Hay Nonnie No

We’re sorry it’s been so long since we last blogged. We blame the weather. It’s been so cold down here in the country that our keyboard siezed up. But we’re back now and ready to rumble…whatever that means.

Last week we ‘rumbled’ at Hay on Wye, the home of one of Britain’s leading arts festivals. The Hay Festival takes place every spring in this tiny town on the Welsh border, so you’ve just missed it, although highlights are still available on Sky Arts. Long before the festival was founded, Hay was known as the book town, with dozens of shops selling books old and new. Even in this age of the Kindle, Hay is still the world capital of analogue reading material, and we’ve been going to the festival as fans and as ‘artists’ since the year it started – 1988.

Hay has always attracted first division speakers. This year featured, amongst hundreds, John le Carre, Deborah Moggach, and Will Self, Twenty five years ago we shared a platform with Roy Jenkins MP and veteran broadcaster Ludovic Kennedy, to discuss political satire, with special reference, in our case, to The New Statesman and the adventures of Alan B’Stard MP. We formed the impression that neither Roy nor Ludo had much time for our disrespectful view of the business of politics. But of course this was long before ‘Cash for Questions’, ‘Expensesgate’ and the current ‘Lords for Sale’ embarrassments proved we were right and Roy and Ludo were wrong.

Fast forward to Friday afternoon and you would have found us in a medium sized marquee talking about our journey from ‘Screen to Stage’, with Peter Florence, the creator and director of the Hay Festival. Neatly enough, we were able to tell the audience that The New Statesman became the first of our TV comedies to transfer to the theatre. Since then we’ve seen Birds of a Feather take wing as a live touring theatre production, which some of you may have seen. Most recently and most excitingly, we have high hopes that Goodnight Sweetheart may finally become a stage musical later this year (or early next).

We get more emails about Goodnight Sweetheart than about the rest of our work put together. Most correspondents either want to know whether we’ll write a new series, or else want to write one themselves. We’re flattered that the show’s fans are so keen to see more of Gary Sparrow and his gang, but we always explain that the TV series had to finish when the Second World War was won, because without physical danger there wouldn’t have been the same dramatic tension. However, we can promise you that the musical will be full of surprises and will answer some questions you hadn’t even thought of asking.