The Week In Radio
Saturday 24 April 1999
Start the Week (R4, Monday) is helmed by the new, reluctantly aggressive Jeremy Paxman. Paxo egged on the redoubtable Carmen Callil over her browbeatingly partial selection of "Best Novels of the last 50 Years". Sveltely bridging the audio gap between Germaine Greer and Tallulah Bankhead, Callil has a voice built for radio - cruel and chocolaty. Her objection to science fiction as a genre was "boredom", and she swept aside the hapless science writer Robin Baker, author of Sex in the Future and apologist for universal IVF, with "nothing will stop people fornicating" - his point exactly, he murmured from beneath the table.
Another dislocated particle, Peter Snow, is battling to restrain his natural bounce as radio's successor to the lugubrious Magnus Magnusson on Mastermind (R4, Monday). Far from Newsnight's meticulously prepared battle sandpits and stats charts, Snow nevertheless manages to invest lists of arcane trivia with a greying pep. To hear him giving the answers to passed questions on The Beach Boys was to hear a grown man refuse to admit that he will never learn to tap-dance; the "n" in "Surfin'" was admirably enunciated, but "Let's Get Away for a While", a recondite title, admittedly, was transformed into a kind of sinister scoutmasters' refrain. Infinitely happier with "Aircraft of 1939-1945", he rattled off the phrases "Operation Bodenplatter" and "Vickers Wildebeest" with nostalgic relish.
For the last word in natural authority, another repackaged veteran, the matriarchal cookery writer Marguerite Patten, surely takes the biscuit, so to speak. Discussing the period 1910-1919 in her Century of British Cooking (R4, Sunday), she noted the availability of pine-nuts long before today's gastro-thug chefs fricasseed them with chorizo, scallops, balsamic vinegar and chard, and announced that with these, "your nut rissoles will be delicious", less a prediction than a command, one felt.
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Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
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