Mark Steel records show in King's Lynn
One of radio's top comedy shows came to Lynn on Wednesday night to relentlessly take the mickey out of the town ... and didn't people love it.
Mark Steel was at a absolutely packed Guildhall to record an episode of his In Town series for BBC Radio 4.
This has a simple premise. Mark goes to a town, finds out all its idiosyncrises and then broadcasts them to the nation.
But in that laughter is affection and a tribute as well. As his producer Carl explained to the audience beforehand, "Just look at it as like a best man's speech".
Among the topics in his firing line were; the ferry ("why have a ferry going to proper places like France and Sicily when you can get one to be dumped off at West Lynn which seems to consist of a patch of mud"), the lack of markets in both the Tuesday and Saturday market places, the "extraordinary news" that Lynn library has to have bouncers because among the problems were crumbs being dropped on the computers, the rabbits on the Hardwick roundabout, the delights of the late-lamented Heights nightclub, the horror at the imposition of £1 charge in the car parks at night and the ambience of the Crown and Mitre pub.
He was very taken with the tidal bore along the River Ouse at Magdalen, shown to him by Kevin Holland, one of several people in the town to help put the show together and who spoke on the recording.
And he loved the luminaires projected on buildings around Lynn, noting that they were part paid for by the EU. This taken with the ancient connection to Europe through the Hanseatic League must surely make Lynn fervent remainers, he teased. "It would be incredible," he said, "if say, to take a random figure, 67 per cent were to vote against something they have been linked with so long!"
The Lynn News was also in his sights with the letters of Edward Wheatley getting special tribute.
It was a marvellously entertaining evening. Mark said he saw Lynn as "coming to terms with being a small town rather than a major port ... like a rock star who had once been big but is now happy leading a quiet life".
He said afterwards: "It was a great audience, I really enjoyed it and I've had a brilliant trip here."
The show, which will be edited down to 30 minutes from nearly two hours, is provisionally slated to be broadcast on January 17.