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A Wall of Laughter hits BBC Tyneside

Other posts by  |  Sheelagh Caygill on Google+ |  January 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

The cast of It's Grim Up North (l-r) Dale Meeks, Karen Traynor, Gary Kitchin, Dean Logan, Mat Hobbins, Jackie Fielding and Chris Connel

A comedy following the exploits of a group of dodgy Roman auxiliary soldiers building Hadrian’s Wall, has been snapped up by the BBC.

It’s Grim Up North by Tyneside-based writers Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood, started life as an internet download last summer.

But after being heard by Nigel Dyson, controller of BBC Cumbria, the play set in AD126 on the northern most fringes of the Roman empire, will take to the radio airwaves next month.

Ed and Trevor – whose national and international comedy stage play hits include Dirty Dusting, Waiting For Gateaux, Son of Samurai and Maggie’s End – have written five six-minute episodes based on their hapless 2nd century creations who are based at the fictional milecastle of Drizzlewort (the name reflecting the prevailing weather).

The duo, who scooped the Best Comedy Screenplay award at the New York-based Gotham Screenplay Festival in 2010, are obviously delighted a home-grown comedy will be broadcast by the BBC.

Trevor says: “Hadrian’s Wall is a fantastic setting for a show and we hope people in radioland find it as funny as the positive responses we got from the website broadcast.

“Apart from further radio broadcasts, our aim is to add more episodes and tour the show along Hadrian’s Wall as a live radio stage show in a similar manner as we did with Son of Samurai when it was performed at the Latitude Festival and at North East venues.”

Supported by Sunderland University, Ed and Tony called on actor friends to record the pilot episode in July last year for their website.

It stars Dale Meeks, Dean Logan, Gary Kitching, Mat Hobbins, Karen Traynor, Chris Connel and Jackie Fielding, who also directed the show which focuses on the seven auxiliaires and a servant whose thankless task it is to man milecastle 17 with its cold stream bath and hole in the ground for a toilet.

There are Britons from south of the wall, rebellious Picts and Roman auxiliaries from sunnier parts of the vast Roman Empire – hence their dislike of the constant rain in the wilds of Northumberland’s picturesque but cold and wet moors!

Nigel Dyson says: “I loved the idea, the setting, the script and the passion of Ed and Trevor when pitching this. It captures the imagination and uses our own region’s history to suggest just what it might have been like to be a soldier when Hadrian’s Wall was built.”

A broadcast date has yet to be set for It’s Grim Up North, but it is scheduled to air in February.

To hear the original podcast of It’s Grim Up North go to


Chris Connel, Dean Logan and Gary Kitching get to grips with It's Grim Up North





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