The week in radio: Sold a dummy as baby talk fails to deliver

 

I've been putting off listening to Radio 5 Live's Bump Club with Edith Bowman and Colin Murray for some time. You might even say I've been giving it a wide berth (ho ho). Why? Well there's the problem of the name.

Bump Club sounds to me like a Cath Kidston-smothered NCT get-together complete with Keep Calm... coffee mugs, a knitted uterus and couples cooing over sinister 3D ultrasound photos. It has an air of wholesomeness and exclusivity about it, a gathering of the ferociously fertile.

But putting aside the name, perhaps the concept – a 45-minute show devoted to baby bores everywhere – isn't so bad. After all, it has a ready-made audience – soon-to-be parents, new parents, those wondering whether they're cut out for procreation– who could well need all the help they can get. I could certainly have done with some proper advice before giving birth. The teacher at my antenatal class believed that an exercise ball, a new nightie and a positive attitude was enough to get me through it. In the end, it was a little more complicated.

So there's room on the radio for a proper, tell-it-like-it-is account of pregnancy, childbirth and the early days of parenthood, even in the supposedly male news-and-sport domain that is 5 Live. I'm thinking not so much Call the Midwife as more One Born Every Minute without the harrowing visuals.

This week's episode brought good news: roughly half of the pregnant women whom the series has been following in recent months had popped their corks. You literally couldn't move for newborn babies.

Thus, I was all ready for the sounds of waters breaking, mothers panting, fathers snoozing and babies taking their first gooey breaths. I was looking forward to hearing tales of cars hurtling to the hospital, of women taking midwives by the scruff and demanding the keys to the drugs cabinet and of presenter Colin Murray being carried across the room in a tidal wave of amniotic fluid. I wanted to hear about childbirth in all its terrifying, life-changing glory.

But there were no microphones in the delivery room. Instead, we got Murray visiting the maternity ward the next day to meet the newborn twins of Mercy and her partner and talking to the day-old babies in a strange, squeaky voice. We got Edith Bowman sighing down the phone to new mum Matilda who this week was induced and had an emergency caesarean section, and to Kirsty, who gave birth to baby Ian last Friday. There were no searching questions here, just a series of happy, tired people proving that new parents are, as a rule, happy and tired.

Only the broader, issues-based segments brought any real depth. A piece on uncommitted fathers was almost derailed by Murray who, to no one in particular, asked, "How active do you need to be as a father? Could you do more? Should you do less?" but redeemed by the campaigner and MP David Lammy who dispelled the myth that all young dads are lazy and feckless. There was also an illuminating chat with a disabled couple with a toddler and a second baby on the way, and the shameful lack of assistance offered to them by the NHS.

Overall, however, Bump Club was far from the no-nonsense portrayal of procreation that was promised at the start when Murray warned us: "We don't shy away from the honest details of pregnancy and childbirth." An honest depiction would have involved swearing, shouting, tears and gore. This was childbirth in soft focus, wiped clean of its blood and sweat.

twitter.com/FionaSturges

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Hopkins in Westworld

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rock and role: Jamie Bell's character Benjamin Grimm is transformed into 'Thing' in the film adaptation of Marvel Comics' 'Fantastic Four'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Hopkins veered between sycophancy and insult in her new chat show
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
In his role as Hamlet, Benedict Cumberbatch will have to learn, and repeat night after night, around 1,480 lines

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Belgian sexologist Goedele Liekens with pupils at Hollins Technology College in Accrington
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The rapper Drake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The gaffer: Prince Philip and the future Queen in 1947
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Style icons: The Beatles on set in Austria
film
Arts and Entertainment
By Seuss! ‘What Pet Shall I Get?’ hits the bookshops this week
Books
Arts and Entertainment
The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after Enola Gray and her crew dropped the bomb
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Elliott outside his stationery store that houses a Post Office
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Film review Tom Cruise, 50, is still like a puppy in this relentless action soap opera

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
    Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

    Berlusconi's world of sleaze

    The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
    Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

    Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

    Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
    Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

    Could gaming arcades be revived?

    The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
    Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

    Heard the one about menstruation?

    Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage