Arts: THE WEEK IN RADIO

ONE OF the minor irritations that will one day drive me to live in Tunbridge Wells, a place where they understand disgust, is the line from the Franz Ferdinand song "The Dark of the Matinee" that goes: "So I'm on BBC2 now, telling Terry Wogan how I made it..." Because, obviously, Terry Wogan was always on BBC1, if we're talking about his long-defunct chat show, and if we're talking about his radio career, it's called Radio 2 and he doesn't do celebrity interviews anyway. I mean, it's not as if any of this is classified information.

Still, the line's main point is clear: Wogan is being used as an emblem of hackneyed, meaningless chitchat. This is worth thinking about, since Wake Up to Wogan (7.30am, Monday to Friday, Radio 2) was last week anointed the nation's favourite breakfast show, with eight million listeners a week - one in seven of the population - and rising at a rate of about 30,000 every week. In the face of this news, and having spent several hours listening to Wogan's merry blathering, I have to admit to a sense of impotence. It is surely part of my job to say what is lovable or loathsome about him; but I can't work up any feeling at all, beyond a vague sense that there might be something quite nice on Radio 3 right now.

So, what is the secret of his success? Part of it, to be fair, is that he is sometimes ingenious and witty, and has a shrewd sense of his place in the scheme of things. Last Wednesday morning, apropos of something I've forgotten, he remarked: "I'm a lonely head on a shelf in Madame Tussaud's, beside Kevin Keegan's and William Hague's. They melted me body down to make Ant and Dec." That is very neat - the way self-depreciation is coupled with a gently expressed belittlement of a new generation of celebs. But such moments are very rare, drowned out by his funny accents, the cheery banter and his listeners' amusing letters. These letters conjure up a lost, Terry and June world, one in which husbands spend their afternoons pottering in sheds and nights sleeping in disgrace on the sofa.

And then there is the music. The Traveling Wilburys! Charlie Dore! Billy Joel! ("Good on yourself, sir," Wogan chirps up, "`Uptown Girl' - up-tempo, uptown lady.") Perhaps the secret is that Wogan harks back to easier, or at least more certain, times: hearing him, you could drift into dreaming that most of the last 20 years never happened.

With Ray Gosling, I have the opposite problem: I can work up far more feeling about his programmes - for and against, though for dominates - than I can fully account for. Sheer eccentricity, of diction and action, does come into it. In yesterday's edition of Gosling in Retail (11am, Monday, Radio 4) - the title is anomalous, since this series is all about manufacturing businesses - he was in The Potteries, visiting the last remaining traditional pottery. Inspecting its range of commodes, he came across one style called a "Welsh hat" - because, he said, that's what they look like when you tip them up and put them on your head: for the benefit of onlookers, he demonstrated.

But it isn't only dottiness. Using the excuse that one of the patterns used in this factory is called "Calico", he launched, unaccountably, into Edward Lear's "Calico Pie": "Calico Pie, the little birds fly..." At the end, he reprised the chorus: "They never came back! They never came back! They never came back to me!"

At which point, it became clear that, for Gosling, this was a lament for a dying industry: what will never come back is pride in craft, a mingling of the personal and the professional. At his best, Gosling reaches poetry.

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas