Thursday, 26 July 2012

Radio Reviews: 27 July

When treasure-hunting in Norfolk, they seem clueless, but always come up with the goods

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-newBWWhen Anneka Rice went Treasure Hunt-ing on Channel 4 in the 1980s, she needed a helicopter. In recent years, a few BBC local radio stations have revived the idea, if not the title. Instead of a helicopter, presenters have ventured out in the 'radio car', a people carrier with a retractable mast on the roof, following a trail of clues. Being radio, pastelshaded jumpsuits are not, generally, worn.

I caught a Midlands station's version recently, and, being used to Treasure Quest, BBC Radio Norfolk's light-hearted, occasionally-bawdy take on the format, found it awfully dry and serious. In Norfolk, we have Becky Betts out and about, while station boss David Clayton guides them around from the studio, with the help of listeners. The clues, concocted by 'Questmaster' Paul Hayes, would have been rejected as too cryptic by the producers of 3-2-1, so Norfolk does very well to decode them.

Betts is a joy. Clearly no fool in reality, she plays daft for laughs. She will mishear something, be corrected, and then pretend she was right all along, like a spoilt child. If the clue-holder is a hunky chap, Betts is all fluttering eyelashes. There is also the comic value and suspense-increasing potential of her frequent lavatory breaks. Of course, this being Norfolk, there might be plenty of time theoretically to get to the next destination, but not if you're stuck behind a tractor.

Let's hear it also for the longsuffering Clayton, whose eyerolling is almost audible at times, as he tries to keep everything moving. How good the combo is, becomes apparent when regional TV bloke David Whiteley stands in for Clayton. Whiteley is neither as funny nor as clever as he thinks he is, and loves the sound of his own voice far too much. The treasure has been missed by seconds before now due to Whiteley's inability to put a sock in it.

Last week, Betts's treasure was a signed photo of Cannon and Ball, and a ticket to see them at the Britannia Pier, Great Yarmouth. Genuinely one of their biggest fans, she seemed truly overcome. Even I, a black-hearted old cynic, was touched. We connect with, and care about, the best of our local radio personalities. In return, local radio cares about its listeners. That's how it works, and, when it's on form, Treasure Quest is a perfect example.

Treasure Quest, Radio Norfolk, is on Sundays at 9am.


Ex-cricketer Geoffrey Boycott stunned Radio 5 Live's Mark Chapman and Michael Vaughan during an on-air discussion last week, by announcing that his booked halfhour was up, that he was going to watch CSI and then hanging up. Will guest bookers now boycott Boycott?

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