Blog 104

Hi Russell.  Sorry I’ve been away for too long.  Yes much coming up in the New Year.   On Febuary and March Radio 4 will be broadcasting some of my short stories in the 11.30 a.m.slot.  The series is called “The Absence  Of Normal” and it is a dramatisation rather than a reading and there are already some big name actors on board so I’ll keep you all updated about that.  Series 3 of “Sandwich Bar” is also planned for next year scheduled to be transmitted in October and November and I guess we’ll be recording in the summer.  Again I’ll keep you posted.  As to standup I don’t have any plans right now except that I will be doing both the Southport and Chester comedy festivals in 2019 but two gigs really isn’t enough is it? I really do feel I should be doing more standup especially as the few I have done in the past years have all gone really well its just hard to find the right venues.  I performed at a couple of benefits this year and they all went well but I felt like they weren’t quite right for me to work out new material so need to find something better.   Adam Buxton just emailed to ask if I’ll be on his podcast so I guess that’ll be happening in the new year too.


BLOG 104 A
Ten years blimey!  Just a few quick updates then.  Work is going very well on the Radio 4 dramatisations of my short stories.  Like I said the series will be called “The Absence of Normal” and goes out now in the 11 a.m. slot starting in late Febuary.  Many, many big star names are involved.   I’ve also begun writing series 3 of “Imaginary Sandwich Bar” and that will record in the Summer so if you want tickets for the recordings keep a lookout.
I’m probably going to be doing some publicity for the “Absence of Normal” but chances are I won’t be on Desert Island Discs.  Over the years when I’ve had a TV series or a book out the publicist has always said to me “Have you been on Desert Isalnd Discs?” and I always reply “No”.  “Well” they say confidently “I’ll fix that”. “Good luck.” Is my retort.  A few days later I see the publicist and I ask them “so am I going to be on Desert Island Discs then?” and they look at me white-faced and shaking and say “ that’s not going to happen”. Now this has been going on for three decades and there have been numerous changes of management at the BBC and at Desert Island Discs itself but I still can’t get on.    I think there must be some kind of big black book in a secret vault at the BBC saying who can never be allowed on “Desert Island Discs” and I’m in it but the thing is I don’t know what I did to get on the blacklist.  Did I blacken the name of the sacred Roy Plombley, did I go on a date with Michael Parkinson then never call him the next day?  I don’t know but if I ever do get on the show my first disc is going to be “Fuk Da Police” by NWA.


Yes that's right.  I was on Steve Wright today and I'm doing Loose Ends tomorrow and Shaun Keaveny on R6 March 7th.  Publicity blitz! And yes Absence of Normal starts 25 Feb.  11.30. I'll also be doing some Sandwich Bar tryouts at the Museum of Comedy for five nights from March 19th.


Blog 103

There was this couple me and Linda really admired called Roberta and Marcus.  We thought they were fantastic, both were very talented with successful careers, their house was decorated in superb taste and their kids were smashing.  It was a tremendous pleasure to go round to Roberta and Marcus’ for dinner rather than the appalling grind most of our social life consisted of.  On average me and Linda dined at their house once every two months and we always really looked forward to these visits.  On one particular occasion Roberta and Marcus started talking about “Takeaway Saturday.”  It came up because Saturday was the one evening when we were never invited round there.  “Oh no,” explained Marcus, “Saturday is always ‘Takeaway Saturday’ for us.  It started when the kids were young, isn’t that right Rob?”
“That’s right”  his wife replied. “Every Saturday I’d never cook, we’d just order a huge takeaway and have a big messy family meal round the kitchen table.  We still do it to this day, especially if all the girls are home from university or Jason is on leave from Iraq.”
Me and Linda were very taken with this idea, partly because we didn’t need much encouragement to eat a lot of fatty foods but also out of admiration for Roberta and Marcus.  The next weekend we too instituted our own “Takeaway Saturday.” Over the following weeks my wife and I religiously ordered and ate a number of enormous meals delivered from a variety of fast food outlets by men on scooters, some of which were of remarkably poor quality.  We’d forgotten to find out from our friends if on “Takeaway Saturday.” they procured from one favoured place or chose from a number of different options.   We decided that if we knew Roberta and Marcus it would probably be various places, so over the next few months, me and Linda had delivered to our house examples of the cuisines of China, India, Vietnam, Jamaica, Hawaii, Manchuria, old fashioned Eel and Pie shop and Azerbeijan.
It well over two months before we ate at Roberta and Marcus’ again and on that occasion we never got round to mentioning that we too had adopted “Takeaway Saturday.” In fact it was a good half a year before I happened to refer to our adoption of their sacred family ritual at which point Marcus said “Takeaway Saturday what are you on about?”
“You and the kids order a takeaway every Saturday evening without fail don’t you?” I stammered  “...It’s like a big thing in your house.”
Marcus turned to his wife,  “We never had a thing called ‘Takeaway Saturday’ did we Rob?”
“No,” she said, “ I think maybe occasionally on a weekday or something we’d have a meal delivered from that Mexican place up the road but that was back when the kids were tiny.  We’d never do anything like that now. What kind of a dick would have a special day when they ordered a takeaway?”
Linda and I acted all casual on hearing this news but I blame myself, what kind of a dick would have a special day when they ordered a takeaway?


Blog 103a

Wilf's got an article in the Guardian today about Zimbabwe.


Blog 103b

Thank you Anthony for asking about the Juliet Bravo sketch from Stuff which I think is one of the best bits from that underappreciated show.  I would also point out that I’m nether in it nor did I write it but my spirit hopefully inhabits every frame.  The sketch itself was the idea of David Renwick and Andrew Marshall who tended to do the format bending stuff.  It’s also a reminder of how playful and innovative the BBC could be once upon a time.  For those who don’t know it the show starts with the announcer saying “…over on BBC 2 we have Alexei Sayle’s Stuff while here on BBC 1 there’s another chance to see Juliet Bravo…”. Then for something like four minutes you think it’s a genuine episode of that cop show until it turns into a sketch with Owen Brenman playing a policeman who doesn’t know what a woman is and has them confused with a wigwam. I don’t think David & Andrew’s motivation had anything to do with the political orientation of Juliet Bravo more that the former star of that show Anna Cartaret was up for doing it.  But your remarks about how political popular TV dramas were in the 80s are true.  I sometimes say in my standup that the only opposition to Thatcher during that period was Alternative Comedy and the TV show Casualty.  I can recall Nurse Charlie making these long speeches, staring off into the distance as he does, about how the NHS was being wrecked by the Tories.  In all fairness I don’t watch those shows anymore but I can’t imagine the BBC being so brave in speaking truth to power now.  Just as News has been subveted by filling its senior ranks with actual Tories so Drama and Comedy has somehow too become cautious and dull.  Not that all those socially conscious TV dramas and comedies neccessarilly changed anything since we were basically stuck with both a Conservative government and opposition from the 80s to the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party two years ago and look how the forces of evil are fighting to subvert that.


Blog 103c

The BBC documentary Tate Liverpool at 30 I made for BBC1 in the NW is being repeated nationwide on BBC Four on Sunday 16th Sept, 20.30.  I am pioneering a new form-the comedy arts documentary.


Blog 103d

Hi Simon,  my beard is maintained by Vic Johnson 93 Wimpole Street.


Blog 102

I am thinking about bringing my output right into the early 2000s and I’m going to start doing a podcast!   It will be later in the year via BBC Studios.  As some of you may know one of my hobbies is spending time trying to work my way through a book called “Time Out 100 Best Cheap Eats”.  My plan has been to eat at every restaurant in that book and when I have dined at one I cross it out then never eat there again (which is usually a good idea because a lot of these restaurants aren’t that great).  This task is complicated by the fact that in the five years since the book was published quite a few of the eateries listed are not now in business and also because also I keep going to places that are not in my book.   Anyway I thought I might move things along by calling my podcast something like “Budget Dining With Alexei Sayle”.  For  each show I will dine at a budget restaurant with a comedian, a world leader or a Premier League Footballer and record what happens.  If nothing else I’ll get a free meal out of it.


Blog 102a

Hi Ferdinand.  Yes I’m doing Museum of Comedy on the 23rd & 24th of this month and a benefit for Gaza this Friday STAND-UP FOR GAZA

Comedy benefit with Sara Pascoe, Alexei Sayle, Francesca Martinez, Jeremy Hardy plus Ian Saville as compere. In aid of Palestine Trauma Centre (Gaza). Tickets £17.50 / £14 conc. from

And yes I did speak at the Marc Wadsworth meeting.  His expulsion from the Labour Party is something I feel very strongly about and this is the statement I issued.  I stand with Marc Wadsworth.     The Labour Party has - on the flimsiest of pretexts - expelled him from the Labour Party.    Marc is a veteran activist and anti-racist campaigner.  He contributed to the Party through the Black Sections, co-founded the Anti-Racist Alliance, fought against the National Front and the BNP, was a leading supporter of the Stephen Lawrence Campaign  : the list of his achievements in the field of fighting for racial equality and justice goes on and on.  And this is the man the Labour Party dares to say has “brought the party into disrepute”!

The Party should walk over broken glass to beg people of Marc’s calibre to work with them - they are very few and Marc is one of the best.    

There is a battle going on to destroy and reverse the unexpected and amazing gains the  left has made in the last three years. Mark is a casualty in that battle and I am joining the fight to see him re-instated to the front line.

I never believed we would see the prospect of a socialist Labour Party taking power in this country and the right ,with their allies in the Israel Lobby, is doing everything it can to stop that.  Marc has been victimised by them and that can't be allowed to stand.  Everyone on the Left - whether  in or out of the Labour Party - needs to back Marc in this struggle.

Thank God I'm not in the Labour Party so I can say that all the Ruth Smeeths and Wes Streetings who are trying to destroy the prospect of a Socialist Labour Party taking power in Britain can fucking fuck off, I'm backing Marc Wadsworth!


Blog 102b

Hi Russell. The BBC are being a bit slow in getting the podcast together I need to chivvy them but yes Oscar would be a good guest (though not perhaps the first)

Also I'm doing this Stop The War /Stop Trump benefit thing-



Blog 101

Hello everybody sorry I haven’t posted for a while but I’ve been taking some time off so I’ve had nothing to say.

However I am performing at the Glasgow comedy festival on the 19th of March and in preparation I’m doing some work in progress gigs at the Museum of Comedy 13th-17th March.  Come along.

Also Imaginary Sandwich Bar has been nominated for Best Radio Comedy at the Chortle Awards 2018, it won’t win, some arsehole with a huge online presence will win but Vote For Me anyway!


Blog 101a


The Palestinian-led movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!

Bjørnar Moxnes, the Norwegian Member of Parliament who formally made the nomination, said:

“Awarding this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement would be a powerful signal, emphasising the international community’s commitment to support a just peace for the Palestinian people... the Israeli people and all people in the Middle East – and the world at large.”

In partnership with Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestinian Solidarity is launching a petition seeking 15,000 signatures urging the Nobel Committee to grant the Peace Prize to the BDS movement.

BDS stands in the same proud tradition of nonviolent resistance as the Montgomery bus boycotts, the United Farm Workers grape boycott, the boycott against South African apartheid, Gandhi’s boycott of British goods, etc. 

Sign the petition and tell the Nobel Committee: the movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions deserves recognition— because Palestinians deserve to be free.

Today— as was the case with all those other boycotts, in their time— not everyone sees BDS for the principled movement that it is. Every day, BDS activists are attacked by those devoted to defending Israel’s apartheid system. 

The Nobel Committee will publish a shortlist of nominees by the end of September. We need to lift our collective voice as high as we can today, and seize this opportunity to take a meaningful step towards justice.


Blog 100

What better way to fill Blog 100 than to answer some of your questions.  With regard to a third volume of memoir it’s sort of up in the air.  My original contract with Bloomsbury is a volume of memoir followed by a volume of fiction.  There is some possibility that they would take another volume of memoir instead but I’m not sure what I want to do, if I could think of the right thing I’d really love to write some more fiction, I think the longer I spend not writing fiction the harder it will be to get back to it.

Yes Sandwich Bar book!  Ideal Christmas present and new series begins transmission on Nov 9th at 6.30 0n R4.  And good guess, it was Pauline Melville in the voodoo doll story.

I was as shocked as anybody to hear about the death of Sean Hughes.  I didn’t know him well but when I met Sean there always seemed some sadness that hung over him.  I’m sure he had other problems but there appeared to me to be a gap between what he thought his talent warranted and the critical and public acclaim that he received.  Regardless of how talented he was this is inevitably a recipe for unhappiness.  It is no accident that Alcoholics Anonymous has a saying, that you can’t control- “People Places, Things”.  You can either accept this or you can do what I do which is to think that there is a huge gap between what my talent warrants and the critical and public acclaim that I receive but to see that gap as further proof of my genius.


Blog 100a


Here's a thing I'm doing. [1]



WORD FACTORY PRESENTS: Citizen: The New Story Festival - Event #2 Hot Off The Press : An Evening with Alexei Sayle and Christina Lamb...


Blog 100b

Since you ask the whole story of the appearance-disappearance-re-appearance of Wilf Mbanga (the cat) is featured in ep 4 of Sandwich Bar which txs 30th Nov.