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Archives for January 2011

Another wipeout!

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Anne Diamond | 15:30 UK time, Thursday, 27 January 2011

roger federer wiping his brow

Yet another dramatic morning in my studio - with more tennis texts coming in from my son - the one who is keenly watching the tennis in the Australian Open.

As if it weren't exciting enough yesterday, when Nadal was knocked out in three straight sets - today it was the turn of the gorgeous Roger Federer! Oops! Was that a sexist remark? I take it back immediately. He's really quite ordinary....But what a sensational exit from the championship - again in three straight sets! What's going on? Looking forward to more texts tomorrow morning- it's Murray v Ferrer. Should be good.

I do hope my lovely BBC Berkshire listeners are as keen on tennis as I am!

Australia Day!

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Anne Diamond | 16:00 UK time, Wednesday, 26 January 2011

nadal playing tennis

On this day twenty three years ago, I was bobbing around on the waters of Sydney Harbour, under idyllic sunshine, clutching my little six month-old baby boy and enjoying the delights of Australia Day.

Today, I was sitting in a BBC radio studio in Berkshire, receiving texts from that same son, now all grown up and at work - though watching the tennis match on his computer - the game between World Number One Rafael Nadal and the young Spaniard, David Ferrer at the Australian Open, which was being played live during my programme!

"Aaah!" went one text. "Nadal has lost it! I think he's going to lose the match in straight sets!"

And then, a few minutes later: "Nadal is nearly crying. He must be injured...What's going on?"

Australia Day is bad luck for Rafa. Last year, on exactly the same day, he had to retire in the middle of his match against Andy Murray at exactly the same point in the championship.

It's sad for him - but possibly great news for Andy. Now he plays Ferrer on Friday morning. I'll be expecting more texts!

You feeling SAD?

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Anne Diamond | 11:30 UK time, Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Anne Diamond bathed in blue light

I'm broadcasting 'neath the golden glow of a special SAD light.

I have no idea whether or not I suffer from Season Affective Disorder - but (probably like many others!) if I go to the SAD website and look up the likely symptoms, I can tick all of them!

So, since I am missing the sunshine so badly at the moment, I thought I'd get me a bit of light therapy, even if all of my guests wonder what on earth is going on! I'll let you know if it makes any difference or whether I've just been gimmicked out of £150 !!

BBC weatherman Phil Avery popped in today - always a great guest, and very much a man "going green". We were talking about the idea - for Wokingham - of being rationed to just 80 bags of rubbish a year. Phil told me he's signed up to become a local litter picker. There's a scheme in the Windsor and Maidenhead area whereby you can sign up to "adopt a street" or an area which you keep an eye on, picking up litter.

It really does sound like a fantastic idea. I think it's a shame my council (Oxford) don't seem to have a similar idea. But congrats to Windsor and Maidenhead - and to the Avery family - for making a difference!

I'm away this week....

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Anne Diamond | 16:30 UK time, Tuesday, 18 January 2011

...but still very busy. I should be organising a load of paperwork, redecorating the kitchen, writing my book and starting a spring clean on the garden. But what am I doing? Watching old Bette Davis movies and reading an Agatha Christie.

This week, my programme on BBC Radio Berkshire is being looked after by David Prever who writes:

It's rare that a film receives universal praise. The King's Speech tells the story of King George VI of England (Colin Firth) learning to overcome his stammer with the help of speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).

My first morning looking after Anne's show and I was fortunate enough to speak to Hugo Vickers, historical advisor on the movie. He's far too modest to admit it, but his passion for detail is responsible for at least some of the film's success; advising on royal protocol, historical accuracies and language use (including a suggestion that the world 'rubbish' would not have been used in the 1930's by the King of England when referring to his own performance)

The films succeeds on a number of levels. In many ways it's a textbook coming of age story as Bertie, the future King of England, wrestles with childhood insecurities and fears before ascending to the throne. The power of his emotional journey set against the backdrop of a coming war and a national scandal (the abdication crisis) makes this a film certain to receive several Oscar nominations on January 25th. An achievement for which Hugo Vickers should be justly proud.

Go on, you know you want to...

Anne Diamond | 12:56 UK time, Friday, 14 January 2011

A toilet

....twin your loo, and flush away poverty! The Bishop of Oxford recommended it to me today - and I reckon I will. We all should.

It's called toilet twinning. Your smallest room gets twinned with a newly-built latrine in Burundi (you have to pay £60 for the privilege but you get a framed photo of the African loo to hang in yours - to become a talking point for your guests and relations!)

Every minute, three children under the age of five die in the third world because of poor sanitation or dirty water. Perhaps a good time to cogitate that fact is when you're sitting on your own personal throne, staring at a framed picture of a Burundi convenience. If you're interested, this is where you can find out more!

Who was sitting in my chair this morning?

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Anne Diamond | 13:25 UK time, Thursday, 13 January 2011

Gyles Brandreth and Anne Diamond hugging

...but Gyles Brandreth, wit, raconteur, playwright, teddy bear enthusiast, former MP, downright Good Egg and my old TVam mate!

When I came in this morning, there he was sitting in my studio, at my desk, with my earphones aside his greying temples and I thought, "What's this? Have I been replaced?" You can imagine that ladies of my "certain age" might be a wee bit paranoid about these things at the BBC! But no - Gyles was filming something about radio for his little job as reporter for The One Show. I'm astounded he has the time to do all he does! He's writing another novel, and currently performing all around the UK in his one man show, as he told me...Just in case you fancy an evening of hilarious laughter, see if he's performing anywhere near you. Within our area, he's at The Anvil in Basingstoke on Feb 9.

For Will....

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Anne Diamond | 13:30 UK time, Tuesday, 11 January 2011


Met a lovely mum today. She's Gill Hartley, from High Wycombe, who lost her lovely son, Will, in 2006. He was only 22, a charming, good looking and accomplished young man, whose life was snuffed out by a mystery illness, leaving his parents devastated.

Gill was shocked to find that, after his death, she felt as though she had fallen into a vacuum - and it's a feeling I know a lot of bereaved parents experience, particularly mothers.

It's the time when even good friends will do everything they can to avoid you, because they cannot think of the right thing to say. When people literally do cross to the other side of the street to avoid meeting you. When the telephone stops ringing, no-one comes to see you and you feel that even your best friends have deserted you. I can tell you, the years following my little boy's death are marked by the letters that didn't come from certain people, the friends who stayed away until they thought I'd got over it all.
But the truth is, you never do.

And Gill has never, and will never ever get over Will's death. Why would she? Only those who have been through a similar experience know the feeling. And that's why she has set up a special "drop in" centre for those who have lost a child.

If you want to know more - it's in High Wycombe, at the Friends Meeting House, which is
25 London Rd.

The sessions take place on : the second and fourth Monday of every month from 1000 to 1200, and on the second and fourth Thursday every month from 1930-2130. More details from

The lovely John Madejski!

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Anne Diamond | 12:30 UK time, Tuesday, 11 January 2011

In my studio yesterday - chairman of Reading football club, entrepreneur and all-round enthusiastic philanthropist, Sir John Madejski. If you'd like to hear him, listen to the Anne Diamond show again on the i player!

A twist too far?

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Anne Diamond | 12:19 UK time, Thursday, 6 January 2011

The cot death storyline in EastEnders is too much for many. I've been asked on numerous programmes on radio and TV to give my view. I wish the producers and story editors hadn't felt the need to add the "baby swap" plot line - as if a cot death weren't tragic enough for modern drama!

But it has given me a great chance, at least, to remind everyone of the cot death advice -which works so well that it got the cot death rate down from 2,500 per year to 300 a year. That was in 1991, but the rate has stuck stubbornly at 300 ever since...

The most important two points:

1. Babies should lie on their backs to sleep and

2. Never let any smoke anywhere near your baby.

There is, of course, lots more guidance about "reducing the risk" of cot death. For the best advice go to the website for the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, or this page on the BBC Health website.

How things have changed !

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Anne Diamond | 12:54 UK time, Tuesday, 4 January 2011

An early broadcast from the Open University

It's forty years ago this week that The Open University first started broadcasting its unique style of factual programming - rather like the interesting young mathematics lecturer in the photo.

We were talking about the OU today when I was joined in the studio by Ron Hooper, from Caversham. He was one of the initial team of five broadcasters charged with making 300 programmes a year for the OU. He told me how it all got started, reminding me that it was a Harold Wilson initiative which was then somewhat reluctantly inherited by the Tories. Margaret Thatcher, then Education Minister, remarked that she was dismayed that so much money was being spent on "the hobbies of housewives".

Amazing how much things have changed - because I also featured an interview with the top science broadcaster of the moment, Professor Brian Cox, about today's partial solar eclipse and the upcoming Stargazing Live programme on BBC Two. Last time I saw him, he was presenting a programme about the sun, from the Ganges - with a total eclipse behind him!

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