Friday, 07 October 2016

Radio Review: 7 October

A timely celebration of Sir Terry Wogan and Radio 3

Written by Louis Barfe


Last week was an eventful one for BBC Radio. At Westminster Abbey, on Tuesday, 2,000 people gathered to pay tribute to Sir Terry Wogan, who died in January, while Louis-Barfe-colour-176millions more listened live on Radio 2. Then, on Thursday, a couple of hundred people were present in the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall for a live In Tune to mark the 70th anniversary of Radio 3, while thousands more listened to the radio broadcast of the event. I was privileged enough to be present at both.

The Wogan memorial ceremony wasn’t perfect, but it had its moments. It felt ponderous and reverent, when Wogan was neither.

Chris Evans’s tale of an epic all-dayer with Sir Tel was lovely to hear again, but getting Ken Bruce to read a Yeats poem seems something of a waste given how many stories he must have about his old friend and colleague. I’d have rather heard the Director General read the poem than the tribute he gave.

Also, seated in Poets’ Corner, I gnawed my nails to the stumps listening to Joanna Lumley’s poem For The Former Greatest living Irishman, co-written with Richard Stilgoe. It was, quite simply, embarrassing. Thankfully, it was balanced by Peter Gabriel singing Randy Newman’s That’ll Do, chosen by Wogan as his favourite song on desert island discs. It’s a song that makes tears prick my eyes at the best of times. On this occasion, I was a mess.

At the Festival hall, I heard Willard White sing If I Was A Rich Man, which is no disgrace. As Sean Rafferty pointed out on air, White is 11 days younger than Radio 3. ‘I’m 11 days younger than a lot of things, I’m 11 days older than a lot of things,’ said White, ‘I’m just glad that I am.’ And in that deep voice, It didn’t half sound profound.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: wireless@cheeseford.net



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