The Week In Radio: High and low notes with the Mozart of Madras

Where would radio be, without the probing interview? Television may grab the headlines, as exemplified recently in a fabulous retrospective of John Freeman by Sue MacGregor, by making politicians cry or asking them the same question 14 times. But radio has the talent, intelligence and above all the time to make windows in men's souls. It's the intimacy of the radio studio that draws out the lurking childhood misery or the tension between the public and the private face. Which was why I lamented the demise of In the Psychiatrist's Chair and why I'll also miss On the Ropes, which is being axed in October on Radio 4 to make way for more science.

There's a crying need for this kind of in-depth slot. John Humphrys, on Today, probes relentlessly, but it's hardly the place you want to open up about your addictive personality or sexual predilections. In On the Ropes, Humphrys is a kinder, gentler beast, who wears kid gloves and rarely interrupts. Normally, that technique works well for people discussing their life-changing moments, yet we could have done with a little more prodding in this week's interview with Max Mosley, the former F1 boss who won a privacy action against the News of the World over claims of a "Nazi orgy".

Mosley is a psychiatrist's dream. Being the son of Hitler fan, Diana Mitford, was good practice for surviving stigma, though he said his father, Sir Oswald, "never admired Hitler, quite disliked him, only met him twice and thought he was over the top". When the newspaper story broke he felt inspired to tackle one of the media truths of our age. "Everything you've worked for is pushed to one side by something that's actually a tiny part of your life and blown up to be something that almost defines you." But perhaps because he is intelligent, or accustomed to public interest in his life, Mosley has effectively shrunk himself. It's hard to pick past the facade. He has decided that the best approach is to be absolutely up front about sex: "To me sex is private and people do very strange things," and finds that this deflects questions very effectively. Curiously, it was what he didn't say that was most revealing. When discussing his wife's reaction, he remarked: "Embarrassing isn't the word... and then I've got two grown-up sons," before correcting himself, "had two grown-up sons." It was only later that Humphrys probed the death of his son, to which Mosley conceded: "He had significant drug problems and I've no doubt it made his situation worse, but I don't blame myself." I wanted to know how his son's shame might have compared to Mosley's own experience as the son of a vilified Nazi sympathiser, but Humphrys didn't ask.

Interviews don't come much more high profile than that in Radio 2's The Mozart of Madras, which secured a rare audience with global superstar A R Rahman. Don't say "A R who exactly?" because A R Rahman can't leave home in India without being pursued by fans and is the world's most prolific film music producer, with Slumdog Millionaire to his credit. This week he was up for an Oscar for Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, so Boyle got him to talk. Which should have been great, except that A R is exceptionally softly spoken and self-effacing. He loves Tufnell Park because, "back at home I can't go out in the street, but in London I can take walks and be myself". Becoming a Sufi Muslim liberated him, because: "I stopped drinking, have no social life, nothing, just sit in a studio and make music." He is, Boyle concluded: "A genius composer with the ego of a dormouse; a man who likes to let his music do the talking." Fair enough. But to a good radio interviewer, surely that's the challenge?

News

literature

News
Dermot O'Leary attends the X Factor Wembley Arena auditions at Wembley on August 1, 2014 in London, England.

television

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
At this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas

Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss