9:57am Friday 1st April 2011
IF YOU saw Tim Vine’s show The Joke-Amotive on its first tour last year, he will be telling exactly the same jokes this spring.
However, they come so thick and fast from Cheam’s king of the one-liner that they surely bear repeating, and furthermore, the Vine show is spreading out to theatres that missed out on his train of witty thought the first time around. Theatres such as the Grand Opera House in York, where the clamour for tickets has led to Sunday’s show selling out already.
“I might put a couple of new jokes in there,” says Tim, whose diary is pleasingly full, not only with tour dates but with the prospect of a new TV series on the horizon. So much so that he will not be doing a new Tim Vine solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.
“I’ve just been doing a pilot for BBC1, Tim Vine Travels In Time. They filmed it on March 23 – my brother’s birthday [his brother is Jeremy Vine, the Panorama and BBC Radio 2 presenter] – and the pilot will definitely go out in a family time slot,” he says.
“That’s kind of been taking up my time, writing with John Archer – and the idea of the show, if we ever get to write more than one episode, is that I’m like a ‘quantum geek’ who runs a little antiques shop… and travels in time.
“In the pilot, we go back in time to the year 1205, for Robin Hood, who may be fictional but we’ve tied him down to King John’s time – and we have Medieval Knievel in there and Mad Marion and the Sheriff of Nottingham. We don’t change his name; he’s just who he is.”
A read-through to an audience in the lead-up to the pilot recording went down well, giving encouragement to Tim that a series will follow.
His focus is now back on the tour as he travels the country into July, when his thoughts will turn to what he will do at Edinburgh this summer.
“I’m probably going to host my little chat show – it’ll be called Tim Vine’s Chat Show, most likely at the Pleasance, though it’s yet to be confirmed – where I invite members of the audience to take part, with me asking them if they have ambitions and dreams, what they do for a living…” he says.
“In the past I’ve always gone up to Edinburgh with a polished show and got a smooth ride from the critics, but I think that with the members of the public involved this time, it might not be so smooth. If they’re boring, you just try to find a way out by restricting them to five minutes.”
Looking to the future, he would love to call a TV show Punorama, as a riff on brother Jeremy’s Panorama shows. “I still think it’s a goer. I remember suggesting it in a meeting and there was a bit of laughter, but then they asked, ‘What’s it about?’, and I said, ‘Never mind’! But it’s a great title. One thing at a time.”
Have Tim, 44, and older brother Jeremy, who turns 46 in May, ever performed together? “Do you know, we did a thing the other day on Radio 4. We were being interviewed by Emma Freud, and given her family history [psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud was her great-grandfather], it was about our relationship. She even asked at one point, ‘Who do you think your mother likes the most?’. It’s obvious, me!
“No, I think we decided it was Jeremy and then we had to move on.”
From that “double act”, conversation turns to another one, Tim’s comedy partnership with Lee Mack on Not Going Out, in which he has played Mack’s uptight best friend in four series of the BBC1 sitcom.
The Daily Mirror carried a story in early February that Tim was seeking to quit the show, but read into this comment what you will.
“I think that there may well be some more Not Going Out shows, but I don’t think they’ve confirmed it yet. Not that there’s anything sinister in that. I would expect them to say yes. There’ll probably be more episodes in the autumn.”
Will Tim be involved? Wait and see.
• Tim Vine, The Joke-Amotive, Grand Opera House, York, Sunday, 8pm. Sold out.
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