The More Music Madhouse (commonly referred to as just The Madhouse) was a Tuesday lunchtime programme on Keynorth Radio. Presented by Lee Glasby, it was considered to be the flagship show in the KNR schedule with it's energetic mix of music and comedy.
The Crown JewelEdit
The Madhouse was certainly the show that Lee Glasby took the most enjoyment from producing and presenting, with it's fast pace, unique jingles, Glasby's enthusiastic presenting style and the featured music, which was usually pop and dance from the current period of the mid-to-late 1990s stretching back to classics from the 1980s.
Comedy Characters and SkitsEdit
Though Lee Glasby had dabbled in creating his own characters for use in promos and pre-recorded sketches, most notably Mickey the Munchkin, an effervescent chipmunk-sounding character voiced by Lee with his voice sped up, who featured in numerous ads and promos and at times interacted with Glasby during the show. However, when Jimmy Barnes joined KNR in the spring of 1997, only with the enthusiasm and the encouragement of the teenage comedy fan did Lee begin to truly untap the potential that The Madhouse had. It stopped being a music programme with a few humorous bits scattered around, and became a full-on music and comedy show.
When Barnes started helping out by lending his voice to certain Keynorth promos, he decided that he wanted to have a fairly significant role in the programme that was evidently the jewel in KNR's crown. His first character, Grange Hill pisstake Mr. Ronson featured in brief clips on The Madhouse and Lee's other lunchtime shows The Non-Stop Top 20 and The Jam Sandwich, but the idea was largely forgotten about when Jimmy suggested that The Madhouse would be the ideal platform for a new character he had been developing, Ricky Sole.
Ricky Sole, a stereotypical nerd with a strong Birmingham/West Country accent, was played by Barnes most weeks, first as an unwelcome visitor in Room 102 and then as an ineffectual "agony uncle" in Ask Ricky Sole, giving terrible advice to NDTC students. Following soon after was seasoned traveller Murray Johnson, who would turn up on The Madhouse "live via satellite" claiming he was in various locations around the world. The most successful Madhouse character of this era was Gary Hunter, a rude, upper-class food critic based largely on a minor character in The Pet Shop Boys' movie 'It Couldn't Happen Here', who would pretentiously inform listeners of his week's dining in Gary Hunter's Menu. Jimmy enjoyed playing Hunter so much he requested that Gary receive his own spin-off programme on KNR, which ran under various seasonal-titled names from December 1997 to May 1998.
The Dream TeamEdit
With Jimmy Barnes' naive enthusiasm for writing and performing, his contributions brought The Madhouse into arguably it's greatest era during the latter half of 1997, but it was Lee Glasby's tightly professional approach to radio presentation and production that held the show together week in and week out. The pair would spend many hours in the studio working together on jingles and bits and bobs that would feature in upcoming Madhouse broadcasts, the majority of which were produced on Room 102's legendary reel-to-reel tape recorder and finishing touches applied by Lee. A MiniDisc recorder owned by Glasby was also used for Keynorth production towards the end of 1997 and into early 1998.
Due to college regulations and the majority of the students in the refectory being under 18, Programme Controller Lee Glasby was consistently adamant that there be no swearing or potentially offensive material broadcast on Keynorth Radio. This was often a source of frustration for him and Jimmy Barnes, who felt that The Madhouse and it's numerous features had untapped potential if the self-imposed censorship was removed and they were able to "let go" and produce a radio programme that broke taboos and ignored taste and decency regulations.
Though the mooted "X Rated" Madhouse would never have been broadcast in NDTC, Glasby and Barnes set about producing an adults-only version of the Tuesday programme simply for their own enjoyment, and certain spoof ads and jingles were re-recorded, including a classroom-based ad involving Lee, his creation Mickey and the characters of Gary, Murray and Ricky that had been heard frequently on the show. Mickey was schoolteacher doing registration and Glasby and Jimmy Barnes' characters were the unruly schoolkids. This promo was re-recorded with swearing and offensive remarks from all featured in the original.
Sadly, the "X-Rated" Madhouse that promised to break much new ground in comedy and allow Glasby and Barnes to take off the shackles of doing a "teen-friendly" programme, was never completed due to Lee's time constraints, and there has never been a full episode of an uncensored Madhouse produced.
Selected Features of the MadhouseEdit
The Weather- Lee would give a short weather forecast every hour with often inaccurate temperature claims. This segment was "sponsored" by Chase 100, the NDTC student's sexual health advice service that Lee's partner Claire Wood had been involved in. A running joke in Room 102 between Glasby, Barnes and Lee Redfern was that Chase 100 was nought but a "clap clinic" and loud claps would often be heard as Lee was about to give out his weather forecast.
The Big Three- A weekly feature in which Lee would choose three songs that were hits in a certain month in a certain year (for example- The Big Three of June 1994) and play them back-to-back. At times, The Big Three was centered on one particular artist or band and Glasby would play three of their biggest hits back-to-back.
The Entertainment Network (T.E.N)- An occasional, pre-recorded item from Lee Glasby that would preview upcoming entertainment events, usually cinema listings.
Gary Hunter's Menu- Lee would introduce Gary to the audience and ask him what was on the critic's menu each week. Hunter would then proceed to begin each diatribe with "This week I have been mostly eating..." (shamelessly stolen from hit BBC sketch series The Fast Show) and list numerous food items. More often than not, the Menu segment would end with the ostentatious Hunter claiming superiority over Glasby. On one notable occasion, Barnes decided that Gary would not talk about food during his Menu, but instead request that Lee does a 'Big Three' from the 1950s to feature 'Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellan Bogen By The Sea' by Max Bygraves and two unnamed songs from Nat King Cole.
Ask Ricky Sole- Ricky had begun his Madhouse life as an unwelcome gatecrasher into Room 102, but shortly after Barnes devised a comedy segment in which the sad-sack Brummie loser would give really bad advice to supposedly "real" NDTC students who were writing in to the station with their personal problems. In a slightly-risque moment during it's run, given that Keynorth output was tailored mainly towards 16-18s, Sole responded to a "letter" from a teen who wanted to get a girl to like him by suggesting he take up smoking and drinking alcohol, and then claimed that Ask Ricky Sole was suddenly sponsored by Jack Daniels.
11:30 Diet Coke Break- A spoof on the abysmal television ad circa 1997 in which female office workers lusted after a handsome male colleague to the soundtrack of 'I Just Want To Make Love To You' by Etta James. Lee and Jimmy turned the idea on it's head and produced an ad where two boorish building-site workers leered at women walking past them as they enjoyed their "11:30 Diet Coke break". This ad also featured from time to time on The Non-Stop Top 20 and The Jam Sandwich.