Reviewer: Matt Forrest
You may know Stuart Maconie from his many radio and television appearances: previously he appeared on Have I got News for you, and co-hosting The Radcliffe and Maconie Show on 6 Music. However, Maconie, by his own admission, is first and foremost a writer – that is his major passion. Coming to The Lowry to promote his new book: Pie at Night, Maconie looks relaxed and in good spirits, informing us of his proud northern roots and his love for ‘The North’. An altercation with Mastermind presenter John Humphries, proves Maconie’s credentials and perfectly sets the tone for show ahead.
The show is broken into two sections: The first, is in essence, a travel guide around Britain and Maconie’s observations from his time travelling around the British Isles. He reads extracts from his previous books: Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North and Adventures on the High Teas: In search of Middle England. These include an insight into what Northerners really think of southerners and a brief history of Marmite, and how difficult it can be to acquire the foodstuff in its birth place of Burton. Finally Maconie reads a few extracts from his latest book, which is a look at leisure activities and what us Northerners do for fun, musings on horse racing, and a place in Bolton where you can bet on Crown Green Bowling, are up for discussion.
Following the interval, Maconie changes tact and gives us a brief history and a hilarious anecdote of how he became a broadcaster. In addition, there are tales of Hitler’s butlerand fond memories of the late great Terry Wogan. Regardless of the subject matter Maconie is always engaging, a fascinating raconteur, who makes it seem effortless. It’s less a show, more a trip down the pub with an old mate you haven’t seen in ages, which is very much the strength of the show.
Finishing with a story highlighting the absurdity of bread production and a mini Q &A session where questions range from his thoughts on the EU referendum to his favourite character from Viz, Maconie doesn’t shirk or shy away and gives his honest opinions. The show is well worth catching, enthralling and entertaining, if this is what ‘northerners’ do for entertainment, then it’s good night out in my book.
Reviewed: 23 February 2016 | Image:BBC