Friday, 08 January 2016

Radio Review: 8 January

Phill Jupitus offers some rather Reithian delights

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176It was my considerable pleasure to be asked to speak at a Lady literary lunch just before Christmas. Searching for a theme, I decided to dip into my favourite anecdotes from the history of broadcasting. Many of these concern Lord Reith, the first director general of the BBC.

Best of the lot is his (quite possibly apocryphal) reaction to the news that one of his senior producers had been caught in flagrante on an office desk with a secretary. His first instruction, to sack the producer, was met with dismay by his trusted lieutenants, as the man was responsible for some of radio’s biggest hits.

Plan B, sack the secretary, didn’t meet with a much better response. She was the most efficient secretary in the corporation. After some soulsearching, Reith found the solution: ‘Replace the desk.’

Now, it is my duty to inform you that this column is composed at an ex-BBC office desk from the latter end of the Reith era. The drawers are dated December 1937. In idle moments, I do wonder whether it might be the disgraced item or, more likely, its replacement.

Although not quite from the Reith era, With Great Pleasure (Radio 4, and on iPlayer) is one of radio’s most enduring formats. The edition that went out on Monday with Phill Jupitus’s selections, read by Thom Tuck and Cariad Lloyd – including Viv Albertine’s memories of a Sex Pistols gig and a fine passage from Steve Martin’s memoirs – was a lovely thing. The highlight was a recording of Edinburgh Fringe pioneer Richard Demarco arguing that ‘using the language of your art, you can make society well [and] make the life of everyone you meet better’.

Jupitus said it would be a better world if a few more people thought like that, and by Jiminy, he’s right.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

Forgot your password?
Click to read our digital edition

Boarders Dormitory Master-Mistress
We are looking to appoint a Dormitory Mistress/Master for 5 nights per week, weekday evenings and nights only, term time. (35 weeks). [...]


Housekeeper to Headmaster
We have an opportunity for an experienced live-out housekeeper. You will provide a cleaning and hospitality service for the Headmaster and his guests and help to ensure the household runs efficiently. [...]


Full Time Housekeeper, Nanny
We are looking for a full time, live-out housekeeper/nanny. We are a relaxed young couple living in a large country house, and will have one newborn baby. [...]


Experienced Carer, Companion, Housekeeper needed
Our elderly mother needs a live in carer/companion on a part time basis. Must be warm hearted, calm & compassionate, with a good sense of humour. [...]


Cook, Housekeeper wanted
Good cooking skills required to cater for light meals for the Principal and a small staff, as well as occasional lunch/dinner parties. [...]




What the stars have in store for you this week.2017

Capricorn Aquarius Pisces Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter