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First of all, if you don't already know what game of Mornington Crescent is about, do not buy these CDs as it will have you almost entirely baffled. Needless to say it's little to do with a Tube station in London and less to do with the street of the same name.
If, however, you're an afficianado of Mornington Crescent then these CDs are little belters.
Mornington Crescent is a game played on the Radio 4 panel game "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" in which contestants take turns in naming (usually) London Tube stations or London roads. The background is that it's a game played using the London Tube map as a "board" (or the A-Z) and there is a mythology that it has a complex set of rules, variations and gambits wheras in fact it has just one rule and one aim. The rule is that the first player to say "Mornington Crescent" wins. The aim is to be funny. There are actually no other rules and part of the humour of the game is in the utter simplicity of the actual point of the game versus the game's fictitious complexity.
The first of the two CDs has the documentary "In Search of Mornington Crescent" which orignally aired on Radio 4. It's presented by Andrew Marr and includes contributions from the regulars of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, i.e. Humphrey Lyttleton, Barry Cryer, Tim Brooke Taylor and Graeme Garden as well as Adam Hart-Davis, Anthony Worrall Thompson, Barry Davies, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Michael Gambon. The premise of the documentary is to explain the background of Mornington Crescent and to discover the definitive set of rules. Needless to say what it actually does is to give a background to the game's mythology.
The second CD contains monologues from Lyttleton, Cryer, Brooke Taylor and Garden on the general subject of Mornington Crescent. They're very clever and witty.
I'm completely well aware that Mornington Crescent divides people. Some find it a hilarious parody on complicated board games. Some people find it utterly baffling, even if they understand what is actually going on. And some people hate the general "clique"-iness of people "in the know" not explaining what the actual point of the game is and confusing people with complicated "rules" and "gambits".
But if you do appreciate Mornington Crescent for what it is, a parody, then you'll love these CDs. If not, not. I'm in the first camp but not everyone will agree with me.
The two CDs costs around £8 onlline.
This is the most definitive and complete guide ever produced on one of radio's most popular and enigmatic games. Mornington Crescent is a game enshrined in many of the legends of our sceptred isle. Now, at last, the eminent broadcaster Andrew Marr peers - with the help of Humphrey Lyttelton, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Barry Cryer and many famous fans of "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" - behind the veil of secrecy which has until now surrounded it. In this extended hour-long special, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4, the myth and mystery of the ever-popular game is finally uncovered, with contributions from well-known experts and enthusiasts of the game: Dame Judi Dench, Sir Michael Gambon, Antony Worrall Thompson, Adam Hart-Davis and Barry Davies.Including extra unbroadcast material, the almost unbelievable story of this illustrious game is told via interviews with historians, scholars and members of the public. It is a fascinating documentary, both for Mornington Crescent novices as well as more seasoned players of the game. As if that wasn't enough, the Clue team also provides readings of four historical accounts on the subject: The Artful Dodgson, The Scandal of Mad Jack Ca