Radio 2010: The 101st amazing object – a wireless
Sunday 26 December 2010
The This Is Why I Pay My Licence Fee Award A History of the World in 100 Objects, a masterly sweep through the many ages of man led by the British Museum's Neil MacGregor, was the kind of thing the BBC does so well – big projects, superbly conceived and perfectly executed.
From the mummy of Hornedjitef at No 1 to a credit card and, at No 100, a solar-powered lamp charger, MacGregor and his story of "endless connections" showed how we got to where we are today. Shortlisted were: Marcus du Sautoy's series A Brief History of Mathematics and the equally wonderful Key Matters, each episode of which explored a musical key. The comedy series Listen Against was a radio riot of mad invention; and Steve Richards' The Brown Years pulled off the estimable feat of reigniting my interest in politics.
The Rev William Spooner Cup
The inaugural award for Radio Moment of the Year goes to James Naughtie, who ensured that whatever else he achieves, the Hulture Secretary – sorry, the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt – will be forever remembered for one Today presenter's slip of the tongue. Runner-up: Andrew Marr, who gave us an encore soon after on Start the Week.
Programme of the Year
Not just programme of the year, but one of the best I've ever heard, that's Radio 2's The Ballad of the Miners' Strike in which the events of 1984-85 were revisited via a lump-in-the-throat mix of interview and song – a testimony to the durability of the human spirit.
Castaway of the Year
On Desert Island Discs in March, the screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce was just lovely. But the award can only go to Kathy Burke, who came across as a diamond geezer. Cottrell-Boyce's luxury item was a Ferris wheel, which I liked. But Burke's was even better. She wanted a lifesize cut-out of Dragons' Denizen James Caan. Why? To body-surf on it, of course.
Best Unexpected Delight
Stock Car Sewell featured the aesthete Brian Sewell's love of, yes, stock car racing, with its "extraordinarily vulgar colours". Sewell, below, explored the sport's vibrant history and his own obsession with cars: "Beautiful, aggressive and wonderful they are – and how nasty. They embrace every characteristic of the human male."
The Lazarus Back From the Dead Award
This goes to 6 Music naturally. Designated for the chop by the craven, Tory-fearing BBC Trust, it rapidly became the must-support cause of the year (until shoved off that pedestal by the winter Wikistorm). The twitterati got tweeting, and a Facebook group attracted 180,000. Result! We may not be able to stop the tuition fees rise, but people power can move media mountains. The Asian Network, similarly proscribed, enjoyed no such resurrection, and will close at the end of 2011.
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