[BlaseBoast an ostentatious way of rubbing her nose in it]]. When Satan brings up the subject of her awards in series 7, Edith all but admits that Rosemary was right.
* WhoDunnitToMe: Edith's storyline.