Radio: Fifteen Minute Musical
"This is a song about Wayne Rooney or possibly Cheryl Tweedy 15 Minute Musical
Sung to a familiar tune we nicked off an Elton John CD
And the chorus strongly resembles
Mr Tambourine Man as performed by The Birds
The singer's voice usually trembles on the line which has got far too many garbled and convoluted wooords!"
—Richie Webb mocking his own work on the show
(also Fifteen Minute Musical/s
) is a BBC Radio 4
comedy series which tells parody stories about celebrities and politicians, using a different musical style for each episode. It is written by Richie Webb, David Quantick and Dave Cohen. One six-episode series has been broadcast every year since 2004 - except for 2009 and 2011 - and in 2009 it won the Writers' Guild Award for Best Radio Comedy.
It's notable for refusing to take anything with even an ounce of seriousness, least of all itself,
resulting in a hugely silly
, over-the-top World of Ham
, run entirely on Rule of Funny
, with No Fourth Wall
. A thirty-minute Mockumentary
, starring Richie Webb and ridiculing the show itself, was broadcast in 2006.
Characters with TV Tropes pages:
15 Minute Musical contains examples of:
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Ed Miliband in Thoroughly Modern Miliband.
- Anything That Moves: Boris Johnson, especially in Blue Brothers.
- Bad Liar: Jeffrey Archer in Jeffrey.
- Be Yourself: The Spoof Aesop of My Foul Mouthed Lady. Comically unsubtle to the extreme - it's literally the refrain of the big, loud musical finale.
"Be yourself! Be yourself!
In the long run it's much better for your health!"
- Best Served Cold: Ken Livingstone's approach to having lost the London mayoral election.
- Big Brother Bully: David Miliband in Thoroughly Modern Miliband.
- Big Man on Campus: Barack Obama in Washington High School Musical.
- Big "NO!": Ben Elton towards the end of his Cool and Unusual Punishment in The Elton Story.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: Besides being rife with Self-Deprecation, the mockumentary episode took several shots at Radio 4.
- Body Horror: Implied in Simon Smug And The Crap Factory, when Louis Walsh resolves to divide and reshape his body into five discrete smaller men.
- Camp Gay: Peter Mandelson in Brothers In Arms and Oh, Oh, Oh What A Lovely Blair.
- Graham Norton in The Court Of King Michael Of Parkinson.
- Catch Phrase: Tony Blair's "Tough on X, tough on the causes of X!"
- Charlie and the Chocolate Parody: Simon Smug And The Crap Factory. In which Simon Cowell shows winners of his Golden (Meal) Ticket competition around his factory, populated by a chorus of Oozer Losers.
- Chewing the Scenery
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: When Ben Elton calls off his Deal with the Devil and is forced to write crap musicals about every band in history.
- Deadly Decadent Court: The Houses of Parliament as portrayed in The Lying King.
"It's crammed with money and milk and honey
And fuelled by sex and hate
So you really, really don't want to go there...
But it's great!"
- Deal with the Devil: Parodied at the expense of Andrew Lloyd Webber in The Elton Story.
- The Deep South: Subverted in Calamity Dave.
- Double Entendre
We're building a leader who's on the far right! Michael Howard:
At least, that's how he's dressed - these trousers are tight...
- Evil Laugh: Tony Blair gives a very hammy one following his victory in Brothers In Arms, made all the more chilling because his Faux Affably Evil façade has finally disintegrated.
- Faux Affably Evil: Tony Blair, in all of his many appearances.
- Felony Misdemeanor: By Germany in Oh, Oh, Oh What A Lovely Blair:
Peter Mandelson: The Boche are threatening to overrun Europe using their evil powers to create a vibrant economy and sell better quality washing machines than us!
Tony Blair: The blighters!
- Frankenstein's Monster: An unusually suave knock-off is assembled in Horror Tory.
- Genre Roulette
- Getting Crap Past the Radar
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Any time two or more characters sing together - or even, in many cases, speak together.
- A Deal Is A Deal, a duet between Elton and Lloyd Webber in The Elton Story, is a prime example.
- Cameron and Clegg's duets from The Lying King (The Elephant's Graveyard and I Will Be Your Enemy) feature much competitive hammery. Cameron has the advantage, of course, because Evil Is Hammy.
- I Am Great Song: Robert Kilroy-Silk gets a few in Nice Hair, as do Ben Elton in The Elton Story and Barack Obama in Washington High School Musical.
- I Call Him "Mister Happy": Sven-Göran Eriksson's 'Little Sven' in Manager Mia.
- Ignored Aesop: Celebrated at the end of Jeffrey.
- In the Back: Brothers In Arms, metaphorically and literally.
- Insane Admiral: General Blair in Oh, Oh, Oh What A Lovely Blair.
- Kavorka Man: Sven-Göran Eriksson sings about being one in Manager Mia.
- Land Down Under: Subverted in The Ozfather.
- Large Ham: Notably, Boris Johnson, though he's far from alone. See World of Ham.
- Like Parent, Like Spouse: In Brothers In Arms, Cherie sings a whole number - Two Tonys In My Life - about marrying a guy with the same name as her father.
- Love Triangle: Between Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson in Brothers In Arms.
- Malaproper: John Prescott. No comedy depiction of him would be complete without this and/or Strange Syntax Speaker.
- Mid Word Rhyme
- Musical Pastiche
- My Girl Back Home: Cherie in Oh, Oh, Oh What A Lovely Blair.
- The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Alex Salmond in License To Kilmarnock, as part of a comprehensive Bond parody.
"Special Agent Ond. Alex Salm-ond."
- Non-Human Sidekick: Labradori in Blunketto.
- Off to See the Wizard: When You Wish Upon A Car sees Jeremy Clarkson dumped under the rainbow by a tornado.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: 'Jock' in Oh, Oh, Oh What A Lovely Blair.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Prince Charles adopts several in The Prince And The Papadum.
- Planet of Steves: The five Eds in Thoroughly Modern Miliband.
Ed M: I'm Ed and I'm standing for leadership of the Party.
Ed B: Hello. I'm standing too, and I'm also Ed.
Andy: I'm Andy Burnham, but for the purposes of this song, I will also be Ed.
Ed M: Bruv, what about you?
David: Do I have to be called Ed as well?
Ed M: This song isn't going to work otherwise.
David: (sigh) I guess I'm Ed, then.
- Prison Rape: Implied in Jeffrey:
"Prison is not that baaad!
But I'll never shower again!"
- Rule of Funny: Ceaseless.
- Sibling Rivalry: The Milibands in Thoroughly Modern Miliband.
- Singing Voice Dissonance: Usually averted. The show's so jam-packed with obvious fake accents that dropping them for the songs would undermine the parody.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Typically cynical for a show mocking politicians.
- Sliding Scale of Seriousness Versus Silliness: Planted firmly at the silly end.
- Strange Syntax Speaker: John Prescott.
- Three Wishes: For Nick Clegg in Cleggarella.
- Try to Fit That on a Business Card: Field Marshall Corporal Lieutenant General Blair in Oh, Oh, Oh What A Lovely Blair.
- Take That
- Upper-Class Twit: Any given aristocrat and almost every Tory, especially David Cameron.
- Verbal Tic: Tony Blair's famous "Hey," "Y'know," "Come on," "Look guys," more often evolving into something like "I mean hey, come on, you know, guys, look..."
- In We're All Going On An Olympic Odyssey, Boris Johnson starts most 'b' words with a blustering stutter ("B-B-B-Boris always b-b-b-bounces b-b-b-back!"). But in Blue Brothers he throws extra 'b's at the start of any old word for emphasis. ("We're about to become b-b-b-Tory MPs.")
- War for Fun and Profit: Oh, Oh, Oh What A Lovely Blair
- We Used to Be Friends: Tony Blair and Gordon Brown towards the end of Brothers In Arms.
- World of Ham
- Yet Another Christmas Carol: A Christmas Gordon. In which stingy Ebenezer Brown is visited by the ghosts of Prime Minister Past, Present and Future.
- You Sound Familiar: The cast barely changes from series to series. The same actors end up playing different celebrities, and unless there's a funny voice or Verbal Tic to set them apart (there usually is), they'll end up sounding exactly the same.