Friday, 15 January 2016

Radio Review: 15 January

The comedian shows a very ‘bygone’ attitude

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176Barry Humphries seems to have chosen an odd way to drum up publicity for his new Radio 2 series, Barry’s Forgotten Musical Masterpieces (Wednesdays, 10pm). He was reported as saying that male-to-female transgender people are merely ‘mutilated men’. The music of ‘a bygone era’ is one thing, but the attitudes of a bygone era are quite another, and transgender figures including actress Rebecca Root were lobbying for the BBC to drop the show if he didn’t apologise.

No apology was forthcoming, but on Twitter, Dame Edna disassociated herself from Humphries, declaring that ‘the poor thing is losing the plot’. It’s tremendously sad that such a funny man should feel this way and perhaps surprising that someone who has played with gender so successfully over the years should come out with this rot. However, it would also have been sad if such a charming programme had been canned, although I appreciate that for many the pleasure has been spoilt.

In this week’s show, the first of three, Humphries harked back to his youth in Australia, listening to the BBC 13,000 miles away via short-wave radio, and some fine nostalgic sounds came up including the 1930s German group, the Comedian Harmonists. I take issue with the title, though. I’d hardly call Over The Rainbow and As Time Goes By ‘forgotten’. Some Old Songs An Old Australian Likes would perhaps be a fairer if less punchy title.

Meanwhile, let us celebrate the news that Iain Lee, sacked unfairly by BBC Three Counties Radio last year, will return to radio later in the year. The location of his comeback hasn’t been confirmed, but there’s a strong possibility that it will be on talkSPORT’s new sister digital station talkRADIO when it launches in the spring.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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