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Weather update.

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Eddie Mair | 14:42 UK time, Tuesday, 15 September 2009


How can the weather forecast be made more memorable? Our listeners are full of ideas.

Tonight - Charlotte says "to make the weather forecast easier to remember - play a small jingle of say 3 or 4 notes before the weather for each area of the country is given out." Perhaps it could be birdsong she says.

We've enlisted the help of Philip Eden, Vice President of the Royal Meteorological Society and weather reporter for the Daily Telegraph. His voice will be familiar to many a discerning radio listener too.

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1820 UPDATE: And here is Peter Gibbs' "shipping forecast" style forecast. What do you think? We'll have more in tomorrow's programme.

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  • 1. At 4:27pm on 15 Sep 2009, Cryingonion wrote:

    I was also thinking along these lines:- what about Ruth Maddox (Gladys Pugh from Hi-de-hi) doing her three notes on xylephone, followed by the word "South East" or "North West" to denote the upcoming weather region. This is short, and simple, and would get my attention.

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  • 2. At 4:39pm on 15 Sep 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    It's hard enough to remember what the weather is for your region, (if you don't drift off before yours gets announced), how would we remember the different bird song too?

    Would the announcer tell us which birds they were until we learned them? Would we be tested?

    Would each region have a bird local to them? Would it be, say a grouse for Scotland every night? A blue tit for the South East and a pigeon for London?

    It could get interesting but may lead to even more confusion.

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  • 3. At 4:42pm on 15 Sep 2009, ValeryP wrote:

    I wondered if it would help if they could always read the regions out in the same order? That way I might tune in to a cue - knowing my luck though I'd probably pick up on the region after SE Scotland instead of before.

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  • 4. At 4:53pm on 15 Sep 2009, annasee wrote:

    Birdsong - too difficult. What about a couple of bars or less of"Scotland the Brave" for the appropriate region, "Londonderry Air" for N Ireland, "The Ash Grove" for Wales, "God Save the Queen" for London & the South. I have no ideas for the Midlands, but maybe "Helston Furry Dance" could cover the South-West. "Speed Bonnie Boat" could apply to the Hebrides.
    All of the above to be played on some hideous electronic device, at double the normal speed, rather like a ring-tone version. Actually, maybe an air-horn version would be attention-getting!

    My parents' milkman in NZ years ago used to have a van which played the first bar of La Marseillaise (sp?). Tacky but effective. And he wasn't even French.

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  • 5. At 5:19pm on 15 Sep 2009, jonnie wrote:

    Perhaps a pause and then the region announced?

    I think some of the problem is the way the weather presenters link through the various regions as in : and now moving on to Southern England etc....

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  • 6. At 5:20pm on 15 Sep 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Annasee, that's an interesting idea. The only problem is that the jingles might take up more air time than that allocated for the weather. Also 'Londonderry Air' might have political overtones for Ireland (one has to be careful).

    (Forgive spelling) Would 'On Ilky Moor bar Tat' be OK for Yorkshire?

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  • 7. At 5:41pm on 15 Sep 2009, Dr_Hackenbush wrote:

    I think you need pictures - maybe something like a map.

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  • 8. At 5:41pm on 15 Sep 2009, Anne P. wrote:

    This household reduced to a state of total hysteria!

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  • 9. At 5:42pm on 15 Sep 2009, Fifi wrote:

    That worked a treat Eddie. Was too busy listening for the forecaster's giggles to pay attention to the weather - but I'm sure I'd get used to it eventually.

    Please repeat tomorrow!

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  • 10. At 5:42pm on 15 Sep 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    Now that actually worked for me!

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  • 11. At 5:43pm on 15 Sep 2009, Dr_Hackenbush wrote:

    Something else weather presenters need to do is to say "that is THE weather forecast" not "that is YOUR weather forecast". If it doesn't apply to the meteorologist himself, what use is it?

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  • 12. At 5:44pm on 15 Sep 2009, zefrog wrote:

    The bird songs did help. My problem however is not really with remembering but more with keeping my attention up. I just seem to glaze over even when I actually want to listen to something. Perhaps slower elocution may help.

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  • 13. At 5:45pm on 15 Sep 2009, markb10101 wrote:

    The bird song snippets certainly piqued the interest of our miniature schnauzer puppy. We will have to see if she remembers the forecast later!

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  • 14. At 5:46pm on 15 Sep 2009, Taggingalong wrote:

    Can you please stop doing all this silly stuff. The Upshares theme running non-joke is bad enough, but in the name of all that's not totally superficial, stop it now.

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  • 15. At 5:46pm on 15 Sep 2009, Maartje wrote:

    Hi. During the forecast I thought the birdsong method was brilliant: I listened to my area's weather, stopped listening when I heard a different bird, and was jolted back into paying attention when I heard my birdsong again. However, now it has finished I can't remember a thing about it. I can remember what the bird for my ares was, though: it was a pigeon. Or was it an owl. Er...

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  • 16. At 5:46pm on 15 Sep 2009, surreyvillage wrote:

    Fantastic! Loved the birdsong, will definitely help me perk up when my lovely region is mentioned.

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  • 17. At 5:46pm on 15 Sep 2009, Rotating_Tree wrote:

    Better idea: Drop the weather altogether, just have bird noise.

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  • 18. At 5:47pm on 15 Sep 2009, Charleshor wrote:

    Bloody irritating!

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  • 19. At 5:47pm on 15 Sep 2009, steelpulse wrote:

    Philip Eden?

    "You would do it for.........!"

    In the comedy film "Blazing Saddles" whenever anyone mentions the actor Randolph Scott - the townfolk whip their hats off in respect.

    "Randolph Scott!"

    Same here - when Mr Eden is mentioned in weather terms.

    Bird Song? Charlotte's web idea? No offence Charlotte but - nah!

    Next idea!

    What a trouper Philip is!

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  • 20. At 5:47pm on 15 Sep 2009, valdownes wrote:

    it worked for me

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  • 21. At 5:48pm on 15 Sep 2009, lilashana wrote:

    Loved it! First of all it started with my area so I could not miss it. It did not run on- so my attention needed to be focused for a short period. I certainly called my husband to hear it for fun!
    Not sure how would it have worked if London was in the middle. Perhaps you should experiment with order and poll listeners.
    Wonderful idea and a great break from all the talking and serious news.

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  • 22. At 5:48pm on 15 Sep 2009, petersbear wrote:

    How do you choose the bird songs? For London it could be vultures for the bankers or a song bird for Covent Garden.

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  • 23. At 5:48pm on 15 Sep 2009, lordbertiehugo wrote:

    certainly got our attention, what an excellent idea

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  • 24. At 5:48pm on 15 Sep 2009, canonlily wrote:

    I turned on and thaought it must be 1st April!

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  • 25. At 5:49pm on 15 Sep 2009, artisticbeebee wrote:

    I was waiting for each set of bird song, and completely missed the weather!! :s

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  • 26. At 5:49pm on 15 Sep 2009, wolfenr wrote:

    Let's think about this!
    Your shipping forecast is excellent for those that need absolutely accurate weather info. What makes it excellent and, how should this impact on the regular weather forecast, is that it works by a formula i.e. a predictable area first then details follow. Even better, it moves around the country in a predictable fashion. For regular forecasts it is difficult to predict which area we start with and then we get chat followed by a bit of detail then area. So why don't we follow the shipping forecast formula for regular forecasts?

    Thanks for reading

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  • 27. At 5:49pm on 15 Sep 2009, Cloud-Cuckoo wrote:

    No, all you need to do is split up the forecast into areas and do the whole lot for each area - tonight, tomorrow and outlook.

    At the moment it is done from the weather's perspective: ..tonight, the rain will edge from Wales up into the Lakes, then in the morning it will be over Scotland etc...

    Far better to do it from the perspective of a listener: just do an area at a time - then we can listen, absorb, and tune out for the rest. I can follow and remember the shipping forecast for my area - so why not do the weather like that?

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  • 28. At 5:50pm on 15 Sep 2009, omegathoughtful wrote:

    Yes, the audio cue worked. Perhaps a simple ping would do.

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  • 29. At 5:50pm on 15 Sep 2009, ottomummy wrote:

    I can remember my birdy (owl) I think, um now I'm not so sure. But I forgot my weather before the forecast had even ended. Other people's weather is too interesting. However, my cats did like Northern Ireland's weather.

    No, it doesn't work, weather is just too complex to remember.

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  • 30. At 5:50pm on 15 Sep 2009, thuline wrote:

    like the idea of a sound in between, doesn't have to be different but it refreshes our attention

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  • 31. At 5:50pm on 15 Sep 2009, NickWesley wrote:

    What lengths will PM not go to in order to strip all credibility from a once respected news programme. The BBC should be seriously worried by the hole they are digging with respect to the continuation of a license fee.

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  • 32. At 5:50pm on 15 Sep 2009, bj11213 wrote:

    Remembering the weather forecast isn't the problem. Getting a weather forecast that is accurate and detailed enough to be useful is. Two minutes simply isn't long enough .... five minutes is really needed.

    The rigid format used by the Shipping Forecast would be more useful - data in the same order, region by region, always the same order again. It's the "chattiness" that makes it unmemorable.

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  • 33. At 5:50pm on 15 Sep 2009, jonnie wrote:

    Well I personally thought that the sound effects made it more off putting - but like Anne P said earlier it was all very amusing :-)

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  • 34. At 5:52pm on 15 Sep 2009, cosmicladysue wrote:

    I liked the birdsong but didn't find it helped me to remember the weather any better. I think I only remember it (for my area) if I need it for a special reason eg barbecue but I'm more likely to look it up online

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  • 35. At 5:53pm on 15 Sep 2009, slyvieb wrote:

    Yes, the birdsong did help in alerting me to different parts of the country or times of day. I think the main problem is that the weather forecast is never given in the same order each day - it's like paint-spatter. By the time you've honed in to which part of the country is being talked about, it often seems as if the South-East isn't mentioned at all - not because I haven't heard it but because it's been lumped in with other parts of the country. That's fine if the weather is exactly the same over the whole U.K. (how often does that happen?) but if there are regional variations, we often don't get a mensh.

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  • 36. At 5:53pm on 15 Sep 2009, mari_jean wrote:

    I did notice the birdsong, but i didn't notice that the bits inbetween the birdsong were the weather forecast.

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  • 37. At 5:53pm on 15 Sep 2009, NSPWelch wrote:

    Sorry, this 'innovation' did nothing for me. There's only one reason for having the weather forecast - to inform us whether or not we're going to get wet/cold/hot/snowed in, etc. Anything else in an intrusive irrelevance. Why bother?!

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  • 38. At 5:55pm on 15 Sep 2009, johnjg57 wrote:

    Normally the weather pass's in a blur and I've missed my region, South (Brighton). Today however, I found myself listening to my weather when I heard the birdsong that applied for here!
    A simple, but good idea to make "you pick up your ears", and not miss the weather for your region. :o)

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  • 39. At 5:55pm on 15 Sep 2009, johnbayles wrote:

    Yes! it works - like all best idears, it's simply wokrks. Great Programme by the way.

    Kind regards

    John Bayles

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  • 40. At 5:55pm on 15 Sep 2009, charlotte2798 wrote:

    I agree with Jonnie (5:50) - I found it off-putting too. And it was my idea. Back to the drawing board....

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  • 41. At 5:56pm on 15 Sep 2009, Iloveemilymaitlis wrote:

    Absolutely brilliant idea it needs to be adopted immediately alternatetively commission the divine newsnight goddess Emily Maitliss to become the voice of weather I would be hanging on to her every word .

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  • 42. At 5:56pm on 15 Sep 2009, Murray wrote:

    With all due respect to each and every radio 4 listener, it's really not that difficult to remember the weather... I'm afraid additional needless sounds only serves to make the weather forecast well... irksome :)

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  • 43. At 5:57pm on 15 Sep 2009, Pansophist wrote:

    Didn't work for me.

    Here's a synthesis of all the good and workable comments from others that you've so far ignored:

    1. Structure - a clear, predictable traversal of well-defined areas. "All other areas" assumes you've got a list of what they already covered. "All other areas..., that's", as in tonight's meandering nonsense, is redundant guff.
    2. Clarity - no guff, redundant or otherwise. I already know that sunshine is pleasant and that clouds might be grey.
    3. Content - temperature, wind direction, wind speed, cloud cover, humidity and chance of precipitation are all that's needed.
    4. Severe weather warnings at the top of the show.
    5. I don't care what happened this morning.
    6. Nor do I care where was yesterday's dampest.
    7. It's not "Thought for the Day", so get it read by trained announcers. As this evening's dismal attempt illustrated, leaving it to solipsistic chart-sniffers is a recipe for immemorable tedium.

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  • 44. At 5:57pm on 15 Sep 2009, anotherPen wrote:

    The BBC already has an excelant example of how give the weather news on radio - the Shipping Forecast.
    The region, or regions, are given first - then a short list of forecasts.
    An example of part of a forecast for the next 24 hours ...
    "SouthEast and East Midlands - temperature minimum 8, maximum 19 - wind westerly veering north-westerly, moderate becoming light - rain light becoming zero - cloudy becoming lighter".
    Also the regions should always be given in the same order - north to south and west to east.

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  • 45. At 5:58pm on 15 Sep 2009, sdickie wrote:

    To make the weather forecast more memorable for listeners all
    you need to do is have each section of the spoken by someone from that
    particular region. Listeners would automatically tune in to the accent
    for their area.

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  • 46. At 5:58pm on 15 Sep 2009, Iloveemilymaitlis wrote:

    Peter Gibbs has cracked it though I prefer emily maitliss lol

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  • 47. At 5:59pm on 15 Sep 2009, Sid wrote:

    Peter was great!!!

    (I missed Philip, on my way back from Norwich ...)

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  • 48. At 6:00pm on 15 Sep 2009, lilashana wrote:

    Heard the second forecast just before 6pm and must say missed my area all together. Not remember anything. Basically, did not grab my attention! Guess it was shipping forecast style..

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  • 49. At 6:01pm on 15 Sep 2009, Anne P. wrote:

    Peter Gibb, brilliant, thank you!

    I'm sorry if it's boring for you, but it was so much easier to follow and with none of the unecessary stuff about what it's been like today in Chipping Norton (other locations are available).

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  • 50. At 6:01pm on 15 Sep 2009, HuttonFrank wrote:

    Living in the South East and as an owl hoot is quite distinctive, I found this to be effective.
    But I think maybe some other sounds might be easier.
    Maybe the easiest I think is as the Shipping forecast style, as just done.
    I found this the best so far.
    (On the TV I can't stand Daniel Corbett, far too many "comments" and jesticulations)

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  • 51. At 6:02pm on 15 Sep 2009, alphagem wrote:

    I liked the shipping forecast style. At least one of those a day please. Admittedly my area was at the top of the forecast, but I found it refreshingly brief and to the point.

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  • 52. At 6:03pm on 15 Sep 2009, baranov wrote:

    I found the aural cues (bird song) very effective, but they could be better differentiated eg (I know this is hackneyed) bagpipes to signal the Scottish forecast. The owl was good for tonight's weather and the duck sound was fun. Do continue with the experiment!

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  • 53. At 6:04pm on 15 Sep 2009, ladyhighcee wrote:

    With half an ear on the radio playing in the kitchen, I was alarmed to hear that a bird had flown into the house and dashed in to find the weather forecast alive with birdsong. I don't think it'll catch on. Good try, though.

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  • 54. At 6:04pm on 15 Sep 2009, bikeradrianw wrote:

    Great news! It's not just me! At 52 I assumed that I was suffering from some form of early onset dementia - I can never fully recall what was said about the weather when the interminable reports have finally finished. I've just listened to a shipping-forecast style report. A bit dry but a potentially great improvement. The weatherman was asked afterwards how he's found it? "I might get a bit bored" Ha! Is the crux of the matter - have weather broadcasters "jazzed-up" the weather forecast to make it more entertaining all round - but in the process actually made it less useful?

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  • 55. At 6:05pm on 15 Sep 2009, Mike Hay wrote:

    Shipping forecast style is the way - cut out the chat.

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  • 56. At 6:05pm on 15 Sep 2009, gertie30 wrote:

    'forecast in the style of the shipping forecast- BRILLIANT.

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  • 57. At 6:05pm on 15 Sep 2009, sw4listener wrote:

    The weather forecast with twitters and cheeps and allsorts was the most irritating thing I have encountered all day (but, there again, I do live a very sheltered life)

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  • 58. At 6:05pm on 15 Sep 2009, Mike Allen wrote:

    I liked the idea of a shipping forecast style but a bit of humor would ease the casters boredom. it worked for me.
    mike allen preston

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

    Definitely shipping forecast style. The reason it was hard to follow before was that it was structured around the weather and not the country, so we never knew where we could expect to hear our region.

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

    Thanks Peter Gibb. This evening was wonderfully clear. Way better than the usual arrangement where its often necessary to guess which phrases refer to which region.

    I agree with Anne P, it might not be fascinating for you to present, but quality is in whether the listeners can understand the forecast.

    One minor improvement would be a quick summary of the general pressure situation at the outset; where the pressure is centred etc.. It was in the outlook (great!).

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  • 61. At 6:05pm on 15 Sep 2009, Richard from Croydon wrote:

    I thought that the noises sounded ridiculous athough they did draw attention to the fact that a forecast for a new region was coming.

    I thought that the "Shipping forecast" style just before 6pm was the most informative forecast I've ever heard, and I remember the forecast for my region. Keep it up!

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  • 62. At 6:06pm on 15 Sep 2009, paul4marchant wrote:

    Bird noises a distraction. Reading too fast.
    Weather format clearer, easier to absorb. But again pace of delivery a little too fast.

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  • 63. At 6:06pm on 15 Sep 2009, antoinettedm wrote:

    John Humphrys is not lost for words when reporting the weather ! short and direct to the point.

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  • 64. At 6:07pm on 15 Sep 2009, beenlistening wrote:

    The "Shipping Forecast" style for the ordinary weather forecast works a treat for me. Great to hear "The North" specifically identified, as often I struggle to understand which part of the standard delivery relates to Yorkshire.

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  • 65. At 6:08pm on 15 Sep 2009, jahsimpson wrote:

    What a pleasure to hear a weather forcast that was concise and clear. No wasted words and areas unambiguously identified; - excellent

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  • 66. At 6:08pm on 15 Sep 2009, ValeryP wrote:

    I'm with radionoush @ 15, hearing the birdsong again later in the forecast did alert me to my area, sadly I can't remember either the weather forecasted, or the bird used :-(

    The shipping forecast styley one was easy to follow, but sadly I'd just slipped out of the kitchen to find the sweeping brush, not expecting Scotland to crop up so early on, I think he said something about 18 degrees though, which sounds good enough to me :-)

    Keep at it guys, we idjits will catch on eventually.

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  • 67. At 6:09pm on 15 Sep 2009, Annette wrote:

    Yes!!! At last!

    The shipping forecast-style weather report this evening just before 6pm was perfectly clear. I knew exactly when to listen for details of my area, without trying to untangle from a mass of extraneous words whether he was talking about my area at that time. And when he did talk about my area, it was easy to understand what the weather was going to be.

    I've always had trouble with radio weather forecasts, but at last I was able to get my weather clearly and simply.

    Please, please can we have it done this way in future? I know it might be less interesting for the forecasters, but it's much clearer for us. Surely a few general informal words at the beginning of the forecast, followed by the detail in shipping forecast-style would still leave them a little space for originality?

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  • 68. At 6:09pm on 15 Sep 2009, mjwood2 wrote:

    At last, weather for grown ups! Keep the shipping forecast format, and read it out on the same order (start in Shetland to stop any moaning). Add a bit of outlook on what's happening the weather, and job done.

    No more forecasters waffling on about "brightness", no more listeners being spoken to like 8 year olds, no more judgements about whether rain is good or bad.

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  • 69. At 6:10pm on 15 Sep 2009, cloudgazer101 wrote:

    I missed ALL the weather during the birds - too distracting and I realised I was waiting for the next sound and then wondering what bird it was... no idea re the weather!

    However - the shipping forecast sytle was perfect! Calm, to the point and no faff. BRILLIANT! It's just a shame we can't have a few bars of sailing by as well :O)

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  • 70. At 6:10pm on 15 Sep 2009, coolcarroted wrote:

    A refreshing weather forecast at 5.57.Boring for presenter but I didn't fall asleep before he got to my area. More like this please .

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  • 71. At 6:10pm on 15 Sep 2009, lostinspain wrote:

    loved the shipping forcast...havent got a clue what he said about my home area but it was definantly different

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  • 72. At 6:11pm on 15 Sep 2009, Wieselkind wrote:

    The shipping forecast style weather worked very well. although the air pressure info is probably superfluous.

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  • 73. At 6:11pm on 15 Sep 2009, Gwyddno wrote:

    Weather forecast in the style of the shipping forecast? It certainly made me listen more closely. I also found it easier to tell when the forecast for Wales was being read, which is not always the case, so I can relax in the knowledge that my hay will not get rained on overnight.

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  • 74. At 6:11pm on 15 Sep 2009, tinagil wrote:

    The shipping forecast version of the weather report is just what we need. It is concise as it should be, we don't need the chat.

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  • 75. At 6:12pm on 15 Sep 2009, cloudgazer101 wrote:

    How about a rap? Go on, I dare you...

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  • 76. At 6:12pm on 15 Sep 2009, Crislander wrote:

    I have often missed my area forecast in the past, I like the idea of using the shipping forecast as I will know exactly when my area will be covered, especially if you start and finish at the same point each time.

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  • 77. At 6:12pm on 15 Sep 2009, Justice_Cocklecarrot wrote:

    Dear Eddie,
    I think Peter Gibb may have indicated the style of weather forecast needed by radio4 listeners.
    The weather forecast at roughly 18.00 on 15 sept was just about perfect.
    It lacked the wordy padding that adds little value and infuriates.
    It simply gave the major facts in a clear style that is easy to comprehend. Fewer words hence easier to assimilate the details.
    We dont need to be told "I think ..", "Possibly ...", nor any theatrical effects such as "Sweeping in from the West ...".
    Well done.

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  • 78. At 6:13pm on 15 Sep 2009, trulygrumpy wrote:

    My FIRST ever blog,
    avoided it for ages - but couldn't wait to give my comments to this item.
    Absolutely fabulous - not the childish stuff with the birds - the guy who calmy read the weather out in the style of the shipping forecast - I can ignore the stuff I don't need and concentrate on my area. Pass the word around and with luck we'll also see the last of the idiots on the TV as well - you can only take so much of the stupid hand waving and the gyrating map.
    At last some commonsense!

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  • 79. At 6:14pm on 15 Sep 2009, bribrogs wrote:

    I heard the weather forecast in the style of the shipping forecast. Much much more memorable than any other method. I now know there will be sunny intervals tomorrow and it will be up to 18*C. Shipping forecast style gets my vote - definitely

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  • 80. At 6:14pm on 15 Sep 2009, PJohnsonesq wrote:

    What a good idea to read the Weather Forecast in the Shipping Forecast style.
    Well done,Met Office but we do not care if the reader is bored. The Met Office is a serious office not a branch of the entertainment industry.Let us have some egg-heading -up.
    Well done,Eddie (Sorry for the informality but I can not remember how to spell your surname)

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  • 81. At 6:14pm on 15 Sep 2009, sljdcp wrote:

    The weather forecast in the style of the Shipping Forecast was xoncise, clear and memorable. It lacked all the unnecessary fripperies we usually get.

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  • 82. At 6:15pm on 15 Sep 2009, annewheelhouse wrote:

    Weather forecast this evening FANTASTIc - please can we have it like this every day

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  • 83. At 6:16pm on 15 Sep 2009, rubyd00 wrote:

    Aaaaaaaaagh! The usual forecast is boring enough, but the shipping forecast style was *so* much worse.
    If the forecast was always given for fixed geographical areas, and always in the same order, we could listen out for our bit. The current vague descriptions like "North-east England" are useless. I sometimes play "Where's Sheffield today?". It's an easy game if you live in Sheffield - you listen to the forecast, then wait to see what the weather's like, then you know if you've been living in the North-East, the East Midlands, even the West Midlands or North-West! It's fun, but not very helpful.

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  • 84. At 6:16pm on 15 Sep 2009, Technocrat wrote:

    Enjoyed the Shipping Forecast style; how about the weather in Business News style?

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  • 85. At 6:16pm on 15 Sep 2009, puffinb2 wrote:

    Tonight's "Shipping Forecast" style was great! Clear and to the point without unnecessary chat. And it was helpful (especially for those of us living out of town) to have a forecast for the wind included. Thanks.

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  • 86. At 6:18pm on 15 Sep 2009, Bollyblog wrote:

    The weather forecast tonight was the best yet. Please more of the same - I really miss the shipping forecast!!

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  • 87. At 6:18pm on 15 Sep 2009, mrsbarmy wrote:

    LOVED the weather forecast tonight at 6pm in the style of the shipping forecast! Please do it again - straight and to the point!

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  • 88. At 6:19pm on 15 Sep 2009, bright-eyedgrumpie wrote:

    I really liked the weather read like the shipping forecast. All I want is the weather, not instructions as to what I should wear or that predictions that I wont like it because it is going to be wet.

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  • 89. At 6:21pm on 15 Sep 2009, beebeebenny wrote:

    Yes to the Shipping Forecast format! Please keep it. My brain stayed awake and I didn't drift off as I usually do when the weather forecast gets to my region.

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  • 90. At 6:22pm on 15 Sep 2009, rachelsue6 wrote:

    I just wanted to say that AnneP at 49 got it exactly right! This is the first time for ages that I've actually understood and remembered the forecast for my area. Please, please - can we always have the weather done shipping-forecast style?

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  • 91. At 6:23pm on 15 Sep 2009, relco1 wrote:

    The shipping forecast style was much clearer. I have always found the weather forecasts difficult to follow, jumping all over the country. This was extremely easy to follow. Please keep it for the PM programme and all other BBC weather forecasts.

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  • 92. At 6:23pm on 15 Sep 2009, Alison R Noyes wrote:

    In shipping forecast mode please!! I hated the birdsong version; merely irritating.

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  • 93. At 6:24pm on 15 Sep 2009, HelenElisabeth wrote:

    The shipping forecast style weather at 5.55 was great - clear, concise and relevant - please, please carry on with this type of forecast.

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  • 94. At 6:24pm on 15 Sep 2009, rubyd00 wrote:

    Dr_Hackenbush suggested a map, which reminded me that Radio Times used to print a grid map of a football pitch, so football commentators could explain where the play was taking place.
    So maybe a grid map of the UK - printed in Radio Times and downloadable from the website? Then we'd just need to know which square we live in (or are visiting) and the forecast would be read out, square by square, in the same order each time. Easy-peasy!

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  • 95. At 6:26pm on 15 Sep 2009, cloudgazer101 wrote:

    If using sounds then a coughing sparrow would be more suitable for my cosy south east patch! What about cheering and clapping for anywhere sunny and a raspberry for everywhere else...?

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  • 96. At 6:31pm on 15 Sep 2009, woodnorton wrote:

    Peter Gibbs forecast was very good. Birdsong wasn't!

    I remember how the forecast used to be done, (in the days when it came from the London Weather Centre, and came at 5 to the hour, followed by a few trails, rather than being the thing which gets shortened). A few areas, London, Home Counties, South East, Central Southern England, Southwest, wales, east anglia etc... always in the same order (although combined as appropriate so sometimes not quite together).

    It worked much better, sorry if such things are boring to the forecasters, but it gets the information over better.

    And while they are about it, bring back the old magnetic style TV one!

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  • 97. At 6:31pm on 15 Sep 2009, drjools wrote:

    Having never blogged before, I was sufficiently impressed with tonight's 'shipping forecast' style weather forecast to go to the effort of finding the blog, registering and posting a comment.
    This has to be a better way of presenting the forecast - and with wind speeds and direction too - fantastic. All you need to do is guarantee that you would always go round the country in the same order (a la shipping forecast) and I would always be 'awake' for the relevant bit. I'm afraid it is not the listener's problem if the presenter finds it a bit boring - the forecast is information, not entertainment.

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  • 98. At 6:35pm on 15 Sep 2009, hotforger wrote:

    Just returning from the dog walk on the Upton Towans and hearing the shipping forecast style weather report. Where was our area? We are West Cornwall. The St Ives bay and the Mount's bay are two of the top 10 bays of the world and as such attract considerable tourist interest. So even if you can't manage a forecast for West Cornwall do one for Cornwall or South West Coastal Area.
    Currently the South West seems to cover Tewkesbury to Poole and west.I should say that the SW was absent this evening, unless I missed something which would I imagine underline the problem of weather forecasts.

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  • 99. At 6:38pm on 15 Sep 2009, bigdavidnoel wrote:

    My first ever comment on a blog - but I felt that I had to applaud the weather forecast in the style of the shipping forecast. The "set menu" approach ensures that everything is covered for all areas of the UK. As a birdwatcher on the coast, I want to know the wind force and direction for my area. Your forecast provided it for each area - excellent!

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  • 100. At 6:39pm on 15 Sep 2009, Paulnick wrote:

    The birdsong punctuation I found a total distraction and was quite unable to recall any of the forecast. The 'Shipping Forecast' style was brilliant - clear and succinct - many more like this please.

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  • 101. At 6:41pm on 15 Sep 2009, magicMaxym wrote:

    The consummate inability of the weather-forecasting team to communicate effectively has long been a gripe of mine. The problem is simply that the people concerned are weather enthiusiasts. Yet ordinary folk aren't interested in cold fronts, ridges of high pressure and the like: they want to know simple things like whether in their area it'll be cold or hot, rainy or dry, or windy or calm.

    If the BBC wants to impart useable information, it should cover the country area by area (and in the same order every time), keep it brief and avoid all the silly metaphors (the sun burning away fog, belts of rain pushing through - there have been plenty worse than those actually) and all that tosh. It'll be dull but useful. I'd welcome it.

    Keep the weather anoraks in a back room somewhere, unless you introduce a programme for like-minded enthusiasts. (I shan't be listening.)

    Tonight's try by Philp Eden (daft bird song aside) worked well, and so did the 'shipping forecast' style. You know what you have to do.

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  • 102. At 6:42pm on 15 Sep 2009, lauraloom wrote:

    My dog loved the birdsong, she listened to every region and slept through the "shipping forecast" approach. This human heard the birds but not the weather until it was announced in good old shipping forecast method!!

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  • 103. At 6:51pm on 15 Sep 2009, jeffcollett wrote:


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  • 104. At 6:51pm on 15 Sep 2009, muftimanant wrote:

    The 'shipping forecast' style weather works for me, for the first time ever I actually listened to and paid attention to the weather relavant to me. As opposed to snapping out of a 2 minute coma as soon as Eddie re-appears, still wondering what I had just missed for the 2000th time since 1990.

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  • 105. At 6:51pm on 15 Sep 2009, robbieb wrote:

    The shipping forecast-style national land forecast was a HUGE improvement on the vague, rambling, patronising mush we have got used to over the last few years. It actually told you what you could expect without having to try to work out which bits of the normal waffle, if any, were supposed to apply to you. I was infuriated to hear the forecaster (Peter) say on PM that he might "get bored" if he had to do the forecasts in shipping forecast style. I am sorry, I could not care less if he is bored out of his mind. I don't want to listen to him relieving his boredom by filling his forecasts with unnecessary drivel. I am only interested in being given a clear, informative forecast explicitly related to the region where I live -- East of England

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  • 106. At 6:53pm on 15 Sep 2009, crazhhorse wrote:

    I have found the shipping forecast style most effective particular as it follows a set order and you can anticipate your slot. As Peter Gibbs says it would get boring for the presenter but it would be easier for the listener to follow the info. On a number of occasions I have listened and not realised which was our region in the general flow of information.

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  • 107. At 7:00pm on 15 Sep 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    My Goodness! With 102 posts as I type, I'm delighted most of them are 'Newbies', therefore being checked and not available to read.

    Hasn't this 'weather thing' rocked everyone's boat?

    PM - you've cracked it! Brilliant you have exposed this anomaly. When I listened to Your Man with the bird song this evening I had an epiphany/seminal moment/major breakthrough... the 'problem' with the weather forecasts is that they are read using such diabolical language. Completely 'weather speak' and a tad like a touch of Shakespearean English in the middle of the news. It's entirely to do with the phrases which are unique to 'the weather' and nearly send most of us to sleep.

    The 'shipping forecast' weather might have bored Your Man reading it but it cut to the chase and was precise to everyone's location and easy to remember.

    However. I strongly believe there is a 'Third Option'.

    This is a fabulous opportunity for a bright young thing to give the news a "WOW" factor. Make it witty and amusing, make it entertaining, make everyone listening to it sit up and listen! Command the attention of the audience - like Bob Dylan does but without the guitar.

    If you can't find a 'bright young thing' call me and I'll do it for you.

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  • 108. At 7:04pm on 15 Sep 2009, repcomms wrote:

    Shipping Forecast format was brilliant. I have usually lost the plot within 20 seconds of the start of the forcast but with the Shipping Forecast format Peter covered the region, expected weather tonight and tomorrow and expected long range weather. Cheers, Bob from Steyning, shielded by the South Downs

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  • 109. At 7:10pm on 15 Sep 2009, rolopoglet wrote:

    I'm one of those who has difficulty concentrating when trying to listen to the weather forecast. Hearing it in the style of the shipping forecast was like a breath of fresh air. I don't care how boring it is for the announcer. The point is imparting information, not keeping the announcer amused, and that is best done without a lot of variation in style.

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  • 110. At 7:10pm on 15 Sep 2009, justtellme wrote:

    thanks for Peter Gibb's fantastic clear and useful weather forecast. Just what I would like to hear every time. I'm sorry Peter thinks he'll get bored doing it, but it's not for him, it's for us! They don't complain about getting bored doing the shipping forecast--at least not to the listeners.

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  • 111. At 7:18pm on 15 Sep 2009, karencs wrote:

    The bird forecast was hilarious but the shipping forecast style was perfect - short and succinct with today and tomorrow for each area at the same time rather than separated. Only problem - seemed to have missed the South-West completely!

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  • 112. At 7:19pm on 15 Sep 2009, dynamicSailor wrote:

    Peter Gibbs' presentation in the form of a Shipping forecast was much appreciated. It was much easier to follow and remember. The alternative of a jingle in between upset the concentration on a serious subject.

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  • 113. At 7:23pm on 15 Sep 2009, fabmoomintroll wrote:

    All I can remember are the animal noises which made me laugh-but I have no idea what the forecast was for the area. Use the shipping forecast model :)

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  • 114. At 7:23pm on 15 Sep 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    The 'shipping forecast' stylee thing was good - although I sort of switched off until the 'south west' and then I realised it was within the rest of the 'south'.

    But at least I know the weather for Wales...

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  • 115. At 7:29pm on 15 Sep 2009, luliebloggs wrote:

    I really, really enjoyed the bird song but giggled so much I paid no attention to the weather. The shipping forecast style was excellent and I remembered the weather forecast for...well...at least 5 seconds. Which is 4.5 seconds more than usual! Look forward to enjoy some more listeners' ideas for alternative formats.

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  • 116. At 7:41pm on 15 Sep 2009, daviesf wrote:

    Peter's shipping weather forecast is excellent, just what we have been waiting for. Something sensible and straightforward that we can follow and remember. PLEASE PLEASE keep this and NEVER go back to the old style. If I had wrtten an essay aged 11 in my grammar school in 1950 in the style of the usual weather forecast I would have been marked down for not keeping to the point, inappropriate vocabulary and tautologies.
    Thumbs up to the shipping forecast style; after all it should be a scientific report.

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  • 117. At 7:51pm on 15 Sep 2009, PRUDENCECAT wrote:

    I thought the shipping forecast format was excellent. It obviously needs refining. I suggest that, like the shipping forecast, areas should always be given in the same order. Perhaps we might even get away from the present practice of referring to "highs" and "lows" and and use "maximum" and "minimum". I think Radio 4 listeners can cope with more than one syllable!

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  • 118. At 8:03pm on 15 Sep 2009, TopCat2U wrote:

    Well! me-ow .. I listened to the new version of the weather forecast with the sound of all my favourite dinners flying around the room. Why did you do that to me - what a cat-astrophe...
    My master stood and watched his cat, which is me, chase each and every dinner as it flew around the radio. Please don't torture me again - I expect to see what I hear and to all cat lovers around the globe - please give us a chance of catching the first dinner before serving the next one!

    From TOPcat2U

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  • 119. At 8:10pm on 15 Sep 2009, Anne P. wrote:

    Reading through the huge response this has generated I think I now understand what part of the problem has been. (Leaving aside any requirement to 'entertain' or decide what counts as desirable weather.)

    Meterologists think in terms of weather systems. If there is a band of rain crossing the country they say so, perhaps mentioning that it is travelling diagonally from west to east. They are interested in the whole system.

    But as listeners we mostly live or work in one place, or intend to travel to another specific location. So what we want to know is what will the weather be at that location. That's why a Shipping Forecast format, preferably with standardised areas, works so well (and why not a map too).

    No reason not to have some general remarks before and/or after about remarkable weather experienced or outlook to come - but keep that brief. Scope perhaps for the presenter to come up with an interesting tail piece at the end to stave off the boredom - but how bored can they get in three minutes?

    What's required is specific weather at specific locations that we can each recognise as our own.

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  • 120. At 8:18pm on 15 Sep 2009, nikki noodle wrote:

    The Shipping Forecast style:
    Simply excellent. Vastly improved, verging on brilliant.

    Peter Gibbs - marvellous!!!

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  • 121. At 8:18pm on 15 Sep 2009, 198kHz wrote:

    At last, a clear, concise, shipping forecast style weather forecast. Just preface it with a general synopsis, add humidity levels, give it nearer four minutes than two, and it would be perfect.

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  • 122. At 8:19pm on 15 Sep 2009, tad_man wrote:

    The shipping forecast version was brilliant - clear, concise, and easy to understand.

    Your weather-chappy's comments about it being potentially boring for him - I don't care. We don't pay him to entertain himself, or even to entertain us. We want him to tell us what the weather is going to be.

    Presumably the shipping forecast has been designed to be immediately understandable to those at sea - I can't see why the rest of us shouldn't have the same advantages.

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  • 123. At 8:23pm on 15 Sep 2009, marshfritillary wrote:

    At last!!! 6 pm on 15th September-a weather forcast which is clear, logical, and which I can remember, instead of the usual morass of loosely linked ramblings. Dunno who Peter is but please can we have him all the time. Only disagreement is when he said he might get bored doing it this way- I have news for him and all other weather forcasters- you are not on air to keep yourself entertained. The Shipping Forcast is a masterly example of how to do it- predictable, factual, clear- no rabbiting on about what the weather has done today- if we are listening, we already know this since it is in the past- it is supposed to be the FORCAST, what may happen in the future. Also we do not need to be told to drive carefully, take an umbrella etc etc- JUST STICK TO THE WEATHER. The problem with today's forecasters is that they see themselves as performers- actually we just switch off metaphorically or physically. I especially hate the woman who sounds about aged twelve. Where do they find these people?

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  • 124. At 8:23pm on 15 Sep 2009, maggymay10 wrote:

    Sweet joy. How I dislike to be advised to "get the barbeque out/ wrap up warm/ take a brolly" Tonight's effort from Peter Gibbs was EXCELLENT, first class! It told me everything I wanted to know in the clearest style ever. Well done Peter. Keep the pressure up for permanent change!! Steve, GOOLE

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  • 125. At 8:30pm on 15 Sep 2009, Jeffcasey wrote:

    I would go along with Peter Gibb's "shipping forecast" style of weather which is the right mode for concentration unlike Philip Eden's version with the bird sounds that would send me to sleep.

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  • 126. At 8:33pm on 15 Sep 2009, karlAwilliams wrote:

    ...I was listening to the slightly surreal weather forecast tonight on the way home from work, and I immediately had a 'vision' (what's the equivalent of this in sound terms?!) of Alistair McGowan reading out the forecast mimicking the regional accents of the areas for each section of the broadcast. Not making a fuss about it and no fanfares (birdsong or otherwise!), but just sliding effortlessly from one region (and accent) to the next. Surely, if you organised this it would be A) entertaining and B) memorable. Of course, this is assuming that Mr McGowan can do all the accents...

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  • 127. At 8:37pm on 15 Sep 2009, greyscorpio wrote:

    I thought the idea of having something between the regions, was a good idea, but the bird sounds I found distracting.
    I have just done a MINDFULNESS course, based on the Buddhist teaching.
    "They ring a BELL,at the end of each exercise."
    I found the shipping forecast the best.
    From Angela.

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  • 128. At 8:41pm on 15 Sep 2009, karlAwilliams wrote:

    ...and another thing. Why not have a sound effect for each type of weather? So, rain would be easy, and you could have different sounds for all the different types of rain. Similarly wind. Sunshine (such as it is) would have to be a bit more symbolic, as this doesn't normally have a noise as such associated with it - how about a rendition of those moments in films when the sun comes out from behind the clouds and suddenly all is well in the world? Then, temperatures would have to be symbolic too - maybe the sound of someone reacting to levels of temperature (sighs for warmth, shivers for cold, etc).


    I think I may be losing it...

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  • 129. At 8:44pm on 15 Sep 2009, 2ndcornets wrote:

    I wasn't persuaded by the gimmicky jingles myself, but than I live for the day when the outworn "comedy" of the "Upshares, Downshares" tune is discontinued. If the weather report for your area matters to you I guarantee you will remmeber it IF you hear it. By which I mean that there are more and more people like me who are becoming a little hard of hearing. Hence the best assistance the BBC could give would be to stop employing weather forecasters with high pitched voices and confusing diction, the worst offender being Scottish Carol on the BBC TV AM programme.

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  • 130. At 8:48pm on 15 Sep 2009, karlAwilliams wrote:

    ... what I was getting at with the sounds thing was something like that old comic Victor Borge (remember him?) - he used to do a routine when he would put sound effects where the punctuation marks would come if it was written down, which was very funny (google him or look on youtube if you don't know him - worth it for a laugh).

    Well, that's my excuse...

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  • 131. At 8:54pm on 15 Sep 2009, Mr_Jobins wrote:

    The "Bird-song forecast" was hilarious by the end and I did not remember much (if any) of it.

    The "Shipping forecast" style was my favourite. But to make the style even easier to listen to and remember I think it needs to:

    - Have someone with a deep, low, gravelly voice read it (Like that male continuity announcer's voice, or Wogan's voice); I think people perceive those voices as more authoritative.
    - NO embellishment, describe the weather as concisely as possible, with one/two/three words.
    - Mention counties perhaps.
    - Include a general outlook, introduced as "General Outlook". either at the end or at the beginning.

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  • 132. At 8:55pm on 15 Sep 2009, golfjan wrote:

    The 'shipping forecast' style was definitely much better. Plenty of time for chatter elsewhere.

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  • 133. At 9:08pm on 15 Sep 2009, aggieagnes wrote:

    The most irratating thing ever!! The bird noises, it wasn't a song as not long enough, totally distracted me from listening to the forecast. For those of us who drive enroute to and from work listening to Radio 4 it'enough to make you want to change channels or even listen to traffic alerts!!

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  • 134. At 9:11pm on 15 Sep 2009, PipThomas wrote:

    I live in Wales which gave a good example of why Philip's 'special sound' delivery doesn't work. Wales had one whistle when it was lumped together with 'all remaining England and Wales' and a different whistle later in the piece when it was lumped together in a different combination. It is much easier to just listen out for the region name - which is why i loved Peter's shipping forcast style. Easy to tune in to the relivant part. never mind if it is boring, the rest of the programme more than makes mup for that.

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  • 135. At 9:14pm on 15 Sep 2009, gill fincher wrote:

    i'm loving the different musical ways of upshares downshares being introduced, couldn't the listeners with such imaginations do something similar for the weather forecast. or even get listensers with the correct accent to introduce the section of forecast relevant to their area.

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  • 136. At 9:16pm on 15 Sep 2009, Hawk wrote:

    Sorry, as soon as he started to speak, his voice just turned into a mush of blah, blah, blah and me want to sleep (not good being a truck driver). The birdie noises, although a good idea in theroy, failed in practice.
    The voice needs to be fresh and vibrant, the weather report needs to be short and to the point. I feel that this might work.
    I will listen tomorrow with baited ears for the next thrilling experiment. :)

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  • 137. At 9:26pm on 15 Sep 2009, Herb Robert wrote:

    Peter Gibbs' "shipping forecast" style forecast was superb and most importantly memorable!!! I can remember the weather of all regions for tonight and tomorrow thank you, Peter. I can only hope that this might be adopted as the usual waffle just doesn't sink in. Shame no talk of pressure. I like to be rising slowly. Or equally, veering westerly.

    However, it hasn't started raining yet? why this obsession with the weather, because it's always changing, and "you don't need a weather man to say which way the wind blows", but please "be quiet, the weather is on the night news"

    Silly Automatic

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  • 138. At 9:34pm on 15 Sep 2009, teddydavies wrote:

    Todays weather forecast in the shipping forecast manner was the best for years. This was the format from the past when I used to remember the weather.

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  • 139. At 9:38pm on 15 Sep 2009, Blogarooney wrote:

    What's all this palaver about the weather? Here's a good forecast.


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  • 140. At 9:50pm on 15 Sep 2009, CarolineOfBrunswick wrote:

    Another vote for the "shipping forecast" style.
    Interesting that the Met Office already seem able to do a standardised regional forecast.

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  • 141. At 10:14pm on 15 Sep 2009, jillfc wrote:

    Like pretty well everyone else, I thought the birdsong was a hoot (sorry) but Peter Gibbs' shipping forecast style presentation was well nigh perfect. No gabbling, no false mateyness: just clear well-articulated fact. Is it too much to hope that we might go back to this?

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  • 142. At 10:19pm on 15 Sep 2009, Jezzymorezzi wrote:

    What about having each region's weather read out with someone with a regional accent - Scotland's weather in a rich Glaswegian burr, the South East's in a Sarf London twang etc?

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  • 143. At 10:24pm on 15 Sep 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    I've now "listened again" to Peter Gibbs. I liked the style but for some reason I always find Peter easy to listen to and manage to remember the weather for my region. I could remember what came after the owl but found it all a bit silly although it actually worked for me. I am wondering if this is just novelty value rather than anything else.

    On balance I think I prefer the shipping forecast format to the birdsong format.

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  • 144. At 10:29pm on 15 Sep 2009, GrimpoGirl wrote:

    I enjoyed the birdsong, especailly the owl, but I'm not sure I've remembered the weather any better. What about weather sounds? I'm sure I'd remember more if I heard, for example, rain falling in the background while the forecast was read out. Perhaps the sound of wind on windy days, boots crunching in snow when we should expect to be snowy behind the ears, crackling sounds for icy weather, and sausages sizzling on a barbeque for sunny days?

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  • 145. At 10:52pm on 15 Sep 2009, GiulioNapolitani wrote:

    The shipping forecast style was interesting, but completely unmemorable. I was previously a supporter, but it just washes over me in a wave of babble. And the birdsong thing is clearly a foppish affectation more attuned to the likes of Fi Glover.

    If you want to make it memorable you simply need to throw everything at it. Obviously people take more notice of their regional accent, so accents are in - Scottish, Yorkshire, Cockerney and some kind of weird Mummerset drawl for all those rural places nobody really knows; I'm sure Peter Gibb can manage.

    And, as we all know, a sound picture paints a thousand words - so it's sounds effects all the way: thunderclaps, howling gails, rain on a tin roof, sizzling frying pans (hot days), you get the idea.

    And it has to end with fireworks. And a song.

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  • 146. At 10:59pm on 15 Sep 2009, davepeters wrote:

    Stop shooting the messenger and blaming the forecasters. How on earth can they give an accurate clear forecast for Scotland, N Ireland, Wales and England in just 90 seconds and sometimes less( not 2 mins ). Give them more time and then they won't have to rush and be vague and miss regions out. The weather is very important and is of interest to a lot of us and comes as light relief after 57 mins of PM.

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  • 147. At 11:20pm on 15 Sep 2009, keithporteous wrote:

    It seems to me the current problem is one of making sure you are paying attention when they come to your part of the country, and we need something to catch our attention when that happens. What about reading the forecast in regional accents, using the appropriate accent for the part of the country being dealt with? If it's too much for one reader, get a crew in - do it as a dialogue, almost a minidrama:
    Och,aye, it'll be cauld and wet tomorrow.
    No I don't think so boyo - sunny and breezy.
    (I give up trying to write in regional accents. Perhaps you have to hear it to see it will work.)

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  • 148. At 11:20pm on 15 Sep 2009, kharmacontrarian wrote:

    No, the birdsong did not make the weather forecast more memorable. Far from it. It made it much more difficult to listen to.

    I don't see the problem, to be honest. If you want to know what the forecast is, you listen. If you're not so interested, you don't pay attention so much.

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  • 149. At 11:21pm on 15 Sep 2009, B R Wombat wrote:

    Tonight's sample weather forecast with the birdcalls was one of the funniest things I've heard in ages. It had me in stitches, I'm just enjoying it again - thanks!

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  • 150. At 11:23pm on 15 Sep 2009, Foureyz wrote:

    For me the Shipping Forecast was the clear winner. Simple and uncluttered it gave me this evenings and tomorrows weather information in one tidy bundle. I am so excited about it, I think I'll go and listen to the real shipping forecast!

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  • 151. At 11:24pm on 15 Sep 2009, rosmaryp wrote:

    The "shipping forecast" style weather forecast was brilliant! The details for one's own particular region were easy to identify and remember. Hopefully this style will be the norm from now on. Too bad the forecaster found it boring - the forecast is broadcast for the listeners' benefit, not his.

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  • 152. At 00:08am on 16 Sep 2009, Vile Consort wrote:

    What Peter Gibbs did tonight was definitely on the right lines. It may be boring for him but it was much clearer for us.

    What we do need is clarity with regard to names of areas. I think we all know where East Anglia is, but where exactly "The North West"? People in Lancashire and Cumbria think they live in The North West, but is that what the weather forecasters mean? And is Yorkshire part of the North East? Or is it part of The North?

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  • 153. At 01:38am on 16 Sep 2009, LanceAdamson wrote:

    The weather forecast as broadcast tonight at three minutes to six was the most comprehensive one that I've heard on on Radio 4 for years! It was reminiscent of those broadcast in the early and mid 1950s on the BBC Home Service when I was a child when the forecast for each region was always broadcast in strict order. Your weather forcaster may think that it will "get boring to read", nevertheless he must remember that the whole point of the exercise is to convey information as quickly and as concisely as possible. Don't forget, that is precisely what the shipping forcast has been successfully doing for over half a century. If Radio 5 Live can always broadcast the weather in this manner, (starting in Scotland then Northern Ireland and working southwards), why can't Radio 4?

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  • 154. At 08:24am on 16 Sep 2009, YoungRodneyJames wrote:

    The shipping forecast style forecast is ideal. Keep it up. it doesn't matter if the forecaster gets bored with the forecast --- forecasts are not meant to be entertainement and are certainly not meant to be entertainment for the forecaster -- it is the listeners who matter.
    Highlights of yesterday's weather have no place in a forecast. If the events are truly remarkable they will be on the news.

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  • 155. At 09:12am on 16 Sep 2009, legendarytonyb wrote:

    The trial of the shipping forecast format for the weather was a great success. Congratulations. Please, please stick with it, even if it is boring to read. After all, this item is to inform rather than amuse.

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  • 156. At 09:16am on 16 Sep 2009, ladyopinionated wrote:

    I have never blogged on anything before but the shipping forecast weather forecast yesterday stopped me in my tracks - this was the perfect structure on which to base all radio weather forecasts. Normally I always start off listening but every time find my mind has wandered after the opening minute. PLEASE adopt this style of forecast for all Radio 4....

    If the order is always kept the same and all the waffle about clouds 'bubbling up' or 'sweeping through' is dropped, I'm sure we'd all find it a lot more useful. I agree the wind speed AND direction is a must for all those outdoor pursuits going on.

    I agree we don't care if the forecaster finds it boring - he could try working in a kiosk or packing leeks or something for a week.... The approach to weather forecasting has been far too indulgent for too long and now we're in hard times a Weather Crunch is upon us and we should be more economical with it!

    Nevertheless a bit of British quirkiness so characteristic of Radio 4 is bound to be appreciated - I love the Upshares Downshares music themes for instance. As it's a shipping forecast style, punctuated with its rhythmic, poetic sounding names, perhaps the names of our regions could be similarly chosen? - and perhaps a weather-related feature on one specific area, town or village or a well-known guest voice, could be included at the end of each forecast?

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  • 157. At 09:21am on 16 Sep 2009, mft12371uk wrote:

    Loved the bird songs.

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  • 158. At 09:28am on 16 Sep 2009, Peter Bolt wrote:

    Instead of the UK being divided into regions, why not by more specific weather conditions ?
    eg. "The following areas should expect Heavy\Persistent\Showery etc rain this morning (afternoon)
    The following areas can expect Prolonged\Hot\Warm etc sunshine up to
    midday (from midday) etc.
    and so on.
    Thus the listeners attention is drawn to the prevailing or expected conditions first and can make their own connection with the UK region of particular interest to them as a result.

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  • 159. At 09:37am on 16 Sep 2009, Mal wrote:

    LanceAdamson hits the nail on the head. The purpose of the weather forecast is to impart weather information in a form that is easy to follow, and hence to remember. A large part of the problem with modern forecasts is that presenters try to be "personalities", but the frippery and inconsistency this introduces gets in the way.

    As a sailor I have for years wished that the inland forecast followed a set format in the way the shipping forecast does. So I was delighted to hear the shipping forecast style reading on yesterday's PM program, it was just right.

    The question of defining regions could be easily addressed by having a definitive map on the website. The key is that they should be used consistently, and in a set order.

    And please, no gimmicks like birdsong.

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  • 160. At 09:40am on 16 Sep 2009, eloquentradio4addict wrote:

    I loved the shipping forecast style. It was simple and easy to follow. OK, so the presenter may become bored with style, but the information is for US, it's not there to provide him with a chance to entertain! Please keep this style.

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  • 161. At 09:59am on 16 Sep 2009, singingPerpetua wrote:

    I thought the forecast before the 6pm news was a vast improvement - excellent. The idea of separating the various regions was good but I'm not sure that birdsong worked as it was a bit distracting.
    It used to annoy me so much much to hear that the weather was "quiet" or that there was a "great deal of weather in such and such an area" or "not much weather" and of course "misty" was always followed by "murky" and light rain was usually "spits and spots".
    I hope the forecasters will continue to use the shipping forecast formula - so much clearer. Thank you very much for taking up this issue.

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  • 162. At 11:19am on 16 Sep 2009, weatherforecastfan wrote:

    I'd been waxing lyrical about the delights of the weather forecast to my grandchildren yesterday and said we'd listen at 5 to 6. I was thrilled with the clarity of your shipping-forecast-style presentation. It was succinct and easy to cue into. They were rather bemused at my excited jumping up and down but you may shortly have two new fans.

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  • 163. At 11:37am on 16 Sep 2009, Wilberfalse wrote:

    Weather forecasts on Radio - their digestibility or no.

    Ask, what is the function of a general weather forecast?

    Answer: to give a region or area a reasonable indication of likely weather conditions for the near future.

    To provide this service one has to rely on information from those best trained to give it. These people are not entertainers but informers.

    To carry out their task they need sufficient time in which to explain their deliberations. Three or even two minutes is simply inadequate to cover an area as diverse as the British Isles.

    We in the Northern Isles have just experienced one of the hottest and driest summers for nearly one hundred years; yet the forecasts emanating from the BBC would hardly have indicated this fact.

    I was told by the BBC several years back (at least twenty) that forecasts had been shortened for the very reason that listeners (I omit television from these arguments) were supposed to have found them irksome. That means forecasts have become chatty, thereby gobbling up precious time and often missing essential information for an adequate countrywide forecasts.

    John Vetterlein

    Magnetic & Auroral Observatory

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  • 164. At 11:51am on 16 Sep 2009, SagittarianMike wrote:

    Wonderful to hear the forecast the way it used to be - in 'Shipping' format! That was the way when a 5 minute slot was allowed. IF the forecast finished early then other programmes were announced, but then the practice became that other announcements WERE made - and the time for the forecast got shorter and shorter.
    Now we have a system that may highlight problem areas and warnings, with area details to follow - but sometimes there may be a general summary that is followed by 'exceptions'. Between the two, I am convinced that there have been times when the 'North East' had no mention at all, so I have tried to recall whether it might have been included in the previous summary. Even then, the summary may have been for a limited area that did NOT include us - so it is quite clear that our bit was unclear!
    And as for temperatures quoted only for capital cities . . . it is a long way between London and Edinburgh!

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  • 165. At 11:56am on 16 Sep 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:

    Oh - I did a long post and submitted it and it disappeared :-(

    Why the lengthy Moderation delays?

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  • 166. At 12:15pm on 16 Sep 2009, ottomummy wrote:

    This weather forecast thing has been an issue in our house for some time, mainly bought on by the weather forecasting that follows our local evening news. Watching BBC South East after 10.30pm is a delight – will we get Kaddy dressed up as Heidi, or will it be Kay with her swaying tresses and Madonna muscles, or even Nazaneen – Cleopatra reincarnated. Whoever it is, after their appearance on the screen you can be damned sure there’ll be an argument ensuing in the Clark household but neither of us will have a clue as to what the weather is – and the forecast is for our area!!!!

    I think last night’s (radio 4) weatherman hit the nail on the head. He said, and I can’t quote as I can’t even remember the weather let alone his exact words, something along the lines of “yes, it was interesting reading the weather that way, but I’m sure I’ll get a bit bored doing it like that after a couple of weeks”. I hate to take away the glamour, but the weather personnel are simply there to tell us what the weather is going to be, not to glam it up and give us some personal anecdotes or weave in little humorous stories. I thought the weather “shipping forecast style” was perfect, and even now, after sleeping on it, I can still remember that the temperature in Kent is supposed to be between 18 & 20 degrees.

    Perhaps you should speak to John Kettley about this. My husband keeps reminding me that he heard John K say he left weather broadcasting because of the way it was being dumbed down (or something like that). And, and another thing. Think of the licence fee that could be saved if weather was presented on all media as in the Shipping Forecast. No presenters required, news presenters could, I’m sure, for an extra 50p, read it out themselves.

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  • 167. At 12:55pm on 16 Sep 2009, Margaret Gibbs wrote:

    I liked the shipping forecast very much, but I am a traditionalist, sitting here in my pinny

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  • 168. At 12:57pm on 16 Sep 2009, scrumptiousoldgrumpy wrote:

    The weather forecast at 5.57pm on Tuesday 15.9.09 was much better. I noticed that the compiler/presenter said he had tried to copy the shipping forecast format - & it was much better.
    He also said that he would probably get bored with doing the weather forecast like this.
    I'd like to remind him that the point of the forecast is not to keep him amused but to present the audience with something comprehensible and memorable.

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  • 169. At 12:59pm on 16 Sep 2009, thebestTanya wrote:

    I heard the weather forecast in the 'Shipping Forecast' style last night and thought it was much better! You could listen out for your own area then listen to the details that followed. And the details for each area were given in a logical format: how much cloud there would be, whether it would rain, temperature, whether it would be windy, etc. Can we stay with this format please?

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  • 170. At 1:00pm on 16 Sep 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Anne P@119: spot on. This all, combined with a use of English only ever heard during weather forecasts, is probably the reason we find it difficult to pay attention.

    What an overwhelming response! Will be interested to hear PM reporting on later.

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  • 171. At 1:18pm on 16 Sep 2009, elizabeth236 wrote:

    I think a big problem here is that we all probably drift in and out of many items being presented on the radio; usually this is not such a problem as the item is longer than the weather forecast for your particular region, and when you tune back in you can keep up with the general gist of what has been said. The weather forecast for your region takes just a few seconds and if you miss the detail you've had it! Agree that I would never remember the bird song for my region! Any loud noise before a change in region should do as a person would tune back in when hearing something different. Maybe you just need to vary it from night to night so that we don't get used to tuning that out as well!!!! They could always try shouting out the region loudly to see if that works........

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  • 172. At 1:21pm on 16 Sep 2009, Victor_Delta wrote:

    I'm with those who believe that 'less is more'. I understand that for 80% of the time, the weather is broadly the same on consecutive days. So why not do the weather forecasts on an exception basis?
    Then all the forecaster would need to say is "Tomorrow's weather will be similar to today's, except in the following areas...(and give appropriate details)".
    That would also give more time for Eddie and PM.

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  • 173. At 1:31pm on 16 Sep 2009, theotherdaughter wrote:

    I missed the birdsong, but liked the Shipping Forcast style - except that I tuned out during 'East Anglia, Sout-east and Southern England' thinking that 'South West' would come next, but it didn't. If this style is adopted, then we need proper areas and to have them all listed at the start of each 'block' othewise we are back where we started.


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  • 174. At 1:59pm on 16 Sep 2009, GillWaterhouse wrote:

    I found the shipping forecast style much clearer, but then one of the things I like doing is listening to the 05:20 shipping forecast. I was disappointed to hear the forecaster say that he thought he would find himself getting bored with the style. Shame on him ;-)You could even publish on line maps the same as for the shipping forecast (http://www.ukseakayakguidebook.co.uk/understanding_forecasts/shipping_forecast.htm) so that listeners can follow through in a predicted order.

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  • 175. At 2:26pm on 16 Sep 2009, howson5 wrote:

    How's about regional accents. I know it's a bit of a challenge to the forecaster but it would certainly get the attention of the listener. If nothing else we'd remember the forecast for the Scotland, perhaps Frankie Boyle would give it a go...

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  • 176. At 2:31pm on 16 Sep 2009, RevdPMuir wrote:

    I thought the shipping forecast model was brilliant. Sharp, clear, easy to assimilate and remember. It told me what I needed to know. I'd be pleased to see this model more widely used. 10/10.

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  • 177. At 3:58pm on 16 Sep 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Perhaps 'Sweary Pips Crasher' could be persuaded to have a Webby Weather Forecast along these lines now that he has been forced to fly the BBC nest [again..] ?

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  • 178. At 4:00pm on 16 Sep 2009, iamafreeman wrote:

    By far the clearest and most memorable method is the shipping forecast style.

    It would also help if the wether office could improve the accuracy a little. Nothing dramatic around 100% will do!

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  • 179. At 4:12pm on 16 Sep 2009, U14138029 wrote:

    Is it still raining?

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  • 180. At 4:29pm on 16 Sep 2009, SwiftHeulwen wrote:

    The Shipping Forecast format is great, very clear. It is helpful to be given wind direction and speed,often not included but important.
    It would be even better with a general synopsis first.

    PLEASE do not underestimate the importance of the weather forecast to many Radio 4 listeners. The Today Programme summary is useless.
    It is so important to me that I have registered specially to post this on the blog.

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  • 181. At 5:19pm on 16 Sep 2009, GarethCatterson wrote:

    Peter Gibbs' shipping style weather forecast was excellent. Simple and memorable. In comparison other types are rambling anD OVER flowery. The SOLE purpose should be to tell us what to expect and this was WIGHT on the money. Perhaps its TYNE for me to stop now.
    Some guy past his FORTIES

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  • 182. At 5:57pm on 16 Sep 2009, zenoiii wrote:

    Would it be possible to try and get the forcast right sometimes?
    Maybe then I would take more notice and remember what was said.

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  • 183. At 6:03pm on 16 Sep 2009, gimmerlamb wrote:

    No, Rob McElwhee did not work for me tonight, too vague in locations, Midlands, Wales, can we have some counties please . Not sure about all the sounds either, go back to how you did it yesterday with very clear locations.

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  • 184. At 6:07pm on 16 Sep 2009, Poverty wrote:

    Didn't like the offputting noises.

    There are two very important points to make the information in the forecasts easy to understand:

    1 The areas must be permanently defined and always given in the same order - don't group them.

    2 Give the whole forecast for each area together with any further outlook before going on to the next, otherwise you have to listen out twice.

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  • 185. At 6:08pm on 16 Sep 2009, NunheadCarol wrote:

    Please, no music, birdsong, sound effects, or personal opinions about the weather.
    I want the forecaster to give region followed by its forecast, preferably taking the same route through the country every day. If you must tell me how nice or horrible it is, or play me sound effects, please do that after we've had the forecast.
    Yesterday I spent 7 hours with wet feet because I heard the part about 'another pleasant day' and not the warning about what we actually got, which was a persistant deluge.

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  • 186. At 6:14pm on 16 Sep 2009, lemontart50 wrote:

    It may be a bit boring for the weatherman, but for me, I would go for the shipping forecast style every time. You wait for your area to be announced, then in the same order every time, you get the temperature, the wind, and the all-important rain forecast. Simple but brilliant. Why not add a bit of general chat at the end about the interesting additional stuff like patterns, extremes etc.

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  • 187. At 6:22pm on 16 Sep 2009, GillWaterhouse wrote:

    If possible, please do NOT go for a permanent adoption of sound effects (birds, wind [how would you do snow?], thunder & lightening etc.) The novelty factor would soon wane, and listeners tune out, so we'd be back to Square One. I still highly rate the shipping forecast format, waffle-less and to-the-point. And if possible, get it right! Why am I always so disappointed when a day forecast to be good end up being rotten? Won't I ever learn? Sigh

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  • 188. At 6:33pm on 16 Sep 2009, Chris B wrote:

    Shipping forecast style is brilliant. It's a proper weather forecast, not just some chat about weather. It included the wind, which is useful, and there were no subjective comments which assume we all want hot sunshine. The only possible improvement would be, like the Shipping Forecast, to have the general situation at the start, eg, "High pressure over the Bay of Biscay" or some such simple outline.

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  • 189. At 8:39pm on 16 Sep 2009, Redheylin wrote:

    I think you have all the info you need above, Beebers.
    1) Stop trying to make it entertaining. It's patronising.
    2) Announce the regions clearly and momentously (do a voice, with a pause)
    3) You COULD try saying something extraordinary every once in a while, such as inventing some memorable weather, to keep us on our toes.
    4) The weather reports COULD be structured in such a way that, after a while, anybody that pays attention understands pressures, cyclones and such - I know it sounds weird and nobody has ever tried, but it just might.....
    5) Or you could encourage us to hang a piece of seaweed at the bottom of the garden and tell us every day; "Now please just go and give your seaweed a feel. And if you are wet when you come back, it's raining".

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  • 190. At 9:11pm on 16 Sep 2009, Cat_Soup wrote:

    Hows about . . .
    Changing the weather forecasters accent to match the area they are talking about e.g By eck its gonna be raining in Leeds, Olright me old chinas, Landan is gonna have an 'eck of glorious sunshine. To be sure the weather in Oirland is dismal. Boyo its raining in Cardiff it is. etc etc.
    Appologies for terrible stereotyping.

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  • 191. At 9:15pm on 16 Sep 2009, northofthetrent wrote:

    When I heard your shipping forecast-style weather report, the
    clouds lifted for me and the sun started to shine. At last - a format
    that does the job perfectly, and as a cyclist I was overjoyed to learn,
    for the first time in years, what direction the wind was going to be
    blowing in! Brilliant - you've hit upon a format that works - please
    don't change back to that awful 'cosy chat' style that sends us all to

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  • 192. At 9:28pm on 16 Sep 2009, PC-fixer wrote:

    Yes I like the shipping forecast style with its short snappy inforamtion deployment.

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  • 193. At 9:37pm on 16 Sep 2009, Stewart_M wrote:

    Agree the shipping forecast style easiest to remember but the weather men would hate it.

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  • 194. At 10:05pm on 16 Sep 2009, biginlitlington wrote:

    My wife ( who is too self-effacing to submit this idea herself) suggested that the forecast for each area be read out in the appropriate regional accent - Geordie, Brum, etc. This would immediate catch the ear of the listener to whom the forecast applied. Of course, it would require a radical new approach to the recruitment and training of meteorologists, but (as my wife so eloquently put it) hey.

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  • 195. At 10:07pm on 16 Sep 2009, Blogarooney wrote:

    The Met office (see below for tomorrow) is succinct. The majority of bloggers want that level of clarity and brevity. So now you know.
    From the Met Office:
    Headline Wednesday:
    Dry and locally chilly tonight with clear spells.

    Wednesday night and Thursday:
    It will be a dry end to the day with most areas having some late sunny intervals. Overnight, dry and locally chilly with clear spells. Some patches of mist and fog will form, especially in northern and western areas.

    Any early fog patches will disperse during the morning leaving a dry day with sunny spells, although it will be occasionally rather cloudy in eastern England and the East Midlands.


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  • 196. At 10:58am on 17 Sep 2009, daviesf wrote:

    Did not hear the birdsong, but would have hated it. My next point may have been already suggested (facetiously of course) that each region is read in the accent of that region, ie Scots, Welsh, West Country, Brummie etc. That would grab listener's attention!

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  • 197. At 6:00pm on 17 Sep 2009, Poverty wrote:

    No more gimmicks please - we just want information.

    Why do you think that the shipping forecast is in the format that it is?
    Because it is the best way to impart unambiguous information.

    Let's follow that example.

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  • 198. At 7:03pm on 17 Sep 2009, JacquelineDiane wrote:

    `Twasn`t so much the different regional accents but the variety of voices which ensured I didn`t go into my usual state of reverie during the weather forecast.
    A drum roll would effect the same concentration.

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  • 199. At 8:17pm on 17 Sep 2009, rachelsue6 wrote:

    Tonight's effort using regional accents was a mix of good and bad: good because it forced the format to go through the different regions in sequence; bad (for me) because my attention went on the music of the accents, not the information in the words.

    It's obvious from all the comments here that the Shipping Forecast style has it over anything else. I agree with people who say define the areas accurately. We live in Cumbria and we often think we're Northern Ireland or SW Scotland rather than NW England (which some people think means Manchester). Let's be precise. And let's have the forecast read calmly and clearly by an announcer, not a met man seeking his moment of glory. The Shipping Forecast is the model. Please, BBC, just do it like that!

    And while I think of it, in this family we do actually listen to the radio weather forecast to find out what's going to happen. OK, so there are forecasts on the web but we don't go and look for them unless there's a special reason. So getting the forecasts right, and getting the information out clearly are really important to us.

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  • 200. At 2:08pm on 18 Sep 2009, Pierremont wrote:

    Weather forecast: Bird songs and other gimmicks - irritating and stupid: Shipping forecast style - clear and sensible. Weather forecasters need to remember they are there to provide a service, not for their enjoyment. Message to PM - don't be a clown; don't dumb down!

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  • 201. At 3:02pm on 18 Sep 2009, leslieannemccullen wrote:

    I love the shipping news weather forecast. It was really clear. And none of the confusing fuzzy words that make you lose the will to live, like "probably" and "typically" and "could just be" and "generally". The shipping news is great! I don't even do shipping, but I always like the shipping news anyway, so why not apply this forceful and clear format to something we all do want to know about?

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  • 202. At 6:05pm on 18 Sep 2009, Heather_Bigay wrote:

    The shipping forecast style was much the easiest to understand. Sailors have been finding this for years!

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  • 203. At 6:19pm on 29 Sep 2009, SwedeinEngland wrote:

    With all the talk about how to make the weather forecasts clearer, surely the forecasters should know the basics about maps and geography. At least two of them (Laura Tobin and whoever gave out the forecast just before 1800 on Tuesday 29 Sep on Radio 4) use the expression 'sinking southwards'!!! It is only if you have the map vertically and South at the bottom that things 'sink southwards'. Sloppy language is inexcusable in this situation!

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  • 204. At 11:49am on 17 Oct 2009, inglerose wrote:

    New style weather report first class. Could never remember from the old system.

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