Four from 4 at 40

In 1967, BBC Radio ended the Home Service and the Light Programme to launch four radio stations to meet the needs of contemporary Britons. Radio 1 brought pop for the kids, Radio 2 easy listening for the parents, Radio 3 for the classical fans, and Radio 4 to be a British speech radio station that is both conservative and innovative, traditional and quirky.

I’ve written before about The Archers, but here are some of my faves:

The News Quiz
You’ll never be satisfied with “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” again. (Lesbian) comedienne Sandy Toksvig leads brilliant satirists Alan Corrin, Jeremy Hardy, Andy Hamilton, and the unparalleled Paul Merten to comment on the week’s events. The real star is newsreader Charlotte Green who cracks up when sharing funny newspaper clippings. The News Quiz is broadcast in mini-seasons of 6 or 8 weeks, but is available now here.

Just a Minute
For more than 30 years, BBC Radio 4 listeners have been tittering and guffawing over this game show that recalls an era of parlor games and vaudeville. National buffoon Nicholas Parsons asks contestants to speak on a chosen topic for 60 seconds without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Regulars Clement Freud, Paul Merten and others mercilessly challenge one another while ridiculing Parsons. It’s British, camp, and funny—what more do you want? It’s off air right now … sorry, but come back another time here.

From Our Own Correspondent
New reporters get to go in-depth in the countries they cover, giving personal perspectives and backstories. Star reporters such as Feargal Keane are in their element in these socio-cultural analyses. It takes advantage of the unparalelled global reporting network of the BBC. Listen here.

Loose Ends
Saturday morning fodder, this smartass, laid back chat show brings together interesting artists, comedians, and musicians and gives some insight into what’s happening culturally in London/England. It used to be anchored by the late, camp, and caustic Ned Sherrin, but we now have to make do with Clive Anderson. Nevertheless, his co-presenters are still sassy and they usually have good musicians play. Listen here.

These programs are most easily accessed at Listen Again where you can explore the massive archive of BBC Radio 4.


13 responses to “Four from 4 at 40”

  1. Kate the Great says:

    Hey, Stella? What’s “camp”? You use it as an adjective, whereas I’ve only seen it as a noun or a verb.

  2. Josh says:

    Kate — “Camp” in this context is to culture as kitsch is to household decoration. The easiest example that I can think of is the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

  3. Bryan says:

    we are gradually evolving into a degree-granting institution!

  4. Kate the Great says:

    Hm. I can see camp visually (Rocky Horror, The Maltese Falcon, sequins and feathers together) but how does it translate into audio? Oscar Wilde is a good translation in text, but I’m having trouble imagining what camp sound sound like vocally. Would it be the same almost-false, overdone, over-emphasized definition?

  5. Kate the Great says:

    Er… That’s “what camp sounds like vocally.”

  6. Dave says:

    Yep, I used to assign that essay for a course.

  7. Can you say that out loud when I next see you, Dave? I’d like to quantify your campiness in the delivery.

  8. Dave says:

    I’ll lithp it.

  9. i was imagining a sibilant “s” on “assign” and “essay,” but if you want to go for the lithp instead that’s up to you.

  10. cynthia says:

    bryan, i like the campiness idea

  11. cynthia says:

    ps, my computer had gremlins, so I was away but to the mystrey part Bryan, ask what you want, i am a pretty open book

  12. Dave says:

    I just saw that Alan Coren died last week.