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Maureen Lipman

Radio 4 garlanded

Thursday 8 October 2009, 11:36

Mark Damazer Mark Damazer

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Today studio

Last night The Voice of The Listener and Viewer - a group that campaigns for quality television and radio, whether from the BBC or elsewhere, garlanded Radio 4 programmes.

A large number of broadcasters - editors, controllers, commissioners, broadcasters - were asked to choose their five favourite radio or TV programmes over the past 25 years. The results were revealed last night at BAFTA in a small theatre full of broadcasting panjandrums - past and present. Hosted by Andrew Marr.

I had voted - for three radio programmes and two television ones. I will not reveal my radio choices. On the TV front I think I chose Edge of Darkness and Blackadder - or it may have been Newsnight or Channel 4 News. I can't quite remember.

Suffice to say Radio 4 did spectacularly - perhaps embarrassingly - well. Number 25 - Test Match Special. Number 16 - In Our Time. Number 13 - From Our Own Correspondent. Number 4 Clue. Number 1 - repeat Number 1 - Today. And for good measure - The Proms on Radio 3 finished runner up. It's a very good spread of what Radio 4 has on offer.

Among the TV programmes in the top 25 were - Edge of Darkness, Blackadder, Morse, World in Action (Death on The Rock), State of Play, Our Friends in the North, Newsnight, Channel 4 News, Jewel in The Crown etc. So we were in illustrious company.

I grant you the VLV is more interested in high quality broadcasting than many - and I detected a natural empathy for Radio 4 - but even so this was a wonderful moment for Radio 4 and for radio in general. It's a tribute to the programme makers and the talent who created these programmes and a reflection of the lust the Radio 4 audience has for quality - whether in News and Current Affairs, ideas or comedy.

We will celebrate soberly and parsimoniously - but we are much cheered. And more than 25 years after the arrival of breakfast television Today goes from strength to strength. There remains a huge appetite for the programme - the occasional wart and all. Because it delivers impartial, vigorous, broad and - yes - witty journalism that is unmatched at that time of the day. By a crack team.

Mark Damazer is Controller of BBC Radio 4

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    Comment number 1.

    Its amazing to think that the Today programme should receive such high acclaim when it really does not deserve it.

    On the programme today (Sat 10th Oct) not a single mention was made of the important news that the Conservatives had got their sums hopelessly wrong by £3bn and that their pensions plan would take 5 years longer than the Conservatives had claimed. Not a word about this on the "prestigious" Today programme. Not a word.
    If this had been Gordon Brown's figures which were wrong we would not have heard the end of it.
    The claim that the Conservative figures are wrong comes not from Labour but from the very same think-tank the Conservtaives had used as the basis for their calculations in the first place.

    The Today show does not deserve such acclaim because some of the broadcasters make so little effort to hide their centre/right views, namely, Evan Davies and Nick Robinson.

    Finally, the Today programme does not deserve such acclaim because each and every day it broadcasts the views of centre-right newspapers through its so-called "review" of the papers. Most of the British press is of a centre/right persuasion and a great proportion of it is owned by people who are not even British. These papers are unlikely, on the whole, to be sympathetic to a Labour government so this gives the Right a free hit every single time the programme is aired. Where's the balance in that?
    On this morning's programme, for instance, no mention was made of the Guardian's front page headline about the hole in the Conservative's budget plans. Just totally ignored.
    Balance? I've seen drunks with a better sense of balance than the Today programme.

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    Comment number 2.

    Blimey is Lamplighter101 the codename for Ben Bradshaw?

    Of course Today deserves the VLV award for all the reasons 6 million people tune in each day.

    Keep on doing the great work Radio 4

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    Comment number 3.

    Yes please: do continue to use the regional area concept for doing the weather forecast. Wonderful, logical, clear: much easier to concentrate and actually find out what the weather in your own (or any selected) area is going to be.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    Then why was its very popular messageboard removed from the picking list and put in a box in a dark corner of the BBC website?
    Is "The Archers" messagboard more vital for an open democracy?

 

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