The Radio Times logo

Benedict Cumberbatch voicemail show could be headed for TV

Radio 4's The Celebrity Voicemail Show imagines calls left for stars including Cumberbatch, JK Rowling, Paul Hollywood and Barack Obama – and creator Kayvan Novak wants to take it to the small screen logo
Published: Tuesday, 19th May 2015 at 3:34 pm

A new radio comedy which will imagine the contents of Benedict Cumberbatch’s answerphone could become a TV hit, if the creator gets his way.


Kayvan Novak’s new Radio 4 comedy, The Celebrity Voicemail Show, imagines what is among the phone messages of Cumberbatch and other famous people – and the star of the prank phonecall show Fonejacker wants it to migrate to the small screen.

“What we’d like to do is spin that off into a TV show,” he told “I am getting back to my Fonejacker routes because I am working just with sound.”

As revealed last month, the comedy will recreate imagined messages left by agents, taxi drivers, co-stars and even the subjects' parents. The first episode will focus on Sherlock star Cumberbatch with subsequent editions imagining the voicemails left for Barack Obama, Harry Potter creator JK Rowling and The Great British Bake Off presenter Paul Hollywood.

"Each episode is the entire contents of a celebrity's voicemail," said Novak. "The first episode will be Benedict Cumberbatch’s voicemail – there's no impressions in it, it’s calls from his agents, calls from loved ones, people who want to interview him, that sort of thing. Sometimes they are just muffled pocket calls."

The Celebrity Voicemail show is due to air on Radio 4 in September with sources confirming there is interest in developing it for TV after that.

Before then Novak will be seen in the upcoming BBC1 comedy SunTrap (see picture below) playing a disgraced tabloid reporter who has fled to Spain to meet up with his former mentor Brutus (Bradley Walsh) who has emigrated in the hope of a quiet life.

Fonejacker, in which Novak duped people over the phone, ran for two years on E4 before it was axed in 2008, only to be brought back as Facejacker which saw Novak make use of prosthetics to play a variety of roles and take to the streets to dupe members of the public.


SunTrap airs on BBC1 on Wednesday 27th May at 10:45pm


Sponsored content