Friday 11 July, 2014
As part of the BBC’s commemoration of World War 1, unusual were asked to make a series of short features that take Radio 2’s listeners back to 1914.
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unusual brings together the illegible handwriting of the Sony and Bafta winning comedian, writer and broadcaster Jon Holmes, the battered and jaded creativity of Head of Production Nick Minter and the expensive looking desk calculator of media boss Shane Wall.
Between them unusual have over 350632.511 hours* of media industry experience of staring out of windows (Jon), saying “what idiot thought of this – and don’t say it was me” (Nick) and filing paperclip purchase requisition forms in triplicate (Shane).
These skills have seen their work appear on every major broadcast network including, TV-wise, BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC 3, Channel 4, ITV1 and NBC, and on radio all national networks with the notable exceptions of Radio 3 and 1Xtra, due to an unfortunate confusion at proposal stage between Felix Mendelssohn and Felix Da Housecat.
Between them they have won 7 Sony Radio Academy Awards, 2 Baftas, 2 British Comedy Awards, a Writer’s Guild Award, a Royal Television Society Award, a Golden Rose of Montreux nomination, a Broadcast Award, a Channel 4 Political Awards nomination, a five metre swimming certificate, two cycling proficiency badges, a lifetime supply of WD40 in a local radio competition** and at least one of them once came second in a gymkhana.
*roughly 40 years
**roughly two cans.
Jon is a seven-time Sony and Double Bafta winning writer, comedian and polymorphic media alloy, currently presenting that there Xfm breakfast show.
He’s haunts BBC Radio 4 like a tiny ghost, writing and performing as one of The Now Show team, and his own series Listen Against is “glorious”, “triumphant”, “stunningly made” and “beautifully crafted and scalpel sharp” depending on which newspaper you read. He appears on 5 live’s Men’s Hour and also has his own show on the network, Jon Holmes’s Mob Rule. He also holds a British Comedy Award for Best Radio Comedy.
On TV Jon has worked with Armando Iannucci, Stephen Fry, Harry Hill and Graham Norton. Jon also co-created Dead Ringers and co-writes the hugely popular Royal Television Society and Bafta Award winning Horrible Histories for BBC1. Other TV includes Mock The Week, Have I Got News For You, Top Gear and 2010/2011 Unwrapped.
He is a travel writer for The Sunday Times and his books Rock Star Babylon, The Now Show Book and The History of the World Through Twitter are now also available on a futuristic Kindle.
He was once asked to go on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. He told them to sod off.
Shane has been working behind the scenes in radio for very nearly three decades now, in both the commercial sector and BBC.
It all started in the eighties when his mother asked him what he was going to do with his life, after MacDonald’s failed to get him through his first burgerzamination. “I want to be a DJ” he said.
After a year at Southern Sound as it was then known followed by a spell at the National Broadcasting School, Shane quickly realised that he was never going to be a radio presenter. Ever. So he became the next best thing. A studio engineer. Firstly with the COI, then BBC (in news) and somehow ended up running the technical division at UBC Media for eleven years, which came as a surprise – initially joining them on a six month contract to cover somebody’s maternity leave. This was a good tenure – spent supporting programme makers at every level and in all disciplines.
He worked with producers, artists and celebrities of all kinds, at many locations from the Royal Box at Wembley Stadium to the MTV Awards in Stockholm. During this time Shane spent a great deal of his time working with producers to ensure that technical standards were met for all BBC Radio network programming – including circumnavigating the transition from ¼” tape to computer based systems. In addition he has an excellent knowledge of international ISDN protocols, something that makes his mother very proud.
Nick is Head of Production for unusual. He wanted his title to be “Chief Quality Control Executive (Real Ale Division)” but Jon and Shane felt it insufficiently represented his day-to-day duties.
Nick has worked in radio for 20 years now, yet has the face of one much, much younger. He’s produced music and speech programming for most BBC and commercial stations in the UK, and for many international ones, as well as large chunks of blue-chip corporate work that can safely be filed under “sorry, what are we talking about again?”.
His skillset encompasses lateral creative thinking, tenacity, vision and “kicking anyone who earnestly uses the word ‘skillset’ up the bum then running away”. Weirdly, despite personally writing this summary, he has been referring to himself in the third-person throughout. I mean, he is/I am in his/my forties. He/I really should know better.
Nick is the first point of contact for almost everything day-to-day with unusual, unless it’s boring, involves figures or requires him to talk about cars. He has a grey car. Please can we stop talking about cars now.
We make radio, TV, film and online content happen. Our commissions come from as far afield as LA and as close to home as that building across the road.
Recent commissions and on-going projects from the team include:
Every week for 18 weeks, we have been in charge of writing, recording and producing this unique piece of commercial content for Xfm and their client Bulmers.
“Jon Holmes tackles your 140 character weekend plans and turns them into a mighty piece of radio, every Friday on Xfm just before 7pm.”
The Sunday Times
Olympic gaffes and a certain MP’s jungle antics — impressionist duo Jon Culshaw and Jon Holmes give their tongue-in-cheek take on this historic year.
Unusual have been working with sister company Abundant on the UK launch of the latest Danny Boyle film, Trance. We have produced the audio for the Electronic Press Kit, and the UK radio 30s spot as heard on Xfm, Absolute, Heart and Capital over the past week
BBC Radio 2
Sir Cliff Richard finds out the truth behind the world’s most famous Christmas carol: Silent Night. He asks why people find the carol so moving; whether it is really about Christmas, or something altogether different; and we find out just how many different versions can be squeezed into one hour.
An unashamedly festive adventure through the history of Silent Night – a journey that takes us to snowy Austria where the carol was composed in 1818. Here we meet the Silent Night Association – a team of impossibly dedicated super fans who live to spread the word about the world’s favourite Christmas Carol. We are invited around the Silent Night memorial chapel and museum where we discover evidence that, since the early 1800s, the world has been singing just three of the original six verses!
Sir Cliff also hears from poets, musicians and historians about the carol’s lyricism, composition, and global significance. And we hear from a range of contemporary choirs about the challenges of bringing the carol to life for a modern audience.
Broadcast: Tuesday 25th December 2012, 9pm
Zuno provide video e-cards for Facebook. We produced a series of short comedy videos with our dear friends Pappy’s for people to send to their Facebook friends on their birthdays.
Pappy’s is an English funnyman trio, comprised of comedians Ben Clark, Matthew Crosby and Tom Parry. They regularly perform on the London comedy circuit and at comedy clubs nationwide.
BBC Radio 2
Produced by Unusual’s Heather Davies for USP Content
Barry Davies presents the story of the last time the Olympic Games came to London, the Austerity Games of 1948. The veteran BBC sports commentator hears of a games held just three years after the end of the Second World War, amidst food rationing and economic crisis.
On a shoestring budget, and with no government money, the organising committee staged a successful and cost-efficient Olympics. The 4,000 competitors were housed in army barracks and in people’s houses, rather than any Olympic Village. They used existing venues, with Wembley Stadium at the heart of the games. And the BBC became the first broadcaster to pay a fee to televise the sport, paying £1,000 for the rights to film the games.
Broadcast: Tuesday 31st July 2012 21:00
BBC Radio 2
Weekly topical comedy chaos as the man called Jon Holmes bring his unique brand of humour to Radio 2 over the summer.
Jon will be talking to some legendary sitcom ladies, including Nerys Hughes, Sue Pollard, Penelope Keith and Linda Robson.
Find out more on the BBC Radio 2 website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01l34dr
Broadcast Weekly: Throughout Summer 2012
Comedy, sketches and satire presented by Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, with regular weekly interruptions from Jon Holmes and others.
Broadcast weekly: Fridays 6.30pm / Saturday 12.30
Weekly music and entertainment programme. Radio mischief including the legendary quizzes Ken Brucemaster and Band I Found On Myspace, Or…
Broadcast weekly: Saturday 10am-1pm
Jon Holmes and Miranda Hart host a lively, warm and funny show with special celebrity guests and lots of chat with the listeners.
The theme is Secret Santa – what to give, what you’d like to receive, how much to spend and, most importantly, what would be the ideal Secret Santa presents for the celebrities who’ve made the headlines through the year.
Broadcast: Friday 23rd December 2011
These days the state of the world is analysed, discussed and dissected by its most voracious consumers – the public. Its myriad problems are sorted and solved by The Mob who are never backwards in coming forwards with their solutions and shouting via Have Your Say websites, letters to newspapers, texts to TV shows, and calls to radio stations around the globe. Not to mention the vented views that fill up the blogosphere, the Twittersphere, and all manner of multiplatform outlets ending in the word ‘sphere’.
Jon Holmes dips into the stream of public consciousness that spews over the comments pages of the web and beyond. What would ‘The People’ do to solve the world’s problems? Will Jon Holmes’ Mob Rule? Or are they all mad?
Broadcast: 2010 / 2011
Radio 1′s Access All Areas series continues with Superfans, the story of the obsessive fan, through the eyes of those that have been there and done it – and those who are still doing it now.
Part 3 of 3 in Radio 1′s Access All Areas series. This, together with the previous two episodes, ‘The Tour Bus’ and ‘The Entourage’, is available to listen to until Monday 9th May.
Broadcast: Monday 2nd May 2011, 9pm
In September 2009, at the tender age of 92, Dame Vera Lynn topped the UK album chart, beating Arctic Monkeys and The Beatles along the way. Keep Calm and Carry On is a celebration of the “Forces’ Sweetheart” and her astonishing achievements.
Katherine Jenkins tells the story of a young singer who, in 1944, packed just one dress and a pair of khakis and went to the front line in Burma to entertain the troops. Dame Vera talks candidly about her life and legacy, whilst those that have worked with, or been inspired by her, provide further insights into her extraordinary accomplishments. Contributors include Curtis Stigers, Simon Weston, Val Doonican, June Whitfield, Lionel Blair, and a man whose job requires him to move pianos through the jungle.
The series will feature music from Dame Vera’s enormous back catalogue of timeless classics, as well as the earliest recordings from her very first record label. It first broadcast on Radio 2 in May 2010.
Broadcast: Monday 10th & Monday 17th May 2010 / Wednesday 6th & Wednesday 13th April 2011