The Week In Radio: Saturday morning fever with master muso Mary Anne

 

"In another life I would have been out on the road DJing and dragging a record box around in the middle of the night in some shady club," remarked Mary Anne Hobbs at the start of her new weekend breakfast show on BBC6 Music.

Hobbs was referring to her last job as a club DJ, one of her many working incarnations that have also included Sounds journalist, Radio 1 Breezeblock stalwart and presenter on XFM. In recent years, when most people her age are putting the kettle on and warming up the telly in readiness for Saturday Kitchen, Hobbs has been packing up the decks, waving goodbye to the boggle-eyed masses and crawling home to her bed.

Hobbs is a million miles from the presenters who are handed a mug of coffee and a playlist at the start of their shift, and politely requested to get on with it. She is a proper DJ who lugs records around with her like the rest of us carry handbags and who, unlike most in the throes of middle age, doesn't appear to fantasise about lying a sofa in a fleece-lined muumuu at the end of a day's work and using the cat as a pillow.

She's a woman with a vast musical knowledge, an enthusiasm that has remained undimmed since her early days under the wing of John Peel, and who absorbs new sounds like Betty Ford absorbed cocktails. So all credit to BBC6 Music for employing her (if even if you wonder what took them so long). Unlike its rivals, the station refuses to be dazzled by youth. It also hires female presenters not for their capacity to be wrist-slittingly bubbly in the early hours (hello Vanessa!), but on the basis that they are dedicated, world-class muso bores. In a good way, of course.

So, the new show. Hobbs's silkily hushed voice was perfect for this time of the morning. None of your nails-down-a-blackboard, Feltz-style quacking here. There was, it has to be said, a little too much nervous laughter and too much awestruck thanks at being allowed to sit in a studio in Salford in the early hours of a Saturday as if we, the listeners, had somehow been instrumental in her appointment.

On Sunday's show there was also a strange and ill-fitting feature show called "The Three-Minute Epiphany" in which the philosopher Roman Krznaric droned on about "the age of outrospection" and how we should all be nice to one another. But there was also an endless stream of classic, oddball, obscure and glorious records, each of them introduced by Hobbs with a sense of awe and astonishment that they had ever got made. For a weekend musical education, you couldn't hope for a safer pair of hands.

On Monday evening, another new signing was battling with first-day nerves.

Alice Levine, a former MTV presenter, made her broadcasting debut on Radio 1, alongside co-presenter Phil Taggart, on the late-night new music show made famous by John Peel. The pair certainly had chemistry, with the confident, charismatic Levine playing eye-rolling older sister to Taggart's over-excited schoolboy.

There was the odd teething problem, most notably in the form of a webcam that had been rigged up in the waiting area in order that we could spy on loitering guests, and which came with a migraine-inducing echo. "This is groundbreaking," declared Taggart, before stepping out of the studio and in front of the camera, leaning over guest Charli XCX and inadvertently revealing two acres of underpants.

The music was by turns interesting and atrocious, which is pretty much what we got in the days of Peel. Although, to be fair, I don't ever recall him flashing his pants.

twitter.com/FionaSturges

Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
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.

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'