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The Awakening - Episode 3

Radio 4 Extra - the first week

Friday 8 April 2011, 18:37

Mary Kalemkerian Mary Kalemkerian

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Tony Hancock in 'The Lift' in 1961

Radio 4 Extra is almost one week old - and we've all been delighted to read far more publicity for the network than we ever expected. Our notice boards are groaning with press cuttings of previews and reviews from a wide variety of newspapers across the UK. We also made a number of feature pages too - which has all helped to raise awareness of the rebranded network.

On our launch day. Russell Davies took us on fascinating journey through the history of radio panel games. Let's Get Quizzical was very well-received, and those of you who enjoyed it can look forward to the second part of this entertaining series on Saturday.

The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang dramatisation also proved to be popular, and I notice that our next new children's drama commission, Elidor, is one of next week's Radio Choices in the Radio Times. Alan Garner's magical novel and the dark world of Elidor is a definite pick of the week for me...

Old favourites - like Hancock and Garrison Keillor's Radio Show - got favourable mentions in the press too.

So now it's on to our second week of broadcasting, when lovers of radio drama can look forward to My Cousin Rachel (Daphne Du Maurier), Howard's End and Torchwood.

Amongst the 10 hours-plus of comedy per day you can enjoy Ed Reardon's Week, Arthur Smith's Balham Bash, up and coming comedy group The Penny Dreadfuls, Hancock's War - and for fans of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue there's a treat from 1982 - a programme which includes the late and much-missed Willie Rushton in the panel.

Mary Kalemkerian is Head of Programmes at BBC Radio 4 Extra

  • The photograph is from the BBC picture library. The caption reads: "Picture shows (front) Hugh Lloyd, Jack Watling, Tony Hancock. (back) Jose Read, John Le Mesurier, Noel Howlett, Diana King and Charles Lloyd Pack Tony Hanock suffers his indignity of being stuck for rather along time in a lift at the BBC Televsion Centre. Stuck with him are a number of visitors to the Centre and one or two employees including of course, the lift attendant plyed by Hugh Lloyd."
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Comments

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    You may have many reviews but you may not have many listeners for much longer. That is if you don't start taking our complaints seriously (previously loyal BBC7 fans). Bring back the full length dramas and the crimne and thrillers hour at 01:00.

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    Comment number 2.

    You might be delighted at all the publicity you've got, but if you bothered to read the earlier blog, you'll see an awful lot of people are very upset about the changes, especially the loss of the Crime and Thrillers hour, from 1am onwards.
    I really miss that, and Radio 4 extra now comprises of inanane chatter, and old comedy shows.
    Where have the feature length plays gone ?

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    Comment number 3.

    I kept an open mind about the re-branding exercise. I could see that there might be benefits in terms of directing potential listeners to the station; the association with Radio 4 might give some assurance regarding content quality.
    Having listened to some of the output, however, and viewed the schedule, I have to say that I am disappointed. I very much liked the format and balance of the Radio 7 schedule and the un-fussy, ego-free style of the presentation. The content of the original was so good that it did not require the 'added value' of presenters talking down to the audience and intruding into the quality of the radio experience.
    Radio 4 Extra is a rather poor shadow of its predecessor. I wonder if much research was conducted among the audience prior to the changes? I cannot imagine that there would have been much support for further unimpressive ouptut from the discredited 'Archers' stable.
    I too miss the 'Crime and Thrillers' hour at 1a.m.
    Come on Tim and co, I think you have enough indication that some readjustment is required.
    Drusilla

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    Comment number 4.

    I, too, am disappointed by the first week. The new schedule is incoherent and poorly thought through, and it makes what was Radio 7 seem to be little more than a dump for arbitrarily selected bits of Radio 4 (such as the interviews from Front Row). Please bring back the crime and thrillers hour at 1.00 am and please bring back the extended dramas. At the same time, please do not recommission the Archers programme and please do not include snippets of music (in the form of Desert Island Discs and the rather lame Inheritance Tracks): they are what Radio 4 is for and they are why I know when not to tune in to Radio 4. It would be interesting to know just how much this 'rebranding' exercise (with its infuriating station identifications and concomitant and incessant promotion on other channels) has cost us, the listeners. Any chance of some figures?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    I agree with the comments made above. Also, I have an impression that there are more repeats of programmes (which follow the original programme very quickly). In particular, the loss of the Crime & Thrillers Hour is extremely regrettable as is the increase in 15 minute items. Please can we have confirmation that the comments here have been noted.

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    Comment number 6.

    SO VERY VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH 4XTA IF I WANT TO LISTEN(WHICH I DONT)TO THE ARCHERS DI DISCS INHERETENCE TRACKS AND PRESENTERS LOVING THE SOUND OF THEIR OWN VOICES I WOULD STICK TO 4.7 WAS A HAVEN FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME WHO LOVE LONG DRAMAS SCI FI COMEDIES AND VERY LITTLE INBETWEEN.WHY OH WHY COULD YOU NOT LEAVE IT BE? AFRAID I WILL BE AN EX LISTENER ALONG WITH QUITE A LOT OF PEOPLE I HAVE SPOKEN TO. AN OLD ADAGE DONT FIX IT UNLESS ITS BROKE!!!!!!!

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    Comment number 7.

    'Notice boards'? Those things you put on the wall? How long before the BBC scrap them as well? Mind you, the media won't be as easy to silence as listeners, will they?

    (could that be the first reference to the board closures on a blog that *won't* be removed as 'off topic'?)

    'Favourable mentions'(along with 'groaning', of course) is as close as we will get to the negative press on the re-launch, I suppose. I would love to see a HD screen-shot of those notice boards, so we can see exactly what the 'publicity' consists of.

    In the meantime, is there a way to show us what listener 'feedback' is? Maybe you have a notice board for that, locked away in a dusty attic?

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    Comment number 8.

    I totally agree that this radio station has been totally ruined now it is no longer a pleasure to listen.I used to be able to turn the radio on at anytime day or night and find something i could listen to but not now.there is too much comedy and unwanted music.

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    Comment number 9.

    By the way, there are nine people in that lift. One actor, a man apparently, is amost completely obscured by Hugh Lloyd and Jack Watling.

    Anyone know who?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 10.

    According to IMBD it would have been Colin Howard as The Doctor...

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0595643/

  • rate this
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    Comment number 11.

    Just testing... >>

  • Comment number 12.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 13.

    Just remember, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 14.

    I didn't really see the point of rebranding Radio 7 as 4 Extra, but nevertheless I'd like to see these changes succeed.

    I'm an Archers listener and was encouraged by Ambridge Extra, I can see that there is a lot of scope for covering characters who don't get much air time in the main show. Having said that, I'm expecting that the next series of Feedback will include comments from disgruntled Archers fans who don't want to listen to a sister programme but feel they are missing out on stories if they if ignore it.

    When the Ambridge Extra series is complete, it would be nice if there is a magazine programme for listeners to comment on Archers stories and for members of the production team to answer questions, it could be called "Archers Almanac".

    Desert Island Discs Revisited - good idea.

    More prominence needs to be given to the Now Show Extra and there is a lack of podcasts for some of these programmes.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 15.

    The reason I went out & bought a digital radio was to listen to BBC Radio 7 and now it's been ruined by, changes that were not needed or requested, too much Radio 4 cast off rubbish, removing the long dramas I loved to listen to. I want my money back, I feel like I've been robbed.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 16.

    You've ruined what was a perfectly brilliant radio station - I used to have BBC 7 on pretty much all day for most of the week, especially in the evenings. Now I cannot bare it - very sad.
    Hopefully you lose enough listeners to realise had a good thing going with the BBC 7 schedule

  • rate this
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    Comment number 17.

    Yep, another one complaining about the lack of Crime and Thrillers at 01:00hrs and the plays and serials until 04:00hrs. I don't sleep well and the old Radio 7 schedule was a good listen.

    Did anyone ask the listeners if they wanted DI Discs or an Archers spin-off? No, I thought not. I expect we are supposed to be grateful for what we get! Well, I am very dissatisfied as I see are many others. I have more or less dumped 4 Xtra and hardly ever listen. My radio hovers between World Service and Jazz.

    I do hope that there is an audience out there for the radio 4Xtra selection but judging by what I read, it is going to have to be a brand new one as Radio 7 listeners and voting with their feet (or radio dial really I suppose!)

  • rate this
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    Comment number 18.

    This is off topic, I know, but the alternative is to complain about #12...

    http://radiofeedback.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=19

  • rate this
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    Comment number 19.

    Rufus Hound's programme was poor...the extra bit of The Now Show not really worth listening to...keeping my fingers crossed as I am still finding some gems amongst the schedule. A lot appears to be padding and filler...

    Most of the praise would appear to be for the kind of programmes that were liked on Radio 7 anyhow...

  • rate this
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    Comment number 20.

    I wonder, is this about what the critics and press have to say or what the audience think? It is all very well to have great reports in the press but if one has lost the audience who once listened to Radio 7 praise is a bit vacuous.

    How about asking the listeners what they want and not what Auntie says they should have? Is there a genuine demand for Desert Island Discs at 02:00hrs, evidenced by audience polls of individual requests? No, I thought not!

    Consult the old Radio 7 audience about what they want before they have all gone.

 

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Let's Get Quizzical - Brains, Pickles and Slips

Wednesday 6 April 2011, 18:08

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