Listening to these was an extremely irritating experience, not so much because of anything they contained (Bill Oddie apart) but because the whole mood seems so out of key with the atmosphere at the BBC. Just the title of Auntie's Family Album sets the teeth on edge: why don't they call it "Please, please, love us, we're ever such a nice, cuddly broadcasting corporation and not at all a soulless bureaucracy that has lost touch with its raison d'etre" and have done with it? Apart from the fact that the billing would take up too much space in the Radio Times.
At the moment, doom and loathing hang about the doors to Broadcasting House like a couple of psychotic night-club bouncers. Radio 4 producers have recently heard the results of this autumn's "selling round" - the first time they have had to "sell" programme ideas to the new commissioning editors (who are, you recall, each responsible for a different time of day). Under the new structure, several producers, including some of the BBC's most distinguished names, have sold no programmes at all; the fact that the bad news is now spread by e-mail hasn't increased their sense of the corporation's cuddliness.
Horror stories abound: one producer is supposed to have proposed a feature on Rimbaud and got back the answer "Who's Rimbaud?" Kate Rowland, head of drama, is rumoured to have been told by one of the new editors that he would never have commissioned Spoonface Steinberg - probably the most popular radio drama in the last quarter of a century - but "some things slip through the net".
The best story I've heard has Producer A approaching Producer B: A was supposed to be travelling with Andy Kershaw to some war zone, but his editor was worried the project was dangerous, and he wanted B's advice. B said he didn't think anybody was likely to get killed; and A said, "No, you don't understand: the editor is worried that Kershaw might be dangerous - he thinks he's a bad influence."
Kershaw certainly does his damnedest. He turned last week's Pick of the Week (Fri/Sun, R4) into an hour-long snipe at the BBC's management - for axing The Afternoon Shift, for elbowing Mark Radcliffe out of the Radio 1 breakfast slot, for ignoring the virtues of the World Service (a much better 24-hour news channel than the one they've just set up), for spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a logo redesign any 11-year-old could have done in 10 minutes on his PC. I don't always admire Kershaw's taste, but his courage is admirable.Reuse content