The BBC is trying to kill its jazz listeners

I wish I had caught the edition of Desert Island Discs the other day on which Bruce Forsyth was the guest. From what little I have seen and heard of Bruce Forsyth, I think he probably has an interesting taste in music. I remember seeing him once in a TV programme about a top-flight piano tuner, who tuned the pianos of many po-faced classical performers.

(He paid a visit for example, to the pianist whose name I can never remember - the one who is the spitting image of Roy Hudd - Alfred Brendel, that's the one - and when he had finished with Brendel's piano, he asked him to play a chord of C. Brendel sat down as if he were about to start a Beethoven recital and almost prayed with his eyes closed as he plucked a majestic chord of C out of it. Perhaps it is impossible for classical pianists to play even a scale without putting on all that agony.)

Not so Bruce Forsyth, who rippled a few nifty chords on his retuned piano, said it was very nice and launched into a funny story about Erroll Garner. It was the one big bright spot in the programme.

That is not why I wish I had caught him on Desert Island Discs. The reason I wish I had heard him lies in a letter from Simon Woolf of London SE4, who says:

"Dear Miles Kington,

"In case you are looking for more ammunition in your campaign against the BBC's woeful neglect of jazz, you might like to check out the re-run of Bruce Forsyth's Desert Island Discs on Friday. It was something of a surprise that Brucie's first choice was Bill Evans playing "Emily", but even more of a surprise to hear (or, are my ears playing tricks on me?) the LP going round at 45 rpm ...!"

Well, I am afraid Mr Woolf's letter got to me too late for me to hear the Forsyth repeat, so I cannot verify his suspicions. I could of course have telephoned the Desert Island Discs office to check, but past experience has not encouraged me to expect satisfaction. I once rang to inquire why they had played the wrong record on John Boorman's Desert Island Discs (Boorman had requested one jazz record and they had played a different one) and to ask whether the guest actually heard the records he had requested, but they would answer neither question.

What is odd is that this seems only to happen to jazz records. Or at least it isn't odd if you subscribe to my theory that the BBC is doing it deliberately. The fact is, that jazz listeners are never satisfied. Faced with our complaints, the BBC has two options. To meet our complaints or get rid of us. My theory is that the BBC has adopted the latter strategy and is trying to kill off the troublesome jazz audience.

This is being done in two ways. One is to induce terminal fatigue by putting on Jazz Notes on Radio 3 at half an hour past midnight, so that anyone who wants to listen has to get up in the middle of the night and start ageing prematurely. The other is to induce sudden death in pedantic jazz listeners by making deliberate mistakes of a kind which they know will produce heart attacks.

I am not just thinking of playing records at the wrong speed. I have noticed several other strange examples recently. I am thinking of an announcement in the Radio Times the other day that saxophonist Lester Young had made his debut in 1956. (It was actually around 1936.)

I am thinking of Michael Rosen on Pick of the Week announcing with great delight that he was going to play a record of "Maple Leaf Rag" that Sidney Bechet had recorded with Louis Armstrong in 1924 and then playing a quite different record of the tune that Bechet recorded nearly 10 years later in 1932 with Louis Armstrong nowhere in sight.

I am thinking of the other day when I did for once sit up late enough to catch Jazz Notes and heard Digby Fairweather back-announce a Benny Goodman record by saying it was a marvellous version of "Rosetta". But it wasn't. It was a not particularly marvellous version of a tune called "Yardbird Suite". Yes, Goodman did refer to the tune of "Rosetta" in the first chorus, but the rest of the time everyone else played "Yardbird Suite", which has a quite different tune and a quite different middle eight, as Digby Fairweather would have known if he had listened to the record.

Or if it was not so late at night that he too was half asleep and mistake- prone.

Or if he had not been instructed, along with Michael Rosen and the rest, to slip in as many mistakes about jazz as possible to induce the sort of apoplexy that will kill off pedants like me.

I warn the BBC. I have instructed my solicitor to sue them for millions of pounds should I be found dead in front of a radio. And, if I should die with a radio nowhere near me, to drag one over and switch it on.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
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: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower