At last, a chance of some BBC feedback

Dear Chris Dunkley,

I hope you don't mind my writing to you openly like this, but the last time I wrote to you at Feedback you never got my letter.

Feedback is the splendid Radio 4 programme on which you, Chris Dunkley, allow radio listeners to fulminate at each other and at the BBC (and sometimes shower praise). (Sorry if this sounds a bit like Sue Lawley ... "So, Chris Dunkley, what's your next record ...?")

Occasionally, when enough complaints accumulate, you will wheel in a bigwig to defend the BBC (and sometimes admit blame). It would be nice to think that Feedback also caused the BBC to think again sometimes, though I don't remember this ever happening.

Now, though I love the BBC dearly, I am maddened by some of its decisions, and I am above all maddened by the way Jazz Notes has been shifted to a remote ghetto.

This programme goes out most weekdays and presents half an hour of excellent music, reviews and interviews. Unfortunately, although it used to go out at a reasonable time, it now goes out at 12.30am on Radio 3, when most people including me are unconscious. Although Nicholas Kenyon, Radio 3's boss, has never admitted this, the only reason for choosing this time must be to lose listeners so that he can turn round later and say, "I'm afraid jazz listening figures are going down, so it's hardly worth broadcasting as much as we do." No other reasons bear scrutiny.

I had been toying with the idea of writing to Feedback about this when a stroke of luck gave me a good reason to do so. I had managed to tape an edition of Jazz Notes to listen to later, a solo concert by the wonderful Scottish pianist Dave Newton, as I remember. I listened to it and found a curious thing. Somewhere in the middle of his pianistics, a voice suddenly broke in announcing that a great new record was coming right up ...! Not part of the Dave Newton recital, I realised, but Radio 2 being broadcast by mistake on the Radio 3 frequency. It only lasted 10 seconds or so, but still, it was a cock-up by any standards.

And I had it on tape. So I smugly sent the tape off to Feedback, saying that if Radio 3 was going to put out jazz at a time when only burglars and foxes were listening, they might at least try to broadcast it properly - or didn't they think it mattered if nobody but burglars and foxes were listening? I wrapped it up safely, marked it Feedback at PO Box 2100 in central London and sent if off.

Six weeks later I had the tape sent back to me by the Royal Mail saying that there was no such PO box number. This was plainly ridiculous. So now I had another letter to write, a letter of protest to the Royal Mail, complaining that they did not deliver my letters of protest to other people.

After a lot of head-scratching, the Royal Mail told me that there was a now defunct PO Box 2100 out in east London somewhere, and my package had probably been rerouted there and then rerouted back to me. It was, they said, a case of human error. They were very sorry, but too bad.

I was very sorry too. I had missed my chance. I am now sorry every week that I don't write to Feedback. I was even sorrier this week, because there were some things on Feedback that I liked a lot. I liked the man who wrote in and said that until the Today programme gave up its addiction to fake confrontations, it would be unlistenable. I liked the way BBC representative Ian Gardhouse rose to listeners' complaints that Darius Guppy shouldn't have been allowed on Midweek with a magnificent address on free speech (without actually saying that Radio 4 listeners can be a prissy, namby-pamby lot sometimes).

And I liked the woman who objected to a BBC announcer saying The Mall as if it rhymed with "all".

What I didn't like was when you, Chris Dunkley, commented that it was odd that Mall was the only word in English ending "-all" which didn't rhyme with "all". I didn't like this because it set me off trying to prove you wrong.

This sort of thing can waste hours. You know how you say to yourself, "There must be another word not rhyming with "all"! And you go crazy trying to think of one. I've been going crazy trying to think of one. Fall, stall, thrall, gall, wall ...

In fact, I had given up when my wife said to me: "I think today I shall ..."

"That's it!" I cried. "Shall!"

"What about `shall'?" she said.

"Doesn't rhyme with `all'!"

"No," she said. "It doesn't. So ...?"

"So I have something to write to Feedback about."

" How about `shall'? And why is Jazz Notes on so late?"

I would have written using a stamp and envelope, but that doesn't seem to work, so I hope you don't mind me writing like this.

Yours etc.

Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films... by the director David Fincher
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
stoptober... when the patch, gum and cold turkey had all faied
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

LSA Level 3 required in Caerphilly

£50 - £60 per day + plus Travel Scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job: O...

Welsh Year 6 Teacher required in Barry

£100 - £110 per day + Plus travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Welsh Teacher Year 2 required in Caerphilly

£100 - £105 per day + plus Travel Scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...

Day In a Page

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?