The Week in Radio: If even Justin Welby doesn't listen to Thought for the Day...

 

Is it true that the BBC, like New Labour, doesn't "do God?" Or at least doesn't do Him very well? The question reared its head on, of all days, Good Friday. The new Archbishop of Canterbury, having made his debut on Thought for the Day with a casual, user-friendly bit on Cyprus, the crucifixion and hope amid despair, confessed that he never tuned into the flagship faith slot.

"It just doesn't fit in with what I'm doing in the morning," he said. "Never would be an exaggeration. But it's very rare." An hour later, Today was still worrying away at this broadcasting blasphemy and called in the BBC's Head of Religion, Aaqil Ahmed, to discuss. There followed one of those weird episodes that Today likes so much in which the BBC self-flagellates and self-congratulates, passive and aggro all at once.

"Is it very popular?" asked Sarah Montague. "You tell me," said Ahmed. "It's not produced by us. So I don't have the data. I don't know if you do?" asked Montague. "Well, I'm sure you do have the data," said Ahmed. And lo, it continued while the rest of us prayed for deliverance. If Justin Welby himself doesn't listen to TFTD, might it be time to drop it? Do these secular times necessitate a daily dose of faith-based platitudes on current affairs? Probably not, but nor should one get one's cassock in a twist about it. If you're a non-believer, it's three minutes out of three hours, which, I find, is about the same amount of time it takes to leave the room and make a cup of tea.

In any case, the BBC serves all gods and idols – especially teen ones. Hero worship is a safe bet for radio. If you're already a fan of the subject, you nod along sagely or happily. If you're not, and the presenter is infectious enough, you might grow to love it. Adam Buxton on David Bowie (6 Music) was an oddball and, yes, infectious two hours of wall-to-wall Bowie tracks and interviews intercut with Buxton's irreverent take on the singer's lyrics (Major Tom "should have been court-martialled") life and sense of humour.

I suspect that serious fans might have found it too off-the-wall. Put it this way, Buxton devoted a good 10 minutes to "The Laughing Gnome", widely held to be Bowie's biggest embarrassment. "I like laughter in any song – there's not enough chuckling in the new Atoms for Peace album, for example", he explained. After all the po-faced Bowie pontificating of late, it made me smile.

On Easter Monday, What Is It About Judy Blume? (Radio 4) was a nostalgic, lightly feminist half hour from Sarah Cuddon who reverted to tongue-tied 10-year old when she interviewed the Queen of Teen. Among giggly memories of Margaret chanting "I must, I must, I must increase my bust" and passing around the sex scenes in Forever at school, Blume was held up as a surrogate mother to millions (in the Eighties she received 2,000 letters a month asking for advice). Far better, argued Cuddon and gal pals convincingly, to read about periods, bereavement and female friendship than wizards and hobbits. Or Fifty Shades of Grey – the current teen fad according to one librarian. Best of all was Nicholas Tucker who dug out his 1976 TLS review of Forever – "A dull novel about very dull young people… Five Go on an Orgy." – and disowned it as the jealous nitpicking of a once-repressed teen.

In Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD (Radio 4) Steven Seagal was the hero of the half hour. Tuck was nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2011 for his show about a quest to watch all 54 Disney movies that never made it to the big screen. For this four-part sequel he continues to watch the films that no one else will, starting with Seagal's late period action movies – a scarcely feasible "1,883 minutes of hitting" since 2002.

It's an excellent concept. Tuck's eagle eye for absurdity – Seagal's face is "like someone trying to draw Bruce Lee on a marshmallow" – is evident, but so too is his clear affection for his terrible source material. I can't wait for the Olsen Twins episode.

twitter.com/alicevjones

Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • 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.

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power