Thursday, 17 January 2013
Radio Review: 18 January
Is regional radio’s nationwide evening show really worth a listen?
By Louis BarfeI considered writing about Nick Clegg’s radio phone-in debut this week, but it would have involved listening to LBC, something no human being should ever do. The combination of LBC and Clegg, whom I regard as one of the most baleful influences on modern life, would have been too much, and I’d have been writing my next column in crayon from a padded cell. So I’m going to concentrate on Mark Forrest’s new three-hour evening show, broadcast by all BBC local radio stations.
When it was first announced, I thought a national show was against the whole idea of local radio, but I can see the point of it now. Forrest introduces reports that various local stations put out earlier in the day. Radio 4 did something similar in the 1980s with The Local Network, and of course Nationwide ran on television from 1969 to 1983.
Forrest is a soft-voiced soul, with a northern accent diluted to homoeopathic levels, but he is fascinated by broad regional voices to the point of compiling something called Mark’s Dialect Dictionary. On the first show, he was aided by a caricature cheeky Scouser from BBC Radio Merseyside who, like the terrible John Bishop, gave the lie to the belief that all Liverpudlians are natural comedians. He chuckled to himself in that falsely hearty way that suggests he’s weeping on the inside. It made for uncomfortable listening. It’ll be interesting to hear how long Forrest persists with the feature.
I dipped in and out of the first three shows, and found myself utterly ungripped. What I heard were typical BBC local radio music selections acting as spacers between discussions of mildly interesting current topics, designed to have broad appeal, but running the risk of attracting nobody. It also lacks pace.
The shows replaced by Forrest worked well in their regions – when in Suffolk, I listened regularly to Sue Marchant, and the loss of Roger ‘Twiggy’ Day in the south has been keenly felt. Maybe Forrest will hit his stride. A good start might be to seek out the more quirky items from the local network. I wish the show well, largely because the alternative is for local radio to relay Radio 5 Live for three hours, but I think it needs to be far more distinctive to catch on.
Mark Forrest: BBC local radio stations nationwide, Monday to Friday at 7pm.
ALL THAT JAZZLovers of jazz, big bands, easy listening and show tunes are likely to enjoy Graham Pass’s new show, Broadway To Hollywood, on BBC radio in the west of England, Sundays, 3pm to 5pm. As a documentary maker and musician, Pass is a well-qualified host.
Follow Louis on Twitter: @LadyWireless or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org For Louis’ blog: www.lady.co.uk
Daily tip from the lady archive
"DEEPLY-ROOTED is the idea that men are indifferent to dress, while the ladies, God bless them, think of nothing else"The Lady, With Prejudice, 8th January, 1942
PRIVATE HOUSE in Andover/Winchester area requires personable, experienced, professional cook with own transport (live-out). Must be calm, adaptable, energetic, happy to use seasonal produce from garden and able to provide healthy, imaginative dishes. In addition to producing meals for owners, required to provide lunch for estate staff during week. Usual hours 0800-1600, Monday-Friday, but flexibility required for w/e and evening work. Salary negotiable. Contact: Apply Box 15495Apply now
Q: The Queen has received a £5m boost in the funds she receives from the taxpayer to carry out her official duties. Do you approve?
Yes - the Queen does a great job and is well worth it - 59.5%
No - the UK economy is struggling and this is unfair - 40.5%