Friday, 10 February 2017

Radio Review: 10 February

Why Brian Matthew is much missed on Radio 2

Written by Louis Barfe
The news that ‘your old mate’ Brian Matthew will not be returning to sounds of the 60s is sad but unsurprising. As noted in these pages last August, the Radio 2 management Louis-Barfe-colour-176has been trying to get rid of him for a while, and the period of rest and recuperation after a fall at home gave them the excuse they needed. The announcement was handled very badly, with reference to Matthew leaving by mutual agreement, before the presenter piped up that the decision had been anything but mutual. Indeed, he used the prase ‘absolute balderdash’.

Before taking over sounds of the 60s in 1990, Matthew hosted round midnight, the forerunner of The Radio 2 Arts Show (What a drab title – has nobody really been able to think of anything better?), and under his stewardship, the network’s arts coverage was at its very best.

Tim Rice has been filling in on sounds of the 60s, and I hope devoutly he doesn’t get the job on a permanent basis. He’s a rotten radio presenter, and his flat, boring voice sends me straight back to sleep on a Saturday morning. Ideally, the show should be taken over by Tony Blackburn, whose Friday night Golden Hour really isn’t working.

For one thing, the musical selection is mostly 1950s and 1960s pop, lacking the variety and cheery eclecticism of Desmond Carrington, who died last week on the day the network commemorated his long and illustrious career in an hour-long documentary. John Peel ‘broke’ new music. Carrington was the Peel of nostalgia. He ‘broke’ old music, playing tunes that even diehard music fans hadn’t heard before. He is sorely missed. So, move Blackburn to Sounds of the 60s and try to find someone in the spirit of Carrington. A tall order, because he was a glorious one-off, but worth a try.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: 

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