Dear Simon Bates

...and they said it would never last. Far from it all ending in tears, you're reunited with the radio, where Brits can have a jolly good sniff 'n' sob

Conjure up, if you will, the soulful strains of the famous Our Tune theme, as you read my congratulations on your new deal with Talk Radio. The news that you and your tear-jerker classic are returning, triumphant, to the airwaves, is a heartwarming end to a tale of joy and sorrow.

It all began 16 years ago with a Radio One disc jockey - let's call him Simon - and his dream. It was a romantic dream, a dream that he could bring ordinary people's stories of true love and tragedy to the nation. A show - let's call it Our Tune - was born.

It was a hit. You and Our Tune were the most popular couple in the country - up to 11 million listeners tuned in every day to hear you read devastating tales of love, ill luck and survival. Five hundred such letters would arrive every week, each bearing the immortal finale - "our tune" - that special song - gulp - that meant so much to the letter writer and his/her love.

We thought you and Our Tune would last forever. You had something special going. How could your magic fail? But then came that fateful day in 1993, when Radio One cruelly cast you aside. Or did you go, walk out the door, not turn around, etc? Whatever, you were off the air and out in the cold.

How could such a tragedy occur? Sadly, there was a frigid faction afoot, uptight intelligentsia who accused Our Tune of slushy sentiment. They called you tacky. They found it all embarrassing. While a listening nation's lower lip had trembled, their upper lip stayed firmly stiff. They sneered at such indecent displays. And each time another listener picked Chris de Burgh's Lady In Red as "our tune" (as was, it must be said, their wont), the sneer grew larger.

In short, they were ashamed. But of what? In Our Tune, we glimpsed a rare chance to show the world that we, the British, were made of flesh and blood, too. We seized it. We heaved and sighed with every twist of fate. We surrendered ourselves to the romance. As the signature music - the love theme from Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet - faded away, we proved ourselves a match for any hot-blooded Latin lover.

And you, Simon, were as broad-minded as you were big-hearted. You shared tales of dysfunctional family trauma, May-December romance, schoolboy crushes, gay and lesbian love. No relationship was too obscure for Our Tune, if it was truly an affair of the heart. And each struck a chord. After all, we all harbour our own tune.

Cast adrift, though, you and Our Tune struggled. They were difficult times; you were a homeless couple wondering if you would make it together. A spell at Atlantic 252 failed to relight your fire, and the slot on morning TV's Ann and Nick was frankly unwise. You do not make a telegenic pair.

But now you're back on top together. And, hopefully, sponsored by Kleenex. The cynics will sneer, but somehow that too seems only fitting.

Decca Aitkenhead

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific