Bonnier Books UK has acquired the first book from much-loved comedian Josh Widdicombe. Matt Phillips, publisher for Blink and John Blake, acquired world rights in a major deal from Flo Howard at Off The Kerb.
A childhood memoir about growing up watching far too much TV in the 1990s, Watching Neighbours Twice a Day… How 90’s TV (Almost) Prepared Me For Life tells the story of a strange rural childhood, the kind of childhood Widdicombe only realised was weird when he left home and started telling people about it. From only having four people in his year at school, to living in a family home where they didn’t just not bother to lock the front door, they didn’t even have a key.
Using a different television show of the time as it’s starting point for each chapter Watching Neighbours Twice a Day… is part-childhood memoir, part-comic history of 90s television and culture. It will discuss everything from the BBC convincing him that Michael Parkinson had been possessed by a ghost, to Josh’s belief that Mr Blobby is one of the great comic characters, to what it’s like being the only vegetarian child west of Bristol. Together it tells the story of the end of an era, the last time when watching television was a shared experience for the family and the nation, before the internet meant everyone watched different things at different times on different devices, headphones on to make absolutely sure no one else could watch it with them.
Widdicombe tours nationwide as one of the UK’s finest stand-up comedians as well as co-hosting The Last Leg, and has starred on Have I Got News For You, Live At The Apollo, Taksmaster and numerous other TV comedy Shows. He also hosts one of the country’s most popular podcasts – Lockdown Parenting Hell– with fellow comedian Rob Beckett and Quickly Kevin Will He Score, a podcast about football in the 90s.
Widdicombe said: “Plenty has been written about the music, art or sport of the 90s but none of these things were as central to our daily lives as the television. In the UK, Oasis album Definitely Maybe sold just over 2 million copies, quite boring TV show How Do They Do That?, got 12 million viewers a week. This book is an honest account of what it was like growing up in the 90s on Dartmoor watching far too much TV, the story of a strange kid in a strange place watching some strange shows, and if writing this book has taught me anything it is that I was a much stranger kid than I realised.”
Phillips said: “Josh Widdicombe has spent the last twelve months supporting us all with his hilarious podcast on lockdown parental hell, now he gives us this heartfelt, genuinely funny, and utterly nostalgic look at 90s popular culture with slices of memoir. This is the perfect throwback to a rose-tinted era of Britpop, Cool Britannia and, um, Eldorado.”
Watching Neighbours Twice a Day… will publish 16 September 2021.