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Welcome to Radio 4 Extra

Friday 1 April 2011, 18:02

Mary Kalemkerian Mary Kalemkerian

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George Bernard Shaw at a microphone in 1931

After we bid a fond farewell to BBC Radio 7 after over 8 years on-air - what a delight to be able instead to welcome you to the world of BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Whether you're a newbie or one of our loyal band of followers - I can promise you plenty to enjoy in our new schedule, which kicks off tomorrow at 6am.

In keeping with the joys of spring, and the romance of weddings in the air, we are delivering the traditional 'Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue' in our new line-up for the rebranded digital radio station.

For Something Old, Radio 4 Extra will open with a 90' production of George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man, starring Andrew Sachs and directed in 1984 by former Head of BBC Radio Drama, John Tydeman.

John e-mailed us with the following message:

Seven was Heaven! Since the same team are now scheduling Extra, I have every hope that it too will be something Extra good! There's a gold-mine to be mined of nuggets from the BBC's speech archive, and all programmes in the archive are there because of excellence or because they are of exceptional interest. Gold does not tarnish and often grows in value with age. Listeners are sure to be in for a rich experience for many years to come

Very well expressed, John.

For Something New, we have commissioned new children's dramas, beginning with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a family friendly magazine series, The Four O' Clock Show and an excellent archive drama new to the network, Fortunes of War. There's also plenty of new comedy, including a comedy magazine What's So Funny? presented by Rufus Hound.

Something Borrowed: well, the bulk of our programmes are already borrowed from the archive, but for 4 Extra, in addition to 'borrowing' Desert Island Discs and Ambridge from our sister station Radio 4, we've also borrowed some of the Radio 4 announcers to present some of our programmes. Alan, Kathy, Neil, Rory and Susan Alan and will be joining our presentation team over the coming weeks.

Something Blue? - certainly not our comedy, classic or contemporary! But blue is the colour of the Radio 4 logo, and we've moved a shade away from blue to the lovely, warm colour purple for Radio 4 Extra, as you can see on our website.

If we've managed to tempt you - BBC Radio 4 Extra is available to enjoy on digital radio, digital television and online.

Mary Kalemkerian is Head of Programmes at BBC Radio 4 Extra

  • The picture, from the BBC picture archive, shows George Bernard Shaw at the microphone in 1931. John Tydeman's production of Shaw's Arms and the Man opens broadcasting for 4 Extra tomorrow morning at 0600.
  • These words are from Mary's hugely popular weekly newsletter. Sign up to have it delivered to your email inbox free of charge here.

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    Comment number 41.

    I'm sure Neil-W (39) is right
    Make it so a lot of people cannot listen then shut it down because there not enough listeners.

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    Comment number 42.

    I really don't care very much about Radio 4 extra. I've thrown my DAB radio away. Reception was so awful and battery life ridiculously short.

    But will you please stop trailing stuff on radio 4? We went through months of tedium about the anniversary archers, and then the royal archers and now we have to listen to a lot of self-congratulations about some sort of "Big brothers little brother" for the bloody archers. Enough is enough.

    Please can you total all the correspondence over the last five years about trails, and report how many people objected and how many people asked for more?

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    Comment number 43.

    This is my 3rd attempt to leave a comment, I wonder how many others are in the same position. Anyway, I just want to echo what most of the commenters have said so far, Radio4 Extra is a very poor substitute for Radio 7. My main time for listening to Radio 7 (4 Extra) is between 10-12 in the morning. I don't want to hear old DID, comedy, Archers Extra and worse of all interviews from Front Row. It wouldn't be so bad if some of the plays, dramas etc were on at some time during the day so I could listen again, but the 90 minute play, Crime catch up etc have just gone from the schedule. Ironically I'll now revert to listening to Radio 4 between 10-12 and listening again (on my internet radio) to the afternoon play on Radio 4 etc etc.

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    Comment number 44.

    to Steve Bowbrick anychance of a comment about why no radio7?
    the thinking behind the change would be nice.

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    Comment number 45.

    What happened to the final part of Rawlinson End? Looks like extra means less!

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    Comment number 46.

    Can I add my voice to the dozens appealing for the return of crime and thrillers at 1.00 am please? It was perfect for the wee small hours.

    And, when I click onto the Radio section of the website to see what's playing "Comedy Club" isn't very informative. Please add the name of the show.

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    Comment number 47.

    Please can somebody tell me what happened to crime and thrillers omnibus and other drama on Saturday and Sunday? Can I find them elswhere? Weekdays look fine - Saturday and Sunday - not fine.
    The first impression is not brilliant - convince me.

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    Comment number 48.

    Just turned my radio off again.It would be great to see a reply to all our complaints please.

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    Comment number 49.

    I posted a comment on the Radio 7 messageboard saying that I had a terrible gut feeling that this is a sad end. I said that I would give it 3 months before we were listening to wall to wall archives of Woman's Hour, Dessert Island Discs and the Today programme with grumpy Humphries.

    I take it all back. I give it three weeks. They have taken the pick of the litter and turned it into the runt.

  • Comment number 50.

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

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    Comment number 51.

    Its common for the bbc to ignore any negative comment. if there are 3000 negative comments the beeb will quote the 3 positive comments, this happened with The Archers. Of course if some celebs make negative comments the beeb backs down ie Radio 6 campaign. blog posting are ignored I want to complain directly to the bbc but I've no idea how to and if anyone knows where to complain could they post it on here.

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    Comment number 52.

    heres a link to bbc radio channels listening figures from August 2010, radio 7 was by some way the most popular of the digital only channels.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2010/08_august/05/rajar.shtml

  • Comment number 53.

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

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    Comment number 54.

    It's early days yet, but I feel Radio 4 Extra is genuinely missing a trick in not seeking to revive enough classics from the wealth of the Radio 4 drama archive. One of the great radio moments for me from last year was Radio 7's resurrection of Don Taylor's masterpiece God's Revolution from its 22-year slumber in the archives: this is the type of epic and ambitious radio drama once pursued on Radio 4, but now seemingly unattainable. There are numerous single plays, in the 45-, 60- and 90-minute categories, that also deserve resurrection: Radio 4 has a steady programme of repeating many of its 45- and 60-minute dramas from the last 2 or 3 years, i.e. from the 'post-digitalisation' era (if that's the right phrase to use), and Radio 7 had a rolling but limited programme of drama repeats, which I think most listeners have now heard many times over. Whilst I appreciate the re-appearance of Fortunes of War (from 2008) for example, I think Radio 4 Extra's role should seek to expand its range by looking further back into the gems of the drama archive. I don't think anyone could criticise these old gems for quality, and (like God's Revolution) many of them would be 'so old they are new', and would I'm sure find an appreciative audience. For me, this would add far more value to the station rebrand than AmEx or warmed-up DIDs, neither of which have any appeal to me.

    Russ

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    Comment number 55.

    whilst i appreciate all the 'give it a chance' comments the question hasn't been answered about who wanted these changes, was it audience lead? do the 'new shows' ie kirsty young did ,mark lawson front row extra or whatever its called the ambridge extra cast add to the overall cost of 4extra as opposed to radio 7?.

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    Comment number 56.


    i posted earlier about the last time we complained it was 50 to 1 against the changes,looks like its going to be more this time but as andrew wrote the bbc will ignore all the complaints and wait very, very patiently for the praise.
    still no reply about why the change, would it not have been easier to leave radio 7 and just add the shows, radio7 was a good package the presenters was just as much part of the overall experience as the shows now it is just boring voices reading boring scripts i miss alex riley more than i thought i would,there is no snap now its like listening to a customer services team than real presenters.

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    Comment number 57.

    here is a transcript of my complaint to the bbc. i apologise for the grammar,spelling, syntax - it did look slightly better when i typed it.


    I Must complain about the changes to radio7 as it has changed to radio4extra. my question are:- 1) were these changes due to audience demand?. 2) what consultation was carried out by the bbc, prior to the change? 3) are there any cost implications due to the change including the cost of rebranding, the cost of new announcers and additional salary payments to presenters/announcers/actors who are currently getting additional exposure on radio4 extra and the cost of technical difficulties in the online content. 4)in expressed opinion to the bbc via blogs, phone calls etc what percentage is negative? yours ap brennan.

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    Comment number 58.

    Driven to despair by the changes as are many others - listening late at night I loved the crime hour - now it has gone to be replaced by yet more comedy. Aaargh!

    Last night it was Radio 5 and then the World Service for me.

    If you want me back restore the schedule. If anything I want more drama rather than so much comedy.

    The rescheduling seems designed to irritate established listeners while extra Archers and Desert Island Discs do not seem to really offer much encouragement to new ones.

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    Comment number 59.

    Wow they listened - They have fixed the files that made it impossible to hear 'listen again' on a lot of P/Cs - Thank you - I thought the problems were being ignored.

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    Comment number 60.

    ok i have figured it out i have read these posts and searched the net for comments on the rebrand this included newspapers and bbc sites so far no fans of am ex or the loss of radio7 but it seems the bbc are trying for a youth audience so they cant understand out posts so here goes lmao bbc fail lol

 

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