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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A parody of the Wikipedia logo, the Bigipedia logo features a similar jigsaw globe design, but also includes comical ears, eyes, smile and a hat. The word "Bigipedia" is spelt using letters from languages other than English.
The Bigipedia logo
Genre Sketch show
Running time 30 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Languages English
Home station BBC Radio 4
Starring Nick Doody
Ewan Bailey
Sam Battersea
Margaret Cabourn-Smith
Neil Edmond
Pippa Evans
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Melanie Hudson
Lewis MacLeod
Gareth Tunley
Creators Nick Doody
Writers Nick Doody
Matt Kirshen
Carey Marx
Sarah Morgan
Margaret Cabourn-Smith
Neil Edmond
Directors David Tyler
Producers David Tyler
Air dates 23 July, 2009 to 13 August, 2009
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 4
Website Bigipedia homepage

Bigipedia is a comedy sketch show broadcast on BBC Radio 4 that aired between 23 July and 13 August 2009. The show's storyline revolves around "Bigipedia", a website broadcast on radio, intended to be a parody of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia; the series mocks Wikipedia and other aspects of the internet.[1] The BBC Press Office described the show as, "a unique experiment in 'broadwebcasting' ".[2][3] The series was created by co-stars Nick Doody, who also co-writes the show with Matt Kirshen and a wider team of writers. It is produced by Pozzitive Productions. Whether a second series will be commissioned will not be known until early January 2010.[4]

Critics have given Bigipedia positive reviews. The series was marketed by the BBC as "The Sunday Format for the online age",[3] and critics have given Bigipedia favourable comparisons with its predecessor.[1][5] The quality of the writing has also been praised.[5] However, critics have also attacked the way the show is presented.[6] The first series of Bigipedia was made available to purchase as a download from from 1 December, 2009.[7]



Bigipedia is a website broadcast on the radio. Like Wikipedia, it contains articles and discussion pages about a range of different subjects, which can be edited by anyone. Among the similarities are articles, discussion pages, disambiguation pages, featured articles, a news section and a "Did you know?" section for new articles.[8][9] Bigipedia differs from Wikipedia in some ways. For example, Bigipedia includes puzzles and competitions, sells its own software,[8][9] has a range of screensavers,[10] and a section for children called Bigikids, which has different names in the past which have all had to be changed for different reasons. For example, the name changed from Kidipedia "due to a misunderstanding",[1][8] and Underage Fun, "due to a copyright infringement".[9]

Also, while Wikipedia does not have advertising, Bigipedia does and is also sponsored by a fictional wine-like drink called "Chianto" which is referred to as "this horrific drink".[2] The Bigipedia article on Chianto says: "Over the years it has been sold as a hair remover, self-defence spray, hair restorer, and to farmers as a humane way of killing chickens – by putting it into the pig's feed and leaving the gate open. By morning not only were the chickens killed, but often plucked, too."[8]


The series was originally conceived by Doody, who was working with producer David Tyler on another BBC Radio 4 comedy series, Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive. Doody attended a meeting where people were discussing new ideas for radio shows, and Kirshen suggested the idea, and both he and Kirshen wrote the full proposal. Radio 4 liked the idea and a pilot was made.[2] Tyler went on to produce and direct Bigipedia.

Doody and Kirshen describe the show as "writing-heavy". Doody said in an interview with the British Comedy Guide: "Compared to most radio shows, it's incredibly dense, material-wise, and very fast-moving. I think Matt and I would like some of it to be even faster, but sometimes people who've heard the pilot say things like, "It's almost too much." I really like that. I like that it's something you kind of need to hear twice to catch everything. When we got the series, I honestly didn't know where we'd come up with the material of the quality we were determined to keep up."[2]

Some of the sketches in Bigipedia are inspired directly by articles on Wikipedia. Kirshen said in the same interview: "There's a 'Bee Whisperer' in Episode 3 that came from clicking the "Random article" link on Wikipedia. I don't remember what the page we got was, but about three logical leaps later we landed on that idea."[2]

It was revealed by Doody on his Doubling Up podcast with Rob Heeney that there was an extended edition of "The Line" sketch, which he broadcast on the show.[11]


The reviews of Bigipedia have been mainly positive. Before the series began, Scott Matthewman in The Stage compared Bigipedia to The Sunday Format, saying: "Indeed, the comparison even makes it into the BBC's own press notes. Will this version, which takes the mickey out of online communication, deserve the comparison? That's something we'll have to wait and see."[12] Chris Maume in The Independent on Sunday also commented that there are references to Spinal Tap, On the Hour and Brass Eye.[1]

Elisabeth Mahoney in The Guardian said that she liked the Chianto running gag,[5] while Gillian Reynolds from the Daily Telegraph commented positively on Bigipedia saying it was, "the first late-night comedy in ages that has made me laugh, about computers and why I'm scared of them, about vile TV shows and meaningless commercials. Written by Nick Doody and Matt Kirshen, performed with zest by a sparkling cast. Bound to become a cult."[13]

Clare Heal in the Sunday Express gave a mixed review, saying that while she found it amusing, it was too similar to the internet saying, "The programme's only failing was that on occasion it was a little to [sic] reminiscent of the real internet, ie a virtual ocean full of morons willing to shout loudly about things even (or perhaps especially) if they know nothing about them. You wouldn't want more than half an hour of Bigipedia, no matter how amusing it is."[6]


# Title Original airdate
1 - 1 "Episode 1" 23 July 2009
Bigipedia looks at the original and disturbing origins of the song "Teddy Bears' Picnic"; the featured article on "Fragrant Slab", a band most famous for a song that song like the Microsoft Windows start up music; Bigikids teaches children how to make fish fingers; and there is an article about the most boring collection of messages in bottles in history.[14] 
1 - 2 "Episode 2" 30 July 2009
This week looks at the featured article about The Line, the greatest TV series ever made; a selection of Bigipedia screensavers including one featuring ducks; a debate on whether an actress is notable enough to get her own article; and a look back at Chianto's politically incorrect adverts of the 1970s.[15] 
1 - 3 "Episode 3" 6 August 2009
Bigipedia receives a collection of personal ads, Bigikids looks at how to be a spy; there is a tutorial about how to make music using Bigiband software; and there is a featured article on "The Bee Whisperer", a Welshman who was the only person to keep bees for their company and not their honey.[16] 
1 - 4 "Episode 4" 13 August 2009
Bigipedia becomes more sinister with its new street mapping service BigiStreetWatch and develops technology in an attempt to take over the world. Also there is a new article about a magician who was best known for his skills in misdirection; and a series of disastrous Uruguayan safety adverts.[17] 

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Maume, Chris (26 July, 2009). "Bigipedia, Radio 4". The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 26 July, 2009.  
  2. ^ a b c d e "Interview With Nick Doody and Matt Kirshen". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 22 July, 2009.  
  3. ^ a b "Network Radio BBC Week 29: Thursday 23 July 2009". BBC Press Office. Retrieved 26 July, 2009.  
  4. ^ Tyler, David (8 December, 2009). "@ianwolf Ahahah, don't know yet; will find out in early January, or MonthOne according to new BigiCalendar". Twitter. Retrieved 8 December, 2009.  
  5. ^ a b c Mahoney, Elisabeth (24 July, 2009). "Radio review: Bigipedia". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July, 2009.  
  6. ^ a b Heal, Clare (26 July, 2009). "World Wide Web of Wackiness". Sunday Express. Retrieved 26 July, 2009.  
  7. ^ "'Bigipedia' Merchandise". British Comedy Guide. 1 December, 2009. Retrieved 8 December, 2009.  
  8. ^ a b c d "Episode 1". Bigipedia. 23 July, 2009.
  9. ^ a b c "Episode 3". Bigipedia. 6 August, 2009.
  10. ^ "Episode 2". Bigipedia. 30 July, 2009.
  11. ^ Nick Doody and Rob Heeney. The Radio One Podcast accessed on 2009-11 November
  12. ^ Matthewman, Scott (17 July, 2009). "Turn off the TV: Radio picks, July 18-24". The Stage. Retrieved 22 July, 2009.  
  13. ^ Reynolds, Gillian (23 July, 2009). "Today's radio highlights". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 July, 2009.  
  14. ^ "Bigipedia - Episode 1.1". British Comedy Guide. 23 July, 2009. Retrieved 6 December, 2009.  
  15. ^ "Bigipedia - Episode 1.2". British Comedy Guide. 30 July, 2009. Retrieved 6 December, 2009.  
  16. ^ "Bigipedia - Episode 1.3". British Comedy Guide. 6 August, 2009. Retrieved 6 December, 2009.  
  17. ^ "Bigipedia - Episode 1.4". British Comedy Guide. 13 August, 2009. Retrieved 6 December, 2009.  

Further reading

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