Sunday is a brilliant day for radio

I realised that Sunday is quite probably the single best day of the week on BBC radio. Here is a list of what I listened to yesterday ‘live’ and what I’ve recorded for future enjoyment.

12.00 midnight Radio 2 – Bob Harris

9.00am Radio 4 – Broadcasting House

A topical news-based magazine programme with a competition that I enetr once in a blue moon, when i know the answer. It would be wrong to say that I only listen, waiting for the return of Fi Glover.

10.00am 6 Music – Cerys Matthews

11.15am Radio 4 – Desert Island Discs

This week, the guest was Jonathan Agnew. For a 70-year old programme, it’s doing very well, going form strength to strength. Dare I say it: I think Kirsty Young is the best ever presenter.

1.00pm Radio 2 – Elaine Paige

Much of the programme is predictable, Lloyd-Webber, Les Mis, common or garden songs from musicals, but now and then, a great tune turns up. But if not, hearing Elaine’s unique chuckle/chortle brightens up even the dullest, greyest Sunday.

1.30pm Radio 4 – Lyrical Journey

This week, the subject was Eddi Reader’s song ‘Patience of Angels’, written by Boo Hewerdine. I remember when the record first came out in 1994(?): I’m sure Eddi Reader appeared on GLR many times to promite the record, though sadly, I have no such recordings.

3.00pm Radio 4 – The Real George Orwell

‘A journey exploring the man Eric Blair and the writer George Orwell’ – drama and stories written by and about George Orwell.

3.00pm Radio 2 – Johnnie Walker’s Sounds of the ’70s

4.00pm 6 Music – Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service

6.15pm Radio 4 – Pick of the Week

A good way of finnding some interesting programmes that I would have missed otherwise. I usually hear it in time to get something off the iPlayer, but there have been several misses over the years. They have played one of my suggestions, once. Although I suspect many listeners nominated the same item.

8.00pm Radio 4 – Feedback

Though I usually try to catch this programme on its first outing on friday evening. It’s the radio version of ‘Points of View’ only much better. Ancompliants about (or indeed praise for) the BBC and its output is welcome here.

10.00pm 6 Music – Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour

He read out one of my emails once and so immediately became my number one topmost favourite radio presenter DJ of all time, ever. But apart from that, this, along with all the other 6 Music shows today, quite easily ticks the box that says ‘they place the music you don’t know you want to listen to’.

11.00pm Radio 2 – The David Jacobs Collection

Old time records, most of the songs predate even my parents’ era, but every now and then there’s a real gem, and the fact that it’s 60 years old really doesn’t matter. I met hime once, at Kingston Readers’ Festival. He asked for directions to the lav.

I also caught bits of Paul O’Grady, Clare Balding, Michael Ball, Russell Davis, Mary Anne Hobbs and 1.5 seconds of the Archers theme tune, that being how long it takes to jump across the room the switch to 6 Music.

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Broadcasting House

Very disappointed not to win the BH competition again this morning. I don’t always know the answer to their quiz, but when I do, I do like to enter. I say ‘quiz’, because that’s what Paddy O’Connell calls it, but it’s not really, it’s a montage of sounds that are clues to a news item that occurred during the week.

I won’t tell you the answer but you can listen again here.

It may have escaped your notice that it is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. It took me by surprise too when I half heard something mentioned in passing on the radio this morning.

Hah… actually, towards the end of today’s BH, Steve Punt does a pretty good job of exposing the over-exposure of the Titanic ‘celebrations’, not only on Radio 4, but pretty much on every other radio and TV station too. Skip to 57m08s for Steve Punt if you don’t want to hear the rest of the show.

Earlier on, while searching for some Titanic-free output, I heard Norman Jay on Nemone’s show on 6 Music. I haven’t heard him on the radio for quite a while but he always used to keep me company on a Sunday night on his GLR show, while I did the washing up. And every time(*) I’ve been to the Notting Hill Carnival, I always make a pilgrimage to his Good Times bus.

In other, totally unrelated news, this is a long but very interesting review of a couple of new books about David Bowie. Can’t help noticing the writer’s name is Thomas Jones. Major Tom? Related to Davy Jones (aka David Bowie)? 

(*) I just checked: I haven’t been since 2005.

 

Can’t beat a nice long lie-in on a Saturday or a Sunday

Unusually for me, I am staying up late 4 nights out of 5, but I managed to get a few days off work, so I have plenty of opportunity to catch up on my sleep. I usually get up at 5am for work, so late nights are generally a no-no. But due to circumstances, here I am, out on Thursday (pub-style quiz at the local dramatics group), out on Friday (Rosanne Cash at Union Chapel), out on Saturday (farewell party for younger daughter who is soon moving to Australia) and out again on Monday (Robyn Hitchcock performing his 1984 album I Often Dream of Trains).

Today, Tuesday was warm and Springlike, and the newsman just told me that March had been the third warmest ever. Then the weathergirl told me it was likely to be very cold tomorrow and we may have sleet or snow.

Meanwhile, on Saturday and on Sunday morning, after I woke up, I listened to a few hours of radio. And not a bad collectiuon of programmes, either: I can recommend them all.

As I write, there are still 4 days to listen to a fascinating programme about Mozart and the many fake compositions attributed to him, some in error, some deliberately. The main nugget I came away with was, that Mozart wrote Super Trouper by Abba. Great stuff, have a listen to Faking the Classics.

I think the Garrison Keillor Radio Show has been broadcast here in the UK since BBC 7 (now 4 Extra) came into being almost ten years ago. It’s a lovely, gentle mix of story-telling and music, mainly bluegrass. Very relaxing.

I listened to most of Barry Took: Mr Point of View in bed that day, but I had to get up to eat, so I caught up with the final hour or so later on. It’s Barry’s autobiography, in a nutshell. I think it mentioned just about every comedy show on radio and TV for the last forty years. I was very fond of Barry Took, and think it’s odd that he’s best remembered now for presenting Points of View. That can’t be right, surely?

Sunday morning is mostly comedy.

The Horne Section is a new production, and last Sunday we heard the last of 4 episodes.

Then there are two sitcoms form the 1950s, which I like to think my folks listened to at the time.

Take it From Here features the very loud (for those days) Jimmy Edwards and a very young June Whitfield.

But this week’s episode of Meet the Huggetts is a classic – at least to me. On the grounds that it reminds me of someone very close to me…

But the comedy stops at 9.00am when I switch to Radio 4 for Broadcasting House. Well, it doesn’t completely stop, as the presenter Paddy O’Connell can be very funny, but this newsy magaziney programme is a good way to catch up on some of the week’s serious news but also to look at the lighter side of life (as they say). The newspaper review is usually so good, I have no desire to go out and buy a Sunday newspaper: it confirms that I’m not really missing much.

 

Sunday morning on 6 Music etc

Sunday morning is pretty lazy for me. I usually wake up to BBC 4 Extra and Take It From Here, a comedy series first broadcast in 1958. Written by Frank Muir and Dennis Norden, it’s still funny, but may be a little slow by today’s standards. Some of the one-liners are brilliant.

This morning I also heard an episode of Parsley Sidings. This sitcom featured many of the actors from Dad’s Army, but it sadly didn’t leave me wanting more.

Broadcasting House is my weekly fix of news on Radio 4. Hosted by Paddy O’Connell, it covers some of the stories I might have missed during the week in a more light-hearted way. Well, usually. Some stories of course juat can’t be treated light-heartedly. There’s a weekly competition which entails identifying a news story from the way suggetsed by a collage of sounds. Over the years, I’ve worked out maybe half a dozen. But, no, I’ve never won the prize of a jam spoon, or whatever it is now.

But really, the highlight of Sunday mornings is now Cerys Matthews on BBC 6 Music. As with most of the music programmes I enjoy, you just can’t guess what will be played each week. I like the mix of some familiar stuff with new music. This morning, her guest was Martha Reeves. Now I remember hearing Martha, with her Vandellas singing Dancing in the Streets on the old pirate stations, nearly fifty years ago.  Yes, unbelievably, I am that old.

And at noon, I’m looking forward to hearing John Cooper Clarke sharing some of his favourite music in 6 Music Playlist. I’ll be recording that for future enjoyment as I have things to do and places to go where listening to the radio would be difficult.

So, one morning, three different radio stations. So far.

Listen to BBC 6 Music live here.

Here’s the BBC 4 Extra Schedule.

Broadcasting House on Radio 4.