Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Axeman Cometh: Creating Your Own Station Offers the Joys of Elimination

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Axeman Cometh: Creating Your Own Station Offers the Joys of Elimination

Article excerpt

This month, Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, suggested that in future the corporation will enable audiences to create their own stations using its content. This process will be called My BBCRadio. Of course, thanks to both the Listen Again facility on the BBC's website and the corporation's foray into podcasting, some people are pretty much doing this already. But it is still an intriguing prospect. What would you choose? More to the point, what would you eliminate? My dream is for decent midnight listening that doesn't include either politicians (see Radio 4) or Anita Anand (see Radio 5).

From Radio 1, I would take nothing. Colin Murray, Sara Cox et al make me feel like someone had best remove my kitchen knives for safe keeping. From Radio 2, I would take Stuart Maconie, who is brilliantly easy on the ear.

From Radio 3, I would have Composer of the Week, a series that holds the secret to adulthood, I am convinced, because it tells you the stuff you need to know should you be invited to an intimidating dinner party. (Its most recent subject was Elisabeth Lutyens, the Edith Sitwell of classical music; this is a name I'll be dropping over the fennel a la grecque quite soon.) From Radio 4, there would be The Archers, plus Start the Week, Front Row, The Write Stuff and That Mitchell and Webb Sound. From 6 Music, I'd grab Andrew Collins, and from BBC7 anything at all with Linda Smith in it.

As you can see, there isn't any drama on my playlist (unless you're one of those weirdos who thinks The Archers is all made up). This is because I've just endured Honour by Joanna Murray-Smith (15 July, 2.30pm, Radio 4) in a Saturday Play broadcast using the same cast as when the drama was staged, to lukewarm reviews, in the West End in March; for the BBC, it was produced by its male lead, Martin Jarvis. …

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