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Eddie Mair | 11:00 UK time, Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Here is the blog posting from last night.

And here is our item from the programme:

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  • 1. At 12:02pm on 15 Sep 2009, Scotch Git wrote:

    It's dead simple. Look oot the windae!

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  • 2. At 3:25pm on 15 Sep 2009, Richard Porter wrote:

    Today's forecast - "Oh what a grey day!"

    The best ever: Paxman on Newsnight - "It's April. What do you expect?"


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  • 3. At 3:42pm on 15 Sep 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Tell everyone a wrong weather forecast...everyone remembers that!

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  • 4. At 3:44pm on 15 Sep 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    In the old black and white white days before all this new fangled guessing at what it was going to do tomorrow, we had to plant the beans by the full moon!

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  • 5. At 4:40pm on 15 Sep 2009, SurreyGOM wrote:

    As I recall, according to comments in Old Wives Lore for Gardeners by Maureen & Bridget Boland, the start of Spring is when the temperature of the soil at a depth of one foot has reached 40 degrees F. But the ladies reported that one old gardener they knew used to drop his trousers, place his bare behind on the soil & if it was comfortable it was OK to start sowing & planting. Best not to try this on a public allotment, I guess!

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  • 6. At 4:50pm on 15 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #4. funnyJoedunn
    I remember those days. We just left my dad to plant the beans etc. I do remember he used to say "Spring is getting earlier" this was noticed by my dad as beans and spuds were sensitive to late frosts.

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  • 7. At 5:50pm on 15 Sep 2009, sensibleoldfifer wrote:

    No it didn't work - I was too busy listening to the sounds, waiting for the next one and chuckling!

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  • 8. At 5:50pm on 15 Sep 2009, Richard Porter wrote:

    I don't think I could remember all the bird songs. Perhaps you could get the forecaster to read each part of the forecast in an accent appropriate to the area?


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  • 9. At 5:56pm on 15 Sep 2009, ryanmusic wrote:

    I am a sound designer and audio technologist. I am passionate about this idea and when I worked at the BBC in the creative research and development department I spent time in the weather centre discussing the sonification' of wether data. I would love to discuss my ideas with you further.

    Although I think what was played earlier was very interesting, my instincts is that the 'weather type' rather than a signature for each region should be audible underneath the commentary such that listeners can instantly hear 'rain', sunshine or thunderstorms as applicable to their area.

    I would love to discuss further.

    Kind regards

    Nick Ryan


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  • 10. At 6:00pm on 15 Sep 2009, Poverty wrote:

    No, the bird songs are rather off-putting, especially as sometimes the area changed in mid-sentence.

    It is also important to state the area and then give the whole forecast for that area (both today and tomorrow) before going on to the next.

    Peter gave the best forecast for very many years. Let's keep it like that, please.

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  • 11. At 6:02pm on 15 Sep 2009, Chris Watts wrote:

    Shipping forecast style presentation quite good.
    Worth giving a further trial.

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  • 12. At 6:02pm on 15 Sep 2009, Tony R wrote:

    Your 'shipping forecast' style weather forecast was brilliant. It clearly told me which part to listen to and presented the information clearly and concisely. Just what I want.

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  • 13. At 6:03pm on 15 Sep 2009, angelicsunday wrote:

    Shipping forecast-style presentation a good idea. However, the shipping forecast covers all areas. As usual, today's weather forecast entirely ignored the West Country. We don't listen or remember normally because the forecast is usually irrelevant to the South West (which when it is mentioned is often lumped in with the amorphous "south" or, more often, is wrong anyway). Face it, guys, the weather forecast is only ever concerned with London and the South East, and with Scotland. Live anywhere else? Go look out of the window or feel your seaweed.

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  • 14. At 6:05pm on 15 Sep 2009, orchman wrote:

    Just Love The New Weather Forecast from Peter, Clear & Concise!

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  • 15. At 6:05pm on 15 Sep 2009, murdochism wrote:

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  • 16. At 6:08pm on 15 Sep 2009, old_cookie wrote:

    YES !!! The shipping forecast style used at the end of PM was absolutely right; I even remembered my area's forecast. Thank you.

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  • 17. At 6:09pm on 15 Sep 2009, ooergosh wrote:

    I HATED the shipping forecast style - was asleep before he got to the end and had forgotten what my bit said anyway!

    Loved the "jingles" but too many of them. How about owls before each night forecast and then birdsong before the next day's details - different bird every week so we learn to identify birds by song.

    And while we're at it, how about returning the morning forecasts in the Today programme to a decent length so the poor breathless presenter doesn't have to deliver the details at the pace of machine gun fire.

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  • 18. At 6:10pm on 15 Sep 2009, murdochism wrote:

    I have just listened to the shipping forecast style weather forecast

    It was perfect. I have been shouting at the radio for years because of the useless way in which the weather forecast was read but this one tonight was excellent.

    I do hope you will adopt this style for all on-going radio forecasts.
    Scott Murdoch

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  • 19. At 6:10pm on 15 Sep 2009, scurtis wrote:

    The Shipping Forecast version in a word: Perfect.
    It was concise, yet understandable. Just what we need.
    Stephen Curtis
    Oundle, Northants

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  • 20. At 6:12pm on 15 Sep 2009, sleepingScotsman wrote:

    What a pleasure to hear the shipping style weather forecast this evening. Anything more is simply a distraction as the version with bird shong showed. The latter was even worse than the flailing hands and moving clouds of regular BBC TV forecasts. The best TV forecasts are, or were, on C4 News.

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  • 21. At 6:12pm on 15 Sep 2009, pleydell4 wrote:

    Shipping forecast style, please. I am sorry if the forecasters will find it boring, but it will be more helpful to us than poetic flights of fancy.

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  • 22. At 6:13pm on 15 Sep 2009, skylark0309 wrote:

    Let's be parochial. The weather forecast read in shipping forecast mode allows you just to cock your ear for your own area and ignore the rest of the boring stuff!

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  • 23. At 6:20pm on 15 Sep 2009, JReygan wrote:

    I heard the two versions of the forecast from today's programme - 150909 - I liked the birdsong one but might soon find it irritating. Being a lover of the shipping forecast for many years I loved the weather forecast in that format. This is a winner with me. Usually the forecast washes over me - even though I'm often listening out for it specifically. Today, 25 minutes later I can still remember the details for my area - and some of the others!

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  • 24. At 6:23pm on 15 Sep 2009, Dijsome wrote:

    I listened very carefully to the shipping forecast-style weather forecast this afternoon and initially thought it was a great idea - but when it ended with no mention of the southwest, I was very disappointed.
    The shipping forecast mentions all the shipping areas!

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  • 25. At 6:25pm on 15 Sep 2009, Manymanytimes wrote:

    The weather forecast with birdsong reminded me of that wonderful "Round The Horne" episode; where (ageing juvenile) "Binky Huckerback" and Dame Celia Molestrangler meet in the sound effects department (sounds off of ducks, swannee whistles springs etc ) !!!

    Peter's "shipping forecast" style was very much the better presentation.

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  • 26. At 6:28pm on 15 Sep 2009, Braeburn8 wrote:

    There is far too much unformatted, randomly ordered, information read out for anyone to remember, or process in all weather forecasts on radio and television.
    "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information" (see fro example the relevant Wikipedia article for more on this).

    Go for the minus and give us a chance.

    Format the statements as uniform (boring) sound 'Icons' or mobile phone text style.
    Given in the in the manner of the shipping forecast, we may remember better.

    1 Cokney, Wnd ssw Cld Rn 15dg
    3 Leaks, Sn
    2 jocks, Wnd Rn
    3 Geordie Sn, Shrs

    No doubt you have brilliant chaps and chappesses who can improve on my feeble example with alternative 'catchy' memorable phonemes (audible 'icons') always read out in the same order and round the country shipping forecast style in the same direction from the same starting point.

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  • 27. At 6:44pm on 15 Sep 2009, r4fanatic wrote:

    I think the shipping forecast style is a good idea.

    Pick an order for listing the regions and stick to it so we'll know approximately when our weather will be given in the bulletin. The order isn't important, though a N-S order probably makes grouping easier: the important thing is that the order remains the same.

    Giving all the details (cloud cover, rain, wind strength and direction, temperature) is important to me as my favorite sports are outdoors and quite weather dependent. All too often wind strength has been ignored in the past. Please don't do that in future.

    Finally, kindly stop using Fahrenheit. To the best of my knowledge you've been giving both Centigrade and Fahrenheit for 26 years now. When New Zealand went metric both units were retained for 12 months: after that only SI units were used. That was quite long enough for people to get used to the change, so why do you apparently think a Briton takes 26 times as long to learn Centigrade as a New Zealander?

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  • 28. At 6:48pm on 15 Sep 2009, fastchrisbloggs wrote:

    The shipping forcast style works for me even if the presenter does find it uninteresting. Suggest use the same areas in the same order every time like shipping does.

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  • 29. At 7:01pm on 15 Sep 2009, chrissiewylie wrote:

    You've cracked it! You've cracked it, YOU'VE CRACKED IT!

    Well DONE!

    Peter Gibbs weather presentation, given this evening ( 15th September), was fantastic. He gave us the weather for our area, the temperature, the wind AND its direction.

    What if he does get bored with that style of presenting? So what! we understood and it gave a very brief summary of the forecast - including the outlook in the 3-5 minute time alacation.

    And its what he gets paid for , isn't it.
    And what we pay for, isn,t it.

    I have to tell you i have not blogged anyone or thing before.
    I became a member just to tell you about my opinion of the forecast.
    ALSO we don't have to be sailors to want to know the strenght and direction of the wind.
    Keep up the good work Eddie, I always enjoy your programmes.

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  • 30. At 7:06pm on 15 Sep 2009, tired-lungs wrote:

    I loved the bird sounds, I felt a thrill when I recognized my area specific sound without prompting. Made me wonder what each bird blast signified re: country segment. The mid-sentence squacks were esp good.

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  • 31. At 7:09pm on 15 Sep 2009, Peter wrote:

    It is so obvious! The shipping forecast makes it quite clear - links today and tomorrow, then moves on to the next region. You only listen to your region, or if moving to a different region, can await that forecast.

    I remember it used to be that way until some years ago, when it was decided to "sex it up", and give all regions equal status.... what a disaster!!

    Please - oh please adopt this format!!

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  • 32. At 7:43pm on 15 Sep 2009, Fanofour wrote:

    Heard the 'shipping forecast' type forecast today. SUPERB IDEA. All radio forecasts should be like this, and never mind that it may become a bit boring for the person reading it- the listeners are surely the ones who count. All we have to do now is to tell TV weatherpeople (of all channels) to stop waving their arms about and covering up the bit one is most interested in. I keep shouting at the screen every time they do it but they don't seem to hear me.

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  • 33. At 7:56pm on 15 Sep 2009, frostyjoekelly wrote:

    weather bestis as shipping forecast

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  • 34. At 8:03pm on 15 Sep 2009, littledizzydancer wrote:

    I'm new to this so posted in wrong place but wanted to say shipping forecast format tonight was so clear and memorable. Hope it continues.

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  • 35. At 8:24pm on 15 Sep 2009, 198kHz wrote:

    Shipping forecast style - brilliant! But please preface with a general synopsis and add humidity levels to perfect it.

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  • 36. At 9:01pm on 15 Sep 2009, librasouffle wrote:

    I think the Shipping Forecast weather report was brilliant. Clear and succinct and I focussed! LS

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  • 37. At 9:01pm on 15 Sep 2009, Brown_peter wrote:

    Heard the shipping forecast style weather tonight, brilliant - gave me all the info I needed in a simple format without getting distracted by other areas and without wasting the short time you have available telling me what the weather was earlier in the day. More of the same please

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  • 38. At 9:07pm on 15 Sep 2009, j_martin_l wrote:

    Shipping style - yes please!!
    How about forecasting by exception? If we assume a certain "standard" weather which can be expected most days, you could just let us know when there is a chance it may depart from the "norm".
    It is not unreasonable to assume that the weather is likely to be cold, wet and windy 99% of the time. Adopting the "forecast by exception" approach would mean that you could normally omit the forecast altogether leaving the airtime saved to cover items which may have been glossed over during the programme.
    You might then be able to cover important stories which may have passed you by. For example, didn't you know it was a year ago this week that Lehman Brothers Bank collapsed?

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  • 39. At 9:24pm on 15 Sep 2009, windweathergirl wrote:

    I really liked the shipping forecast style! It was the clearest and most useful forecast I have heard for a very long while. I got a clear mental picture of which area was being covered and the detail made it worth listening to for a change. Please use this format and regain some credibility for Radio 4 weather forecasting.

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  • 40. At 9:28pm on 15 Sep 2009, Wozname wrote:

    My vote is for the shipping forecast format. a logical and easy to follow format. The bird song version lost my attention when a business suited drunk stepped out in front of my car....but I heard enough to know it won't suit !

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  • 41. At 9:48pm on 15 Sep 2009, coldwetgeezer wrote:

    It's a shame the presenter who used the "shipping forecast" style thought he'd get bored - because - it was easy to follow and to understand. It was also easy to note when your area came up. Definitely this one for me!

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  • 42. At 9:52pm on 15 Sep 2009, sandyandpatch wrote:

    This was how a clear simple weather forcast should be. The only niggl is that most map descriptions start in the North, not where the viewer is!!

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  • 43. At 9:58pm on 15 Sep 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    I did enjoy the birdsong forecast in that it was very PM-ish, but got a bit put off by (and I don't quote)....

    And in Scotland tweeeeet and Northen Ireland tweetly it will be...

    Probably too much hard work for the poor innocent listener.

    I do like the idea of going round clockwise, a la shipping forecast.

    All I need is "and in [where you live] it's going to be rainy after lunch. Probably drier in the evening after 10-ish." The A* version might be "so take a cardi as well as your umbrella, and don't worry about watering the petunias."

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  • 44. At 08:09am on 16 Sep 2009, smugweasel wrote:

    Radio 4 listeners hear the weather forecast whilst

    1 shaving
    2 eating breakfast
    3 having a conversation
    4 driving the car
    5 reading a newspaper


    so the format MUST be

    LOCATION/REGION before FORECAST, ie like the shipping forecast. Sadly even Peter Gibbs got it wrong a couple of times - have another lsten!

    Good grief, it's not that difficult is it????

    Fred Wachsberger

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  • 45. At 09:43am on 16 Sep 2009, shaylane wrote:

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  • 46. At 09:50am on 16 Sep 2009, shaylane wrote:

    At last, justice for Yorkshire aka 'the north'. The shipping-forecast style weather is great - perhaps now you won't miss out the 7 million people living here, while dwelling over-long on the Hebrides (lovely as they are).
    But could we also have a definitive map of the regions you intend to use, otherwise Yorkshire and 'the north' may get confused and lost again.

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  • 47. At 09:53am on 16 Sep 2009, BarcodeUK wrote:

    The shipping forecast style gets my vote, while it may be boring to read, just having to listen for my area is what I need. Your current offering I just switch off from and use my mobile.

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  • 48. At 09:56am on 16 Sep 2009, tightlinesdem wrote:

    The weather delivered in the manner of the Shipping forecast was just the best. Was the idea pinched from a similar item in The News Quiz?
    Whatever, keep it, please.

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  • 49. At 10:03am on 16 Sep 2009, geniusNIgelF wrote:

    The Shipping Forecast is the way forward. It may well be boring to deliver, but if there is a relatively large amount of information to transfer, the listener can assimilate it much more effectively if the underlying structure is well understood. Soooooo........

    Divide the country into recognisable areas (about a dozen?), structured, as is the shipping forecast, starting in the north east of Scotland and working around in a predictable clock-wise direction, perhaps with the regions being announced in by a different voice (a single recording so that listeners can 'tune in' to know/expect that the area identifier is being spoken). For each area, or range of areas, the different perspectives of the forecast can then be delivered in the same sequence.

    It would not be the most exciting example of the art of broadcasting, but that is hardly the issue: almost uniquely, the weather forecast is attempting to convey a large amount of concentrated information in a short space of time, the majority of which for most listeners is irrelevant: it is not trying to make it entertaining.....

    The shipping forecast works: ask anybody who regularly has the pleasure of trying to assimilate and record the forecast information whilst being buffeted around in a small box (otherwise called a sailing boat) rising and falling with the waves whilst being blown around in strong winds. By contrast, the 'ordinary' weather forecast is virtually impossible to absorb when the forecaster is attempting to deliver the information in a light, engaging manner. On these occasions, personality is actually a distraction! If I'm driving, I can retain more relevant information from the shipping forecast, even on dry land...

    I guess a practical issue for programme makers would be that the timing of the piece would become pretty inflexible, so the scope for squeezing the forecast in, or giving it a bit longer as a filler would be lost.

    I do concede that you wouldn’t want to listen for a more than a few minutes, but that’s the whole point, you don’t have to…

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  • 50. At 11:17am on 16 Sep 2009, madasastickchick wrote:

    Here here to both 18) and 29)especially.

    The shipping forecast format is clear, concise, brief and informative; just what we need.

    Very interesting insight given by Peter Gibbs, surly as their paymaster genral, we should be able to dictate what we the listeners want???

    Eddie, are you really brave enough to get this format introduced as PM house style??

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  • 51. At 1:31pm on 16 Sep 2009, AshinR4 wrote:

    The birds sounds were very distracting during the weather forecast. They made me jump several times. I did not like the new format at all I'm afraid.

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  • 52. At 6:09pm on 15 Oct 2009, Idcam wrote:

    Oh dear! I'm in Edinburgh. Looks like I might as well throw the map out the window (or "winday" as they say up here!). No mention at all of Eastern Scotland in today's forecast. What happened? Did they forget about us? Or what?

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  • 53. At 6:15pm on 15 Oct 2009, Scotch Git wrote:


    Throw it 'outwith' the winday.

    Trust me.......

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  • 54. At 7:37pm on 15 Oct 2009, CarinaNebula wrote:

    What happened tonight? I posted a couple of days ago regarding Monday and thought it was excellent. Tonight is the second time I've listened. We were told of the format and that reference was to be made to a map. It was back to lumping whole regions together; mind you he did seem in a rush; probably because of the daft nonsense of silly questions to MPs (the question shouldn’t be whether it was right to go into Afghanistan but whether it was right to go into Iraq, but then that would be too tough); or maybe he needed to get home for his tea.
    I imagine the regions (Midlands/North [wherever that is on the map]/North East) were together is because the weather will be the same. If that is the reason, it is laziness.
    There either is a format or there is not. It pointless for them to say they will do something and then, within days, depart radically from it. What makes them think they will get away with it? Do they really think we will fall for that?
    Who on earth do these forecasters think they are – politicians?

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