Friday, 27 January 2017

Radio Review: 27 January

Tracking down music and finding Graham Norton

Written by Louis Barfe
It might not always seem as though we do, but we live in a wonderful age. Just after Christmas, my mother-in-law – genuinely one of my favourite people on earth, and an Louis-Barfe-colour-176antidote to all the obvious jokes – mentioned that she had heard a jazz piece she liked on Radio 3 a few days before, and wondered how to track down a copy. Within seconds, I’d found the playlist of the relevant programme on my mobile phone and identified the piece via iPlayer.

Even within living memory, this would have involved writing to an overworked producer or production assistant who had to file the playlists anyway, but now had to write a letter in reply to the curious listener. So, ready access to such information makes for a more efficient use of our licence fee. The next time you hear anyone bellyaching about the BBC’s online presence, biff them on the nose. This is progress.

Radio is the perfect medium for stumbling across the unexpected. Had I read an advance billing saying that Graham Norton (Radio 2, Saturdays, 10am) would be interviewing a nun, I probably wouldn’t have made a point of tuning in. However, i walked into the kitchen, where Radio 2 just happened to be on, and chanced upon his chat with the twinkly Sister Agatha. norton enquired about sister agatha wearing her own clothes rather than a habit. ‘The only thing we wear is a cross,’ she replied, ‘and a ring – £4.50.’ I chuckled at the cost being specified.

The following week, he had the superb Roger Allam in, and the pair seemed to spend the whole time making each other laugh. Norton is warm, genuine and bright, a man for all seasons. Like his Radio 2 stablemate Paul O’Grady, he’s one of those rare TV personalities who turned out to be very good at radio too.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: 

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