Health warning: boring old gits in a moral maze

Radio

I CAN'T keep up with the Jame-sons. First, they leave London for Scotland, there to present their hugely popular eponymous evening show on Radio 2 in a warm glow of Regional Correct-ness. The next you hear is that they've also just moved to Sussex, which seems a long way to commute. Clearly, if they were hoping for a little seaside peace after unbuckling the nocturnal tartan, they picked the wrong spot when they chose Shoreham. This sleepy port, that last stirred lazily when Bonnie Prince Charlie scurried through, is suddenly wide awake and partying, blazing with the passion of calf-love.

Ever the old newshound, Derek Jameson pottered off towards the Harbour Lights (R4) to question the crowd. He found an extraordinary, excitable camaraderie: neighbours actually talking to each other, nipping out to the battle-lines for a daily fix of what they like to call the Dunkirk spirit. He found booming shops, pubs and cafs, and he found Bernard. Bernard has been alone and friendless in Brighton for 24 years but suddenly things have changed. He has a hundred new friends and he has a cause. He is the founder (and possibly, the only member) of BOGALE, Boring Old Gits Against Live Exports.

On the face of it, you'd think Bernard had little in common with Carla Lane who left the picket lines sighing tetchily "Well, I can't be everywhere", to make a fleeting, impassioned and incoherent appearance on The Moral Maze (R4), but she certainly shares his burning zeal to save calves. The moral panellists brought complexity to what is in fact quite a simple issue, viz: 1) is it right to kill animals? 2) if so, should it be done humanely? Their fierce disagreements contrast starkly with Jameson's attitude to the crusaders. He is genial, unreconstructed and a little baffled: "You've got a beard, Bernard", he observed, pleasantly, "Are you a loony Trot?"

This is just the kind of lang-uage he is going to have to eschew. Radio 4 began an important initiative on Tuesday called "States of Mind" featuring large helpings of Dr Anthony Clare. During All in the Mind, lurid tabloid language used to describe the mentally ill was exposed in all its fraudulence. Broadmoor gets a terrible press, yet it is, after all, a hospital where patients are treated and often restored to health. Listening to a montage of screaming headlines, one could imagine it to be a prison whose dangerous inmates should be confined to cells. The "mad axe murderer" syndrome perpetuates an atmosphere of ignorance and fear wherein most news stories routinely and unjustifiably link mental illness with violent crime.

It became abundantly clear in this and subsequent broadcasts that we should be more careful with our vocabulary, and that we know astonishingly little about the causes and treatment of human distress. Michael Palin spoke to five past or current patients who expressed great sadness that such is the stigma attached to their condition that few dare admit to it. Yet they need to "come out". Their unanimous appeal for compassion and companionship was the title of his instructive programme: Don't Fence Me In.

Late that night Dr Anthony Clare's learned professionals failed to answer the question What is Madness? but the fastidious dissension of the experts made an eloquent case for enlightenment. A curious fact emerged: in a controlled study, some patients were treated with drugs while others received social counselling - and both showed equal improvement. Edna Conlan, who had herself suffered severe depression, was not surprised: her contention was that help comes primarily from acknowledging the existence of the problem.

The drama department joined in, shining a bright spotlight on The Prisoner of Papa Stour (WS & R4). This was the true story, subtly told, of a gentle 19th- century schizophrenic exiled to the care of remote Scottish islanders, who was "rescued" by missionaries but left ultimately bewildered and saddened by being isolated from affection. It's far too simple to say, with the Beatles, that all you need is love, but more sensitivity would be a start.

Paul McCartney and Friends put on an Easter Monday concert on Classic FM, to premire McCartney's new piano work, A Leaf, beautifully played by Anya Alexeyev. Though short, it is a strong piece, accessible yet complex, whose filmic melody and syncopated rhythms at first suggested Gershwin and Bernstein. Later, variations on the tune of Au Clair de la Lune were decorated with rapid arpeggios, before the initial theme returned. I'd like to hear it again - and probably will. It was followed by Willard White's enormous voice singing a comically slight ditty beginning "Let's have a drink while we think what to do". Still, not a bad idea for a wet bank holiday.

Radio 1 set out to discover whether or not heaven exists with Simon Mayo's Big Holy Easter. It was, of course, a chance to play all the corny songs they could find that mentioned heaven, but Mayo is an interesting man. There is a strong, intelligent irony in him, distancing him from the drivel he sometimes finds himself saying, and he allowed the Venerable Bede and Samuel Beckett air-time on his show. He interviewed a vicar called, delightfully, Carol Joy, an American physicist and a doctor who spoke about near-death experiences, and these were careful, thoughtful conversations. The only really bad moments came when Catherine Zeta Jones talked to the Bishop of Guildford, for "The Actress and the Bishop". She was frightful - gushy, vague, sentimental and cloyingly flirtatious, and he was not much better. I preferred the clever spoof-advert, which had an Anglican bishop in the back of a London taxi, awkwardly wriggling into her Levi's.

Arts and Entertainment
At this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas

Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
Crime watch: Cara Delevingne and Daniel Brühl in ‘The Face of an Angel’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
music Malik left the Asian leg of the band's world tour after being signed off with stress last week
News
Author J.K. Rowling attends photocall ahead of her reading from 'The Casual Vacancy' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on September 27, 2012 in London, England.
peopleNot the first time the author has defended Dumbledore's sexuality
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • 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.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss