The Third Leader: Good morning

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The Independent Online

Clutch the teacups, secure the dovecot and look to the hatches, there's another of those Radio 4 rows going on. Come on now, do keep up, they want to scrap the medley of British folk songs played every morning at 5.30 in favour of "a pacy news briefing".

Well. I had no idea how many people get up at 5.30. Does Charles Clarke know about this? There could be a law against it. It certainly seems to make them all grumpy. Some are saying the medley is the only way they can ease themselves into the day. Others variously describe "The UK Theme" as dreary and tired with dire modulation and dodgy trumpets.

Ladies, gentlemen, Mr Controller: surely we can settle this amicably. How about a free Today egg cup for every protester? That should soothe. No? Then why not some new sounds? One listener has suggested early morning "sound pictures" - the dawn chorus in a Welsh forest, Scottish trawlermen landing catches (is 5.30am before or after the watershed?).

Excellent idea. Might I also offer these: stentorian snoring, police siren, large aircraft overhead, returning binge drinker, pizza delivery, and several of those loud sighs that Tony Hancock used to do so well. No? Something more easeful? Who could resist a daily burst of "Good Morning Starshine" from Hair - "The earth says hello, you twinkle above us, we twinkle below"? Marvellous.

Very well, then, something "pacier". A touch of Henry V on lying a-bed, perhaps. Imagine, too, the effect on the workforce of "The Ride of the Valkyries". In the end, though, I think it would be difficult to improve on the jaunty and familiar "Things Can Only Get Better".