LIMA on the radio

Posted by Kelvyn Gardner on November 23, 2010

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A sharp-eared friend heard one of my rare appearances on the radio yesterday. Last summer I was asked to contribute to a Radio 4 programme about Calvin and Hobbes, the famous syndicated cartoon strip. The show was presented by UK comedian Phil Jupitus, who is a big fan of the strip. The reason I was contacted is because the author of the strip, Bill Watterson, always refused to allow any merchandise whatsoever to be produced under license. This is in somewhat stark contrast to other syndication giants like Peanuts whose licensing programme is long-lived, very wide ranging and fantastically successful. The producer wanted someone to comment on this unusual situation. I’d never been involved in an ‘outside broadcast’ radio show before, so readily agreed to take part. The producer, presenter and I agreed to meet in Oxford with the plan that we’d stroll into town, hopefully find a few shops displaying well-known licensed character merchandise, and then chat amiably about what might have happened had Calvin and Hobbes found its way into the licensing field.

As it transpired, we’d only walked five minutes down the road before a wonderful gift shop appeared before us almost as if we’d arranged it in advance. The window was full of famous character gifts – Paddington Bear, Mr Men, Garfield and even Peanuts. We stopped immediately outside and recorded the interview. We had a fun conversation, but got a bit carried away to the point that the shop owner came out and asked us to move as we were blocking his window display from the passing public! We parted with the producer promising to let me know when the show would go out. Of course, he forgot to do this, so the first I heard of it some months later was when a contact heard the show and tipped me off. Thanks to the wonders of the internet I was able to hear the final version on BBC iPlayer. As inevitably is the case, my twenty-minute interview was edited down to less than three minutes. If you want to catch rare piece of licensing talk on UK Radio, you’ve got seven days before the iPlayer link expires – enjoy!