IoS radio preview of 2013: Curl up with old favourites in new clothes


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The Independent Culture

There's not necessarily anything revolutionary coming up on the radio in the coming year, but some old dependables are likely to add considerably to our listening pleasure. Take the all-conquering Clare Balding, for example, who will be adding another string to an already well-strung bow, starting on 20 January, when she joins Radio 2. She'll be presenting Good Morning Sunday, a weekly faith programme featuring topical discussion, guests and music.

"I grew up listening to Terry Wogan on Radio 2 with my Mum," she said. "I've never presented my own radio show so this is a huge moment for me." Never presented her own show? I can't quite believe that.

Radio 4 has an Orwell season starting in February, including dramatisations of Animal Farm (using Orwell's own radio script), Homage to Catalonia and 1984 – with former Dr Who Christopher Eccleston, who should bring the right measure of downbeat intensity to the part of Winston in an adaptation by Jonathan Holloway. There's also a series of short plays dramatising various aspects of Orwell's life.

Last Wednesday, Stuart Maconie's epic Radio 2 series The People's Songs Ω a history of modern Britain in 50 records Ω kicked off with Vera Lynn. He'll go on to look at 49 more songs that have provided the soundtrack to British culture since the middle of the last century, from postwar optimism, through the fissures and divisions in society during the Sixties and Seventies, to mass immigration and the perils of celebrity. If Wednesday's is anything to go by, it should be tremendous.

There are some ambitious projects on Radio 3, too. For the first time, the BBC Symphony Orchestra is expanding its Total Immersion days beyond a single composer to focus on countries: Sounds from Japan is on 2 February, and New from the North – music from Denmark and Finland – will be relayed live from the Barbican. And in May there's Ilan Volkov's Tectonics new music festival, in conjunction with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Face to watch

Edith Bowman, Fearne Cotton, Jo Whiley and Nemone have all fronted the Radio 1 Chart Show in tandem with male presenters, but next Sunday a little bit of history will be made when Jameela Jamil, above, becomes the first woman to fly solo. She’s been doing the Radio 1 Request Show for the past year, but even at a time when the charts are no longer an automatic fixture in the public consciousness, this is a step up.