The Week in Radio: Calm and steady when it comes to the crunch

What with austerity, apocalypse and triple-A downgrades forecast (and that's just the beginning of the alphabet) it may be that everyone's going to need a bit of cheering up. And, unlikely as it seems, when the country is engulfed in financial crisis, the person you really want beside you is the sanguine Paul Lewis from Money Box Live. There are some who cite Money Box Live as a textbook example of oxymoron, but I feel its calming approach may be just what's needed in the months ahead. There is a feeling with Lewis that everything is going to be OK. Debating the debt crisis in the southern Eurozone, he might just as well have been discussing if it's worth changing your contents insurance. When an expert explained how credit ratings can nosedive from triple A to triple B he remarked, "sounds like my essay marks". Asking Vince Cable, "Do you think we might go the way of Greece in another 10 years time?" he might have been wondering which building society offers a half percentage higher interest rate. And this is adamantly not a criticism. There is a serious point to be made about the approach and tone of financial journalists. Back in the meltdown of 2008, the urgent thrill and the note of doom in Robert Peston's voice were said to move markets. Lewis, by contrast, has a polite tenacity and a genius for under-egging the pudding. Besides, how can you not admire a man who on his website proclaims, "My head capitalist; my heart socialist; my soul anarchist"? And it must work, because he's just won three journalism awards.

Given that it was election all round this week and elsewhere Radio 4 was reprising the Dunblane tragedy and the Bradford fire, a little light relief was certainly in order. Ian Davidson and Peter Vincent's delightful When the Dog Dies cast Ronnie Corbett as Sandy Hopper, a widower whose daughter and son-in-law are impatient for him to move out of his house – a move he has agreed to make "when the dog dies". The need, therefore, is to keep Henry – 116 in dog years – alive. This is a gentle, credit-crunch comedy for our times and Corbett is beautifully cast as the beleaguered oldie whose ungrateful offspring watch his every move like vultures. When he gets a sat-nav his daughter is horrified. "You shouldn't be spending money on that, there's already inheritance tax without you spending!" He is banned from burying the dog in the garden because, as his monstrous son-in-law tells him, "People won't buy the house with dead dogs everywhere". And when he graciously suggests, "we should all be singing from the same hymn sheet," the son-in-law ominously riposts, "We will soon Sandy."

Corbett was not the only comedian to emerge from showbiz twilight this week. Flipback to another age of austerity, 1952, when sweets were still rationed and two young comics were starting out. The discovery by Doreen Wise of a forgotten stash of early Morecambe and Wise performances in the eaves of her garage was hailed by the BBC as comedy gold. Well, up to a point, maybe. While no-one is saying The Garage Tapes should have stayed in the garage, these early performances on shows like Variety Bandbox and Variety Fanfare raise only the weakest of smiles. Heavily reliant on wordplay and delivered with a curious, mid-Atlantic twang, their sketches dwell on tales of yore like Robin Hood. "How did you fall in with outlaws? I fell out with in-laws." The most interesting thing the programme revealed was the strength of the two men's relationship. It was Ernie who had the ability to spot what was special about Eric. "I never heard Eric criticise Ernie or allow anyone else to say anything about Ernie," said Joan Morecambe. "All either of them wanted was a nice little home, a nice wife and a nice car." Rather touchingly, that's pretty much what they got.

Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little