ON THE day I saw this comedy about cancer, the death was announced of the journalist Steve Hewlett, whose treatment for the disease had been closely followed by Radio 4’s PM programme. As always with this kind of death, the news was both expected and a shock. Over the series of interviews conducted by PM presenter Eddie Mair, Hewlett’s smooth, even voice became more gravelly and fragile until our and his hope that he might be saved, or at least his death delayed, by ground-breaking treatment was overcome by the sheer aggression of his cancer.
The interviews made for riveting listening, despite Mair’s habitually laboured attempts at humour.
Mair’s mannered irreverence usually comes across as a well meant but ill-judged attempt at providing a little light relief from the serious business of news.
But when the presenter indulged in one-way joshing with Hewlett about the latter’s wedding plans, a further weight was added to Mair’s already leaden attempts to raise a smile.
As if anyone needed reminding, it became clear just how difficult it is to