Friday, 24 March 2017

Radio Review: 24 March

Liza Tarbuck is witty, warm and knows her music

Written by Louis Barfe
When Desmond Carrington left us, I suggested Radio 2 needed a presenter with the same warmth and eclecticism. I’ve been a fool. Last week, I realised that the station has Louis-Barfe-colour-176had one all along. Driving to Hull to host a City of Culture event with Spike Milligan’s long-serving co-writer Neil Shand, I listened to Liza Tarbuck’s show (R2, Saturdays, 6pm-8pm). Somewhere along the A15 in Lincolnshire, it hit me that Tarbuck is very obviously in the glorious spirit of Carrington.

Like Carrington, Tarbuck is an actor who just happens to be excellent at radio as well. Presenters like these two are the exceptions to my rule that the wireless should be the province of professionals who’ve come up through the radio ranks. Also like Carrington, Tarbuck chooses her own playlist and really knows her music. The breadth of repertoire is there: everything from Joe Jackson to Billy May via Bill Withers and The Skids. A bit of Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five is never unwelcome either. Tarbuck talks about the music but wears her knowledge lightly, so it never feels like being clobbered over the head with a heavy volume of discography.

She’s quick-witted, perhaps unsurprisingly given who her father is (Liverpudlian comedian Jimmy Tarbuck), but she’s never sharp or snide. Her connection with the listeners is obvious and a delight to hear, as she relays their tweets and emails, mostly about what they’re having for their Saturday night dinner. I had to concentrate hard on the road through my laughter when she read out the note from a listener whose vegan son had been back at home for the week. All the time he was there, the family had gone vegan with him. However, as he was out for the evening, mum and dad were breaking out the rib-eye steak.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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