It’s been a morbid time for musical satirist Mitch Benn; he’s turned 46 — over the hill by anyone’s standards — his personal life is in turmoil, and his childhood heroes are dropping like flies.
At times like these, a man feels the Reaper creeping up on him… But is death anything to fear? And is it really the end? Mitch confronts his — and our — mortality with hilarious (and tuneful) consequences.
“This show is about death and mortality, I came up with the idea quite a while ago; it was in part inspired by that weird onslaught of celebrity deaths in 2016.”
Mitch is on something of a mission to get us contemplating death more openly. He explains;
“In terms of universality and truths the one thing we absolutely have in common is that we will die. But for some reason it is the one thing that no one wants to talk about — whether that’s seriously or in a light-hearted or satirical way. So I thought that would be a good angle for a show and it’s proved to be very popular. It tries to be an uplifting!”
A stalwart of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Now Show’ for more than a decade, Mitch has also presented many radio specials. Following on from the success of ‘Mitch Benn Is The 37th Beatle’, a further three specials on music icons Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Elvis have been broadcast – ‘The Freewheelin’ Mitch Benn’, ‘Mitch Benn Is The Fat Pink Duke’ and ‘Mitch Benn Has Left The Building’.
He also co-presented with Harry Shearer BBC Radio 2’s ‘Anatomy Of A Guitar’ and presented ‘Spank The Plank’ for BBC Radio 4. Most recently, in December 2016, he appeared on (and won) BBC1 television’s ‘Celebrity Mastermind’.
For the Don’t Fear the Reaper show Mitch has come up with some new songs, including Stress (“because that’s what kills people”); Try Not to Die (inspired by trying to avoid being trumped by a bigger celebrity death – “like when poor Farah Fawcett died on the same day as Michael Jackson everyone forgot about her” says Mitch); and last but not least Zombie Rock’n’Roll Apocalypse.
Speaking about what he hopes the audience will get from the show, Mitch says:
“Obviously I want them to laugh at some point, but I don’t want to dictate, I’m just happy people turn up! Everything else is a bonus! There’s some silly moments but hopefully some moving heartfelt moments. It’s personal and honest.”