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5 live changed my life

Friday 28 March 2014, 12:36

Jo Meek Jo Meek

5 live first day .jpg

Celebrating the best of 5 live and the best thing about 5 live…our listeners

For the 20th birthday of 5 live we’ve brought together people whose lives have been changed in some way because of something they participated in via the network or because of something they heard on the station. Sometimes we forget how much radio can simply be a friend in the corner of the room.

The range of stories has surprised us most.

The most loyal members of the Special Half Hour Club from Richard Bacon’s late night programme became friends through their membership of the group and are still all in touch today. A small group of them used to meet up quite regularly. They reunited with Richard Bacon and Rachael Bland for the 20th birthday: Podcast.

Ex-pat Matt Horn, a huge fan of Up All Night, found it to be a “lifeline” while living and working in China. He often calls into the World Football Phone-In and recently took part in a discussion in the studio when he was visiting the UK. He told us how 5 live helps him stay in touch with people and events at home.

John is the only English born imam in Pakistan. Forty years ago John Butt did what many people did and went travelling along the hippy trail to South Asia. The difference is he never came back. Now with the middle name of Mohammed, John is a respected Islamic scholar. He's spent most of the last 40 years living among the Pashtun tribes and set-up a radio station there based on 5 live.

We caught up again with ‘Rachel’ the alcoholic doctor who first rang Victoria Derbyshire in 2011– and whose call, on the day she was about to enter rehab, provoked the biggest reaction the programme has ever had. Three years on she tells us she’s returned to work again as a doctor and speaks to 5 live listeners who chart their own recovery from alcoholism through her appearances on the programme.

Back in 2011 Shelagh Fogarty asked listeners to write in if they wanted to learn to swim as part of the Big Splash. She heard from Mary Allott who was very shaky when anywhere near open water. She tells Shelagh how it feels now to get into the pool with her kids.

20-year-old amateur filmmaker Phillip Chidell, who won the Well Done U short film competition with his film Pong tells Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode about how the 5 live competition gave him a British Board Film Classification film U certification, got him an audience of tens of thousands, and has set him up with the confidence to pursue a career in filmmaking.

In December 2011, Stephen Nolan spoke to the mental health charity Papyrus, whose Chief Executive, Ged Flynn, criticised the Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson after he branded people who throw themselves under trains as "selfish". Chris, a listener who attempted suicide three years earlier, heard the conversation and called the show. Ged and Chris join Stephen Nolan to tell him about the relationship they have developed and the role Chris now plays with the charity helping young people at risk of attempting suicide.

Hear the stories throughout the day on 28 March and on catch up online



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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    I listen to five live every day but recently I have reduced my listening as I find the increasing use of music beds so annoying. In its early days the whole advantage to me of the channel was that it was virtually music free, but unfortunately that is no longer true. Please can we have the original music free five live back.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    When I think of the major achievements of 20 years of Five Live I think of Alan Green's commentary of Redgrave's 5th Gold, Mayo's coverage of 9/11 or John Murray's amazing commentary of the Olympic Opening Ceremony.

    What I'd never think of as the raison d'etre of a national radio station is to act as a surrogate social working service. I don't understand why the station on it's anniversary would specifically highlight issues such talking to alcoholic doctors or people unfortunate enough to be considering suicide. In fact I'm baffled by Derbyshire's apparent infatuation with the story of the doctor.

    The powers that be may think that this is quality radio, but Derbyshire asking another victim "how did you feel?" or Nolan trying to make another interviewee cry do nothing other than make me switch off.

    And if "behindthe frogs" is expecting the music to be reduced, they may be waiting a long time as the Controller told all the people who complained about it this morning that they were wrong, but it was actually a good sign that they'd noticed it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    That alcoholic doctor infuriates me every time the tape is repeated.
    I am sick sand tired of the adverts for other programmes and the endless branding tape of "This is BBC Five Live" every five minutes. That horrible grating voice too.
    I am fed up of Nolan calling MR Cameron Cameron. He is the PM and deserves some respect whether we all like him or not.
    Can you not find another MP other than 5Live's very own John Mann moaning on every time?
    I could go on. I avoid more than I listen to these days, that flipping ID tape has finished me off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Oh Carrie..... I am so glad that doctor infuriates you too...... I thought I was alone in that. VD has turned into a woman's magazine show affiliated with Mumsnet these days. Everyday another sob story. I listen to the phone in for what it is worth.... and half the time those are 'human interest stories' these days and that is about it. Nolan is always awful, Bacon so full of his own importance so I don't bother with them. I get my news from Radio 4 and mostly listen to other stations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    I'm glad someone else thinks Stephen Nolan shows a lack of respect by calling the Prime Minister Cameron. It always grates on me. Who does he think he is? I feel just the same about politicians of a different persuasion. He should take a leaf out of Andrew Neil's book, as he is always polite and refers to politicians as Mr, Mrs or Ms.

    I can't listen to Victoria Derbyshire any more, unless by chance I find out there is someone filling in for her and in every case they are 100 times better.


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