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.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food