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Radio / Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation

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Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation was a comedy radio series on BBC Radio 4 starring Jeremy Hardy (The News Quiz, I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue).

In every episode, Jeremy would give a comic lecture on a topic of his choosing, interspersed with discussion and sketches featuring his two guests.

The series ran for ten seasons between 1993 and 2014, and was followed by a Spiritual Successor, Jeremy Hardy Feels It, which dispensed with the sketches and guests and just had him talking about an emotion, followed by an audience Q&A. Feels It ran for one season of four episodes. Any plans for a second season were sadly ended by his death in 2019.


  • The Announcer: Every episode was introduced in an elaborate fashion by BBC newsreader Peter Donaldson. This continued even following Donaldson's retirement in 2012, leading Jeremy to claim that the BBC still owned his voice, and could make it say whatever they wanted.
  • Audience Participation: The unscripted Q&A at the end of each episode of Feels It.
  • Christmas Special: Jeremy Hardy's New Year Cavalcade.
  • Credits Gag: The credits are always reflective of the theme. For example, in "How to be a Good Citizen":
    Carla: Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation was drafted by Jeremy Hardy and put into effect by Gordon Kennedy and Carla Mendonça. Ultimate control rested with David Tyler and the show was a Pozzitive production for the state broadcasting company of the United Kingdom.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In "How to Speak", Paul Basset-Davies claims to be a lecturer at the National Institute for the Study of Verbal Talking and Redundant Tautology.
  • Divine Race Lift: When telling the story of Abraham, Jeremy explains that "For the purposes of winding up bigots, God will be played by Debbie Isaacs."
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Following a skit to illustrate one of his points, Jeremy says:
    Jeremy: Now, at the risk of explaining what you've just heard in a way that sucks all mirth from life, in a similar manner to Nicholas Parsons on Just a Minute...
  • Gag Penis: In "How To Be A Woman In The 21st Century", Jeremy asks Gordon Kennedy if it's true what they say about a Man in a Kilt. Gordon's reply is "Personally, I don't risk it. A kilt only comes down to the knees, after all. Could be embarassing."
  • Hypocritical Humor: A recurring bit is Jeremy explaining something and then immediately doing the opposite, for instance:
    Jeremy: But nothing alienates the young more than attempts by their elders to understand them. Isn't that right, kids?
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming:
    • All episodes have titles starting "How to...", describing the topic from which Jeremy would be digressing this week. The shortest is "How to Die", the longest is "How to be Better Theologically, Socially, Nationally and in Terms of One's Own Personal Development, Responsibility and Interaction with the Fellow Humans with Whom We Share this Fragile Planet, and Ting" (usually referred to as "How to be Better").
    • All episodes of Jeremy Hardy Feels It are listed on the BBC website with simply the emotion he's talking about, although he announces them as "This week, Jeremy Hardy feels [emotion]".
  • Misery Poker: Jeremy worries that comforting the bereaved can come across like this: if your mother is suffering dementia and you tell someone whose mother died suddenly "At least she was with you right up to the end", you're kind of saying their situation isn't as bad as yours.
  • N-Word Privileges: Jeremy was once at a debate about hip-hop where they discussed whether white people could ever use the n-word:
    Jeremy: And I thought "Well, why would I ever want to use it?" It offends me, as a human. I am offended by the n-word because I'm not a c-word.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Jeremy calls Gordon Kennedy "the most famous Scottish person in Wilsden." (Wilsden is in West Yorkshire.)
  • Timmy in a Well: In "How to Speak", Paul Basset-Davies explains that dogs can understand our tone of voice, and from this can learn simple words like "Sit" "Roll over" and "What's that, Skippy? Flipper's fallen down the old mineshaft?"