I have long been an avid listener of radio 4 and while I do normally enjoy their programming such as comedy, current affairs and their interview programmes, I do often find that some of their programmes are a bit "posh" or "upper class" for my liking. Take the book reviews, poetry readings etc, these are all things that make me want to tune out instead.
Most of the programmes on Radio 4 are quite entertaining but i can't stand the endless drivel that spews out of programmes such as The Archers or the drama programmes they broadcast. They do have great voice actors don't get me wrong, and now ex eastenders actress Charlie Brooks is doing a bit for one of the drama shows, but to me they really don't grip me or keep me on a cliff edge at the end of an episode. The Archers just makes me switch off, and therefore, i switch off my radio.
Their comedy is excellent however, and i really do enjoy Just a minute, The now show, and even Clive Anderson's interviews can be a bit quirky at times. There was a debate the other day about how comedy on Radio 4 is changing and more people are finding the new comedy programmes un-funny. I disagree, i feel like these new programmes are just getting their first break and that yet more great things are to come of this. I will happily give them a change and let them try to make me laugh because this is how many of the great comedy show's on Radio 4 started.
Occasionally the odd joke can step out of line, particularly on the now show where rather than getting a laugh from the audience, there is a loud "oooh" instead. Often from an offensive or directly insulting joke to something or someone. Often this is a political figure, and political humour can be a grey area, since you don't know if the audience likes or dislikes that person. Taking the mick out of Ed Milliband should also be balanced with taking the mick out of David Cameron and i don't feel that's always the case with comedy shows that include political humour.
Some of the more speciality shows such as the shipping forecast and prayer for the day do provide useful information and guidance (quite literally in both cases) but because they are speciality shows they are on both very early in the morning and very late at night.
Overall Radio 4 is a great station for people sick of listening to the rubbish put out by stations like Capital, and they do provide an intelligent alternative with many shows for a wide variety of people. Just listen to Radio 4 for a day and see if you like it. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but many of the comedy show's tend to cater for everyone. It's free, so give it a go.
OK, so I will now officially admit that BBC Radio 4 is probably my favourite radio station, and has been for some years. I realise this may mean I am a fuddy-duddy and certainly means I am turning into my mother, but there you have it, my secret's out.
What I like about Radio 4 is the variety of programming it offers. It is all talk programmes and a lot of it is based around current affairs, news or politics, but you can also find great comedy, drama, magazine type programmes, interviews, history and science.
Morning programming on Radio 4 - at least from about 7am (I've not got my radio on before then) until about 9am - is mostly news and the morning current affairs programme 'Today'. This is a great way to make sure you are up to date, and with it being a very high profile programme they get the top politicians on, such as Gordon Brown and David Cameron (please note I mean 'top' in the sense of 'high-ranking', not necessarily 'best quality'!) which can be interesting. There's a similar programme, PM, at 5pm in the afternoon. The only downside to this one is that the presenter, Eddie Mair, often gets fixated on an irrelevant point in an interview and won't let it drop.
Between 4pm and 5pm you get programmes like All in the Mind, about mental health, and Material World, a science programme. I find these really interesting and the programmes are fair and balanced and help you understand complex issues.
One of my favourite times to listen to Radio 4 is 6.30pm on a weekday when they have a comedy programme. Some of these are disappointing, notably a sitcom they had with Lenny Henry. I like Lenny Henry, but this was just rubbish. But they do have gems like the News Quiz, Just a Minute and my very favourite I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, which literally all have me laughing out loud.
Those are my main times for listening to Radio 4, but I also sometimes catch programmes such as the Book at Bedtime (although I never hear a whole one because it's spread over a week and I can't seem to remember to listen - this is a fault with me, not the station!), Women's Hour, the Food Programme and so on.
For me, Radio 4 is great because it gives me something interesting to listen to when I'm in the car or busy in the kitchen. Some programmes are irritating (Melvyn Bragg's 'In Our Time' - but then I just don't like him)!, but there is such a range there is something for everyone's interests, and you soon get to know the timetable or can find out their programme schedule from the web.
I used to think anyone that listened to Radio 4 was mad! My former landlord used to have it switched on all night while he was asleep and it drove me up the wall. I thought "why would anyone want to listen to a load of people jabbering on all night?" I am very, very passionate about music and I just couldn't understand how anyone would want to listen to the radio for any other purpose.
That was until I made friends with someone who liked playing it in the background when I went round, and I actually bothered listening to it.
It is in fact stimulating, interesting and enjoyable to listen to. It is most famous for its long-running radio soap; The Archers, a daily radio soap set in the countryside played out in ten-minute episodes. The idea of that used to bore me but after listening to it I can understand why people like it. I wouldn't turn down a night out to stay in and listen to it but it is interesting. It tackles lots of issues; at the moment there is a storyline about someone with dementia. And it's lovely to hear things about villages and farms when I'm staying in London.
Its news programmes are a lot more packed out than music stations, and an average day of Radio Four consists of lots of debates on current events. It has a weekly programme called "The Moral Maze" where it brings together a few people representing wildly different viewpoints to discuss the issue, such as a professor and a labourer, and in the station asking the questions at the moment they have high-profile intellectuals such as Michael Portillo and Melanie Phillips (who I personally can't stand!). I have to admit, every time I listen to The Moral Maze I get very worked up because there is always someone on there who is very misguided and spouting their opinions off as if it's the truth, such as a recent debate on prostitution where a sociologist was arguing that most prostitutes are happy in their work, and Melanie Phillips talking down to a working-class former street prostitute.
It is a wonderful culture platform. It showcases poetry, radio plays and short stories, often broadcasting literary competitions which I think is absolutely fantastic and necessary for this brain-dead age of X Factor and I'm A Celebrity. This aspect is so important for writers. Recently Stephen Fry had a series on Radio Four. It has the weekly joke-panel show I'm Sorry I Haven't Clue which is hosted by Jack Dee and always raises a giggle from me.
Although Radio Four is highly factual, it is also the BBC which means it is not entirely unbiased. For example, there was a debate recently on the budget deficit in the UK government and they were talking about all the areas that could be cut back on, apart from warfare, where billions of pounds of our taxes are ploughed into.
Apart from that it's brilliant to listen to when you're short of people to have an intelligent conversation with.
I am one of the mythical Radio 4 listeners who is under 50! I'm only 30, but I have been listening to it everyday for the past ten years, despite its fuddy duddy reputation.
I value the BBC in general for its quality journalism and broadcasting (although it produces a lot of rubbish as well - BBC 3 anyone?), and I find that Radio 4 is the perfect showcase for the best of the BBC.
In terms of news, I rarely read the news sections of the newspaper, despite being very interested in current affairs and politics. I find that I manage to keep well informed by listening to the flagship Today programme in the shower in the mornings and during my daily commute, and by listening to PM during my drive home. The Today programme, in particular, is the highlight of the BBC's news broadcasting, with in depth articles and interviews by intelligent presenters who give politicians the grilling they so often deserve. The station also broadcasts many other news and politically programmes throughout the week, such as the Question Time-style Any Questions (presented by the other Dimbleby), as well as a daily highlights show from Parliament (when it is in session).
I usually listen to Front Row, Radio 4's daily cultural show in the evenings when cooking dinner. This is a very interesting show, covering all aspects of culture and the arts, from literature, to pop, film and classical music. There is usually something interesting to me and I've often been tempted to watch/read/listen to something having heard a review on this show. The station also serialises books and stories, often over a number of weeks which can be very interesting. In addition, there is a daily play. This can be a bit hit or miss, especially during the week. However, at the weekend, usually more popular plays or serials are broadcast.
Radio 4 is also quite prolific for comedy, having a daily comedy slot in the evenings, and other comedy programming dotted around the schedule. Firm favourites include The News Quiz (similar to Have I Got News for You), The Now Show, Just a Minute and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. A lot of very popular TV comedies started being broadcast on Radio 4, including The Mighty Boosh, and Dead Ringers. Although some of the comedy can be a bit unfunny, the majority of it is great, so it's worth a listen.
Probably the most famous programme is Radio 4's farming soap The Archers. This has been going for years, and although I don't make a point of listening to it, I generally know who the characters are and what is going on. There are a number of other serial programmes, but usually these are on during the day, so I tend not to hear them.
Radio 4 quite often produces very interesting documentaries and investigative programmes on a whole variety of subjects. I'm often surprised by how enjoyable these can be and make a point of tuning in, or listening again on BBC I-player to ones I'm interested in.
There are a number of consumer advice programmes, which can be useful, but are not my favourite style of programme. I do enjoy Money Box, the financial programme, as it offers practical financial advice.
There are many other quirky aspects to Radio 4 - where else would you hear the Shipping Forecast, or a programme dedicated to farming. Although these may not interest you, I usually find that there is something worth listening to if I'm driving, cooking, or just fancy a bit of background noise. I find that Radio 4 adds to my knowledge of various topics - I'm often saying "oh, I heard this thing on the radio" and imparting some opinion or obscure fact to my friends.
I used to feel a bit embarrassed about listening to a radio station with a reputation for appealing to older listeners, but I think this is not deserved. I'm always astonished how many of my friends my own age also listen to Radio 4 - probably about 50% of them. I do listen to other radio stations - occasionally Radio 2 and Radio 6 for music and Radio 5 if there is a sport event I'm interested in on. However, my radio is usually tuned to Radio 4. If you are interested in intelligent broadcasting and debate and loath zany presenters and adverts, it's worth giving Radio 4 a try!
Last weekend I saw a newspaper advertising an interview with the controller of BBC Radio 4, asking "Is Radio 4 too posh?"
Of course Radio 4 is posh. That's what it is. It's not Radio 1, it's not Radio 2, it's not 5 Live and it's not Radio Leicester. It is beautifully eclectic, largely intelligent and undeniably posh. But I defend it to the hilt because a bit of posh is just fine with me. It is undeniably true that many of the continuity announcers speak in Received Pronunciation as if they were wearing black ties, and some programmes go far over my head (namely 'In Our Time with the über-Renaissance man Melvyn Bragg), but as a flagship spoken word network, Radio 4 has no equivalent. Without this bastion of middle class middle England, our media spectrum would be substantially worse off.
So, if you're not familiar to Radio 4, be prepared to feel alienated by the accents and sounds of a distinctly London-and-home-counties-centric radio station. But push on through to hear some intelligent and well researched programmes. 'Today' is essential listening for a rational briefing on the morning's news, politics and international stories (although beware the condescending tone afforded anything relating to the arts). 'Womans' Hour' is probably the best spoken word magazine programme on radio or TV, and appeals to me as a man because it presents a broad variety of subjects and issues not only for women, but from the often overlooked or misappreciated perspective of women. 'The World At One' is, like 'Today' a great news briefing, only more compact and efficient, perfect lunch time sustenance. The afternoons are filled with drama which I normally avoid out of personal preference, but which are produced to high standards and which occasionally hook me into them.
In the evenings, Eddy Mair's sultry tones provide my third daily round up of the news, with a tone that gets progressively more relaxed as the programme goes on (which is both subtle and respectful). The comedy strand between 18.30 and 19.00 is a hit and miss slot: I'm tired on Channel 4 / BBC 2 / Radio 4 Oxbridge comedians churning out the same old self referential stuff, but the 'News Quiz' and 'Just A Minute' are perfectly irreverent. They also segue nicely into an hour of archive comedy over on BBC Radio 7 from 19.00 if you're in the mood.
Regular documentaries such as 'From Our Own Correspondent', 'Crossing Continents', 'File on 4' and 'The Food Programme' all pepper the schedules, and distract me with intelligent and thought provoking content. One off or short run programmes surround these and likewise play to Radio 4's greatest strength: being able to educate, inform and surprise you while you are carrying on with your daily life.
I like to wind down and head for bed around the time of 'The World Tonight' at 22.00 and 'Today at Westminster' from 23.30. The latter is brilliant for balancing the big events of the day with more esoteric and even eccentric happenings from parliament. As a dutiful citizen, dozing off to the speaker's cries of "Order, order..." from the House of Commons feels like my way of keeping my elected representatives in check.
There are some low points, of course, but I won't mention them here because they're simply a matter of personal taste. I cannot deny Radio 4 is high brow, very middle class and usually quite posh. But being none of those things, and most definitely not being a Londoner or Home Counties resident, I enjoy having them there to listen to. For a more diverse range of voices, I can also switch over to 5 Live, and for some peace and quiet I can always just switch off.
I wake up really early in the morning and the first thing I do is hear the radio which is permanently tuned to Radio 4.
I tend to listen to it a great deal as I spend so much time on the PC and like almost all of the programmes because they are so varied.
In my opinion Radio 4 has the best news updates and interviews. Their news on the 'Today' programme is really 'meaty' and I love Humphries' grilling of guests - he makes Paxman look like a teddy bear!
Another favourite is Woman's Hour - NOT just for women - I tend to be selective here as I'm not that keen on listening to interviews with ageing pop stars - but interesting topics covered recently have included prostate cancer, child abuse, women in Iran, bereavement and saving money. They also have 'on air' cooking slots sometimes which are intriuging - HOW do they do it I wonder?
I enjoy the short stories, book reviews and adaptations - professional and informative.
Once again I am selective with the afternoon plays - some have been brilliant but some have been stupid and I wonder how they've managed to get onto Radio 4 which is often known as the 'intellects' station.
On the lighter side there is the brilliant News Quiz - hilarious - a bit like 'have I got news for you' and 'just a minute' etc but if you want to improve your knowlege there is always 'brain of Britain'
Desert Island Discs (Sunday mornings) is often good but depends very much on how interested I am in the guest.
We musn't forget 'The Archers' - the longest running soap and the 'everyday story of country folk'! I love this as it brings back memories of listening to the Archers with my Granny in her little cottage in the country. It's not FULL of agricultural stories - some of it is quite saucy - others have included bereavement and counselling which have been very well covered.
Do I sound like an old woman? well, to be honest I don't mind!
At the end of the day I feel as if I've been educated by at least one programme and have learned at least a little about an area which, before radio 4, I would never had heard about.
I like the way Radio 4 is structured and feel that it would have at least 2 or 3 good programmes to offer to a new listener.
I'm not a snob, (radio 4 listeners are supposed to be 'snobs' according to the Sun!) but do like to listen to political views (all sides) and I do like to listen to professionals (eg the medical programmes) and I do, on the whole, trust my friend radio 4!!
If you enjoy music, Radio 4 is not for you, because it doesn't have any. Instead, Radio 4's schedule is entirely made up with various types of talking - interviews, documentaries, plays, books read aloud, and of course, the well-know and long-running radio soap 'The Archers'.
As someone who used to spend a fair amount of money on talking books, I love it. While it's very different HEARING a play than SEEING it, that doesn't make it any less entertaining. Because you can't see what's going on they focus much more on the sounds - the crunch of frozen grass, the sharp sound of a slap. It's a very different experience to TV, and very enjoyable.
The interviews can also be worth watching for, as they often interview some quite well-known people who don't crop up on TV so much - I think Terry Pratchett's been interviewed a couple of times for example.
I think it tends to get viewed more as an old person's radio station, because there is no music, and that's a shame because there is some really good stuff on here. Because it's a BBC station as well, you're not constantly having things interlaced with adverts.
As an added bonus, the Beeb now puts all radio programs online for seven days after playing so if (like me) you hate missing stuff because you're at work, you can go back and catch up at your leisure.
I have been listening to Radio 4 for years and I view it as an old friend. However, due to a change in my circumstances, getting to hear some of my favourite programmes has been all but impossible. So until now I have been forced to miss such things as "Start the Week" and "All in the Mind". No more! If you have a link to the web, and I assume anyone reading this review has, then by using the following link: - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/progs/listenagain.shtml you can listen to most of the programmes that Radio 4 has previously broadcast that week at your leisure. By going to the "Listen Again" web page you are taken to an alphabetical list of the week's listening and via "Realplayer" you can either listen to the complete programme, as I did with "Start the Week" or in the case of "Bookclub" be redirected to a dedicate website where you can listen to a selection of excerpts from past programmes. I cannot stress enough how good I think this facility is, well done the BBC! Why not make available some of the many radio plays you must have archived?
Test match special has also been an important part of a cricket fans time. Ok you may say it’s a little ad if you spend all day listening to some old farts going on about cream cakes and the old glorious players and matches, but like any radio, it quickly becomes background noise to help you see you through another days work. I would rather have these chaps going on about googlies than ear to ear dance music on Radio 1 or Nicky Campbell going on about how great he is. Radio Four is the Middle Class channel of choice, which means regular interruptions on the excellent coverage from such quaint oddities as the shipping forecast to the daily service. Why Spanish trawlermen using our fishing licenses would want to tune into an English cricket match I will never know. Why do they put it on Radio Four!. This particular series against India has commentary starting at 5am for the real hardy fan. I pop it on when I rise for work around seven and follow it up until tea break at work. The three commentators are of course very familiar to cricket fans, plus a few special and prodigal guests depending what part of the world they are in. Usually you can’t move for old players and pipe smoke on a good day. Christopher Martin Jenkins is the plumy newspaper journalist who is the most pompous and dull on the microphone to the positively eccentric eulogizing of old Etonian Henry Blowfield.When these to old school tie boys are in flow you can visualize the empire days and 1940s microphones. Vic Marks is another Cambridge blue using his Oxbridge ties as an ex pro to make the team with his sly rye quips. From the initial trepidation from the players of touring the sub continent, it’s been a positively serene start to the India adventure. After the gloriously friendly opener against the now even friendlier presidents eleven, there were prizes and handshakes all around as India 2001-2 is fully underway. The man
of the match Kambli, who counts Bollywood film acting and poker playing on his healthy CV, picked up a microwave over for his breezy match winning hundred. The sponsors had something out of the Argos catalogue to for the losing captain to. Along with his feeble aluminum cup, Nasser bagged a water purifier for his gallant five run defeated team. It’s probably the most useful and only trinket this dangerously under strength side will pick up. The plus side is that the batters let rip and hit eleven sixes. Avistar Salvi, who went for 166,was also involved in Sri –Lankas sights as they ran up that record 952-6 in a test quite recently, mostly of his bowling. The bad side of the poor bowling is that this record could be beaten in the next three tests here. The Indian board is getting tetchy over next summer’s English hour. The head honchos in Delhi are threatening to pull out of the less than lucrative forth test in England, because we wont play two extra lucrative one dayers here in the new year. I wonder why!,I suspect they have the bets on already and perhaps have already decided the results with the bookies. When everyone thought they would be burning ethergies of George Bush and Tony Blair on the hot dusty chaotic streets, it was Mike Dennes of all people who was torched and dragged through Bombay. The last time I saw that guy was picking up a sausage roll from New Street station floor. And all this because someone stood up to the Asians for cheating yet again, not the sausage roll that is. It looks like the decision by the Indians to play a banned team guy in the first test in Mohali could sabotage the whole tour. Not that anyone wanted to play out there anyway. They will take the first opportunity to come home.When you ban their hero and God in Tendulkar, it’s a sure-fire way to scupper any tour. He’s quite a mild mannered guy Dennes, it’s nice to see the Indians
have backdown without losing face over the ex Waricks and England captain. The story goes that when leading England on the 1974-75 tour in Australia, he dropped himself from the team because of his poor form. He received a letter from an angry fan. The envelope was addressed simply as “Mike Dennes, cricketer”, but still reached him. The message inside read:”If this letter ever reaches you, the postman thinks more of you than I do.I wonder if the truculent head of Indian cricket is planning a similar stunt. One of the battles before the team arrived here, was the new venues. Mohali is out of town and has the discouraging element that there are a shortage of quality hotels that the pampered teams and journalists are used to. The fact that Croft, Caddick and Gough are not playing this winter, nor last summer come to think of it, wont help anyway as this raw young team is likely to be pulled apart like a blackman in Eugene Terra Blanches back garden. So here we are and it’s game on in the first Test.And again the obstinate India captain Ganguly keeps everyone waiting in his unequalled arrogant style. This time last year, the bony opener had the audacity to keep the worlds best team and captain Steve Waugh lingering in the middle for the toss three straight times. An unnamed player from that team that was beaten here in that turbulent Aussie tour last winter said of him”The biggest s**t iv come across in Test Cricket”. He wasn’t too popular at Lancashire years ago as the overseas player.”Fag, hold this sweater will you”. The fag turned out to be the England opener and Ex-captain Mike Athurton who was not best impressed. Another equally unnamed Lancs player called him “a bit of a tart”. He seemed to be the reason why India had so many players in trouble in the controversial South African encounters. Day one and things were pukka, even though
Nasser lost his seventeenth from twenty tosses as captain. At a hundred odd for one though, it looked good for runs of the bat all day and not out of the backside for a change. Half centuries from Trescothick and Naz set England up for 400 on a very flat track. The ball was popping and racing through the dusty arid outfield like those Thalabn trucks who flee the carpet bombers, always that road next to “that hill”those American B52s keep on bombing, conveniently in front of the worlds press. But when Ramps flicked a silly one up to short leg, the innings and hope of a big winning first knock detirieated with it. The belligerent middle order batsmen was unsettles by a B52 taking off very low over the Mohali ground not three miles from a military base. The cricket authorities had asked for a ban for the five-day duration not to freak the players out. It certainly didn’t help our man. If you were in the embattle Middle East and an American bomber nearly took your head off, then you would run for cover to. Well knowing George Bush and his hunt for terrorist, India may be the next target!. England’s middle order collapsed like Swissair with the new guys doing nothing down the order.179-2 to 238 all out is rather pathetic. Why the young upstart Foster and Dawson are playing over more experienced players here, and not is a mystery. Not picking the stoic batting and craft of Warren Hegg behind the sticks (mostly to Mulalithernan last year) in India is an amateur mistake. This collapse was atrocious. If ever a team looked like they were throwing a match, that was solid evidence. But boy did the Turbanator bowl well. India had enough time to chip off 28 with our premier strike bowler Butcher earning one.giving them all day tomorrow to pound the boards and England’s confidence with Tendulker and co. Day two…The balding Craig Whites for has been very much b&w since the glories of Pa
kistan and Sri-Lanka.And his bowling was quickly put to the sword. The wristy India blades quickly negotiated the position England were yesterday and beyond at 200-3. New man Gupta made a maiden hundred putting us further in the poo poo. And when the world’s best batsmen Tendulkar is next in, you know the party is over. The floodlights duly illuminated a test match for the first time as the umpire held up the new ball after tea.”Hes waving it to the world, its new, its shiny and its red” bawled the old Etonian Henry Blowfeild on Radio Fours excellent commentary. DAY three and the slaughter is in full flow like a goats throat being cut in a Halal butcher tradition. The blood flowed across the arid land like runs of the dashing Indian blades. The great man got enough runs to satisfy the masses as did others further down chip into the Indian cause. 469 all out gives the third world a 200 plus lead with half the match still to go. Few teams win let alone draw from that position, especially here. Dawson’s debut 4-123 is something I suppose, as is the effort in keeping their innings below five hundred at a relatively economical two an over. Butch and Trescothick blocked out Nicole under the lights to leave England five sessions to bat and save the game. The highlight of the day would have to be Freddie Flintoffs devoping feud with his less than ex fellow team (not so mate) at Lancashire, Ganguly.That ones brewing nicely and is not a fair fight. Day five and we suitably capitulated to a similar to the first innings score leaving India to knock of five runs for a well earned ten wicket win. Kumble bagged six for seventy with disciplined line with fielders around the bat. Yet another thrashing in three and a half days. I have to confess I was asleep for most of the last two days commentary so couldn’t comment on it. But i do feel the BBC are the best at it,although they need to get some
youth in the box.Beat Talk Radios advert every two minute disaster from 1999.
A quick over view. Weekedays: I start the day day with 4, and they have a really good news and current affaris program that gets interesting interviews, some in depth reporting and the odd flash of humour. At 9, there's usually some sort of discussion program, which tend to be ok, and also tend to be repeated at 9 in the evening. Then woman's hour, which I will admit I listen to occasionaly. Their book srialisation is erpeated later on. I do not tend to listen to radio 4 during the middle of the day, even if I am really bored, because "You and Yours" could well be the most dull and depressing program ever. At 2.45 there is an afternoon play. these are variable, some I have ehard have been great, some really dull and uninspired. it's just the luck of the draw really. Then there's usually some sort of discussion program, although this varies from day to day durning the week. at 6 there's the news and i try to catch this. Then at 6.30, some sort of comedy, again these vary in quality, but Just a minute, the news quiz, dead ringers and quote unquote tend to get slots at this time and are all great. 7pm, more news followed by the Archers. However daft you might think this program is, it becomes strangely compulsive. Then front row, which is a general arts discussion program. I think the bloke who runs it is perhaps the most dull person ever, but occasionally the subject matter is good. At 7.45 you get the repeat of whatever woman's hour have as a book. I seldom listen after eight, but on the odd occasions when I have, there have been some fascinating programs. I don't listen much at the weekend, but can recommend the strnagley funny John Peel at 9 on saturday mornings - Home Truths lasts for an hour, so either you have to stay in bed, or you have to get up first. A hard choice....(get someone else to bring you breakfast while you listen, if you can
.) Sunday mornings you get a service (which I avoid, not being Christian) Desert Island Disks, which can be really interesting, and a travel program which is uually erally good. Another lie in seems to be in order... I have listened a couple of times to Go For It - the Sunday night Children's program starts around 7 think. Not bad, enough to hold my tollerably adult mind, and quite intelligent. It reminds me of how Blue Peter used to be before it tried to get trendy. If you hve the impression that I am a total junky, you may be right. I don't listen all day every day, but over the last year have often listened at different times. Its a good channel to dip in and out of if you want something intelligent.
I have a confession. I am 23 years old and I am devoted to Radio 4. There, I have said it. Everyday I listen to Radio 4, let me guide you through my day and some of my favourite programmes. My day inevitably begins with the Today programme. This is where the nation's opinions are formed and the day's news agenda is set each and everyday. Experts, commentators and critics queue up for a chance to appear every morning. You are guaranteed a Minister or Secretary of State who will defend the government position and any number of other high profile speakers. One morning when Mrs. T was PM she phoned up the Today Programme personally to speak her mind. They obviously gave her right of reply but it demonstrates the importance of the programme to the politicians themselves. Recent speakers who have been piped directly to my bathroom as I have my morning bath are Jack Straw, Lord Robertson (head of NATO), Bob Kiley (London’s Transport Commissioner) and William Hague. No other programme can compete for prestige and gravitas as the Today programme can. There are two things that really make the Today programme great to my mind. The first is the enlightened and varied coverage of news and social issues with a strong focus on international affairs. Secondly I always enjoy the more lighthearted features exploring an amusing issue or bizarre development. This morning Sue Macgregor interviewed an archaeologist on his theory that the first century Celts were cannibals with a propensity for slaughtering their ill and disabled kinsmen. One key point of evidence that Sue goaded the academic to reveal was the fact that he has discovered a leg bone that had been slit down its length and the marrow scooped out and perhaps eaten. She then apologized to those listeners who were eating their breakfast. The team, Anchored by Sue Macgregor, John Humphries and James Naughtie, are equally at ease with Archaeologist as they are with polit
icians honing their technique to the circumstances. Humphries in particular is the master with Ministers, often giving them a chillingly hard time early in the morning. But it is sheer drama. Naughtie takes a chummier approach. I love the Today programme not least because it is amusing as well as informative and challenging. When Today finishes at nine there is a selection of goodies depending on the Day. Mondays see Start the Week with Jeremy Paxman, a weekly intellectual discussion programme which sees 4 academics or writers jousting about their interested fields. Paxman is a generous host and it is good to hear him in action in a more benevolent mood than we see him on Newsnight. The Wednesday equivalent is Midweek with Libby Purves. It is much the same format as with Start the Week but more pap and lightweight. She invites those who have scaled mountains, sailed around the world or written an autobiography to join a chummy chat. On Friday Desert Island Discs is repeated for those who missed it on Sunday. I love Desert Island Discs and often relisten to good editions twice. These programmes finish at 9.50 leaving a handy slot for a weekly serial or reading. The selection varied but particular favourites have been reading from Bill Bryson’s new book and the tale of Brunelesci’s Dome from the book of the same name. If it’s 10am it must be Woman’s Hour with Jenni Murray or Perhaps Martha Carni (probably spelt wrong). Woman’s hour is a daily magazine that has moved on from its previous incarnation as a distraction for the housewife as she enjoys here mid-morning break. Although I like woman’s hour but sometimes it feels like the guests are just there because they are women rather than interesting individuals. However, the guests are varied and recently they have had Ellen Macarthur, Mo Mowlam and Christine Keeler. I also think that Jenni has too much of a propensity to rabbit on about “the change”
in slightly hushed mysterious way. Obviously I have no idea what she is on about. My next regular Radio Four stop is mid-day when You and Yours is broadcast. Think of it as Watchdog without Anne Robinson or any winking. It’s an hour long too and usually has something useful to offer. It is good for more in-depth, non-sensational consumer investigations and advice. Always worth a listen but hardly thrill a minute stuff. After You and Yours make time for the World at One (or WATO to those in the now) for half an hour of news and comment. This is a good solid news programme. Enuff said. I don’t usually listen to much in the afternoon, so I cannot elucidate on what goes on. Except to say that sometimes the afternoon play is worth listening to, but not often. It’s one of those great mysteries of Radio 4 as to why you get PM at five in the afternoon for an hour and then follow it immediately by the six o’clock news. It is on the radio that the quality of BBC news is still at its best. The guests, reporters and presenters are real pros giving a varied and balanced view of the world’s affairs. International coverage is very strong on the radio, in comparison to the TV coverage. My favourite feature on PM is the digest of the letters sent in by listeners that offer excellent comments and analysis of the day’s news. After the news at six, at six thirty comes that most hallowed of Radio 4 slots, that which showcases comedy. There are the old favourites which are timeless and perfect such as I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue, Just a Minute and the News Quiz. The new stuff that subsequently propels the writers and actors to fame, recent acts include Harry Hill and The League of Gentlemen who started on Radio 4 and then the good solid comedy be it sketches, a quiz or a drama. I particularly enjoy The Sunday Format and I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue. At seven there is
a short news bulletin followed by the Archers. I have reviewed the Archers in full on dooyoo so hunt that down to find out more. Plug, Plug. And Front Row, the arts and culture magazine that follows, can also be absorbing. I don’t really listen in the evening but before bed I sometimes make time for Today in Parliament or the Late Book or the Book at Bedtime. Because Yesterday in Parliament is no longer an integral part of Today on FM (which is a shame Ms Controller!) you can catch up with the in depth coverage of both Houses in the evening. It can really communicate the electricity and excitement of Parliament when crucial issues are debated and voted upon. And so to bed: Radio 4 closes down at 1am with the Shipping Forecast and the National Anthem and is replaced with the World Service. And only five hours until the Today programme begins again.
Radio 4 is the radio of choice in our house. I think i only really began to appreciate the value of the broadcasting a few years ago, and this is a shame. I wish i had listened and taken notice when it was on in my teenage years, but alas i didn't. It is now always on, from 5.30 in the morning till night. Waking up to the Today programme is a joy in itself. This programme wakes you up with a bump, but the things discussed are always of interest, and the team of presenters they have are the best i have heard yet, particularly John Humphreys. The way in which he holds conversations is admirable, yet he is frequently lampooned for his interview technique. Later on in the day, the quality of programmes doesn't deteriorate, with Womans Hour, You and Yours, The World at One, the list is endless. I don't mind paying my license fee for Radio 4 alone. It is a truly informative station, right across the board. If you want a good sample, whilst listening to its listeners complaints, tune into Feedback, where the presenter tackles various issues that have arisen over the last week, often talking to producers and presenters about such issues.
I don't care if WW3 breaks out..At 6.30pm every Friday evening I am glued to Radio 4's News Quiz.. This long running satrical show, is simply great for those who enjoy hearing a new slant put on news items.. And with regular participants like Alan Corin. Jermey Hardy, Linda Smith (Holly from Red Dwarf) and Andy Hamilton(writer Drop the Dead Donkey) you can be sure of the laughs.. Have I Got News For You is the television version of this radio programme, though frankly it is but a pale imitation..And whilst I like Angus Deayton, and know Big George who wrote the theme tune for Have I got News, he cannot compete with the News Quiz's chairman Simon Hoggett,when it comes to the quick riposte.. However a short word of warning.. Do not attempt to cook supper, or boil water whilst listening to this programme..Laughter can be dangerous..
As an avid listener of Radio 4 I can honestly say with hand on heart that I have little or no need for a telly. My girlfriend has a telly but more often than not it's Radio 4 that is on instead. I do believe that anyone who has the slightest smattering of intelligence gets bored very easily of television, with Radio 4 I have yet to be bored. From comedy to drama to current affairs to cunsumer rights and of course not forgeting The Archers, a soap that doesn't just follow the pack when it comes to story lines. Switch of your telly for a day and tune in. You may just surprise yourself.
...But it isn't!! I swear! My Dad introduced me to Radio 4, he used to have it on in his car whenever he took me anywhere and he wouldn't let me put VikingFM on so I was stuck with it. After I while I began to like some of it and although I didn't prefer it to Viking I used to like the phone-ins and debates. Then my Dad pointed out "Just a Minute", "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" (the funniest show on earth) and "The News Quiz" and I was hooked. The banter between Paul Merton and Nicholas Parsons was and is amazingly funny and as for "I'm Sorry..." it just can't be beaten. Recently R4 has put on "Adrian Mole: the Cappuccino Years" which again is really good and enjoyable to listen to. I also have Sherlock Holmes Radio Plays on tape from R4 and a production they put on of Isaac Asimovs "Caves of Steel" which you CAN'T buy in the shops, come on BBC pull your socks up. Not only that but it is surprising how many celebs appear on the R4 "Front Row" program. However, it is still the case that when a teenager mentions that he/she listens to Radio 4 he/she is instantly labelled "Sad"/"Conservative" (I don't know which is worse). This has got to stop. Radio 4 is a great station that you can you can listen to AS WELL as your favourite music station. Go on, try it and you may realise it isn't a sad station after all.