Monday, 11 January 2010

Nobody died today

Before Christmas, the newspapers start getting a little on the thin side. With last Christmas being on a Friday, the broadsheets were reducing depth from the Monday before.

On one of those days I managed to miss the obituaries altogether in The Guardian and pictured a world in which no one had the day before. A pre-Christmas amnesty, if you like.

Sadly, I had just managed to skip through the paper a touch too quickly. The obituaries were there. Six of them in total.

On further inspection, there had obviously been a lack of notable people dying. All the obituaries were drawn from the month prior. It seems a little odd that editors can take a view on the importance of someone's death. I guess it depends on whether the paper has an obituary ready.

If it does not, then either the person has died suddenly, well ahead of time and it therefore has a certain news value that warrants a swift appearance in the paper. If, on the other hand, it comes under the category of worthy but not well known then the paper will need to do some research and put it in a pile of obituaries to be inserted when other, more notable people cunningly foil death.

Even after death there is a pecking order.

Gone but not forgotten

In place of:


For those mourning Wogan, tune into Channel 4 each day a five pm for his utterly pointless game show, Wogan's Perfect Recall (spot the gag in the title).

Actually, the strange thing is, it's more of the same all round. However, on the bright side, Sarah Kennedy's show has been curtailed as Evans seems to like getting up and starting work whereas Wogan ran the shortest show in radio.

Besides, I'm sure there'll be plenty ofradio phone-ins allowing Wogan's former listeners to let off steam.

I'll let off some steam. In order to replace Evans, Radio 2 have employed Simon Mayo who for the last eight years has been broadcasting a (mostly) wonderful afternoon show on FiveLive. In order to replace Mayo comes Richard Bacon who, sadly, just reminds me of how much preparation Mayo used to do.

Whilst it's not exactly the toughest job in the world, Mayo was the hardest working man in it. He's a sad loss, especially as now, he gets less time to interrogate issues because he's back to being a drivetime host on a music station.

Evans and Mayo had very similar, very odd openings. They were both determined to talk about their choice of first record and then to "introduce the team". How very American.

Evans' tone was the same as always (which is fine) whilst Mayo has switched to a more upbeat pitch, more hurried than on his news/talk programme. Perhaps he's just aware of how much there is to fit in between the records.

The point about all of this is simple, the BBC still produces the best radio programmes in this country. Radios 2, 4, 5live, 6 music and 7 are shining lights of the medium (well those are the ones I listen to, the others could be pretty good too). Any change is potentially a weakening of the quality.

I think of the BBC as a sandcastle. It's a brilliant creation but vulnerable to attacks. And the attacks are often completely and utterly pointless. Changes to the schedule make the BBC the news story. With the Ross resignation, the BBC has been the story a little too often recently. I hope that the tide recedes quickly (see what I did there) and we can all carry on like we did before, hating commercial radio and hoping Chris Moyles gets a job in it as soon as possible.