Plan to make commute more bearable
Blackadder star Tony Robinson has come up with a cunning plan to make the morning commute more bearable.
The actor and presenter has teamed up with Richard Preddy, who wrote the sitcom Green Wing, on a series of witty announcements to be played on trains between Birmingham and London and at Marylebone Station.
Preddy wrote the lines while Robinson, who played dim-witted Baldrick in Blackadder, spent a month with staff on Chiltern Railways helping them learn the lines.
Preddy said: "It was fascinating to meet the Chiltern staff and a wonderful, if challenging, project to work on. We have all waited for a train or a bus into work as the rain pours down and bustled our way to a seat, and I think comedy can help to alleviate that stress. Everyone we met was so enthusiastic and the feedback so far has been fantastic.
"It's important to note that we aren't trying to turn everyone into a comedian. Rather we are hoping to bring out a little more of the staff's personality and humour via their day-to-day announcements and help cheer up the commuters along the way."
Among the announcements passengers will hear are: "I'd like to welcome passengers boarding this 7.33 from Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone. If you've just bumped into someone who you barely know, you now have one hour and 30 minutes of awkward small talk. Good luck."
How about: "For any passengers who've not visited London before, do please prepare yourselves for the capitals overwhelmingly calm and relaxing pace of life."
And also: "We will shortly be passing through West Ruislip where we will be racing the Underground trains. Do please feel free to cheer for our driver."
Or what about: "Will any passengers listening to noisy iPods please get a better taste in music. Thank you."
The announcements can be heard at www.goldtvchannel.co.uk - the website of the comedy channel which commissioned the project.