2013 - the year in review: The best radio of the year


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The Independent Culture

The People’s Songs

Radio 2’s year-long mega-series, a labour of love for its presenter Stuart Maconie, was consistently wonderful on people, the times through which they have lived and the songs that sound-tracked those times. A landmark social and cultural retrospective.

Russell Brand and Noel Gallagher on XFm

What a double act. This one-off collaboration in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust was a non-stop treat as Brand, drunk on his own verbiage and forever teetering on the edge of a lawsuit, was repeatedly cut down to size by Gallagher.

Tweet of the Day

A simple idea brilliantly executed. Radio 4’s series of early-morning shorts about British birds based on their dawn song, accompanied by the mellifluous murmurings of Sir David Attenborough, proved to be an excellent way to start the day.

Victoria Derbyshire

Derbyshire’s Five Live show is the best of its kind, shining a light on controversial topics without hectoring or hysteria. “The Abuser’s Tale”, an investigation into domestic violence which talked to abusers involved in rehabilitation was bold and important radio.

Tony Harrison’s V

This expletive-laden poem didn’t provoke as much fuss as it did 25 years ago when there were calls for it to be banned. But Harrison’s late-night reading on Radio 4 was power - ful nonetheless, not least because, with its portrait of social and cultural divisions, Britain didn’t seem so different now to how it was then.

Discovery of the year


Blood, happiness and how Manhattan disposes of its poo. No subject is too big or bizarre for Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich’s podcast on the US station WNYC, which brings wit and intelligence to matters scientific and philosophical.

Turkey of the Year

There was a sort of bravery in Five Live’s decision to air a disastrous interview with the actress Naomi Watts on Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review. It was also a cringing illustration of the orchestrated nature of the celebrity interview. Watts cut the conversation short and we all breathed a sigh of relief.