Changing Radio 4? Over to you, John

Share
Related Topics
James Boyle, boss of Radio 4, is rumoured to be axing some of the channel's best-loved programmes, and people have been speculating about which ones are due for the chop. I refuse to take part in such idle gossip. I prefer to speculate about how the programmes themselves would deal with the matter. These, for instance ...

From "Start the Week".

Bragg: So what you're saying is that we are genetically predisposed to do less thinking between nine and 10 in the morning?

Geneticist: Yes.

Bragg: And any programme that sets out to have a good intellectual discussion about the origin of consciousness between 9 and 10 is barking up the wrong tree?

Geneticist: Yes. Especially on a Monday morning. It's the worst possible time for it.

Bragg: That's tosh. Monday morning between nine and 10 is a great time for the cut and thrust of debate. This programme does it all the time.

Geneticist: Think how much better it would do it if we were all awake and not frazzled by Monday morning rush hour.

Bragg: That's tosh.

Enter Jonathan Miller.

Miller: Did I hear someone mention the word "microneurosurgery"?

From the "Today" programme. John Humphrys: A decision is likely to be reached soon about whether Today should be extended or curtailed. Some say it is the foremost channel of morning news. Others say it is a crude pantomime of confrontation and disagreement which enlightens nobody. In the studio we have the producer of Today and in the radio car we have Ridley Pallister, radio critic. Now, John, you've been producing Today for how long?

Producer: Five years. And it is a five years I am very proud of.

Humphrys: Pallister?

Pallister: The last five years have seen the decline of Today from a thoughtful news programme into a worthless shouting match.

Producer: That's absolute rubbish!

Pallister: No, it's not. And everyone knows it but you and James Boyle!

Producer: Today gets more than 2 million listeners. In the evening the Radio 4 audience has shrunk to barely 200,000. We must be doing something right.

Pallister: You've got the right slot, that's all. Most people automatically switch on radios for the news early in the morning as they get up and move around the house. Whatever programme was on then would get a good audience. It doesn't mean it's a good programme. Just a good slot.

Producer: That's rubbish!

Humphrys: I wish we had more time for this fascinating discussion, but alas...

From "Midweek".

Libby Purves: And today's special birthday guest is a man who has listened to every edition of Midweek since it started! But first let's go round our guests and see how many of them have had birthdays in the last year or two...

From "Medium Wave".

Hanna: It's been a medium sort of week for Medium Wave. Lots of big stories, but the biggest of all for us has been the story in several of the broadsheets that Medium Wave may be waving goodbye. This poses the question: should the radio be reviewing the press and media at all? If not, where will I be getting the chance to chair another programme? Simon?

Hoggart: Can't help you there, Vincent.

Hanna: Cecil Parkinson?

Parkinson: Hello, everyone! Nice to be back!

Hanna: And so goes this medium week. See you soon, or not, as the case may be.

From "Loose Ends".

Sherrin: And the mystery noise was, of course, the sound of the axe falling on The Afternoon Shift. (Hysterical laughter from guests.) Right then, let me see, ah yes, Jenny Constable, you're appearing in a revival of The First Noel, the Sheridan Morley musical about Noel Coward...

Constable: That's right, the Domino Theatre, from Friday.

Sherrin: Very good, got the plug in, now do tell us, have you got any funny stories about this programme which would help to keep it on the airwaves?

Constable: No, but I was once in a lift with Laurence Olivier, and I said to him: "Are you going up or down?" and he said, "Actually, at my age there isn't really a lot of difference!" (More hysterical laughter.)

From "The Moral Maze". Buerk: Michael Mansfield, were you impressed by any of the witnesses who wanted The Moral Maze axed?

Mansfield: I rather agreed with the man who said that this wasn't a discussion programme at all, but a soap opera with rather crudely drawn stereotypes as characters.

David Starkey: Oh, that's just so stupid and anti-intellectual. Give me an example!

Mansfield: Certainly. There used to be a character called Edward Pearce who was written out after clashes with you.

Starkey: That's preposterous! We aren't stereotypes!

Buerk: Oh, shut up, you pompous old queen!

Starkey: That comes well from a jumped-up news reader!

Etc, etc. Full transcript of programmes on request.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Riyadh is setting itself up as region’s policeman

Lina Khatib
Ed Miliband and David Cameron  

Cameron and Miliband should have faith in their bolder policies

Ian Birrell
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing