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
Thursday 17 August 1995
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.
Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
Chicago river turns green to mark Saint Patrick's Day
Saint Patrick's Day: As Google Doodle celebrates the patron saint of Ireland, here are 10 things you didn't know about the man himself
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Did jetliner fly into area controlled by Taliban? Net widens after claims final satellite signal could have been sent from the ground
Nasa-funded study warns of ‘collapse of civilisation’ in coming decades
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex
- 3 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Did jetliner fly into area controlled by Taliban? Net widens after claims final satellite signal could have been sent from the ground
- 4 Nasa-funded study warns of ‘collapse of civilisation’ in coming decades
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...