Friday, 29 January 2016

Radio Review: 29 January

The phone-in that changed everything

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176I believe I’ve mentioned my disdain for people who call radio phone-ins before. In summary, anyone who considers phoning in should be discouraged, if not banned, from doing so. I recently heard one caller say ‘This is a tolerant nation’ before delineating a number of things he wouldn’t tolerate. That’s the level of wit and self-awareness at work here. Some exceptions can be made, however, and one climbed out of the radio the other morning and picked me up by the scruff of the neck. The show was Your Call (Radio 5 Live, weekdays, 9am) with Nicholas Andrew Argyll Campbell (as he’ll always be known to Radio 1 listeners of a certain age), and the subject was ‘manspreading’ (genuinely one of the great evils of modern life) and general rudeness on public transport. It was an easy, lazy topic for a phone-in, somewhat suggestive of a slow news day, and most of the calls were predictable guff.

Then it happened. Campbell announced that the next caller was the actor Charlie Lawson, best known as Jim McDonald in Coronation Street. Lawson bellowed that he’d been pacing around his bungalow, ready to call in about the menace of people using phones in quiet carriages. He admitted that he routinely confronted these blighters and threatened to chuck their phones out of the window and, on one occasion, started smoking opposite a couple on their blowers.

‘Two wrongs don’t make a right,’ said Campbell, but Lawson is an Ulsterman with a commanding voice, and I wouldn’t want to tick him off. Either he’s genuinely a very angry man or he was ramping up his ire for comic effect, but either way it was compelling radio. I’d happily sit and listen to Campbell and Lawson arguing the toss every morning.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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