Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Fooc, Wato and Jam

No, these are not names for a new set of characters to replace the Teletubbies [though it is an interesting idea…] They are the abbreviated titles of favourite Radio 4 programmes [as I am sure many of you will have recognised] From our own correspondent, World At One, and Just a Minute. It is forty seven years ago today that BBC Radio 4 hit the airwaves [Happy Birthday!]


This is definitely my favourite radio station [closely followed by its younger sibling, Radio 4 Extra, formerly known as Radio 7]

Any time after 9.30 in the morning, I am likely to have a radio tuned into one of these two stations. Prior to 2010, I usually listened to the Today Programme – but the announcement of a General Election, combined with the departure of Terry Wogan and arrival of Chris Evans, and I decided to wake up to Radio 2 instead. CE’s cheerful, family orientated show gets my day off to a much better start than hearing argumentative politicians. But generally I listen to 4 or 4X


My good mate Gaz recently lent me this book – which is the vade mecum for devotees of the station.

It is full of all sorts of fascinating facts and pointless trivia, anecdotes about radio personalities, and reminders of programmes of the last forty odd years that you had quite forgotten. It is probably utterly meaningless to non Radio Four listeners!

The chapters are arranged in the order of the day’s programmes – up with the lark, and Farming Today, and ending with the strains of Sailing By, and the beloved Shipping Forecast. If I have a gripe about the book, it is the insertion of longer anecdotes which are printed in separate boxes at the top of some pages. But some of the anecdotes go on for 3 or 4 pages – and then you have to go back and finish the ‘regular’ bit of the story. I kept getting lost!

archersBut the book is great fun – and if you are thinking of travelling to Ambridge from Mornington Crescent, then this is the book to read on the train. Thanks Gaz!

PS I still miss Fritz Spiegel’s “UK Theme” tune!

Do you have a favourite radio station?

Are there some presenters you prefer to others ? [personally I prefer Jane Garvey to Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour]


  1. I'm a longstanding R4 listener. I have to say I am less committed to the Today programme these days. My favourite JAM panellists were in the days of Peter Jones, Clement Freud, Kenneth Williams and Derek Nimmo. I do like Paul Merton in the current regulars.

    1. I agree -The early JAM team were so good! Paul Merton is clever nowadays

  2. I really like Radio 5. I love listening to football commentary. However I do like Today and will miss Evan Davies, I think he is really clever at appearing a soft touch but getting to the real answers.

    1. Not being at all sporting, I dont think I have ever listened to Radio 5!

  3. I tune in to Radio Scotland during the week in the mornings then at the weekend, Radio 2, especially Sunday when I just love listening to the Johnnie Walker Show - 3pm-5pm - sometimes I listen to Elaine Paige before that at 1pm for the show tunes she plays but her voice seriously gets on my wick and especially when she guffaws at her own jokes and plays songs sung by herself!!

    1. Yes - I listen to Sunday afternoon Elaine Paige, especially if I am travelling somewhere. But her laugh drives me crazy too - that bizarre chortling noise she makes when she thinks she has said something funny is SO irritating.

  4. What a great book. I still prefer the Jenni Murray's WH broadcasts. I must confess to the Philistinian tendency to choose radio 2 when those comedy sitcoms are on. Or the very dark and gritty dramas. My life obviously cries out for moments of jolly rhythm in the midst of its grumpy chaos!


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