A short preview of Ashley Blaker’s new series starting on 9th July 2021 on BBC Radio 4.
The comedian’s previous two-part Radio 4 show Ashley Blaker’s Goyish Guide To Judaism was broadcast under the Stand-Up Specials banner. This new series of four half-hours moves beyond Blaker’s religion and looks at a totally different aspect of his extraordinary life. The show is a mix of stand-up and observational documentary, all recorded in the Blakers’ unusual home with the voices of his real family, and tackles parenting, adoption and raising children with special needs.
Ashley Blaker: 6.5 Children brings a whole new perspective to the subject of parenting. That is because as parents of six children, Blaker and his wife Gemma are trying to raise a family in a world that is only really set up for having two. What is more, the Blakers’ children are not just any kids. Three have special needs – two autistic boys and an adopted girl with Down Syndrome – and Ashley Blaker: 6.5 Children sensitively finds the funny in both raising children with disabilities and adoption. Naturally an entire episode of the show deals with lockdown when Ashley had to home-school half a dozen children at once.
Friday 9th July – Episode One: Too Many Kids
Ashley explains why he and Gemma kept having children and details the many challenges of having such a full household, including a ridiculously complex morning routine and the crippling expense of replacing broken electronics chargers.
Friday 16th July – Episode Two: Opt To Adopt
This episode recalls the story of how in the summer of 2010, already with four young sons, Ashley and Gemma decided to adopt an 18-month-old girl with Down Syndrome, and the impact it had on all their lives.
Friday 23rd July – Episode Three: The Special Ones
This episode is dedicated to all parents of children with special needs and goes through the five things we would like everyone else to know about us and our special children.
Friday 30th July – Episode Four: Lockdown
In the final episode of the series, Ashley recalls the Blakers’ experience during the pandemic and wonders if, despite the horrors of home-school, he will look back on lockdown as a golden period for the family.
Ashley Blaker: 6.5 Children is written and performed by Ashley Blaker. He is joined by Shelley Blond (Peep Show, Cold Feet and the voice of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider); Kieran Hodgson (Three-time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee and now known to all for his online parody of The Crown); Rosie Holt (another star of lockdown who has put out many viral videos, most often as her character, The Woman); and Judith Jacob (EastEnders, The Real McCoy, Still Open All Hours).
Also appearing as themselves are Ashley’s own children: Ami (17), Ophie (15), Simi (13), Soroh (12), Sruly (11) and Bina (7).