Arts: The week in radio: Sorry, Cliff. Radio 2 plays music that rocks

MY GOOD friend, Greg Dyke - whom I have never met - has, all of a sudden, an impressive number of equally good friends both within the BBC and beyond. Among them is Janet Street-Porter, editor of the Independent on Sunday and a former colleague of Mr Dyke at LWT. Writing in The Independent last Monday, Janet was full of advice for the new BBC Director General.

"Love-bomb your sports department," she suggested. (Yowzah!) "Don't employ your mates, like Melvyn Bragg, as it will only cause enormous resentment."

It must have escaped Janet's notice that Melvyn is in there already and has been for many years. He is on what we call the radio.

Janet could benefit from listening to Melvyn's ever-stimulating In Our Time (Radio 4, Thurs, 9am) the programme about ideas and events which have shaped our age. And surely she, of all people, would find The Routes of English (Radio 4, Thurs, 4pm), Melvyn's series on a thousand years of our language, improvingly mega-rad.

Among the former L!ve TV executive's many helpful suggestions to Mr Dyke nestled this small bombshell: "Purge the place," Janet advised, "of its obsession with youth and ratings. You're middle-aged like me..."

Crikey! I'd better have a little sit-down. For it was Janet who invented the phenomenon of yoof TV and, upon her arrival at Television Centre in 1986, did so much to scatter the pestilence across the BBC. Is she, by editing a grown-up newspaper, finally growing up? At this rate she'll be urging us all to listen to Radio 2. And why not?

Janet would not be the only new convert from the rock'n'roll generation to the network and its groovier-by-stealth music policy. On a recent Saturday Music Show (Radio 2, Sat, 3.30pm), Joe Strummer, former ideologue and foaming frontman of punk-rock guerrillas, The Clash, told presenter Billy Bragg - himself a guitar-slinging radical, now shaping up as a first-rate DJ - that "the radio in the kitchen is tuned to Radio 2 and the reason is because it's playing music that's worth listening to. I can't stand to hear stuff that irritates me, vacuous nonsense. I must have music with lives lived."

This was no off-the-cuff, crowd-pleasing remark. A week earlier, in the pub with Joe after we'd deejayed together on my Radio 1 programme, I heard him evangelising for Radio 2 to a chap at an adjoining table. "It's the only music station," he said, as I set about mopping up my pint.

Strummer's radio habits symbolise the unavoidable dilemma in which Radio 2 finds itself, especially since Radio 1 flung itself fully at the 15- to 24-year-old audience: Joe does not tune to Radio 2 for Jimmy Young (Monday-Friday, 12 noon). Nor is he hungry, at 47, for Sing Something Simple (Sundays, 4.30pm). Equally, the Cliff Adams Singers, who have yet to sneak "White Man in the Hammersmith Palais" into their repertoire, are not quite ready for Joe.

But like many largely disenfranchised listeners over 24, who don't want to listen to commercial radio or speech-based local BBC stations, Joe feels at home with Radio 2's excellent specialist music programmes and the network's expanding sense of Radio 11/2.

The gulf between Radios 1 and 2 is also problematic for Joe as a recording artist. Where - apart from on Billy's Radio 2 show and on my own Radio 1 programme - will his new album, or the recently released live Clash CD, be played? Well, nowhere.

The Clash were the last word in rock'n'roll bands and the new CD, recorded when they were at the peak of their powers, confirms that nothing in the past 20 years has come close to matching their energy and elan. But Steve Lamacq (Radio 1, Monday-Thursday, 8pm) cannot play it because, apparently, 15- to 24-year-olds haven't heard of The Clash. (Hmm... and given the chance they might also realise just how dreary so much contemporary indie rock and dance music really is...)

Meanwhile, Ken Bruce (Radio 2, Mon-Fri, 9.30am) is disinclined to wallop us with "Clash City Rockers" off the back of a Drifters oldie - for the time being anyway. But there came this week a thrilling indication that controller Jim Moir's evolution-not-revolution policy of redefining Radio 2 may be picking up speed: Sir Cliff Richard's new single, "The Millennium Prayer", will not be put on the playlist. The track, which sets the words of The Lord's Prayer to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne", ferchrissakes, has been excluded not because Sir Cliff is getting on a bit, as has been reported elsewhere, but because it is a load of sanctimonious old shite. Mr Moir, I am ready to defect.

Joe Strummer will present a series of music programmes, `Joe Strummer's London Calling', on the World Service from 9 Jan

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
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.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders