The End of Upshares. PM Editor Joanna Carr writes:
"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."