Oooh noooh! 

7 November 2006 tbs.pm/218

Stop everything until we know who’s up who.

After who knows how many years since television bested radio permanently, that “ancient” medium bounces back… with the middle classes, anyway.

“The Archers”. 15,000 episodes young. It has, slowly, moved with the times. Or moved after them. We’ve had terrible deaths, murder, a delicious hint of buggery amongst the strawberries, racism, intercommunal strife (well, the vicar and the Asian lady) and infidelity. Typical middle-class life, I find.

“The Archers” was immortalised in broadcasting history when the BBC used it, quite successfully actually, to destroy the launch of ITV 56 years ago. ITV’s launch night was a flop. The headlines the next day were all about the death of Grace Archer.

Tonight the BBC took radio back to the top of the news agenda. The broadsheets couldn’t resist, if only to take the opportunity (Never Knowingly Missed at the Grauniad) to have a go at the BBC – in this case for the terrible crime of dumbing down “The Archers” by… having changed it slowly over 56 years. I can imagine the headlines if they hadn’t: “15,000 Episodes But Still In 1956: Emily Bell on why the BBC must be broken up and privitised painfully in order to give her employer more opportunities to make money (see Media, page 1629A)”.

Well, BBC Radio Four deserves its moment in the limelight again. It is, quite simply, the best radio station in the world. Some of the output (“Quote Unaaaaaah! My ears! My ears! For the love of life! My eeeaaars!” as people call it, for instance) is dreck. Some is boring. Some is forgettable. But it all works together well, and better than anyone else has been – will be – able to come up with.

Although the return of the Radio 4 UK Theme, to cover the unprofessional jarring interruption twixt WS and 4 that now happens, is past due.

And did Ruth and Sam indulge in some microphone-based screwing? Find out for yourself. Oooh noooh!

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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