We Didn’t Learn The Lines, NewsRevue Smoker Lyric, 28 November 1992

Rummaging through my electronic filing cabinet, I found this little piece; unloved even to the extent that it had not even been catalogued back in the day.

I must have written it as an in joke for a NewsRevue smoker – we had a few of those “writers and performers parties” back then – perhaps to celebrate the opening of the Christmas run or the end of the run that preceded it.

So, he says, writing 25 years later, just ahead of the last Ivan Shakespeare Memorial Dinner of 2017, here is a question for advanced students – name all of the people referred to in my lyric.

I’ll up the answers (and any outstanding questions) when I write up the dinner. I’m good for all-but two names myself.

Part of the in-joke must have been in the choice of song itself. Graham Robertson had rattled off a brilliant topical song the week before in response to the Windsor Castle fire: “One Didn’t Start The Fire”. I’m guessing that the cast had struggled to assimilate all of the wonderful, wordy lines of that song ahead of its first Thursday performance. If Graham is able to dig out that lyric – I’d love to up it here as guest piece.

1992 might have been an annus horribilis for the Queen and the royal family but it was an annus mirabilis for me and for NewsRevue.

Anyway here is my end of 1992 smoker lyric:


(To the tune of “We Didn’t Start the Fire”)

(Cast take the stage looking exuberant and full of confidence)


Jacqui found the song appealing,

Tho’ it’s not by Andrew Whelan;

Darryl couldn’t make rehearsal,

“Auditioning an ad for Persil”;


Becca can’t remember names,

Ballet dancing’s more her game;

Sasha’s not a good recaller,

Jon is staying home with Paula.



We didn’t learn the lines,

Tra la la la la la,

Fa la la la la la;

We didn’t learn the lines,

Fa la la la la la,

Tra la la la la la.


(Cast leave the stage in total confusion)

Click here for a link to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” lyrics.

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