The Week In Radio: Travelling man is heading in the wrong direction

 

Over the past week the ghosts of dead DJs have been stalking the corridors of the BBC. Among the nastier apparitions has been Jimmy Savile, a man alleged to have abused scores of children though who, because of his connections and charitable work, was deemed beyond reproach. More cheeringly, we have also seen the reappearance, from beyond the grave, of Kenny Everett, a groundbreaking DJ and comic who was denounced from some quarters as a pervert on the basis of his homosexuality.

There is perhaps a sliver of comfort to be had from the fact that, while Savile's reputation is finally getting the drubbing it deserves, "Cuddly Ken" is now being celebrated as a mischievous spirit pushing the boundaries of comedy and broadcasting. While a recent biopic on BBC4 looked at Everett's private life, interspersing the inevitable sad clown narrative with re-creations of his sketches, Radio 4 Extra was dusting down a long-forgotten doc Kenny Everett: The BBC Local Radio Years, which told the story of what happened when the broadcaster was removed from the national airwaves at the peak of his powers.

Everett was forever getting into deep water at work, whether being reprimanded for criticising the BBC's music policy on air or being handed his P45 for cracking a joke during a news bulletin at the expense of the wife of a Tory politician on Radio 1. Everett was subsequently offered a slot on BBC Radio Bristol, much to the ire of his former bosses who thought he should never darken the corporation's doorstep again. We learned how, on his first broadcast, he sang a song, set to the tune of "The Blue Danube", bemoaning his circumstances: "No food in the fridge, boo-hoo, boo-hoo/ No heat in the pipes, boo-hoo, boo-hoo/ No dough in the bank, boo-hoo, boo-hoo…"

Once local producers got wind that Everett was available for work, the comic found himself doing pre-recorded stints across the country, from Merseyside and Nottingham, to Solent and Brighton. Tapes would be transported from his home in the Sussex countryside to the relevant destination by railway, with minions dispatched to stations to pluck them directly from the train. A vetting process would then take place with producers weighing up the wisdom of airing the more risqué gags.

The usual customs of broadcasting were of no interest to Everett. His programmes were platforms for his array of daft voices, improvised skits and terrifically silly – yet technically sophisticated – jingles. His record choices were quirky, to say the least. "If you don't like it, ring me and I'll take it off," was a typical introduction. Listening to the acres of improv in this affectionate and meticulously researched documentary, contemporary music radio seemed horribly anodyne by comparison. For once, the word genius is apt.

Another ghost returned to Radio 4 in the form of the very much alive Andy Kershaw. The presenter fell out of favour several years ago after a brush with the law and, it transpired, a nervous breakdown. But he has been back on his feet for some time, so it beats me why he hasn't been given a series doing what he does best: venturing to the farthest corners of the planet to assimilate new sounds and cultures.

Closer to Home, Cheaper Than Walking was a start, I suppose, a pleasant meditation on Britain's post-war vogue for extremely small cars such as the Peel P50 and the Frisky Family Three. Even so, hearing that Kershaw was "deep in rural Kent" in a barn full of souped-up lawnmowers didn't have quite the same impact as, say, him listening to singing waitresses in Pyongyang, North Korea. Sort it out, the BBC. Give the man a proper job and then put him on a plane.

twitter.com/FionaSturges

Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
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.

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot