Punk rock finds a new slot on Radio 2

By Severin Carrell
Friday 16 August 2013 23:37

Punk rock, which went out of its way to spit in the face of civilisation, has been welcomed into the cosy bosom of polite society. In a move that would once have united in fury every punk and resident of Middle Britain, BBC Radio 2 is to host a series featuring the uncompromising sounds of the Sex Pistols, the New York Dolls and the Clash.

A former member of the Sex Pistols will temporarily join the likes of Terry Wogan and Jimmy Young as a presenter on the station that used to be renowned as the safe and sedate home of warm pullovers, Val Doonican and Mantovani.

Glen Matlock, who was replaced by Sid Vicious in the most infamous of punk bands, will introduce Anarchy in the UK, a two-part series of documentaries charting the history of punk and taking its title from the first song the Pistols played on British television.

But, the station insists, the documentary is far from the death knell for punk. Rather, it shows how Radio 2 has itself gone through a minor revolution and finally managed to shrug off its cardigan. This, we should remember, is the station that snubbed Sir Cliff Richard, once its patron saint, by refusing to put his Number One hit "The Millennium Prayer" on its play-lists last year.

"Punk changed the musical landscape of the country," a Radio 2 spokeswoman said. And punks themselves had changed. "People who were at the vanguard of punk at its peak more than two decades ago are now squarely in our target audience of over-35s," she said, not entirely sensitively.

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