First Night: Men's Hour, BBC Radio 5

'Men's Hour': the view of one man ... and one woman

If I was a real man I wouldn't be listening attentively to Radio 5 Live at 7.30 on a Sunday evening. I'd be barbecuing, or cleaning my tools, or (and someone in the scheduling department really ought to be disciplined for this clash) watching Top Gear on BBC2. But then, as magazine shows go, Men's Hour was more Details than Men's Health: intelligent, sensitive, unafraid of emotions – and just a little bit girly.

Its presenter, Tim Samuels, as befits the modern metropolitan male, sounded nervous and ill-prepared. But then, so might you if your studio guests included Pineapple Dance Studios star Louie Spence ("the campest man on TV"), and he started discussing the size of his own penis.

There were laddish additions to this on-air posse: ex-SAS man Andy McNab and comedian Hugh Dennis. But Men's Hour seems petrified of feminist reprisals, and thus intent on emasculating its guests with such topics as a nasal spray that cures polygamy. Mark Ronson wasn't keen on Samuels's suggestion that he had feminine traits, and quickly mentioned his hairy arms and girlfriend. But even he, moved to introspection by the show's ever-present therapist, Dr Mark, admitted that his "default demeanour is anxiety."

"It's about capturing the spirit of when good mates sit around nowadays," Samuels said of Men's Hour. And he has captured that spirit, except that it sounded like those "good mates" were sitting around at the end of a long night's drinking. And nobody wants to listen to an hour of men being melancholy, least of all women. Wouldn't we all rather watch Top Gear?

Tim Walker

What do men want? It's not a question admittedly, that has detained anyone much over the past two millennia. But what with unemployed male graduates, troubled gunmen and politicians who are mad, bad and dangerous, men's issues are all the rage. Hence 5 Live's Men's Hour, which launched last night, promising to "delve into uncharted emotional territory for men" and reveal men's true preoccupations. Obviously the discussion zoned straight in on penis size.

Does the genetic variant, RS3 334 make men more likely to wander? Tim Samuels' "posse", consisting of Louis Spence, the gay dancer from Pineapple Dance Studio, Andy McNab and Hugh Dennis, mulled it over in a non-judgemental way that felt like an awkward first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. There was "Thought for the Gay" with the stand-up comedian Chris Neill, urging footballers to come out of the closet. There was Alan Johnson, former home secretary and pop singer, performing a bizarre falsetto about teenage complexions. And there was lots about baldness, soy milk affecting sperm quality, grey hair, and the danger of mobile phones to testicles. Atmospherically, the mood was more GP's surgery than football terrace.

Do men really talk like this when left alone? Men's Hour felt needy, unsexy and really likely to have low self-esteem. Think of Top Gear, then imagine the exact opposite.

As to what women want, a good clue came from Jenni Murray, who chose Man Of The Week. She went for Raymond Blanc. Not for his conversation, obviously, but because he does a good roast chicken.

Jane Thynne

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Arts and Entertainment
Sergeant pfeffer: Beatles in 1963
booksA song-by-song survey of the Beatles’ lyrics
Arts and Entertainment
music'I didn't even know who I was'
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl was left in a conundrum with too much talent and too few seats during the six-chair challenge stage
tvReview: It was tension central at boot camp as the ex-Girls Aloud singer whittled down the hopefuls
Arts and Entertainment
Kalen Hollomon's Anna Wintour collage

art
Arts and Entertainment

TV Grace Dent on TV
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

music
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer is believed to be playing a zombie wife in Patient Zero

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Gatiss says Benedict Cumberbatch oozes sex appeal with his 'Byronic looks' and Sherlock coat
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Clothing items bearing the badge have become popular among music aficionados
musicAuthorities rule 'clenched fist' logo cannot be copyrighted
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson will star in Seth MacFarlane's highly-anticipated Ted 2

film
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in 'Gone Girl'

film
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.

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?