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Radio / The Museum of Everything

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The Museum of Everything is a Radio 4 comedy series, written by and starring Marcus Brigstocke, Danny Robins and Dan Tetsell, broadcast between 2003 and 2006. The series is essentially a sketch-show, with various recurring characters and surreal scenes linked together by the concept of a museum that contains literally everything.

Not to be confused with The Museum of Anything Goes.

This show provides examples of:

  • Brick Joke: Tom Waits is initially introduced as a museum curator as a throwaway gag. He returns later.
  • Cherubic Choir: Heard whenever the gift shop is mentioned.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Just about everyone, but especially the curator. Who, for some reason, happens to be gravelly-voiced American singer-songwriter Tom Waits.
  • Code Emergency: Often used to humorous effect: "Will Mr Fire please come to the flammable items gallery?" or "Will Mr Bomb come to the Suspicious Packages Gallery?"
  • Eldritch Location: The Gift Shop counts - one father and his son kept trying to exit, only to have all doors lead straight back into the shop. Although it's downplayed, the Museum itself is one by necessity, since it may have exteriors in multiple locations in Britain and is definitely bigger on the inside in order to contain, well, everything, including itself.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The first episode begins with a very cheesy automated presentation about wicker, establishing two important facts about the museum: that it really does cover everything, and that it's not very good.
  • Eye Scream: The museum's curator, Tom Waits, will frequently tell some surreal, rambling anecdote inevitably featuring someone with a missing eye. He's eventually forced to admit that he doesn't know anyone with a full set of working eyes.
  • Magic Realism: While the museum's impossibility is acknowledged (e.g., that it really does contain everything, including itself), by far its main purpose is its ability to be the setting of any conceivable museum-related sketch. This briefly slips when we finally see inside the (pause for effect) gift shop. aaaahhhh...
  • Mishmash Museum: Well, what do you expect when the museum contains literally everything?
  • Museum of Boredom: Largely averted, as you might expect. Certain exhibits count, such as the history of stairs exhibit which is located between floors one and two.
  • Only Sane Man: Museum visitors often come across as this.
  • Parody Commercial: Numerous, including a worrying-sounding theme park called Badgerland (parodying the Toy'R'Us adverts) and regular adverts promoting bizarre partworks: Build your own life-size Bob Dylan! Week by week, build your own full-scale replica of the Cutty Sark! How about a one-to-one scale replica of France!
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The mistress of Bagshot Grange (a stately home now open to the public due to the owner's debts) shows nothing but contempt for her disabled husband. She's also convinced that anyone foreign or working-class must be a criminal, which proves a problem when she's giving them guided tours.
  • Recursive Reality: It's pointed out that a Museum of Everything would also have to contain another Museum of Everything, and so on.
    • Also the sketch involving a man unable to leave the gift shop, since all the doors lead straight back in.
  • Renaissance Fair: The episode "The Coach Trip" has a Ren Fair theme, with the conceit that the audience (and the announcer) are visiting the Chaversham Medieval Fair on a day trip from the Museum. Sketches feature the denizens of the Fair, such as the jousting demonstration which is run by a single enthusiast and his long-suffering wife, who he's strong-armed into being the opponent despite her having no training or aptitude. (He gets his come-uppance when the tour bus driver, showing an unexpected streak of chivalry and a large side-order of Combat Pragmatism, appoints himself the lady's champion and fights in her place.) At the end of the episode, the tour bus is heard driving off as the announcer gives the closing spiel — which ends with her realising that this means she's been left behind.
  • Running Gag: Plenty, such as the constant expansion of the gift shop.
  • Shout-Out: In a sketch about the imprisonment and execution of Mary Queen of Scots, Mary is heard singing the theme song from women-in-prison drama Prisoner: Cell Block H.
  • Take That!: The Museum of Everything Film Institute features pretentious film critic Tom Commode whose distinct accent (pronouncing film as fillum) is an obvious parody of critic Tom Paulin. On one occasion he interviews the most important figure working in fillum today: Himself. The name also appears to be a swipe at critic Mark Kermode.