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And now on Radio 4

Mark Damazer Mark Damazer 11:05, Friday, 6 February 2009

Welcome. I am writing this blog to help explain the way R4 works, draw attention to particular programmes and, of course, to hear what's concerning you and to discover what you like and don't like.

It may not work--but I thought that given the nature of the R4 audience--loyal, demanding, inquiring--I am hopeful that I will learn some useful things and that you will feel more in touch with the station.

I will not blog every day--but when I'm around I'll do my best not to leave long gaps between postings. And when I'm not around--I'll tell you. With the editors of the blog we'll also try to highlight round-ups of the conversations and comment about Radio 4 online.

There are some things that I won't be able to do. If there is a really big Radio 4 row going on I (and my colleagues) may need time to sort things out. It would be wrong to use the blog to provide instant answers when considerable thought is required and/or when facts are not clear. So I would not have used the blog to provide a blow by blow account of proceedings when there was interest in the presentation of 'Today' at the end of last year.

Nor can I talk about the future--or speculate--about any individual presenter. Those sort of conversations have to stay private.

And finally--of course you can tell me what is on your mind--and I will read what you write - but I can't write back to each individual comment about a programme. There are other more formal places to go on BBC Online to ask questions, comment or complain.

But there's plenty that we should be able to do here . Let's see how it goes.


  • Comment number 1.

    Welcome to the blogosphere, Radio 4! Just one quick note: the title of your rss feed is "BBC NEWS | The Editors" perhaps you might want to change this?

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Lucas. Thanks for spotting that.. I've changed the template.
    (Jem - host)

  • Comment number 3.

    I was bewildered by the Independent "Is Radio 4 too posh?" piece, and more bewildered by your ascription to it as 'a really big Radio 4 row'. I care about who your presenters are only to the extent that they should be articulate, incisive and not dumbed down; by and large I don't care who they are, and I care even less about the accents they might happen to have.

    Changing tack, I'm a big drama and readings fan, a core Radio 4 activity (thankyou, thankyou) strangely unmentioned in the Independent article, and I'd like to plead for the early and permanent return of the Friday Play. Omnibus editions of the informative but oh so dreary America, Empire of Liberty could I feel be channeled adequately online to iPlayer and/or perhaps podcast. As a keen Listen Againer, I would also like to see online omnibus editions of Book of the Week, Woman's Hour Drama, and Book at Bedtime. BBC7 does such omnibuses, so why shouldn't Radio 4?

    Lastly, I'd like the Classic Serial to be a bit more adventurous in its choice of book. I accept there is a difficult balance between treatment length and choice, but some of the recent treatments have been condensed too harshly.


  • Comment number 4.

    Interested to hear the Book Burning history toady, featuring the Ralman Rushdie case. Some of the memories being related were a little like viewing someone's holiday snaps. There was much joviality relayed at the Bradford gang's days out burning flags.

    I rather think the authorities should have jumped on the protesters much harder at the time. They allowed too much freedom of expression, which will be regretted by everyone, if not already.

    Good and interesting topic though.

  • Comment number 5.

    Where to start! I have quite a list (but someone complained about length comments the other day, so will keep posts short!)

    The BBC seems to want feedback, but while the Media gets a weekly show ('The Message' being replaced by 'The Media Show'), the listeners only get 'Feedback' from time to time.

    You have some rota on Pick of the Week and 'guest presenters' for other shows, so even when Roger Bolton isn't available, there must be a number of alternative presenters that could 'cover'.

  • Comment number 6.

    Something niggles me about the number of trailers / promotions / adverts for forthcoming programmes.

    Some time back, Clive Anderson did a piece on Wikipedia, and it was promoted daily from EIGHT DAYS before broadcast.

    While I don't know of anything else getting similar coverage, it 'irks' me that from 05:21 until after midnight there are *endless* programme adverts.

    As someone outside the 'average' (I work from home and R4 is often on for 18 hours a day) I hear these far too much, but
    cannot be a lone voice.

    Please think of anyone who is housebound (elderly, or infirm) and has R4 on all day (and perhaps all night, too).

  • Comment number 7.

    I should like to take this opportunity to congratulate you, Mark, on an extraordinary success story: UK Radio Station of the Year 2008 (Sony), increasing popularity, impressive ratings from RAJAR, favourable critical reviews etc.

    Interacting with your listeners, whether online or off, is always likely to be a bit tricky, but I should nevertheless like to encourage you have a go. You never know. It might actually work! As Russ mentioned the article in 'The Independent', perhaps I ought to offer the link:

    As you will be critically aware, Mark, journalists will not always report your message in the way that you might prefer:

    Blogging certainly offers a more direct way of reaching your audience than an interview with a journalist who may have a completely different agenda, so to speak, but the medium is also the message. The blog tells us that the Controller of Radio 4 is online, as well as off.

    As for what Radio 4 ought to be broadcasting, Mark, you cannot hope to do everything. Nevertheless, I think that you will need to remain open to new ideas. Perhaps we shall be able to help you out. All the best, c.

  • Comment number 8.

    Damazer said
    "I am writing this blog to help explain the way R4 works, draw attention to particular programmes and, of course, to hear what's concerning you and to discover what you like and don't like".

    You have received 500 complaints about Thought for the Day that you have not responded to and you have the temerity to say that you want to hear our opinions!

    I challenge you to an open debate in order for you to justify why you discriminate against those of us who do not believe in god.

  • Comment number 9.

    Or, if you have no intention of changing your policy on this issue then at least be honest and change the name of the slot to - "Religious thought for the day" so that everyone is clear what it's purpose is.


  • Comment number 10.

    To echo post 8, I find it incredible that Mr Damazer failed to properly acknowledge (never mind engage with) any of the arguments re. TFTD which were put to him in hundreds of e-mails and hundreds of blog posts, and yet here he presents himself as someone who is open to listening.

    Even Christians agreed with us that TFTD is unacceptable in its current form, yet we still don't even know who is dictating to everybody that it must not be reformed. Would Mr Damazer like to enlighten us about this?

  • Comment number 11.

    Damazer said:
    "And finally--of course you can tell me what is on your mind--and I will read what you write - but I can't write back to each individual comment about a programme."

    You know what's on our minds (TFTD). Please write back about it and explain to 1,500 peopl who felt strongly enough to complain and were bitterly disappointed by your flimsy response.

    Face up to it. We are not going away.

  • Comment number 12.

    I should perhaps report back to the Controller of BBC Radio 4, Mark Damazer, that 'Thought for the Day' is not particularly on my mind, aussen. What I have done, therefore, is an internet search:

    Wikipedia puts it thus:

    "In 2002, 102 notable people put their name to a letter to the BBC Governors, drawn up by the British Humanist Association, the National Secular Society, and the Rationalist Press Association. This protested that the slot was available only to religious views. As a consequence, Professor Richard Dawkins from Oxford University was given a two-and-a-half minute slot to deliver a reflection from an atheist viewpoint, although this was not broadcast in the Thought for the Day slot itself. The BBC commented that it wanted to keep Thought for the Day a unique offering of a faith perspective within an otherwise entirely secular news programme. In response to this decision by the BBC the Humanist Society of Scotland created their own programme 'Thought For The World' to accommodate these non-religious views, while the site Platitude of the Day was created to parody and analyse the Thought of the Day thoughts from a non-religious perspective."

    I rather like 'Thought for the Day', Mark, although I do not necessarily agree with what is said. I think that it is valuable for BBC Radio 4 to reflect a variety of thoughts, from religious and agnostic to atheist.

  • Comment number 13.

    Somehow I don't think Mr Damazer will comment here unless he gets 'prodded' by someone else in the BBC, or if he notices new posts when next he comes to post on a new topic and then spots that there have been various comments.

    I don't really expect a response, and even less, a change in policy regarding the number of repeat promotions (adverts) for shows, because RAJAR figures probably suggest the 'average' listener only listens to R4 during the drive to/from work (that might apply to Mr Damazer, too, of course).

    However, I am pleased to note that despite there being lots of 'promotions' on Five Live, at least they have now changed to give a list of forthcoming programmes in time order, something which I think would be more worthwhile for R4 a few times a day, to highlight the whole morning, afternoon, or evening schedule, allowing wider knowledge of the breadth of programme content.

  • Comment number 14.

    Can someone explain the 'random' policy on repeats?

    Some evening programmes get a repeat the following afternoon, while others (mainly science or technology, when they're on) don't, and Material World never seems to be repeated, while food, money, etc, do get repeats.

    Also, have the changes been completed now, regarding switching days? I thought Law in Action had been wiped out, when it was moved from Friday to Tuesday (without any forwarning, from memory, compared with GQT, which announced it was changing to Friday).

    While the number of repeats does annoy (and particularly when some items seem to be repeated within 2-3 months, such as that car trip across Russia, or the Noel Coward 'Las Vegas' play) I am far more puzzled about why some items never get a repeat, while others do.

    I can generally use Listen Again (sorry, hate this iPlayer thing - BBC getting 'trendy' with blogging, Facebook and even Twitter getting promoted now) but a good portion of people have no internet still (if outside the South East).

    If BBC Wales (Mousemat programme) is correct, some 50% of households in Wales have no internet access (and limited DAB coverage, in some parts, too).

  • Comment number 15.

    Further on Science vs Arts (following on from lack of repeat playing)

    Art/Culture gets pretty much daily coverage, with Front Row, book reviews, poetry, and Saturday review, plus Midweek, and book readings morning, evening and after midnight, compared with limited science coverage.

    You even get time in NEWS shows like Today and PM to have live interviews (mostly London centric) when there's something 'arty' going on, at the detriment of intelligent discussion with interviewees - that 'stopwatch radio' thing and trying to cram in the news bulletin, sport, weather, travel, politics, in an unending rotation...

  • Comment number 16.

    Regarding R4 news coverage...

    What about us who are not limited to 30-60 minutes listening time?

    I have stopped listening to R4 for news after the World at One because so many sound clips are presented at 1800, 2200 and midnight, with nothing 'new' added.

    Do you think the top 6 stories are all that's important? It's crazy that we get hardly any UK news these days (in the way BBC TV Nationwide gave serious / sad / fun stories from every region, every weekday, when it ran).

    I think that there is very little 'added' by having presenting teams fly off to other countries - the BBC has excellent staff with a myriad of contacts made over months and years, yet seems to use the 'world' in news programme titles as an excuse to fly off here there and everywhere... What about your carbon footprint? How many people go? How much does it cost? Does it REALLY add to the quality of the programme when a presenter is live from somewhere else?

    In my view, the audio delays, fragmentation (one presenter in UK, one abroad) and so on, is questionable on so many of the aspects listed above (cost, staffing, carbon) and to me, makes me think of 'perks for the staff' - though no doubt jet lagged, and tummy bugged, I suspect top hotels and chance to see places is a real 'plus' for BBC staff.

    While I do consider it important to know what's going on in the world, I am strongly against the level of coverage (across the BBC, Five Live seemed to give even more coverage for some 15 months) for the US Presidential Election. Sure, he's one of the most powerful men in the world, but the pre-election coverage went too far - we only need to get 'in depth' after the candidates and running mates are decided - there's no doubt excellent coverage in the USA for those who CAN vote !!

    (I am more critical of Five Live and Radio 1 for foreign jaunts to USA and Europe, and others may well 'take advantage' of awards ceremonies to hop a trip abroad at BBC expense, so not just a criticism of R4.)

  • Comment number 17.

    BBC Radio 4 is of course unable to cover all its listeners' requests, anonymous2009, although it is open to good ideas and suggestions, which is one potentially valuable use of this particular blog.

    Of course, from our online perspective, the internet offers us a useful source of information, which conventional broadcasting, even on BBC Radio 4, is not really going to be able to match.

    What BBC Radio 4 can do, I guess, is act as some kind of intelligent filter. What would be interesting to know, for example, and why?


  • Comment number 18.

    While my earlier comments were critical of scheduling, randomness in repeat policy, 'adverts' and so on, I must add a 'thank you':

    This evening's Moral Maze just covered the topic of government keeping data about citizens (better be careful, they'll no doubt want to identify me later!) and alerted me to the need to go abroad by 2014.

    One aspect concerned the internet, and privacy and included the comments made by one of the guests (working for Google) about how information made public on the internet could come back to haunt one (eg a teenager commenting on Facebook / Bebo /etc).

    It reminded me that not only are the younger members of society 'comfortable' with the internet in ways which many older people cannot grasp, but that they could leave themselves vulnerable too.

    Further, regarding the internet, I would recommend a repeat broadcast of the three part series called something like '' (it was broadcast last spring at something like 11:00 one episode per week, and again during the summer recess of Parliament, at 23:30 on three evenings in succession - times which were mostly unsuitable for teenagers to listen, which was a shame).

    It is sad to think that youngsters bully one another using SMS and the internet - but it seems many parents are unfamiliar and need to appreciate that the internet itself is not evil, just some of the users!

    (Note to 'that' Government Minister - concerned about the internet - don't think censorship of web sites will achieve the prevention of bullying - it needs social change to make sure everyone knows it unacceptable, like drink-driving).

  • Comment number 19.

    Can i suggest on listen again that news programs are posted "live" If you just missed PM or the World at 1 then its frustrating to wait for 8 hours or longer for the program to be put on the web. The listen again structure does seem to be messed up with various links not updated or working and descriptions out of date. With a decent work flow it ought to be possible to post by the end of the next program

  • Comment number 20.

    I listened to the World at One which featured an interview with Geert Wilders who has been banned from the UK because his presence may inflame Muslims here. I think the issue confuses ideology with race.

    I believe that discriminating against someone because of the way they look or where they are born is abhorrent. But religions are not racial. Religions are value, control and ideology systems backed by supernatural beings that many of us know not to exist.

    Most religions at their core support or encourage medieval ideas that are not in alignment with the current UK legal and democratically accepted value systems. This would include equality of sexes, and freedom of individual expression, opinion and decision making. Most religions also oppose current education, scientific and medical thinking.

    The BBC and the media in general are also inconsistent. For example it seems perfectly acceptable to ridicule Scientologists’, the Mormons, the Druids, the Moonies or even Christianity. But jokes or negative comments about Islam or Judaism are completely unacceptable apparently. My view is they are all equally insane but if we are going to insist on respect then Scientology thetans should stand equally on the BBC by the side of the gods of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

    I don’t know if Geert Wilders is a racist. But on religion he should be allowed to speak.

    Race and religion are not the same thing and should not be treated as such.

  • Comment number 21.

    Once again the BBC has proved to be this government’s poodle and joined the movement to stifle debate. My post in another blog regarding the threat posed by islam has been removed, judge for yourself if it contravened the house rules:

    Freedom of speech is the bedrock of democracy, without it we will end up with a totalitarian society. I am no fan of Geert Wilders but what he says in the film FITNA is beyond dispute as it simply juxtaposed verses from the quran with atrocities committed in the name of islam and justified by those same verses, the viewer is left to draw their own conclusions.

  • Comment number 22.

    "There are other more formal places to go on BBC Online to ask questions, comment or complain."
    Well, Mr Damazar, I've tried doing that, honestly I've tried and still Ceefax page 695 gives the Fax number for Radio 4 Feedback adn the general radio 4 helpline rather than the details on the programes homepage.
    Please would you now read Ceefax pages 695-698 and contact BBC inforamtaion directly wiht your own thoughts?

  • Comment number 23.

    I've blogged about the TTFD homily and Mark Damazar's patronising responses; not to mention the stock responses we receive when we do complain.

    I am a licence payer, Mark.

    You work for ME - not the other way around.

    My take on this (and be warned it contains strong opinion and language) can be found here.

  • Comment number 24.

    Please could you update Thought for the Day and either make it more representative of all faiths (and no faith) or get rid of it?

    It's like listening to the 1950's every morning

  • Comment number 25.

    Concerning the discrimination against Humanist and Athiests on Thought for the Day, I thought you might be interested in the reply that I recieved from the Equality and Human Rights Commission recently on this very issue:

    Enquiry Number: 1-4629706

    Thank you for your e-mail dated 23rd January 2009.

    In response to your query about the BBC not allowing a particular group of people belonging to a religion or belief system to voice their views on the 'Thought for the Day' programme, this could be classed as direct religious discrimination. A broadcaster cannot legally exclude view points from atheist, agnostic or humanist as they have protection under the Equality Act 2006 Part 2, Paragraph 45

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    As the BBC is a service provider they have specific responsibilities under the public sector duties of race, gender and disability, and other equality legislation. Currently there are no compulsory duties covering religion and belief, but if they do discriminate on grounds of religion and belief, they could open themselves up to claims of discrimination. Our website has some information that service providers could use to try and reduce discrimination in the service they provide

    It would be best for you to address the issue of discrimination directly with the BBC to see if you can resolve the matter. Our website provides advice on preliminary steps that you can take

    If you are not satisfied with the outcome, then the next step to take would be court action. If it does get to this stage, you will need to take into account time limits (which is on our website) and seek independent legal advice.

  • Comment number 26.

    Heads and hands found on a beach in Brechin!!!!!
    Brechin is 15 miles inland!!
    They were found in Arbroath.....

  • Comment number 27.

    thought for the day should be is rubbish usually about some newsworthy item that the speaker twists, however tortuously to a religious theme...however hainv a political thought fro hte day would be even worse....completetly banal they get plenty of opportunities...make it a surpising fact of the day!!!!
    Like all lemurs are left handed....

  • Comment number 28.

    Your attitude to the complaints against TFTD show complete arrogance and absolute contempt towards your listeners. Opening TFTD up to wider opinion (and putting restrictions on the abuse of the slot for preaching and proselytising) can only make for much more interesting "thoughts".

    Your current position is unacceptable

  • Comment number 29.

    You say you want to "listen to us", but you've already had over 500 complaints demanding that Thought for the Day be opened to secularists as well! Why don't you actually do what you promise, listen to us, and end this blatant discrimination immediately!

  • Comment number 30.

    Mark Damazer wrote:

    Thought for the Day is a unique slot in which speakers from a wide range of religious faiths reflect on an issue of the day from their faith perspective. In the midst of the three hour Today programme devoted to overwhelmingly secular concerns - national and international news and features, searching interviews etc - the slot offers a brief, uninterrupted interlude of spiritual reflection. We believe that broadening the brief would detract from the distinctiveness of the slot.


    So Mark, whatever “spiritual reflection” may be, you are saying that we non-religious or anti-religious people are incapable of it? So I belong to a distinctive and inferior form of humanity, is that BBC policy? There's a certain special something only religion can supply? When you say that this group of religions can offer something distinctive you are proselytising for them, for their religious view of the world.

    You assume that the secular is something we should all welcome a break from, you assume that listeners will benefit from a retreat from the real world into a world of faith and spirituality which only BBC-approved religions can offer. Your rationale for the existence of Thought for the Day and the other religious programming is based on an assumption that religious faith and practice is basically a good thing. You don't seem to understand that this in itself demonstrates an unacceptable partiality on your part. Many of your listeners are as strongly opposed to organised religion as you are in favour of it, and they are guided by real life explainable reasons rather than “faith”. You have no right to ignore this section of the public, or to treat us with contempt by suggesting that we lack something others have.

    You need to consider this matter again, but this time you need to consider what is the proper thing to do in the event that the non-religious and anti-religious listeners have actually got it basically right. Whatever your own beliefs, you have to represent the beliefs of the non-religious and anti-religious. Thought for the Day is distinctly inappropriate in its context, that's why people complain about it, it is a source of daily irritation. It's only a few minutes long but clearly a lot of us are listening at that time, and it matters to us. The views that are expressed are unacceptable to us, but we are given no platform to reply. It gives minor but real daily offence to a significant group of listeners. The whole concept of the slot is indefensible, and it should simply be dropped.

  • Comment number 31.

  • Comment number 32.

    Please expand the contributors to include non-religious people - there are plenty of philosophical thinkers who have no religious belief.

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    Mr Damazer,

    please either invite non-religious speakers on to "Thought for the Day" or abolish it.

    The bias displayed in this slot is a blight on an otherwise excellent news programme.

  • Comment number 35.

    Radio 4 listeners will soon be able to find out what Thought for the Day would be like if it contained non-religious contributions.

    The Secular Thought for the Day website will be launching on Wednesday at

    This is promising to contain a daily dose of secular thought. It will be interesting to compare it's content to that of the BBCs faith-based version.

    Contributions are coming from ordinary people, not self-sanctified vicars and priests. Perhaps Radio 4's controller might even contribute.

  • Comment number 36.

    Why isn't this blog being flagged up a bit more ? As many of us Radio 4 listeners are trainee Grumpy Old Men / Women we need somewhere to let off steam.

    Although the PM blog has served our needs up to now...

  • Comment number 37.

    It can sometimes be a good idea to keep a low profile, lordBeddGelert.


  • Comment number 38.

    The Wall Street Journal says atheists can offer their opinions on TFTD.

    I love Radio 4 but I have to wake up every morning being discriminated against because I do.


  • Comment number 39.

    Is there any time scale for the Radio 4 website getting the wide look to match the rest of the radio sites?

  • Comment number 40.

    The BBC has received an official complaint from the British Humanist Association regarding the biased reporting of a poll commissioned by the BBC Religious Affairs Dept by the BBC Religious Correspondent, Robert Piggot.


    BHA Complaint

    That an organisation like the BBC should have a Religious Affairs Dept gives pause for thought. As a news organisation it is reasonable that they should have a religious correspondent who objectively reports news. Rather it is a propaganda department used to promote a religious message at the expense of a secular one. Just imagine if the BBC had a LibDem Dept or a Hamas Dept rather than politically neutral correspondents!

    The Director General and the Controller of Radio 4 both wear their religion on their sleeve and have demonstrated contempt for the non religious voice as the recent complaints over Radio 4’s Thought for the Day exemplify. More than 500 complaints and not a word of apology or justification as to why the Humanist voice is denied access to this programme.

    The BBC has a public service remit at the heart of all its operations and that demands scrupulous objectivity. And yet the BBC reports secularism and atheism as if it were a fringe cult, using terms like militant atheist for anyone who challenges the privileges enjoyed by religion in the UK.

    The BBC is charged with blatant discrimination that would not be tolerated if on any other area of public debate. The top management of the BBC foster this inequity because some of them are active members of faith groups. This is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue and will be constantly challenged until the BBC ends this discrimination.

  • Comment number 41.

    Great post, gcdavis, and others. Mr Damazer asked for comments - he's getting them. He might have guessed what they were going to say.

    I never listen to R4 now, because they so obviously do not listen to us. A lot of people put a lot of time and attention into presenting the case re. opening up TFTD. My own e-mail was long and comprehensive. Everyone was effectively ignored.

    I urge everyone to take their complaints about TFTD to the BBC Trust in the strongest terms. These two religious men cannot be allowed to dictate their faith-based views to everyone else on a supposedly impartial BBC.

  • Comment number 42.

    The BBC policy of restricting contributors to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day to those who subscribe to a particular set of religious beliefs clearly breaches the Equality and Human Rights Act. Although the relevant legislation is set out at various government websites, it is most clearly presented at the Citizens advice site.

    To summarise (quoted verbatim from adviceguide)

    1 What does religion or belief mean

    You are protected by law from discrimination because of your religion or belief if you:

    # Belong to an organised religion such as Christianity, Judaism or Islam
    # Have a profound belief which affects your way of life or view of the world, such as humanism
    # Take part in collective worship
    # Belong to a smaller religion or sect, such as Scientology or Rastafarianism
    # Have no religion, for example, if you are an atheist.

    2 Religious discrimination by organisations providing goods or services

    It's against the law for anyone providing goods or services directly to the public to discriminate because of religion or belief. The law applies to businesses, charities and public bodies such as government agencies, local authorities, education and health facilities.

    Discrimination includes:

    # Refusing to provide goods or services
    # Discriminating in the way goods or services are provided.

    The BBC is a public body and is clearly discriminating in the way goods or services are provided. The Act defines Humanism and Atheism as systems of belief. The BBC seeks to justify the status quo by saying that TftD is produced by the BBC Religious Affairs department. It is thereby promoting religious belief at the expense of any other system of belief like humanism. This is not an adequate defence any more than denying women access to hitherto men only club would have been.

    The BBC should think again and reverse this indefensible policy or they will find themselves having to defend it before the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

  • Comment number 43.

    Quite so, gcdavis. As for Mark, join us!

    Cheers (breakfast coffee)! :)

  • Comment number 44.

    During his current visit the pope has once again told millions of African catholics that if they use condoms they will go to hell. As most are poor and ignorant they believe this fallacy and so continue to have unprotected sex. But this time the catholic church has gone even further claiming the condom use does not protect against HIV/Aids.

    Denial of the Holocaust is illegal in some countries. Perhaps claiming condom use does not protect against HIV/Aids should be regarded as Contraception Denial.

    The pope is responsible for this doctrine and he can change it; that he refuses to do so should be regarded as a crime against humanity. He knows that in the developed world most catholics ignore this doctrine and so is guilty in exploiting ignorance and poverty in order to enforce his will in the only region where he knows he will be obeyed.

    In any other sphere such behaviour would be regarded as deeply immoral and yet to a large extent it goes unchallenged. Add to this its attitude towards homosexuality and one must conclude that the catholic church is bankrupt of any moral authority.

  • Comment number 45.

    Arts on 4

    Ken Clarke's Jazz Greats: Ken Clarke profiles the great jazz saxophonist Fats Waller.

    This must be a different Fats Waller surely.

  • Comment number 46.

    WHERE IS LISTEN AGAIN??????????????
    I want to be able to get to it in one click from the home page liek before! I feel very annoyed already as cannot get to it so quite a negative response to your new site.
    We need one button at the top saying "listen again" for people like me who use the site exclusively for that. And please not a button just saying "iplayer "like on Radio 3.

    Also too many pics and taking up valuable space - some pics don't even relate to the programme content so what's the point.

    Too much scrolling on the front page - everything is too big and spread out. it's annoying to have to scroll straightaway on a website to get to the links.

    But PLEASE give us back LISTEN AGAIN - I have absolutley no idea how to reach it and ended up doing a Google search!

  • Comment number 47.

    Hallo MD if you are still reading these:

    The Isle of Man is switching to digital in this April-June quarter of 2009, so please would you add the long SMS/MMS code for contact details to broadcasts that give a text number, as the five figure short code won't work on the Crown Dependencies? The same problem applies to all the Networks.
    See Q6.

  • Comment number 48.


    Ah, I found this blog!!! And scrolling back found that the comments counter said zero...which of course, was just a tease!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    Headline from the Independent on Sunday

    Humanists rejoice! BBC will consult them on religion

    For the first time, the broadcaster will take advice on programmes like 'Thought for the Day' from a secularist

    Well Mr Damazer if the above is true then this is a welcome change in policy and you are to be congratulated in bringing it about.

    Best wishes

  • Comment number 50.

    And if you are looking for TftD contributors...

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    Woody Allen
    Martin Amis
    Lord Avebury
    Baroness Blackstone
    Professor Colin Blakemore
    Dr Susan Blackmore
    Warren Buffett
    Billy Connolly
    Daniel Dennett
    Jonathan Edwards
    Stephen Fry
    Richard E. Grant
    Professor A C Grayling
    Susan Greenfield
    Germaine Greer
    Rt Hon The Lord Hattersley
    Professor Steve Jones
    Sir Ludovic Kennedy
    Professor Sir Harold Kroto
    Brian Eno
    Ian McEwan
    Richard Feynman
    Bob Geldof
    Ricky Gervais
    Eddie Izzard
    Neil Kinnock
    John McCarthy
    Sir Ian McKellen
    Jonathan Meades
    Sir Jonathan Miller
    Desmond Morris
    Baron O'Neill of Clackmannan (Martin O'Neill, former MP)
    Professor Sir Roger Penrose
    Steven Pinker
    Terry Pratchett
    Philip Pullman
    James Randi
    Claire Rayner
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