EDIT NEWS: Newman and Baddiel In Pieces
First published March 2000
Newman and Baddiel In Pieces
Enjoyable 1993 sketch/stand-up vehicle for David Baddiel and Rob Newman. A little heavy on the running jokes and bathetic set-up scenarios, but full of amusement nonetheless. Rob Newman's Jarvis character less funny than reputation would suggest, but Baddiel's stand-up pieces reliably strong, in spite of quasi-adolescent pretensions.

The original opening titles and stings to this series (20/09/93 - 25/10/93) consisted of animation which heavily featured Edvard Munch's untitled painting known as 'The Scream'. However, these titles were changed for the 1994 repeats, and instead featured similar animation involving Newman and Baddiel in coffins. Since such a change would be very costly, it is fair to assume that they were changed following threats of legal action from the Munch estate, or from those who otherwise owned copyright of the image. The fact that the painting was stolen from its gallery at the time of these repeats is probably coincidental.

[NOTE: Producer Harry Thompson later confirmed that it was indeed the Munch estate who were causing problems, despite the fact that said copyright was due to expire within a few weeks anyway. We would include it here, but we can't. Not for legal reasons, but because... well, we're not students any more.]

[NOTE (2): The repeats were entitled 'Newman & Baddiel Rest In Pieces' on-screen; in listings magazines, however, the title was unchanged.]

A trailer for the third show featured Baddiel saying 'Why not try a sandwich?' (part of a routine about signs on the motorway). Neither this line, nor the routine in question, were present in the transmitted show. This suggested that the trailer was put together before the edit of the programme was finalised.

A section of a 'History Today' sketch ('And that's how you drive... (PAUSE)...all over the shop') was re-performed for a trailer. This was to provide enough of a pause for the last line of the continuity announcer's narration.

The Live And In Pieces show at Wembley Arena was broadcast on BBC2 in December 1994. However, this was a different (and far superior) edit to the version Avalon rush-released on video a year earlier. Some sections were presumably cut for reasons of taste (e.g. Baddiel's reference to Anne 'Cot Death' Diamond), but most of the changes seemed to be structural ones, and Newman's routine appeared to have a pace and shape which the video version had hitherto destroyed.

The BBC edit also took into account the punchline to Baddiel's poem (inspired by some holy water),where the 'JJ' character (Sean Lock) performed all of Baddiel's pet hates in one go - checking his own breath, over-yawning, drinking the holy water and going 'ahhhh!', before offering him a tangerine and saying 'pudding?'. Avalon, in contrast, had removed some of Baddiel's pet hates from the routine itself, so had to cut Lock off as soon as he had done the 'checking of breath' gesture. This made the (deliberately unsubtle) punchline look very weak, and Lock very foolish.

The use of 'fuck' was also clearly not a problem for late-night BBC2, with the continuity announcer giving viewers ample warning. Avalon's video had also boasted of a 'Poltergeist' sketch on its cover - this was, however, not present on the video, and suggested that the cover blurb had been written by someone who had viewed a longer edit of the show (or had perhaps simply guessed at the contents before the show had even been taped). It is likely that the BBC always had the rights to the rushes of the Wembley show - sections (also not on the video) were shown in a BBC2 documentary Newman and Baddiel - The Road To Wembley in December 1993, together with footage from several other gigs in the same tour. The Wembley footage soundtrack was also use don an egregious Radio 1 documentary of the same title. Here, it was not only 'fuck' that required a bleep: the well-known swear-word 'penis' was also deemed unsuitable for the network's young listeners.

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