Kermode and Mayo's Film Review

From Podpedia

Kermode and Mayo's Film Review
Mayo (left) and Kermode (right) broadcasting live from Edinburgh in June 2009, with guest Bill Forsyth.
Other namesWittertainment
Running time120 minutes (since 2010)[1]
Country of origin United Kingdom
Home stationBBC Radio 5 Live
Hosted bySimon Mayo
StarringMark Kermode
Edited byRobin Bulloch[2]
Produced bySimon Poole (for Somethin' Else)[2]
Original release2001 (on radio);[3]
2005 (as podcast)[4] – present
WebsiteOfficial web page
PodcastOfficial podcast feed

Kermode and Mayo's Film Review is a radio programme with Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo, broadcast regularly on BBC Radio 5 Live on Friday afternoons between 2 pm and 4 pm. The show is self-described as the BBC's "flagship film programme", and features film reviews from Kermode, interviews with actors and other guests, and listeners' emails. The programme's Twitter handle, "Wittertainment", is a nickname for the programme itself.[5]

The show is broadcast live on radio, accompanied by a live streaming webcam feed; each programme is available on BBC iPlayer and as a podcast. Individual reviews are available in an A to Z directory on the Five Live website,[6] or as videos on YouTube.[7]

As of August 2014 the show is BBC Radio's second-most downloaded podcast,[8] and fourth on the BBC list of most-downloaded shows from 2004 to 2014.[9]

History[edit | edit source]

Kermode and Mayo in 2013

Kermode and Mayo first appeared together on BBC Radio 1 in the 1990s.[10] The current incarnation of the programme started on Radio 5 Live in 2001, as a "short review segment" on the Friday episode of Mayo's weekday afternoon show.[3] Upon reuniting on Radio 5 Live, their relationship continued just as it had on Radio 1, with Kermode recalling his first words may have been 'And another thing...'.[10]

In 2005, a podcast version of Kermode and Mayo's programme was made available, the same year that "podcast" was chosen by the New Oxford American Dictionary to be its word of the year; according to Brett Spencer, who worked for Radio 5 Live at the time, it was downloaded 42 times in the first week.[4]

In 2009 the show received a Sony Radio Academy Award.[11]

When Mayo started presenting BBC Radio 2's weekday drivetime programme, the movie reviews were kept on 5 Live,[3] and expanded to two hours to become a show in its own right from 2 pm every Friday.[1] In June 2011, it was announced that BBC had signed a two-year agreement for the programme to be produced by Somethin' Else Sound Directions; the company was selected following a competitive process that also included pitches from Hidden Flack,[12] the talent management and production company whose clients include Kermode and Nigel Floyd[13] The change after ten years was part of an effort by the BBC to have more of its radio shows produced from outside suppliers.[12] The change became effective 7 October 2011;[2] as of that date Simon Poole is the show's producer, Robin Bulloch is its editor, and Rowan Woods is the guest booker. Somethin' Else announced its intention to "'build the profile of the Kermode and Mayo brand online' with more podcast downloads and a 'new digital strategy'."[12]

As of March 2014, the programme has an average audience of 585,000 listeners, with a further 241,000 people listening to the podcast and 230,000 watching the programme's YouTube channel.[14]

For the month of August 2014 the podcast was downloaded 1.6 million times, a monthly BBC Radio milestone exceeded only by The Archers.[8] As of October 2014 the show was fourth on the BBC list of most-downloaded shows of the past decade, with 50.6 million.[9]

Format[edit | edit source]

The first hour of the show normally begins with a run down of the week's top ten films, with brief comments or capsule reviews from Kermode for films he has seen; Mayo reads comments and reviews from listeners on all of the films, and these are especially invited on films Kermode has not seen. The rest of the first hour features live or pre-recorded interviews with guests, usually actors or directors promoting an upcoming release. The second hour is devoted to full reviews of recently released films. At the end of each show, Kermode identifies his 'Film of the Week.' In February 2012, a new DVD of the week feature started, with Kermode identifying noteworthy DVD releases during the programme, and revealing his DVD of the Week on the podcast.

Throughout each show Kermode and Mayo engage in "on-air sparring" that has been compared to a "bickering married couple";[12] the decade-long partnership includes numerous in-jokes and ongoing arguments.[1][15] Kermode's negative reviews are referred to by the presenters and fans as "Kermodean rants".[1]

Regular guests[edit | edit source]

Various actors have made multiple appearances on the show, particularly Jason Isaacs, Michael Sheen and David Morrissey, and are referred to as Friends of the Show. During each programme, a number of these friends may be greeted in a list,[15] beginning 'And hello to...'. Jason Isaacs is always the first on the list, having been a school friend of Kermode, but other people named in the past include Michael Sheen, David Morrissey, Stephen Fry[15] and various English folk groups.[15] When searching for "Jason Isaacs" on Google UK the phrase "Hello to Jason Isaacs" appears before the search results.[16] The phrase has also made an appearance on The Jay Leno Show, having been inserted into various on-screen graphics.[17]

Stand-in presenters[edit | edit source]

Alternative presenters take over the show while Kermode and Mayo are away. For a number of years, the most regular replacements for Kermode were Boyd Hilton (television and review editor of Heat magazine)[18] and Nigel Floyd (film critic for Time Out magazine), commonly referred to as Boyd & Floyd. Other stand-in reviewers have included former Radio 1 critic James King, Robbie Collin, film critic for The Daily Telegraph, and Andrew Collins, film editor for the Radio Times. Replacements for Mayo have included Al Murray, Colin Paterson, Zoë Ball, David Morrissey, Jo Whiley, Colin Murray, Edith Bowman, Richard Bacon, Ben Bailey Smith and Sanjeev Bhaskar.

Special broadcasts[edit | edit source]

Alongside the regular show there have been a number of special broadcasts. These include an annual 'Review of the Year' show, prerecorded and broadcast on New Year's Eve, during which Kermode names his best and worst films of the year, a Christmas Quiz, broadcast on Christmas Eve with special guests and recorded with a live audience, and occasional outside broadcasts (for example, from the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley,[19][20] a 2009 broadcast from the Edinburgh International Film Festival,[21] or during sporting events when Mayo's show comes from the location of the event).

On its 10th anniversary, the show was broadcast from the new BBC MediaCityUK in Salford featuring film music played by the BBC Philharmonic.[22] As part of the performance of the score from Midnight Cowboy, Kermode played the harmonica solo with the orchestra after volunteering at the roundtable discussion, not realising the part required the chromatic harmonica rather than the diatonic harmonica, the instrument he plays.[23][24] After the broadcast on Radio 5 finished, there was more discussion and music on sister station BBC Radio 3 later that evening.[25] The music for the broadcast was chosen by guests for a special roundtable discussion, released as a bonus podcast, except for one decision (between the music for Jaws and Indiana Jones) which was opened to the public for a text vote with the winner (Indiana Jones) being announced on Friday 27 May.[26] The guests for the roundtable discussion were Andrew Collins, Paloma Faith, Richard Wigley and Robert Ziegler.

Other 10th Anniversary extras, during a month of special programming (in May and June 2011), include a 'Best of', broadcast on 29 May 2011, presented by Hugh Bonneville, an appearance on the Richard Bacon show on 31 May 2011 discussing the beginning of the partnership and four online videos.[27]

Cinema code of conduct[edit | edit source]

In 2010, Kermode and Mayo developed a Cinema Code of Conduct, which was presented as a guide to cinema-goers as to the best way to behave while watching a film.[28][29] During the development of the Code, listeners were invited to submit suggestions for what should be included.

The Cinema Code of Conduct consists of the following rules:[28]

  • No Eating anything harder than a soft roll
  • No Slurping
  • No Rustling
  • No Irresponsible Parenting
  • No Hobbies
  • No Talking
  • No Mobile Phone Usage
  • No Kicking of Seats
  • No Arriving Late
  • No Shoe Removal (except where culturally appropriate, such as in Japan)

Related productions[edit | edit source]

Kermode and Mayo have also appeared on The Culture Show with a segment called 'The Screening Room', held in various locations, where films were discussed with an audience before clips of those films were shown.[30] Kermode also has a blog on the BBC website, called 'Kermode Uncut', where he invites discussion from viewers and often continues or begins discussions which relate back to the radio show.[31]

During his review of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Kermode made a passing comment that it was so similar to the Harry Potter franchise it might as well be called 'Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins'.[32] Listener Jeremy Dylan then took this title and produced posters, a trailer and, eventually, an independent film based on the concept, with Stephen Fry as narrator.[33] Following the basic structure of the Harry Potter books, where the main character discovers special abilities and goes to a special school, the script contains a multitude of references to Wittertainment jokes and themes.[34]

Awards[edit | edit source]

  • Gold Speech award, Sony Awards 2009[11]
  • Best Specialist Contributor, Mark Kermode, Sony Awards 2010[35]
  • Listener's Choice Award, British Podcast Awards 2017[36]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Mayo and Kermode celebrate a decade at 5 Live". Radio Times. Retrieved 3 June 2011. [permanent dead link]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Lights, camera etc". Somethin' Else Sound Directions. 21 September 2011. Archived from the original on 9 November 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Dee, Johnny (27 May 2011). "Radio review: Kermode and Mayo's Film Review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-11-11. And in radio terms a 10-year double act is something worth celebrating – especially when it has grown from a short review segment into a two-hour show and survived Mayo's move to Radio 2 (he returns each week in order to keep their show together going). 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hudson, Alex (23 July 2011). "Podcasts: Who still listens to them?". Click. BBC News. Retrieved 2012-05-16. 
  5. "Kermode and Mayo @wittertainment". Twitter. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  6. "Mark Kermode's Film Reviews A-Z". BBC. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  7. "Kermode + Mayo film reviews". Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Plunkett, John (9 November 2014). "Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode: 'Everybody thinks we'd be great on TV'". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Plunkett, John (15 October 2014). "The Archers tops BBC podcast list". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "How We Met: Simon Mayo & Mark Kermode". The Independent. UK. 29 March 2009. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "News Media Radio industry Sony Radio Academy Awards 2009: Full list of winners". The Guardian. UK. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Plunkett, John (1 June 2011). "Radio 5 Live's Kermode and Mayo film show moves to independent producer". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  13. "Hidden Flack's official website". Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  14. Burrell, Ian (3 March 2014). "The natural home for film? Radio". The Independent. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Dee, Johnny (27 May 2011). "Toasting the odd couple of film: Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  16. "Google UK says 'Hello to Jason Isaacs'". Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  17. "Jay Leno says Hello to Jason Isaacs". The Medium is not Enough. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  18. "Boyd Hilton". Boyd Hilton, United Agents. United Agents. Archived from the original on 17 October 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  19. "Kermode, Mayo and Aaron Sorkin hit Phoenix Cinema". Ham & High. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  20. "Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo at The Phoenix". Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  21. "Radio 5 Live's Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode present Wittertainment at its most Wittertaining". Retrieved 15 June 2011. [permanent dead link]
  22. "BBC Philharmonic Presents... Great Film Scores LIVE with Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo for BBC R5 Live". Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  23. "BBC Philharmonic Great Film Scores". Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  24. "Mark Kermode Midnight Cowboy harmonica session". Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  25. "The BBC Philharmonic Play Music from Your Favouite Films". BBC. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  26. Collins, Andrew. "Five Angry Men and One Woman". Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  27. "The A-Z of Wittertainment". Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 "Cinema Code of Conduct" (JPG). BBC 5 Live. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  29. "Kermode and Mayo's Cinema Code of Conduct". YouTube. kermodeandmayo. 
  30. "The Culture Show – new and improved?". Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  31. "Kermode Uncut, Mark Kermode's Film blog". BBC. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  32. "Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins". Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  33. "Jeremy Dylan interview: Benjamin Sniddlegrass And The Cauldron Of Penguins". Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  34. "Super Mega Special Review: Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins". (blog). Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  35. "The Sony Awards, Winners 2010". Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  36. "British Podcast Awards Winners / April 30 2017". Retrieved 2017-04-30. 

External links[edit | edit source]