The Week In Radio: New voice gives early risers reasons to be cheerful

What do you want at five o'clock in the morning? Ideally deep slumber between silken sheets, of course, but if you have to be awake, is Vanessa Feltz the answer? For most radio networks, getting-up time is the most intimate part of the day, the time when listeners are at their most irascible. Annoy them at your peril. Sarah Kennedy, who departed the Radio 2 early morning show abruptly last year, had, to say the least, a distinctive style. She was Bunty Bagshaw, listeners were the Dawn Patrollers. There was cosy giggling and in-jokes. How will three million listeners take to Vanessa, a crisp, no-nonsense Cambridge First? And how will Feltz cope with a 3.30am start, as well as hosting her daily Radio London show, a new Channel 5 show, and deputising for Jeremy Vine?

On first showing, perfectly well, except for the fact that she seemed to have undergone a personality transplant. Unlike her brisk Radio London persona, she sounds curiously sweet, like someone trying to coax a nervous cat in. Declaring herself "absolutely thrilled to bits", she referenced soothing parts of her personal life – her school play, her chicken soup – selected an upbeat medley "Reasons to be Cheerful", "I Wanna Wake Up with You" and declared her mission to "cheer everybody up if we possibly can". Tuesday she moved on to Baby Bottom cream and hangover cures, but touched on Goldman Sachs pay and Justin Webb's paternity. One has the sense that the bedside manner may soon become sharper as real life begins to intrude. She has indeed said she will soon "gear up and become my true unbridled self". But Radio 2, which has already managed the transition from cosy to brash when Chris Evans replaced Terry Wogan, is plainly confident that Vanessa has the charisma to see it through.

At the other extreme of the schedule, Radio 3's The Essay turned up trumps again with a series on Montaigne. Unlike the "event radio" currently in fashion, through which listeners suffer total immersion in Mozart or the history of cinema, or whatever, The Essay is never less than eclectic – occasionally dreary, generally stimulating and full of gobbets of wisdom. And given that Montaigne was the father of the essay, he seems a perfect subject. Jonathan Bate said Montaigne was "the first writer in history simply to speak what he felt". And he spoke, Alain de Botton said, about how he liked to raise his hat, melons and radishes, his bowels and his intellectual overconfidence. Theodore Zeldin drew deeper parallels with Montaigne's insight and our modern malaise, concluding that "the great famine of our time is hunger for appreciation and recognition".

Which applies to spies too, judging by Tom Mangold's bizarre spy-themed cruise in which a series of ex-spies, including former CIA directors Porter Goss and Michael Hayden, lectured on radical Islam, communism and similar scares. The revelation in Radio 4's Ship of Spies was that the US security services feel hard done by. "This is not a pleasure trip to me," said one aggrieved spook. "It's to spread the message the intelligence community is under attack, civil libertarians are crying for scalps, there's all kind of indignities, we are at war." Embolded perhaps by the holiday atmosphere, nobody ducked the issue of torture. "Faced with difficult decisions good people have to make hard choices," said Michael Hayden. "Did it work? Yes it did. One suspect clammed up, we decided to use enhanced techniques on him, including waterboarding, at which point he became a gusher of information." As Mangold drifted round the ship, it was clear that all the customers were of a similar political persuasion – ie far starboard.

The organiser admitted libertarian groups would be about as welcome onboard as norovirus. They had been invited, he explained, but "They didn't feel comfortable being supportive of such a venture." No kidding.

jane@janethynne.com

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
Crime watch: Cara Delevingne and Daniel Brühl in ‘The Face of an Angel’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
music Malik left the Asian leg of the band's world tour after being signed off with stress last week
News
Author J.K. Rowling attends photocall ahead of her reading from 'The Casual Vacancy' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on September 27, 2012 in London, England.
peopleNot the first time the author has defended Dumbledore's sexuality
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