Friday, 16 October 2015

Radio Review: 16 October

Celebrating the epic radio fails that are pure poetry

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176It’s always amusing to be reminded that radio has no watershed. Sturdy language doesn’t have to wait until 9pm. A fine example of this came in We British, Andrew Marr’s history of British poetry that was stripped throughout last week’s National Poetry Day (Radio 4, available on iPlayer).

Professor Robert Crawford was reading some of the ‘flyting’ of 15th-century Scottish poet William Dunbar, flyting being an attempt to cram as many profane insults into a stanza as possible. If you think you heard a certain word beginning with ‘C’ just after 11.30 in the morning, that’s because you did. Even among the ancient Scots dialect, it resonated clearly. Bracing stuff and almost a single-handed justification of the licence fee.

I found myself hurling a few choice ribaldries at the wireless after the noon news when Murray Lachlan Young afflicted his ‘reimagining’ of the Shipping Forecast upon us. It was the most appalling guff, and I don’t know how he had the nerve to turn up at Broadcasting House with it.

If you prefer your on-air profanity to be accidental, I can’t recommend the Radiofail blog – www.radiofail.wordpress.com – highly enough. A diligent anonymous archivist has spent the past six years or so uploading only the finest and filthiest cock-ups, a disproportionate amount of which seem to involve Nicky Campbell channelling the Reverend Spooner.

It’s hard to pick a favourite, but the great Peter Jefferson effing and jeffing over the pips after he mangles a trailer for Archive On 4 is high in the rankings, as is the BBC Radio Stoke presenter apparently making the mistake of having had her leaving do immediately before her last show. Obviously, such material is not for young ears or the easily startled.

Louis on Twitter: @LF Barfe or email: wireless@cheeseford.net 



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