RADIO / Can they half-bake a Zeitgeist pie?: Robert Hanks on 1 FM's answer to NME, Melody Maker and Q; plus Chris Morris, alone and unleashed

Traditionally, Radio 1's attitude towards the music it plays has been largely uncritical. Discussions of records tend not to go much deeper than the odd 'What a sensational sound that is' or an occasional 'He's a nice bloke, and that's a great record'. Now and then, on a programme like Round Table somebody would attempt more rigorous analysis ('I quite liked the twiddly bits at the start, but then I thought it got a bit boring'), but that's about it.

While Fab 1 FM has stuck to its upbeat, humourless guns, though, the music press has developed a distinct way of talking about music - one based largely on adjective-mongering and over-indulged metaphors, but also characterised by irony and humour. (It's worth knowing that several of the writers behind On the Hour came out of the music press.) This is the kind of discourse favoured by Collins and Maconie's Hit Parade (Radio 1, Thursday), a magazine programme that its presenters, Andrew Collins and Stuart Maconie, describe as playing out of the rough grass by rock's fairway, and 'news, interviews and comment baked together in a sort of Zeitgeist pie'.

After three weeks, it's become clear that every one of the individual items on the programme fails utterly - the Omituary, in which guest critics swerve effortlessly around supposedly unavoidable cliches while discussing Blur or heavy metal, and the Interrogation, in which Collins and Maconie's would-be amusing Nice Cop / Nasty Cop act seems to irritate celebrity interviewees into clamming up. What does work is the juvenile, defensively ironic tone (Collins and Maconie actually write for Q, but thankfully sound a good deal less mature than that). You feel that Radio 1 is on a course of convergence with the NME and Melody Maker - not something you would wish on The World Tonight or the Church of England, but in terms of general gusto and willingness to be mildly controversial, quite possibly an improvement for Radio 1.

Collins and Maconie aren't the only evidence of Radio 1's new willingness to disturb - Chris Morris, the voice of On the Hour and The Day Today, now has his own show on a Wednesday night. In fact, the first programme was pretty undisturbing. There were moments of brilliance - Morris gently leading Katie Boyle, during a rigged phone-in on animals and justice, to suggest that Weimaraners would be a good breed of dog to sniff out evil-doers in court - but nothing that made you sit up and gulp for air.

That's partly because Morris's devices (getting uncomprehending old people to read out rude phrases like 'Parting the beef curtains', making fake phone-calls to Conservative Central Office) are starting to get familiar. But it's also because he weakens his jokes by giving them a new transparency - he explains exactly how he persuaded John Gummer into a display of mock indignation about a series of events that hadn't yet taken place, and what the woman who read out the bit about beef curtains thought it really meant. What the jokes lose in comic edge, though (there's no longer that sense of mild horror at the humiliation Morris is prepared to inflict on people), they gain in moral force.

In fact, the whole point about Morris is not that he's the funniest broadcaster around (though at the moment he's short on competition), but that he's the most moral. He is desperately keen that you should understand the deceptions involved in broadcasting; and it isn't always pleasant, but it's undeniably useful.

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May


Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama


Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year


Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before