Review of 2012: Radio


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The Independent Culture


Victoria Derbyshire, Radio 5 Live:

5 Live's greatest asset – and a presenter who wouldn't flinch if her hair was on fire – Victoria Derbyshire was in her element when broadcasting from an unnamed British abortion clinic, offering glimpses of the lives of the women who found themselves there.

Ulysses, Radio 4

Many say they have read it, but few, if they're honest, have got to the end. Robin Brooks's five-and-a-half-hour adaptation of Joyce's novel, served up in digestible portions over a single weekend, was a triumph both for experts and dilettantes.

Schubert week, Radio 3

Radio 3's eight-day, 200-hour marathon, a crash-course in all things Schubert, certainly wasn't to everyone's taste – but for those among us with scant knowledge of the composer, it was an education and an inspiration.

The Listening Project, Radio 4

“Never forget what belly you came out of,” warned a grandfather to his granddaughter in The Listening Project, a year-long endeavour that broadcast happy, sad and frequently astonishing snippets of conversation between family members and friends, and stored them away for posterity. Consistently wonderful.

Amanda Vickery on... Men, Radio 4

The eminent TV historian explored masculinity through the centuries in this brilliant series, taking on archetypes such as the explorer, the sailor, the lover and the knight with intelligence, equanimity and a sense of the absurd.

Discovery of the Year: Desert Island Discs online archive

The programme created by Roy Plomley at home in his pyjamas has barely changed since its first recording in January 1942, as evidenced by this online treasure trove of 1500 recordings in which famous types grapple with the notion of tropical solitude.

Turkey of the Year: We Are Sixty, Radio 2

While BBC radio's broader coverage of the Queen's Jubilee lacked bite, nothing matched the cringing banality of the Celia Imrie-narrated We Are Sixty, as much an adoring, unbalanced and fervently rypalist tribute to our sovereign as a glossy tourist brochure from Beck House itself.