Monday, 30 November -0001

Radio Review: 6 February

Escape Sunday’s radio limbo with a true legend

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-portrait-176It is my habit on Sundays to abandon Radio 4 at 10am in search of a programme that won’t bore me to tears. Last week, I chanced upon BBC WM, which can be received in my part of Gloucestershire with a following wind. After Hunted with Richard Wilford (Sundays, 9am), the West Midlands’ pretty decent variant on the Treasure Hunt format, I was delighted to hear local radio legend Ed Doolan (12pm) delving into his archive of interviews.

Well, I say delighted. Threequarters of the programme was taken up by a 2004 interview with Joan Collins, which I found quite wearing. There were a couple of moments where the hauteur seemed to be a knowing send-up, but mostly I found myself thinking that the self-aggrandisement was for real. For example, when she appeared in an episode of Star Trek, Collins told us it was one of the most successful ever, in a manner that suggested she deserved the credit. Joanie didn’t mention that Harlan Ellison’s award-winning script might have had something to do with it.

Real joy came in the last quarter, with Doolan interviewing comedian Larry Grayson in 1983. A modest and self-deprecating man, Grayson admitted to being touched when vaguely addressed fan mail reached him at home in Nuneaton. For all his modesty, Larry was shrewd, as leaving The Generation Game showed. The papers said he was ‘axed’, but he told Doolan he walked, feeling the show was repeating itself.

I had no idea that Doolan, a good, thorough but sympathetic interviewer, would later announce that he’s been diagnosed with dementia. I applaud his decision to keep broadcasting for as long as he can and keep sharing the riches of his extensive collection. Do not go gently, Ed.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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