THE stock thing to say is that Radio 4 comedy is a bit of an oxymoron. It’s not really true, though, is it? Without Radio 4 there’d be no Alan Partridge, no Mighty Boosh, no League of Gentlemen.

Not that the highlights (or lowlights for that matter) should be what the station should be judged on. To listen in to the 6.30pm comedy slot on Radio 4 this last week is to see its comedic strengths and failings.

Mondays and Fridays offered hardy perennials Just a Minute and The Now Show, the former proving itself still the sturdiest of comedy vehicles while at the same time advertising just how much it misses the late Nicholas Parsons.

Thursday night gave us the latest comic monologues from American humourist David Sedaris, which are both ridiculously Radio 4ish in their middle classness but also often bitingly funny.

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And then there are the sitcoms. Wednesday saw the return of Moray Hunter’s middle-aged singletons comedy Alone, which still seems like a great premise seeking a few more punchlines. What it does have going for it is Angus Deayton acting well within his comfort zone of acidic politeness and the glorious Pearce Quigley who brings comic energy to even the most unpromising of situations.

Perhaps it was just a flat episode (I’ve caught earlier episodes I’ve liked more.) But it made for quite the contrast with the last episode of Ed Rowett’s advertising sitcom Reluctant Persuaders. Rowett’s sitcom leans hard into broad stereotypes and is not afraid of coincidence and ludicrous misunderstandings to drive the comedy along. But Nigel Havers is clearly enjoying himself playing the ridiculously oafish head of the agency and Josie Lawrence is equally reliable as the cynical voice of reason.

Plus, now and again, Rowett sticks the knife into perfect effect. Picking up an advertising award for the best public service campaign for their ad “A Woman’s Right,” a male CEO says in his acceptance speech, “I know I speak for everyone who worked on this campaign – Pete, Terry, Mike, the three Steves – when I say nothing is more important to us than getting women’s voices heard.”

Listen Out For: Bridget Christie: Mortal, Radio 4, Tuesday, 6.30pm. The stand-up comedian returns to take up the slot vacated by Reluctant Persuaders.