Lying On Bench was an idea that I first wrote up in 2004 (I think – it was ages ago anyway). I initially sent it to Ed Morrish, my producer friend at Radio 4, who liked it a lot and wanted to make it. We even began some tentative casting, getting some firm commitments from various people. It went to the PDG, who are the people who decide what should and should not be commissioned. They decided that it should not be commissioned.
Lying On A Bench fell asleep for a bit, until it was awoken, groggy and tired, by Resonance FM. They are a lovely little radio station
in London, who house comedians like Simon Munnery, Stewart Lee, and Daniel Kitson, so I contacted them to see if they would be interested in producing some comedy from my brain. They said yes. Then I realised I didn’t have any comedy in my brain that day, so I told them I had this project I had been working on for Radio 4 instead. Richard, the man who lives in Resonance FM liked the script and said we should make it. So we did.
We made it here:
At the studios of In The Pipeline Productions, with the help of Ian James, a most lovely and helpful sound engineer type person.
He looks a lot like this:
Because we had a minscule budget, I had to enlist the help of some of my thankfully very talented friends. For the lead role, one that required a huge amount of work, I was very lucky to get Mr Jon Richardson. He’s not only incredibly professional, he’s also one of the best comedians on the circuit in my opinion. He resembles this:
I dabbled in a role myself, and Iszi Lawrence lent her dulcet Radio 4 like voice to the final part. She looks nothing like this:
The whole thing was a little bit of a rush really. We spent two afternoons rehearsing everything, which helped Iszi and Jon get
an idea of what their performances should entail. Then we began work in the studio. We used two of these:
Laying down the tracks in several takes was really good fun. It was the sort of experience we all said we’d like to have again –
and will soon (I’ll keep you posted). I made the decision to close mike each actor, thus giving us two separate raw voice clips. We
recorded in two distinct phases – which are clearly defined in the script and final product. Unfortunately, after Jon had left for
a gig halfway across the country, we discovered the best take of part two had not recorded properly, so we had to settle on a slightly inferior take. This is a shame, because both Iszi and Jon had nailed their parts in this final take, but there wasn’t much that could be done.
So, we had the raw voice tracks, and Ian had been out at 4am that morning to record the wild track – ambient sounds from a park. He needed to do it that early to avoid the obtrusive traffic noise, and he captured a remarkably serene soundscape. Then it was just
a case of isolating the best chunk of wild sound, and editing the best takes of voice together. Using Cool Edit Pro, this didn’t take
nearly as long as I imagined it would. Indeed, the whole escapade took less than six hours from start to completion.
Resonance FM aired the final piece on 3rd May 2006, and again on 7th June 2006. You can listen to a lo-fidelity version of the show here.