Marissa's Manchester Comedy Festival Diary - The Lowry - 24th Oct

The Lowry plays host to many touring shows all year round so it's not surprising that the festival line up is impressive. Indeed tonight occupying the big room at the venue is East ender Cockney done good Micky Flanagan but I'm here to check out someone a little closer to home performing a lovely one man show in the studio space – Toby Hadoke. As you'll already know if you've been reading this blog Hadoke runs XSMalarkey (along with the rest of the team) and has done for many years. He's a comedian and an actor so a few years ago he performed his first solo show (I shared a flat with him and can divulge that he paces in the kitchen when learning his lines.) That show was Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf and revealed his love of the long running sci-fi TV series – not that anyone who has ever engaged him in a Doctor Who conversation would be surprised at his obsession, nor his impressive encyclopedic knowledge of the subject. The show also delved into his difficult childhood years - his father left when he was four - and how Doctor Who gave him something of his own, and how he then bonded with his own son watching the new series.

His second solo show Now I Know My BBC expands on the BBC's influence on Hadoke, in fact it didn't stop at Doctor Who but most of the BBC's output as he discovered it at an early age having spent six months indoors wearing a crash helmet after he fell and cracked his skull. For anyone the same age as Hadoke like me - give or take a year (not telling you which way) - his thirty something evocations of the simpler days of television will strike a chord. When there were only three channels and two of them were BBC ones and when you had to get up to turn the TV over. Hadoke recalls the beautiful elementary qualities of Take Hart with artist Tony Hart and plasticine Morph and his ongoing dispute with Chaz, he shares what Grange Hill taught him about drugs and how Top of the Pops encouraged deferred gratification in kids. Again Hadoke revisits that tricky bullied childhood of the posh pov that lived on a hill called 'hill' in rural Shropshire. And he tells of his long lost friend Catherine. For those that aren't the same age Hadoke handily describes everything in terms of how like Hollyoaks it was. Thankfully, not at all.

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