Friday, 05 December 2014

Radio Review: 5 December

After conspicuous absences, two colourful characters return

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-newBWFirst things first, we should welcome back the majestic and authoritative Paul Gambaccini to the nation’s airwaves, after a year away while his cupboards were searched fruitlessly for skeletons. Gambo opened his return to America’s Greatest Hits on Radio 2 with Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, now something of a tradition when he begins a new gig. He’s back on Counterpoint too, and it’s right and proper that he should be.

Chris Morris has been no stranger to enforced absences, not least when he was suspended from Radio 1 in 1994 for killing off Michael Heseltine prematurely. Twenty years on, the obituaries he extracted from Conservative politico Jerry Hayes and ex-Jam bassist Bruce Foxton were rebroadcast in Raw Meat Radio, a celebration of Morris’s radio work.

The clips were well-chosen. As well as the Heseltine business, Morris and Paul Garner annoying a Cambridge taxi driver and sketches from Blue Jam, we heard Morris tie newsreader Martyn Lewis and Peter Stringfellow up in knots as they tried to flog books and nightclubs. I also guffawed at the phone call to a US airline, in which Morris asked whether airliners attached to the terminal were ‘sniffing the building’.

The interviewees – Armando Iannucci, Matthew Bannister, David Quantick and Peter Baynham – were well-chosen, but I was surprised to hear Bannister convinced that Morris’s infamous edit of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech at Princess Diana’s funeral never made it to air. He claimed that tapes with the speech being faded out early are fakes. They’re not. I was listening. It happened.

America’s Greatest Hits, Radio 2, Saturdays, 8pm. Raw Meat Radio, Radio 4 Extra, on iPlayer.
Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: wireless@cheeseford.net


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