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In PM tonight: a brand new weather forecast!

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Eddie Mair | 12:30 UK time, Monday, 12 October 2009


Stay tuned. We want to know what YOU think about our brand new weather forecast.

Why? A few weeks ago, an informal experiment among our listeners suggested that our nightly weather forecast didn't work for many of them: they couldn't remember the weather for their area.

So we asked our audience what would work for them, and had some fun trying out several ideas on air...including using birdsong and regional accents!

Because of the interest expressed in all this by listeners to PM and iPM, Radio 4 is using PM to test a brand new style of forecast. It's a sort of pilot scheme and your opinion will help shape how the new forecast is rolled out across the entire network.

The map you see here might help you - forecasters will use this map for the experimental forecasts, and there will be clear signposting of each region BEFORE each bit of weather. There will be other changes too.

YOUR OPINION MATTERS! Radio 4 isn't holding a vote but it does want to know the views of as many PM listeners as possible. So please listen in later.


  • 1. At 12:54pm on 12 Oct 2009, Stewart_M wrote:

    Ever the pedant. Can we have a Google type (Other mapping progs available) That zooms in so that we can see the region borders. :-)

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  • 2. At 12:55pm on 12 Oct 2009, GiulioNapolitani wrote:

    OK. No doubt you have it all worked out, but please keep it simple. The previous shipping style forecast largely passed me by in what felt like a continuous blur of jargon and superfluous information. Please be sure that there is a proper pause between each region's forecast.

    Will there be regional accents?

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  • 3. At 12:55pm on 12 Oct 2009, Thunderbird wrote:

    Why are the lines between the areas not straight?

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  • 4. At 1:01pm on 12 Oct 2009, Anne P. wrote:

    Thunderbird (3) county boundaries?

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  • 5. At 1:02pm on 12 Oct 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    TBird (4) at a guess, it's probably due to the areas that we are divided into for local news services on TV, and that comes down to transmitter locations, local geography etc. For instance, my parents in Gloucester get their local TV news from the Oxford transmitter, so come under the South East region. Their friends about 400 yards away are on the other side of the hill, and they get their news from Birmingham, so are covered by Midlands today.

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  • 6. At 1:03pm on 12 Oct 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    My apologies; that should have been in reply to Thunderbird at #3, not #4.

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  • 7. At 1:05pm on 12 Oct 2009, U14138029 wrote:

    Is it OK if I colour-in my copy of the map, sir?

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  • 8. At 1:18pm on 12 Oct 2009, Anne P. wrote:

    Fearless, don't get me started - our aerial points at Sutton Coldfield so we get the West Midlands news. If I want to know about the East Midlands news I have to go on line.

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  • 9. At 2:06pm on 12 Oct 2009, eddiemair wrote:

    To answer your question about why the lines aren't straight - you can see why here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/hi/about/newsid_8296000/8296840.stm , where you can find your area in list form.

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  • 10. At 2:22pm on 12 Oct 2009, Helena-Handbasket wrote:

    I'd like to introduce some positive comments into this thread, and so Huzzah! for the PM campaign bearing fruit with a national - nay, international - trial (though things went so quiet for a while there that I was beginning to wonder...)

    I'm going to be listening with barely-contained excitement to the weather for two areas: the Midlands (because that's where I live) and also Wales, because that is where our weather comes from 90% of the time - and also because, technically, it's only 30 miles west.

    I've already heard 2 trails for the 'new and improved' weather report tonight - so roll on 17.57!!

    P.S. It's gloriously sunny here, in case anyone wants to double-check their charts.

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  • 11. At 2:28pm on 12 Oct 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Helena (10) Oh, I'm all for this trial too. Typically, this is the last chance I get to listen to/watch a weather report until the following morning, so it's going to be very useful to have an idea of what the weather's going to do. So, anything that can offer a more memorable forecast (particularly for those who are in the car at the time) has to be applauded :-)

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  • 12. At 3:40pm on 12 Oct 2009, markb wrote:

    I note that parts of Eastern Scotland are more northly than parts of Northern Scotland, is this yet another example of the BBC's London biase?

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  • 13. At 3:57pm on 12 Oct 2009, Paul Henry wrote:

    All I want to know from a forecast is what the weather is likely to do. I do NOT want the forecaster's opinion on why a particular type of weather is good, bad or indifferent for a, b or c. Objective not subjective please.

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  • 14. At 3:58pm on 12 Oct 2009, SRDorman wrote:

    When I lived in Oxford, I could never tell which region we were in - and this map looks just as bad (southeast? southwest? midlands?). Otherwise, I am looking forward to the experiment

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  • 15. At 4:09pm on 12 Oct 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Cor, the PM blog gets a link from the front page of the BBC News site....

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  • 16. At 4:12pm on 12 Oct 2009, Patrick_Heren wrote:

    Good idea as far as it goes. Ideally you should stop being squeamish and start each forecast with London and the southeast - not only is it the capital and its hinterland, but it is the most populous area and by and large it pays for the rest of you.

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  • 17. At 4:13pm on 12 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    Why is it that Scotland is divided up into 3 regions and yet London and huge parts of the South of England is covered by only 1 region. Yet the population of the whole of Scotland is less than London. Is this another example of the pro-Scotland bias at the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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  • 18. At 4:13pm on 12 Oct 2009, jongwinnett wrote:

    Is it my eyes, or does West Lothian not appear on the long list. A new West Lothian question? I think we should be told...

    And seriously, very annoying if like me you live in West Lothian!

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  • 19. At 4:20pm on 12 Oct 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:


    If you click here , you'll see that they've divided the UK based on counties....

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  • 20. At 4:21pm on 12 Oct 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Apologies for the extra space that crept in after the link :-)

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  • 21. At 4:21pm on 12 Oct 2009, U14138029 wrote:

    Looternite - Listen very carefully, I will explain this only once.
    The fact that more people live in a specific area doesn't mean that there will be more local variation in the weather in that area.

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  • 22. At 4:25pm on 12 Oct 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Preston (21) I have a feeling Looternite was just "replying in kind" to f32mark's earlier posting ;-)

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  • 23. At 4:27pm on 12 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    GN 2, Yes, every time they move from one region to another. Rory Bremner is doing the voices.

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  • 24. At 4:28pm on 12 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    PF 7, Shouldn't it all be pink?

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  • 25. At 4:30pm on 12 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #22. Fearless Fred
    Alright I admit it, you have me banged to rights etc.
    You will always find bias if you look carefully.
    Although, London due to its size is always 1 to 2 degrees warmer than us in the sticks and so Londons weather is not what we get.

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  • 26. At 4:31pm on 12 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    PF 21, Ln doesn't realize that all of that SE area is considered to be London, like my local BBC news at 6:30.

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  • 27. At 4:34pm on 12 Oct 2009, U14138029 wrote:

    FF(22) - I'd assumed so. I just wanted to try my 'allo 'allo accent - but it didn't work.

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  • 28. At 4:37pm on 12 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #16. Patrick_Heren
    Blimey your posting has just been revealed.
    You are brave as you will upset some people here.

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  • 29. At 4:40pm on 12 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #21 & #27 PrestonFirmlie
    That's so interesting because an Allo, Allo voice was in my head as I read your post. How spooky is that.

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  • 30. At 4:42pm on 12 Oct 2009, markb wrote:

    I've also noticed that parts of South-West Scotland are further east than Eastern Scotland. Conclusive prove of the London-centric BBC bias.

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  • 31. At 4:44pm on 12 Oct 2009, Helena-Handbasket wrote:

    #28 I think the technical term is 'troll' - so probably best not feed it.

    *waves traffic on with luminous batons* Keep it moving, ladies an' gents - Nothing to see here...

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  • 32. At 4:48pm on 12 Oct 2009, U14138029 wrote:

    Yep, I agree with Patrick Heren at (16) that you should start with London and the South East. They're mostly airheads down there and won't have the attention span to last very far into the forecast.

    *walks nonchantly away, whistling*

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  • 33. At 4:55pm on 12 Oct 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    I'm looking forward to this.

    Though my 'area' contains sea coast, farmland and a pretty big conurbation, so I don't know if it'll be accurate unless broken down.

    Worth listening to, though.

    All power to PM!

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  • 34. At 4:55pm on 12 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #32. PrestonFirmlie
    I know what you are saying those "Bloody" Londoners - Eh
    I think I will have a mug of tea and a bickie.

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  • 35. At 4:57pm on 12 Oct 2009, Tim091 wrote:

    I am so glad I am not alone: I have often noticed that I pay attention at the beginning of a weather bulletin but then drift off as the detail is presented. At the end I have no idea what is happening for my area. Doesn't help that I live near Oxford which doesn't sit comfortably in any of the usual geographic descriptions: Midlands? South West?...

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  • 36. At 5:03pm on 12 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Ln 34, Yeah, these people inside the M25.

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  • 37. At 5:03pm on 12 Oct 2009, Helena-Handbasket wrote:

    Pickiness about the regional borders, regional broadcasting, HOW the regions have been divvied up, the order the weather reports will be read, more grumbling about the size of regions....
    How about we actually listen to the thing before wading in with the feedback - or is everyone shopping early for Christmas?
    Sounds like some people are only happy when they've got something to complain about.

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  • 38. At 5:04pm on 12 Oct 2009, victormeldrewgroupie wrote:

    1 Objective, not subjective, i.e. nice sun, nasty rain
    2 No patronising - "remember to take your umbrella/ be careful in the rush hour"
    3 No false innovations just to wind up Mr Grumpy - what the hell difference is there between "Ground frost" and "grass frost"?
    4 Comprehensive doesn't have to be long winded - there was somebody a few years ago whose forecasts were good enough for glider pilots to use, or at least get a good idea of the overall situation
    5 Don't dumb it out of sight - there seems to be a reluctance to use words like "front" without which the total picture doesn't make sense
    6 Look out of the window - not like somebody on radio 4 last week who told us the the sun was beginning to break through the cloud 30 mins before dawn
    I think that's all for now.........

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  • 39. At 5:08pm on 12 Oct 2009, U14138029 wrote:

    Helena-Handbasket (53) - What are you complaining about now?

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  • 40. At 5:14pm on 12 Oct 2009, Ouzogreekfan wrote:

    Perhaps my memory is playing tricks with me but wasn't the forecast done like this years and years ago? I am thinking of the late 1940s and 1950s.

    Also the SE SW split covers a wide area. I live in Hants and my weather is often different from Kent's and I imagine East Dorset's is different from Cornwall's. So how about a Central Southern region?

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  • 41. At 5:16pm on 12 Oct 2009, lawrencekenny wrote:

    We in Central Southern England need an area of our own please!

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  • 42. At 5:17pm on 12 Oct 2009, Helena-Handbasket wrote:

    #39 Well done PF - made me chuckle :oD

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  • 43. At 5:19pm on 12 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #36. David_McNickle
    That's right, they have warmer weather than us as well. They have to understand that the M25 is not a barrier.

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  • 44. At 5:20pm on 12 Oct 2009, Beebnut wrote:

    My dissatisfaction with the forecasts is more to do with the language they use, on radio and on TV. I can usually follow the areas they refer to, but it has become a performance, a projection of the forcaster's personality.

    I can do without advice on warm clothing, umbrellas, central heating, Barbecues, sunglasses etc - just tell me what you think it's going to do!

    A weather system moves - it does not "wriggle its way", or "bend its way", or "sink its way ever southwards" (yes honestly). We are passive participants - we do not "hold on to" fog, rain or sunshine.

    Please, cut out the self-indulgent rubbish, be concise and precise, speak clearly for the benefit of the hard of hearing and those whose first language may not be colloquial English.


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  • 45. At 5:20pm on 12 Oct 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    But, Helena! We're R4 and PM listeners - of course we're picky so-and-sos.

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  • 46. At 5:21pm on 12 Oct 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    PS: fabby name

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  • 47. At 5:22pm on 12 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #30. f32mark
    That's strange as all the people on the BBC seem to come from Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Never hear a Southern English or London accent reading the BBC news do you.

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  • 48. At 5:22pm on 12 Oct 2009, McRaker wrote:

    Just an observation, nothing to do with BBC thoughts on 'the regions' or any population weighting, (or anything to do with special pleading by the 'Taffia' who blight the region) a north/south split for Wales would be a benefit as there is more often than not a considerable regional variation.

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  • 49. At 5:29pm on 12 Oct 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    So many threads on the same theme tonight - you really do want to get our attention over this, don't you Eddie?

    I'm with Frances looking forward to hearing it - even though my bit on the map looks like it's dropped into the sea. Going to raise my head into Fermanagh for the duration.

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  • 50. At 5:33pm on 12 Oct 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    'Naar ere's da nooz. MPs is gonn aveta pie back sam o deir expensis.'

    Well, that's a very rough stab at a Laandon news reader.

    Can you imagine the complaints?


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  • 51. At 5:35pm on 12 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #50. Frances O
    Complaints about wot. Oh I see "MPs is gonn" should be "MPs are gonn".

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  • 52. At 5:37pm on 12 Oct 2009, Helena-Handbasket wrote:

    #46 Thanks, FO - it was either this or Tequila Mockingbird - but that would have been just silly ;o)

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  • 53. At 5:38pm on 12 Oct 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Awwight, gramma. Fairy nuff.

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  • 54. At 5:42pm on 12 Oct 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Tequila Mockingbird? You could be a celebrity with a name like that. Do reconsider.

    But would they get it?

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  • 55. At 5:47pm on 12 Oct 2009, Samsara Surfer wrote:

    Hope the weather knows which side of the squigly line to stay on. No paronizing advice please.

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  • 56. At 5:47pm on 12 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    Maps at the ready he's about to begin.

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  • 57. At 5:54pm on 12 Oct 2009, T A Griffin (TAG) wrote:

    Excuse me but the westcountry (South West) is Devon and Cornwall, not the region as was put together during WWII.

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  • 58. At 5:55pm on 12 Oct 2009, U14138029 wrote:

    Frances (50) - I thought you were doing a Silvio Berlusconi there!

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  • 59. At 5:57pm on 12 Oct 2009, egBlogfan wrote:

    Why can't the different transmitters all over the country broadcast their own local forcast? BBC1 splits up for regional programming, why can't radio?

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  • 60. At 5:57pm on 12 Oct 2009, Idcam wrote:

    I've printed the map out and am going to pin it up on the kitchen noticeboard, which is the house hub at this time of the day. Ah, here we go...

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  • 61. At 5:59pm on 12 Oct 2009, T A Griffin (TAG) wrote:

    Hang on. You say start off in the south and then start with the south east. I don't know about other people but the SW is further south than the south east therefore the South West should be first.

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  • 62. At 5:59pm on 12 Oct 2009, Bathsheba1 wrote:

    So where is Northamptonshire? In its usual black hole?

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  • 63. At 5:59pm on 12 Oct 2009, Idcam wrote:


    Cloudy, light rain. 14 degrees. Got it!

    Yes yes, I know what to expect tomorrow.


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  • 64. At 6:00pm on 12 Oct 2009, angelicsunday wrote:

    Good, clear weather forecast. Especially nice to hear the South West mentioned instead of, as so often, lumped in with "the West" or "the South" or else ignored altogether.

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  • 65. At 6:00pm on 12 Oct 2009, Helen Horton wrote:

    I don't really see what is so different from the old forecasts and doesn't the need to be sitting in front of a map sort of defeat the object of listening to the forecast on the radio?

    I tend to listen in the car a lot of the time so won't be able to see the map at all - so what is the point of it?

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  • 66. At 6:00pm on 12 Oct 2009, SwenglishGal wrote:

    Brilliant new forecast! Very clear, no chit-chat, no falling asleep or losing concentration. Well done!

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  • 67. At 6:01pm on 12 Oct 2009, bigpat wrote:

    Long-time lurker, first time poster.
    Quite simply...I liked it. Clear, concise, informative and memorable. I think that ticks all the important boxes.

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  • 68. At 6:02pm on 12 Oct 2009, newlach wrote:

    "Rain continues in Northern Scotland".

    There has been no rain all day where I am. It has been grey, but pleasantly mild.

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  • 69. At 6:05pm on 12 Oct 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Preston! Millionaire media mogul and Prime Minister with an emabrassingly inappropriate taste in (ahem) partners? Moi?

    I fail to qualify for any, which is why I live a life of tranquil obscurity.

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  • 70. At 6:06pm on 12 Oct 2009, clivesmith812 wrote:

    The new style weather forecast is a huge improvement. Can we now do away with the jokey and meaningless "forecasts" on the half hour on the Today programme?

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  • 71. At 6:07pm on 12 Oct 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Embrassingly? In the context, that was quite a good spelling mistake.

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  • 72. At 6:08pm on 12 Oct 2009, MadameMaigret wrote:

    Non, non et non! I was confused even before you got to the second sentence. There didn't seem all that much difference to me between this version and the old one. You said on the programme that the map would show which counties are in each region - it doesn't; there isn't the detail and you can't zoom in to see. Make it MORE like the Shipping Forecast - do away altogether with the chatty voices (especially from girls who sound as if they're still at school). Just say: "South-West England - sunny, rain later" for example. And keep the order the same as the shipping forecast. C'est logique!

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  • 73. At 6:09pm on 12 Oct 2009, pauldcmt wrote:

    Better. But too fussy. As someone in the South East (London) I still had to ignore the points about Sussex etc. So I still did not get it!
    What is wrong with saying something simple like: South East - morning cloudy; afternoon sunny with showers; temperature mild around 69%?

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  • 74. At 6:11pm on 12 Oct 2009, cleyhill wrote:

    I have just listened to the "NEW" weather forecast!
    Did I miss something,what was different?
    Answers on a postcard please.

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  • 75. At 6:12pm on 12 Oct 2009, meanmiserman wrote:

    Living in Cornwall, we have often been left wondering whether we were the vague "west" or the vague "south". The forecasts for each were often different. Even without the map this forecast makes it much clearer. Well done.

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  • 76. At 6:12pm on 12 Oct 2009, Mike6265 wrote:

    Please use the same format as the shipping forecast.

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  • 77. At 6:13pm on 12 Oct 2009, petechristie wrote:

    Bit of a dumbed-down effort... I think the "Weather" forecast should say a little more than whether it's going to rain or not... Synopsis of weather sytems approaching or moving away...? Barometric pressure??? Rising or falling...? Wind direction, speed...?? These details matter to me, and can't believe I'm alone in wanting more "real" information.... No need for as much detail as the Shipping Forecast, perhaps, but certainly more than what I can achieve by looking out of the window!!

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  • 78. At 6:13pm on 12 Oct 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    But to be serious for a minute. I found the 'new' weather forecast useful and informative. Moving from the general to the more specific for a region was just what I wanted to hear. Clear and practical - well done, all concerned.

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  • 79. At 6:13pm on 12 Oct 2009, browgars wrote:

    On a quick first hearing I thought it was better - I could even remember my region E. Scotland, whereas before I've stopped listening after 30 seconds or so. Well done! More feedback after a few more days.

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  • 80. At 6:15pm on 12 Oct 2009, meanmiserman wrote:

    Have just noticed that angelicsunday made exactly my point! Just goes to prove that it was an area of confusion needing to be remedied.

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  • 81. At 6:15pm on 12 Oct 2009, coniferousparrot wrote:

    This wasn't rocket science was it? Why havn't the BBC and Met Office done this years ago?

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  • 82. At 6:17pm on 12 Oct 2009, Bruce Mills wrote:

    Agree with a lot of what's been said already re' objectivity over subjectivity and ditching the weather forecaster's 'personality' etc., but having just listened to the first one, it seemed to be spot-on.No quibbles.
    No, that's not quite right, there is just one : why begin the forecast in the SE ? Does it not make more sense to ape the shipping forecast and go around Britain in a CLOCKWISE direction and begin in northern Scotland, and ignore the precious sensibilities of those in the SE and make them wait their turn ? Or might it be, as I suspect, that most of the BBC bod's - and forecasters - live in the SE and have therefore decided it'll be them that get served first and let the rest of we oiks 'go-hang' ?

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  • 83. At 6:17pm on 12 Oct 2009, Aeromodeller wrote:

    Excellent! Now may we have something similar on television. Give the wind speed too!

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  • 84. At 6:20pm on 12 Oct 2009, geniusradiofourfan wrote:

    I think the new forecast is brilliant! Please keep it - and how about something similar in television. After all it is meant to be information not a mini performance by the reader..........some of whom think of themselves as stars.

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  • 85. At 6:21pm on 12 Oct 2009, newiwonder wrote:

    weather!! love the map,sounds as though it might be an improvement.the one thing i loathe about weather forecasr time is the summary of what the day has been like!? I mean, have we all been asleep?

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  • 86. At 6:24pm on 12 Oct 2009, metricManiac wrote:

    I agree that the new format is clear. Only spoilt by references to Fahrenheit.

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  • 87. At 6:25pm on 12 Oct 2009, funnyturn wrote:

    I listened to the new format tonight and it is an improvement but risks limiting itself unnecessarily... in a way the weather does not! Two points:
    1) The weather does not always respect the boundaries on the map so you should always allow flexibility rather than sticking rigidly to the boundaries.
    2) The main advantage of the new format is the "location first, weather detail second" approach: the location allows the listener to tune in to their area and give their full attention to what follows. If you stick with this then it doesn't matter what sequence you do the regions in! The difference between "in the north-west there will be strong winds and hail" and "there will be strong winds and hail in the north-west" is non-existent logically but is fundamental in terms of the user experience.

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  • 88. At 6:37pm on 12 Oct 2009, telbak wrote:

    Very much approve of the new format. First of all, it begins by talking about the areas where the people are, not where the interesting and changing weather patterns are. Western Scotland may be interesting from the Weatherman’s viewpoint, but no-one lives there but a couple of crofters and lots of sheep, and the sheep at least, don’t care, yet we usually start there.

    Second it will be consistent, except when serious things are happening in particular places, and when they rightly get priority. So we will all be able to tell when our area (or one we are interested in) will come round.

    This just has to be the biggest single improvement since the change to Celsius readings. Well done - at last.

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  • 89. At 6:44pm on 12 Oct 2009, Michael007 wrote:

    Wales. Not Just a bit on the side. I don't think it is useful to deal with Wales as a region for weather reporting. The weather is very different north to south and from coastal to the mountains. I imagine the Scots find the same. So I am suggesting smaller regions where there is more diversity and vice versa.

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  • 90. At 6:46pm on 12 Oct 2009, RachGranny wrote:

    The change is a brilliant improvement. Please make it permanent.

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  • 91. At 6:57pm on 12 Oct 2009, Monkeyspiano wrote:

    Thank you for introducing a real improvement in the presentation of information. I expect it will become even clearer once both listener and announcer become more familiar with the pattern. I was becoming increasingly annoyed and dismayed with the way the weather announcements had turned into garbled and rushed witterings about "clouds bubbling up" delivered in a tone of voice more suited to 4 year old bed-time story readings (which is great if you want us to go to sleep!). Never NEVER offend my sensibilities with "bubblings up" again - PLEASE.
    Can we now apply the same technique to other factual information announcements such as those obligatory trails for forthcoming programming (announcers trying to speak in a wry "this is about a comedy programme - wink wink" style when describing comedy is particularly ineffective), and maybe even the news could be "deadpanned up" a bit!

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  • 92. At 7:04pm on 12 Oct 2009, robbieb wrote:

    The area by area format is a big improvement, BUT:
    1) Don't combine areas, e.g. "Wales and The Midlands", even if the forecast is identical. People will be listening for a specific area and combining areas reintroduces the kind of uncertainty the changes are intended to eliminate.
    2) The forecasts should be couched in clear, plain English, not the kind of weather person's jargon readers have lapsed into in recent years. It seems that, as the time allowed for the forecasts decreases, the readers become less precise and more long winded; the language used distracts the listener's attention from the forecast itself. Some examples from tonight's forecast:
    "dawn time" = "dawn"
    "16 degrees Celsius, that's 61 in Fahrenheit" = "16 degrees Celsius/61 Fahrenheit"
    3) These are FORECASTS, not reports of current weather, so the future tense should always be used, never the present. Here is a typical phrase: "The evening time is dry" (= "the evening will be dry").
    One suspects that forecasters use the present tense because it adds a quite spurious authenticity to their predictions, as though they can see into the future and are giving an eye-witness report of the actual (future) weather. They might like to think so, we the listeners know better!

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  • 93. At 7:05pm on 12 Oct 2009, markb wrote:

    re: 89. I agree entirely. As a Scot living in London, I've noticed that the weather in Peckham is different from the weather in New Cross, we need far more accurate reporting. I suspect this is just the BBC showing their typical bias to those who live North of the River.

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  • 94. At 7:12pm on 12 Oct 2009, rabthematelot wrote:

    At last a change driven by common sense. How about a few bars of sailing by to introduce the item.

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  • 95. At 7:29pm on 12 Oct 2009, Mrs Croft wrote:

    I found the forecast format this evening to be an improvement. The preamble had me a little distracted but once we reached the main event it was clear and concise, which is what I want in weather related reporting.

    Bravo to PM!

    Looking forward to tomorrow's forecast and, indeed, for the style to be used across Radio 4. Thank you.

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  • 96. At 7:41pm on 12 Oct 2009, EddieforPM wrote:

    Much better forecast. Would be improved by more structure, eg - night low temps, night precipitation: day sun and cloud, day precipitation, day hightemps, wind speed and direction. Alter as appropriate to time of forecast

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  • 97. At 7:58pm on 12 Oct 2009, FourbetterthanFive wrote:

    ..please add my vote to the 'much better' column. The new style has the potential to be a real improvement because I think now, with familiarity, that I will get used to tuning in at the right time in a broadcast rather than just switching off as soon as a bulletin starts. Well done for reacting positively to a much needed change

    Looking at a lot of the other comments perhaps the only other minor improvement to keep everyone happy would be to give each individual listener their own weather broadcaster who could then give a special forecast for each postal address in the UK!

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  • 98. At 8:07pm on 12 Oct 2009, jhmacca wrote:

    Good, but I still prefer the shipping forecast format - it may be formulaic, but believe me once you get the hang of it is solid and unforgettable.

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  • 99. At 8:26pm on 12 Oct 2009, dickthetaxi wrote:

    As I live in the lower Severn valley I am on the borders of three regions, the South West, Wales and the Midlands regions. With people having trouble remembering one region what chance have I got of remembering three and then working out which one applies to me? Of the various formats I heard during the experiment the only one that I found memorable was the shipping forecast style which clearly listed the regions to be forecast and you could then pay particular attention to the applicable forecast and ignore the rest.

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  • 100. At 8:32pm on 12 Oct 2009, bbenbow wrote:

    Fahrenheit - for goodness sake - why didn't you take this opportunity to get rid of it? Are you really still worried about the listener in Hemel Hemstead who is so busy writing letters complaining that he can no longer make sense of much of your output since you controversially axed the cubit that he hasn't heard of celsius?

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  • 101. At 9:02pm on 12 Oct 2009, elizabeth_shepherd wrote:

    The new forecast style is definitely easier to pay attention to. It is useful when forecasters tell you where and when the weather fronts are expected to move because they don't always do what is anticipated. You can make a better guess about whether the expected rain/sunshine is still to come or has gone somewhere else if you know how it was expected to move.

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  • 102. At 10:39pm on 12 Oct 2009, Anti_Headlight_Glare wrote:

    Eagerly looked forward to the new forecast, as I'm a fellow drifter-away-er.

    The new forecast is a timid step in the right direction, with its attempt at a consistent structure and emphasis on region or place names being positives, but overall its still very wordy and wishy washy.

    I lost interest just as much as I would have done normally.

    And what did he do ... says he's going to start in the south and work north and then in the first breath we have something about Scotland.

    What's wrong with a clipped, short sharp, matter of fact: South East rain easing midday then sunny high 20 low 10 [centigrade], Midlands rain easing midday then sunny high 18 low 12, South West overcast and breezey all day, rain at night high 22 low 8, etc

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  • 103. At 00:40am on 13 Oct 2009, Ormo1973 wrote:

    I like the new forecast and especially the definition of areas - about time. Well done!

    Now, where's the theme tune...?

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  • 104. At 08:43am on 13 Oct 2009, SteveNorthYorkshire wrote:

    Much Much Better
    You now get a clear overall picture for your region without trying to fathom out what is irrelevant to you, and piece separate bits of info together.

    I imagined what the Map would be like during the forecast, and when looking at it today, it is exactly how you imagined it would be.

    Definite YES

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  • 105. At 09:09am on 13 Oct 2009, wavetrack wrote:

    The forecast format is an improvement as long as it is kept and the public get used to it. Is there any point in naming places when the forecast is deliberately broad brush for regions?
    You will alienate people in places which are not mentioned.
    The local radio forecast is much better if you want detail, which is really what the public demand. Is it going to rain in my village/town/city?

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  • 106. At 10:16am on 13 Oct 2009, GregGlendell wrote:

    The jolly Beeb are only half-way there with this; still too nervous of actually changing anything and doing it properly. Still using vague waffling terminology. Just do it without all the padding as per the shipping forecast; Go on, Be bloody, bold and resolute!

    Most weather comes from the west or South West, and works its way E /NE, so should start with the UK's most westerly area, Northern Ireland, and proceed clockwise.

    Here is my weather forcast for "the South West" for 13th Oct, based on the BBC's website, but formatted as follows:

    Wind direction and minimum/maximum expected speed in MPH; sunny/cloudy stuff; precipitation; min and max temps in degrees C; temperture effects, e.g frost. So, for the South West it would be:

    The South West:
    S, veering to WNW, 2 to 4; Cloudy at first, then sunny, cloudy again at night; Dry; 2 to 14 degrees; ground frost at night.

    This takes about 15 seconds to read. The more *concise* the info, the better we are able to remember it. After a few weeks I'm sure we'd get used to this format and the forecasters could occassionally repeat the format for the benefit of new listeners.

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  • 107. At 10:55am on 13 Oct 2009, simonoldridge wrote:

    New forecast: fantastic, logical.

    I have always found radio forecasts frustratingly hard to follow because they've had a technical bias, structured around the weather patterns rather than driven by the location of the listener. Finally, you've designed the product for the customer who doesn't want to try and absorb the macro patterns across the whole country until their location is possibly mentioned.

    I don't think you need to make a big deal about the map - it will be pretty obvious for most people which segment they're in, and certainly more apparent than before. There's also no point getting bogged down with where the exact boundaries are, because forecasting surely isn't that accurate!

    Nice one!

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  • 108. At 10:58am on 13 Oct 2009, FarMyrrh wrote:

    A much better format. Living in Kent the weather was given for The South, The East, The London Area or, occasionally, The South East or any combination of the these. Now I know where I am.

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  • 109. At 5:07pm on 13 Oct 2009, judydt wrote:

    Congratulations on the new style weather forecast - I'm not sure why it took so long to use such a common sense approach, long set by the shipping forecast. Please keep it in place and extend to all weather forecasts. On a related topic perhaps the weather forecast could be given an extra minute or so - it is very rushed in a way that politics and sport are not - yet is important to many people in the daily life and planning.

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  • 110. At 5:20pm on 13 Oct 2009, Bruce Mills wrote:

    Hey ! All you anti-fahrenheit bod's, lay off will you ? I've never got the feel for celsius, or, for that matter, any metric measure.
    Keep the fahrenheit scale please. It's not a matter of pedantry for me, it's a simple matter of understanding.

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  • 111. At 6:04pm on 13 Oct 2009, Bruce Mills wrote:

    WIND !! By the way, have just listened to the second PM forecast tonight and I wondered where in heck was the wind direction mentioned for anywhere ? As it matters to the mariner, it matters to me, a landlubber, also. It often dictates how my day passes.

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  • 112. At 6:22pm on 13 Oct 2009, allisonwonderland wrote:

    I missed yesterday's forecast (not only do I drift off during the forecast, but also the programme beforehand). Tuned in tonight - is it me or was it just like the old style?

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  • 113. At 5:16pm on 14 Oct 2009, philemon wrote:

    The new style weather forecast is very much like the ones in the 1950s which were detailed and based to a certain extent on the shipping forecast pattern. The problem with forecasts at the moment is they are too vague - often we hear stuff like "dry in the north, wet in the south". Where does north end and south begin? Also a fixed order means we know when to listen for our area, whereas at present the order can change and we often are not sure if our area has been covered or not. Where there are particular weather warnings that need emphasising they could be done at the beginning rather like gale warnings in the shipping forecast.

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  • 114. At 5:33pm on 14 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    ms 100, I still use F, but measure in metric.

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  • 115. At 08:55am on 15 Oct 2009, Northern_Listener wrote:

    The new (actally old) style of forecast is exactly what the BBC ought to be - clear, infomative, accessible and reliable. Please introduce this style of forecast across the whole of Radio Four.

    It's a vast improvement on the trundling, rumbling, bubbling, spits and spots, ice on the roads AND on the pavements etc,etc meaningless babble. I particularly loathed the value judgements of 'and the good news is, it will be mild' ... some of us like snow and cold weather. Never let them back on the air!

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  • 116. At 5:12pm on 15 Oct 2009, KielderBird wrote:

    I agree with others that the map is so small that we need to be able to zoom in so that those of us close to the boundaries can work out which side of the line we appear.

    Also, the forecasters need to give the place names first not last. This issue has been raised about travel news where it is much better if the motorway is stated first then the junctions and then what the problem is.

    Please do keep trying - thanks

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  • 117. At 6:11pm on 15 Oct 2009, CarinaNebula wrote:

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

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  • 118. At 00:02am on 16 Oct 2009, VeniVediVocali wrote:

    Midlands, Eastern England, South West it's not exactly Dogger, Fisher, German Bite. For England why not switch to Mercia, East Anglia, Wessex, etc. Add to that Cymru and Alba and you have a weather forecast that we can feel more at home with.

    The term Midlands evokes the feeling of a geographic description, while Mercia sounds like something you might belong to and become attached to.

    So please Post Meridiem on the Home Service can we have some slightly less utilitarian use of the language on the wireless.

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  • 119. At 1:24pm on 16 Oct 2009, MissisP wrote:

    Still too much chat - I really liked it when it was so much clearer ...... LIKE THE SHIPPING FORECAST please

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  • 120. At 4:50pm on 16 Oct 2009, RobinBrand wrote:

    I think the new style forecast is excellent, because it presents the weather from the viewpoint of the listener "looking up" as it were, rather than the forecaster "looking down". In other words there has been a tendency for the weather to be described along the lines of "a cold front is moving across England", leaving the listener to work out if it affects them, rather than "in this area you will be affected by the cold front bringing this effect at about this time of day", which is musch more useful.

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  • 121. At 6:10pm on 16 Oct 2009, sue-redhill wrote:

    I have long wondered why I could never disentangle my local weather from the chatty style of forecast and always drifted off and found I had lost interest and missed it and still didn;t know whetehr I needed to wear a raincoat that day or not! I was very relieved to hear that it wasn't just me!
    PLEASE keep to simple local sections, delivered always in the same order with no nonsense about the broadcaster's views on whether we should be pleased or not - how do they know what listeners like or dislike in the weather? The new style is much clearer. Please extend it to all weather broadcasts!

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  • 122. At 9:20pm on 16 Oct 2009, huwminehead wrote:

    I am afraid that I haven't heard the new form of forecast yet, but think that you are trying to do the right thing. I like the fixed geographical areas. However, what worried me is that the information is so often wrong. I live in a rural area, and work in tourism and agriculture. Accurate weather forecasting is extremely important to me. However the only time the forecast is right here is when the weather has aleady been stable for some time (several days.)In normal weather the forecast is almost always wrong. This is not just a BBC problem. The 5 internet post code forcasts I look at rarely agree. The Met Office tell me that they just do not have enough local weather recording stations.

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  • 123. At 9:46pm on 16 Oct 2009, pithywriter wrote:

    Like the original poster.. i always thought it a 'gabble' and incomprehensible. I too suggested the clarity of the shipping forecast format. I used to sit as a Coastguard assistant during the 70s at Gorleston coast Guard, Norfolk ready to take down 'Humber Thames' bit and was always able to be ready as the thing went around the coast clockwise. It was easy to be ready for our bit in this way.
    Also, could BBC broadcasters of weather or otherwise, just slow down their speech a bit and on the last word raise it please so listeners can hear.
    This is why we (mere) women were taken on as paid coast guard auxiliaries when the radio work was taken over from the GPO at the time. The reasoning for employing women was that their voices were clearer as they were higher and so clearer on the radio - very important on the VHS radio emergency channel channel 6. There is a lot of hopeless 'gabbling' on BBC speech radio which is the reason I have given up on Radio 5 - especially during the evening and night. I am told there is nothing wrong with my hearing. thanks Ms Pithy.

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  • 124. At 9:52pm on 16 Oct 2009, pithywriter wrote:

    Re 122 huwminehead...
    I wonder why then the Met office don't get trained volunteers involved with a bit of equipment installed.. It is not rocket science is it!

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  • 125. At 2:03pm on 17 Oct 2009, GeoffBowers wrote:

    I like it! 'Nuf said... ~:O)

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  • 126. At 5:58pm on 17 Oct 2009, edwardvdp wrote:

    Well done on the new style weather forecast. It's what I've been saying for years - stop thinking you're in show business (especially you, Eddie) and please just give us the facts.

    Can anyone please answer this - or ask the man himself - WHY does Peter Gibbs pronounce "though" and "although" in that strange way ie with "th" as in "thin" when it should be as in "this" or, for goodness sake, in "though"? We call him "the abominable thoman", alTHough he's otherwise not too bad. I haven't heard anyone else ever do that - it's not a regional accent.Is it trying to be different, not boring, in a weird way a false attempt at showbiz again? Regards Ed

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  • 127. At 6:02pm on 19 Oct 2009, pause111 wrote:

    Bother - wot happened to South-west Scotland?? I think I drifted off again as I only caught North and East Scotland. I do wish the areas could be, as in the shipping forecast, read area by area, never putting two or three together or reading them out of order.
    However, it's wonderful not to have the value judgements about what is a 'good' 'pleasant' or 'not so nice' day.

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  • 128. At 6:20pm on 19 Oct 2009, Fifi wrote:

    This sounds to me like weather forecasts when I was growing up in the 1970s: they just told you what the weather would be like.

    Unlike nearly everything else I can remember from the 1970s, this is something to be welcomed, applauded, given the best seat in the house and persuaded to move in with the family for good.

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  • 129. At 9:03pm on 19 Oct 2009, Redheylin wrote:

    Possibly local radio DJs could take over the "how you ought to feel about the weather" that's been so universally excoriated? All it needs is a little more time and depth. So "the rain tomorrow will cause you to get wet if you are out in it, which 23% of listeners do not welcome at any time, though a further 34% say they do not mind as long as it does not happen too often. If you grow plants you may be glad as this is the first rain for 26 days. However, if you had been planning to go to the beach, statistics suggest that you are twice as likely not to welcome it. If you are a gardener who was going to the beach you will be, in the final analysis, neither happier nor sadder than if it had not rained, so please beware of mood-swings. And do not forget your umbrella, should you be one of the 26% of the local population who owns one, particularly if you belong to the subset, a substantial minority, that does not habitually carry it. What you think of the wind will largely depend on which way, if any, you are trying to walk.....

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  • 130. At 9:06pm on 19 Oct 2009, Redheylin wrote:


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  • 131. At 05:39am on 21 Oct 2009, annsnet wrote:

    New weather forecast very much clearer, please keep the chat down, information up

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