Andy Hamilton

Revolting People: The Complete Series 1-4
  • Revolting People: The Complete Series 1-4

  • All four series of the hilarious historical sitcom set just before and during the American Revolution

    Baltimore, 1770, and shopkeeper Samuel Oliphant has much to worry about. Storm clouds are gathering, business is bad, and to make matters worse, he’s been forced to play host to two British soldiers. Hapless officer Captain Brimshaw is decent enough, but his fellow redcoat – the one-eyed, one-eared, one-armed and one-legged Sergeant McGurk – is a shameless rascal obsessed with money and sex.

    Adding to Samuel’s troubles are his family – his wife Elizabeth has become a lesbian, his son Joshua is a dimwitted giant, his eldest daughter Cora is in love with the pro-British Ezekiel Spriggs and her sister Mary is an ardent revolutionary…

    In these four series, Mary tries to starts a mutiny at her sister’s wedding; Cora falls pregnant – but the marriage isn’t consummated; McGurk turns spy and Ezekiel discovers the truth about his ginger baby (and sets out to find the ginger father). With war fast approaching, Samuel turns his shop into a bar called Sam’s Place and helps an old flame called Ingrid, Cora discovers a gift for penning pornography, and Mary discovers there’s no place like home. And as the revolution hits Baltimore, Ezekiel is kidnapped by rebel militia, Captain Brimshaw attempts to broker peace with George Washington and Samuel and company flee to London. Can they persuade King George III to end the war?

    Written by Andy Hamilton and Jay Tarses, who also star as Sergeant McGurk and Samuel Oliphant, this riotously funny comedy boasts a stellar cast including Sophie Thompson, Jan Ravens, Felicity Montagu, James Fleet, Hugh Dennis and Rebecca Front.

    Written by and starring Andy Hamilton and Jay Tarses
    Produced and directed by Paul Mayhew-Archer
    First broadcast BBC Radio 4: 18 January-22 February 2000, (Series 1), 24 April-29 May 2001 (Series 2), 27 May-1 July 2004 (Series 3), 2 May-6 June 2006 (Series 4)

From Andy Hamilton: People often ask me (well, journalists sometimes ask me) where I got the idea of writing a comedy set in Hell, and I usually tell them that I found it in Woolworths. I give them this flip, smartarse answer because the truth is I can't actually remember. No doubt, in part, I was attracted by the notion of consigning the likes of Robert Maxwell to the torment of the eternal fires. Who wouldn't find that funny? And playing Satan, of course, was always going to allow me to generally show off in a shameless way, and pretend I had the nether regions of a goat. So that was another attraction. But the actual specific trigger that caused me to sit down and write Old Harry's Game is a mystery to me now. Another question that is frequently slurred at me by swaying journalists is 'Which one of the characters do I think is most like me?' Now, this is a tricky one. The Professor, certainly, is the person I wish I was. He's kind, balanced, enquiring and optimistic. The part I actually play, though, is the jaundiced, cynical Satan, and the ease with which I slip into the hooves of this sadistic schemer is, frankly, a little worrying. There are times, too, when the disgusting, depraved Thomas starts to look disturbingly familiar. But, of all the characters, the one I suspect I resemble most is the disaster-prone, eager-to-please Scumspawn (who made his first appearance in the second series as Satan's bungling assistant). From time to time, I get quizzed about the prospects of Old Harry's Game transferring to television. Well, it wouldn't be an easy transition because the show is so quintesentially radio. After all, on radio we can transform a character into a 40-foot aubergine, and no one writes in to quibble about how convincing it is. Every listener visualises their own impossibly gigantic eggplant. If we attempted the same effect on BBC 1 then we would be inundated with pedantic letters from greengrocers. Finally, there is one question that journalists are always asking me, namely 'Is there any truth in the rumours about me and Catherine Zeta-Jones?' Well I'm sorry, but I feel it would be wrong for me to comment, especially when the poor girl is trying so hard to get over me. End of story. Andy Hamilton.

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