Friday, 11 March 2016

Radio Review: 11 March

Debate, music and moody stars at Broadcasting House

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176The Today programme did me a useful service on 2 March. By bringing Toby Young on at 8.55am, it ensured that I had turned the radio off seven minutes before Midweek (Radio 4, Wednesdays, 9am) started, sparing me 45 minutes of forced jollity and Libby Purves’s tenuous connections between the guests.

Even when there’s a guest I admire hugely, I can’t bring myself to listen. Meanwhile, what was Toby Young talking about? I have no idea. I have less than no interest in what Toby Young has to say about anything.

Start The Week (Radio 4, Mondays, 9am) had started the week with a bad-tempered debate about nature versus nurture, with Mary-Ann Sieghart doing her best to keep order. I could only stomach about five minutes, because I sensed it was going to spill out into a brawl in Portland Place. There is potentially a good radio format to be drawn from academics bickering, but it’s probably not what listeners want at 9am on a Monday.

I sought solace from the conflagration with Radio 3’s Essential Classics (weekdays, 9am), and was taken with the Recording Rewind segment, in which listeners have to identify a piece of music backwards. The listener not only worked out the piece but the performance and the soloist – Mozart’s Rondo For Violin And Orchestra In C Major, K.373, by Nicola Benedetti and the Academy of St Martin-inthe- Fields under the baton of James MacMillan.

The week was rounded off beautifully back on the Today programme with Richard Gere refusing to accept any of Sarah Montague’s questioning, batting away each line by describing the look on her face and making comments about her likely modus operandi. I just wish he’d been giving John Humphrys the same treatment.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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