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Radio Review: 15 November
Having flagged up some good comedy on BBC Radio Scotland a couple of weeks ago, let us now turn and face Wales (which I can just about see from my bedroom window on a clear day), where Here Be Dragons has just begun on the old Welsh Home Service,...
Radio Review: 8 November
Like many, I first became aware of William McGonagall through Spike Milligan, who was fascinated by the hilariously appalling Scottish poet, to the point of writing books and making films about him. For some time I suspected that McGonagall was a...
Radio Review: 1 November
I’ve managed to avoid the spectacle of Paxo interviewing Russell Brand on Newsnight. I have the feeling that it would all sound far too much like Lewis Macleod’s impersonation of Brand being interviewed in his BBC Radio Scotland show, Lewis Macleod’s...
Radio Review: 25 October
It’s easy to take such things for granted, but I hope I never lose a sense of wonder about the fact that I can sit at home in Gloucestershire on a Thursday afternoon listening to something that went out on BBC Radio Cumbria the previous Sunday. I’m...
The Lady Guide to Modern Manners: 5 December
Dear Thomas, Since it’s going to take me two days – two days I don’t have – to hand-write my Christmas cards this year, do you think it would be too awful to send electronic Christmas cards to at least some people? Violet Barnes, Swindon Dear Violet,...
Radio Review: 11 October
I caught a bit of MacAulay And Co on BBC Radio Scotland last week, where Fred MacAulay was interviewing fellow comedian John Bishop. Bishop admitted that he had to pinch himself sometimes to make sure that his success was really happening. I have to...
Radio Review: 4 October
There have been a lot of changes at BBC Radio 2 lately, and as they seem exclusively to be affecting my favourite programmes, I’m starting to take them personally. First, they came for Mike Harding’s folk show, then it was announced that Russell...
Radio Review: 27 September
When I became an alternative comedy nut in the 1980s and abandoned many of my oldschool comedy heroes, I never lost my love for Les Dawson, a down-to-earth surrealist and a cheerfully vulgar intellectual. When the chance arose to write a biography of...
Radio Review: 20 September
There’s very little I dislike more than rotten radio drama. It sounds as though John Finnemore agrees with me, judging by a sketch in the first of the new series (the third) of his Souvenir Programme. It concerned a fist-chewingly smug play about a...
Radio Review: 13 September
Many popular radio shows share common DNA . Moira Stuart’s Jazz Guitar Greats is basically a guitar-focused version of Radio 3’s old Jazz Legends series with a different presenter. Meanwhile, Radio 3’s Private Passions is a close relative of Desert...
Radio Review: 6 September
I used to think that Gyles Brandreth was a terrible ass. A smug, twee, unfunny irritant of the first water, stinking up my television every time he appeared on it. His brief interlude as Tory MP for Chester did little to change my view. However, when I...
Book Reviews: 6 September
OUT NOW THE JACKAL’S SHARE by Chris Morgan Jones (Mantle, £16.99; offer price, £14.99) This is a good oldfashioned thriller. Ben Webster works for a private investigative firm. He is approached by a sinister lawyer working for a mystery client, whose...
Radio Review: 30 August
In recent years, BBC Radio 2 has shown a regrettable tendency in its documentary output to call in irrelevant celebrities to parrot the words of diligent researchers and writers, quite often without any indication that they understand what they’re...
Radio Review: 23 August
I’m getting ahead of myself again, while also harking back a long way into the past. Tomorrow (Saturday) morning, BBC Radio 4 Extra is broadcasting a three-hour extravaganza of archive material pertaining to the British seaside, specifically Brighton....
Radio Review: 2 August
Radio waves refuse to respect national or even regional boundaries. From the other side of the Severn, I can receive BBC Radio Wales perfectly well, and yet I listen to the station only occasionally. However, people I trust told me that I really should...
Radio Review: 19 July
Fashions change. In a fortnight’s time, we’ll all be looking back at pictures of ourselves now, and laughing at our outmoded hairstyles. So, this being a double issue, it makes more sense to preview some radio highlights in the coming 14 days, than to...
Radio Review: 12 July
Bad news: Radio Downloader, a fabulously useful bit of software, no longer works for downloading BBC radio programmes from iPlayer. Its ‘subscribe’ option enabled this reviewer to keep up to date with a dizzying array of programmes, all the better to...
Radio Review: 5 July
I’m a sucker for innuendo. No, missus, I am. Any alternative meanings you choose to extract from those opening words are entirely in your mind, and that’s the beauty of it. Innuendo allows an innocent phrase to carry all manner of connotations, but...
Radio Review: 28 June
Normally a showcase for currently-active comedy sketch troupes, the series finale of Radio 4’s Sketchorama served up a very special reunion last week. As a teenager in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was addicted to a wonderful series called...
Radio Review: 14 June
Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse have a lot to answer for. Twenty odd years ago, Smashie and Nicey made BBC Radio 1 boot the likes of Simon Bates and Dave Lee Travis out on their earphones. While some of the veterans are currently, er, resting, others...

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