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The End of Upshares. PM Editor Joanna Carr writes:

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Eddie Mair | 10:32 UK time, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

"So farewell then, Upshares. For the past 14 months, PM's business and economics slot has attracted ire, devotion and possibly indifference - although listeners in that last camp tend not to e-mail.

Last November, we at the PM programme felt that we needed a daily slot to reflect the progress of the recession. Step forward Nils Blythe, who appeared after the 1730 headlines to address all aspects of the economic crisis. We asked the listeners to name the slot, and David Cartwight came up with the name "Upshares, Downshares".

We admittedly started playing the theme to the 1970s drama Upstairs, Downstairs, but we never asked listeners to send in their own versions; they did that off their own bat. We've since been sent over 100 versions, and we've played nearly all of them. I've only vetoed one version on taste grounds, and I won't say more about that - although, if you are reading this, you know who you are and you should be ashamed of yourself. More about the music in a moment.

It's fair to say that Upshares came in for a bit of stick - some listeners e-mailed us and Radio 4's Feedback to tell us that they thought the music trivialised the issue, that it was an inappropriate way to introduce discussions about such matters as people's livelihoods, and in one case to let us know that they would be tuning into BBC Radio 3 at 1730 until we desisted.

I understand that some listeners always found the juxtaposition uncomfortable, but I judged that Upshares was always a serious, high-quality slot, giving a focus on economics that had previously been absent from PM. In the course of the run, Nils has done special reports from Northern Ireland and Scotland. He has answered listeners' questions on all aspects of the crisis. He has taken his economic eye to Malawi. He has interviewed luminaries such as the French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, Lord Mandelson - and Graham Gooch, though that was about something different. He had worn Mantyhose.

As to the music - it's clear from the flood of contributions that the PM audience responded energetically to the creative challenge, and I think it's fair to say that we were stunned by the sheer quality of much of what we received. The carillon at York Minster version. The Bee Gee version. The Bach fugue version. The Tchaikovsky version. The Elvis version. The wonderful version the BBC Philharmonic recorded for us, conducted by the original composer Alexander Faris.

I'd like to thank all the listeners who invested such time and creative energy to contribute. Could we release a CD in aid of Children in Need, hundreds e-mailed to ask. We're looking in to this as we speak; in the meantime, we will be making all the renditions available at the PM blog and offering a link to Children in Need.

If it's so good, why end it now? We certainly won't be leaving Nils to the afternoon cocktail hour - he'll continue to appear frequently on PM to guide the listener through the economic and business news. But with the economy technically out of recession, it seemed a logical editorial moment to call it a day. After all, what goes Upshares, must come Downshares."


  • 1. At 10:39am on 26 Jan 2010, GiulioNapolitani wrote:

    And, as if by magic, a thread appeared.

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  • 2. At 10:48am on 26 Jan 2010, GiulioNapolitani wrote:

    I've only vetoed one version on taste grounds, and I won't say more about that

    Ah gowarn! Was this the legendary 'guff' version?

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  • 3. At 10:54am on 26 Jan 2010, Joker wrote:

    No it was not!

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  • 4. At 11:47am on 26 Jan 2010, Patrick Too wrote:

    A marvellous concept - Going back to the lighter roots of PM's origins - what was it? "Your evening starts here"? - All in all together with more inclusion of European and other news items so neglected by the other BBC News progs, isn't it time PM won a few awards?

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  • 5. At 11:59am on 26 Jan 2010, U14309581 wrote:

    Hi Jo!

    Well explained. Onward!

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  • 6. At 12:05pm on 26 Jan 2010, GiulioNapolitani wrote:

    isn't it time PM won a few awards?

    And never mind all those Sony awards. Go for the Turner Prize!

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  • 7. At 12:35pm on 26 Jan 2010, jonnie wrote:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the slot and hope that it helps PM get a Sony award for ingenuity

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  • 8. At 12:42pm on 26 Jan 2010, Michael Jennings wrote:

    Here's my vote for a charity CD

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  • 9. At 12:51pm on 26 Jan 2010, GiulioNapolitani wrote:

    And don't let the prospect of a few whingeing letters to 'Feedback' put you off pursuing a suitably gaudy send-off for the radio event of the decade. I shall, at the very least, expect to hear an Upshares medley playing softly behind a procession of celebrity tributes. I'm thinking Gordon Brown on a crackly telephone line intoning in Churchillian mode: "Thank you Nils and thank you to the PM listeners who, with a smile in their heart and a Stylophone in their hand, have helped pull our great nation through the darkest of times."

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  • 10. At 12:55pm on 26 Jan 2010, Space_Alien wrote:

    Hmmm... it always sounded like the theme to upstairs downstairs to me...

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  • 11. At 1:03pm on 26 Jan 2010, GiulioNapolitani wrote:

    No, hold on. Not just a 'procession' of tributes, a cavalcade. That's what I mean.

    And fireworks, of course. Not just those indoor ones, mind.

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  • 12. At 1:03pm on 26 Jan 2010, DiY wrote:

    I've only vetoed one version on taste grounds, and I won't say more about that

    You big tease!


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  • 13. At 1:23pm on 26 Jan 2010, Stewart_M wrote:

    Will the vetoed one make the CD?

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  • 14. At 1:40pm on 26 Jan 2010, GiulioNapolitani wrote:

    Will the vetoed one make the CD?

    Ah, now there is a potential selling point. 'Upshares Uncut': with the banned version and the much discussed, but never heard 'guff' version.

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  • 15. At 1:48pm on 26 Jan 2010, Space_Alien wrote:

    greetings earthfood... here's a version i knocked off while in a jam on the outer rings of Saturn...


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  • 16. At 3:10pm on 26 Jan 2010, DiY wrote:

    15 Space_Alien

    You did not listen to PM last night.

    Because you don't exist!


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  • 17. At 3:10pm on 26 Jan 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    'Nils Blythe, who appeared after the 1730 headlines...'

    He doesn't sound that old.

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  • 18. At 3:16pm on 26 Jan 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    Of course, this may be premature, the blip last quarter was caused by car scrappage artificially boosting car sales, so unless the government intends to subsidise all new car sales from now on, we could see a blip down this first quarter of 2010. It all depends on confidence [apparently] so if enough accept it's over and go shopping then it might be, on the other hand...

    But you can't have constant growth without damaging the environment, and the further we 'come out of recession' the more emissions will rise and we'll be back to discussing how to reduce them as the consumer hordes rush for the malls.

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  • 19. At 4:07pm on 26 Jan 2010, Briantist wrote:

    It has been quite a pleasure tuning into PM at 1730 to hear the latest remix or version of the Upstairs, Downstairs theme. The creativity of the listeners to PM has put a smile on my face on a daily basis.

    I would love the CD if for no other reasons to use a few versions for my Android phone's ringtones.

    Thanks to PM for keeping the nay-sayers at bay and for Upshares being the "small light of calm" on the 24 hour economic newscycle.

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  • 20. At 4:20pm on 26 Jan 2010, annasee wrote:

    Briantist - you're a bit behind the times. Mine's already my ringtone. Problem is hardly anyone ever rings me. The other day when it rang, I sat thinking "Where's that music coming from? Sounds vaguely familiar too. Someone must be playing a radio very loudly" Doh!

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  • 21. At 5:03pm on 26 Jan 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    I'm relieved to know you're not dumping Nils, he's great and I appreciate his clear descriptions and decoding the mysteries of the business world.

    The music won't be missed by me though. Still it was a great effort from those who did get involved.

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  • 22. At 5:06pm on 26 Jan 2010, ValeryP wrote:

    Annasee - how did you do that then? I need a new ringtone :o)

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  • 23. At 5:07pm on 26 Jan 2010, Space_Alien wrote:

    DiY#16... now i know why my space pants keep falling down...

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  • 24. At 5:20pm on 26 Jan 2010, Crataegus Monogyna wrote:

    Boom, Boom! Twelve minutes to clear the pantsdown joke!

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  • 25. At 5:24pm on 26 Jan 2010, Space_Alien wrote:


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  • 26. At 5:29pm on 26 Jan 2010, DiY wrote:

    23 Space_Alien

    pants are Pants! Where as if you be wearing Speedos........!

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  • 27. At 5:31pm on 26 Jan 2010, Patrick Too wrote:

    I hope some counselling will be made available for this loss! ;)

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  • 28. At 5:34pm on 26 Jan 2010, msuemason wrote:

    Upshares Downshares has been a delight. Such creativity from musicians young and old. I will miss it. Here's my vote for CD

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  • 29. At 5:38pm on 26 Jan 2010, Space_Alien wrote:

    DiY#26... we aliens only wear Warp Speedos...

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  • 30. At 5:56pm on 26 Jan 2010, Alex Cooke wrote:

    Thank you for removing that very childish title and awful music for what is a serious adult topic called Financial News.Hopefully we can now resume a sensible approach with your excellent presenters such as Robert Peston who have so much valuable and interesting information to deliver to your listeners.
    Alex Cooke.Killinchy , Co. Down.

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  • 31. At 5:57pm on 26 Jan 2010, newlach wrote:

    A mega-medley straight from heaven with assistance from Ennio Morricone!

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  • 32. At 6:03pm on 26 Jan 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    31 newlach - That was the only one I really enjoyed, which say more about me than the tune itself probably. HOO HA!

    Except of course for the BBC Philharmonic but who could have done better?

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  • 33. At 6:04pm on 26 Jan 2010, mes wrote:

    Hearing the complilation of the upshares theme tonight made me realise that this iniative like the recession has gone on too long. Let us hoipe both have reached a conclusion.

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  • 34. At 6:08pm on 26 Jan 2010, Michael Jennings wrote:

    After years of thinking his name must be an anagram I now know where to put the space in Nils Blythe's name.

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  • 35. At 6:12pm on 26 Jan 2010, steelpulse wrote:

    Thank goodness for the collection of Upshares/Downshare themes following all the medical terms. Thank the commentators anyway, Ms Carr. Oh and Edward. The interview with that unemployed gentleman was too close to home for my taste. Oh and medical terms - it reminded me of that Fred Flintsone type query gag about a new animal to avoid, in ancient times. DoYouThinkHeSaurUs? I think "he" did!
    What is the secret of comedyTIMING!? lol


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  • 36. At 6:12pm on 26 Jan 2010, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Wow. I've just listened to a few of the versions on the web-page, some of which I hadn't heard the first time. They really are amazing.

    Thanks to everyone involved, it's really kept a smile on my face...

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  • 37. At 6:13pm on 26 Jan 2010, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Space_Alien, I loved your version. You may eat me. But you'll have to defrost me first.

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  • 38. At 6:25pm on 26 Jan 2010, Space_Alien wrote:

    greetings earthfiood... actually we eat first then defrost you later... thank you for the love of my version... i'll cross you off the mystery midnight probe list...

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  • 39. At 7:11pm on 26 Jan 2010, Space_Alien wrote:

    greetings earthfood... here is my effort again just so you know what Frances O is referring to i am noting if not a self publicist...


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  • 40. At 09:40am on 27 Jan 2010, vagueofgodalming wrote:

    would be tuning into BBC Radio 3 at 1730 until we desisted

    Wow. Talk about the nuclear option. I'm amazed you were brave - or foolhardy - enough to carry on in the face of that.

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  • 41. At 4:38pm on 27 Jan 2010, AbbyK wrote:

    I love the balance of humour and serios news reporting all throughout PM. So much better than the humourless Today programme. Thank you!

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  • 42. At 8:55pm on 27 Jan 2010, Steve Hewitt wrote:

    Please, bring back Upshares. Okay, Nils may need break and there may need to be a small change to the format to keep it fresh. But it was a very informative slot at a convenient time. Without being too 'heavy', it gave a good insight into the day's financial world. Let's have something to replace it, and soon! You have the rest of the program for other current-affairs topics. Thanks!

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  • 43. At 10:03am on 28 Jan 2010, Apple-Eater wrote:

    I liked having a business/economy section in the programme, and hope it will continue.

    It was actually also very well done, giving a fairly broad picture of the subject it was covering.

    Some of the music was great, but it could be a bit 'grating' too. I hope they'll carry on with the slot, but drop the music, and maybe the title's a bit inappropriate, too, considering that it's often reporting on people losing their jobs.

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  • 44. At 07:53am on 29 Jan 2010, dpjlegendary wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 45. At 2:09pm on 29 Jan 2010, Alex Cooke wrote:

    Now that we have finally dispensed with the daft title and childish music that accompanied your financial report on PM , would it be possible to re-introduce the introductory music with which PM used to open .I used to find that music rather inspiring at the start of what is a most impressive news and current affairs programme.
    At least let us hear that introductory music again to bring back fond memories !Go on , play it !!

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  • 46. At 12:34pm on 01 Feb 2010, Toonman wrote:

    Definitely enjoyed the slot and appreciated a lighter take on the whole thing - it's a serious subject but I think the complainants should definitely take a chill pill and look at the lighter side of the issues.

    PM you certainly have my vote for the charity CD (hopefully with the vetoed version included - now we're all curious!)

    Toonman (Wonkie cartoon blog)

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  • 47. At 05:48am on 02 Feb 2010, spicewebs wrote:

    Very Informative....

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  • 48. At 2:26pm on 05 Mar 2010, Mr_Concerned wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 49. At 5:51pm on 27 Oct 2010, Bina Cossar wrote:

    Long time !! I listen to pm every evening on my way home from work and every time the bishop of Norwich talks about up shares down shares music and give the addrss to send £10 pounds. I am always driving and can not write it down. I would appreciat if the BBC could post the adress to me by email together with the pm news update. Only a small request for someone who works her butt off to serve the community. Yours Bina

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  • 50. At 6:24pm on 27 Oct 2010, Alan_N wrote:



    To get a CD send a cheque or postal order for ten pounds to "Upshares Downshares, Room G601, BBC TV Centre, London W12 7RJ". The cheque or postal order should be made out to Children In Need Appeal. And very important this, please don't forget to clearly include your own name and address so we can send you the CD.

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  • 51. At 12:30pm on 28 Oct 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Bishop of Norwich?

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  • 52. At 1:53pm on 28 Oct 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Sue - If you're buying, I'll have a pint. Slainte.

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