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Radio 4 Extra - the first week

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Mary Kalemkerian Mary Kalemkerian 17:37, Friday, 8 April 2011

Tony Hancock in 'The Lift' in 1961

Radio 4 Extra is almost one week old - and we've all been delighted to read far more publicity for the network than we ever expected. Our notice boards are groaning with press cuttings of previews and reviews from a wide variety of newspapers across the UK. We also made a number of feature pages too - which has all helped to raise awareness of the rebranded network.

On our launch day. Russell Davies took us on fascinating journey through the history of radio panel games. Let's Get Quizzical was very well-received, and those of you who enjoyed it can look forward to the second part of this entertaining series on Saturday.

The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang dramatisation also proved to be popular, and I notice that our next new children's drama commission, Elidor, is one of next week's Radio Choices in the Radio Times. Alan Garner's magical novel and the dark world of Elidor is a definite pick of the week for me...

Old favourites - like Hancock and Garrison Keillor's Radio Show - got favourable mentions in the press too.

So now it's on to our second week of broadcasting, when lovers of radio drama can look forward to My Cousin Rachel (Daphne Du Maurier), Howard's End and Torchwood.

Amongst the 10 hours-plus of comedy per day you can enjoy Ed Reardon's Week, Arthur Smith's Balham Bash, up and coming comedy group The Penny Dreadfuls, Hancock's War - and for fans of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue there's a treat from 1982 - a programme which includes the late and much-missed Willie Rushton in the panel.

Mary Kalemkerian is Head of Programmes at BBC Radio 4 Extra

  • The photograph is from the BBC picture library. The caption reads: "Picture shows (front) Hugh Lloyd, Jack Watling, Tony Hancock. (back) Jose Read, John Le Mesurier, Noel Howlett, Diana King and Charles Lloyd Pack Tony Hanock suffers his indignity of being stuck for rather along time in a lift at the BBC Televsion Centre. Stuck with him are a number of visitors to the Centre and one or two employees including of course, the lift attendant plyed by Hugh Lloyd."
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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    You may have many reviews but you may not have many listeners for much longer. That is if you don't start taking our complaints seriously (previously loyal BBC7 fans). Bring back the full length dramas and the crimne and thrillers hour at 01:00.

  • Comment number 2.

    You might be delighted at all the publicity you've got, but if you bothered to read the earlier blog, you'll see an awful lot of people are very upset about the changes, especially the loss of the Crime and Thrillers hour, from 1am onwards.
    I really miss that, and Radio 4 extra now comprises of inanane chatter, and old comedy shows.
    Where have the feature length plays gone ?

  • Comment number 3.

    I kept an open mind about the re-branding exercise. I could see that there might be benefits in terms of directing potential listeners to the station; the association with Radio 4 might give some assurance regarding content quality.
    Having listened to some of the output, however, and viewed the schedule, I have to say that I am disappointed. I very much liked the format and balance of the Radio 7 schedule and the un-fussy, ego-free style of the presentation. The content of the original was so good that it did not require the 'added value' of presenters talking down to the audience and intruding into the quality of the radio experience.
    Radio 4 Extra is a rather poor shadow of its predecessor. I wonder if much research was conducted among the audience prior to the changes? I cannot imagine that there would have been much support for further unimpressive ouptut from the discredited 'Archers' stable.
    I too miss the 'Crime and Thrillers' hour at 1a.m.
    Come on Tim and co, I think you have enough indication that some readjustment is required.
    Drusilla

  • Comment number 4.

    I, too, am disappointed by the first week. The new schedule is incoherent and poorly thought through, and it makes what was Radio 7 seem to be little more than a dump for arbitrarily selected bits of Radio 4 (such as the interviews from Front Row). Please bring back the crime and thrillers hour at 1.00 am and please bring back the extended dramas. At the same time, please do not recommission the Archers programme and please do not include snippets of music (in the form of Desert Island Discs and the rather lame Inheritance Tracks): they are what Radio 4 is for and they are why I know when not to tune in to Radio 4. It would be interesting to know just how much this 'rebranding' exercise (with its infuriating station identifications and concomitant and incessant promotion on other channels) has cost us, the listeners. Any chance of some figures?

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree with the comments made above. Also, I have an impression that there are more repeats of programmes (which follow the original programme very quickly). In particular, the loss of the Crime & Thrillers Hour is extremely regrettable as is the increase in 15 minute items. Please can we have confirmation that the comments here have been noted.

  • Comment number 6.

    SO VERY VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH 4XTA IF I WANT TO LISTEN(WHICH I DONT)TO THE ARCHERS DI DISCS INHERETENCE TRACKS AND PRESENTERS LOVING THE SOUND OF THEIR OWN VOICES I WOULD STICK TO 4.7 WAS A HAVEN FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME WHO LOVE LONG DRAMAS SCI FI COMEDIES AND VERY LITTLE INBETWEEN.WHY OH WHY COULD YOU NOT LEAVE IT BE? AFRAID I WILL BE AN EX LISTENER ALONG WITH QUITE A LOT OF PEOPLE I HAVE SPOKEN TO. AN OLD ADAGE DONT FIX IT UNLESS ITS BROKE!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 7.

    'Notice boards'? Those things you put on the wall? How long before the BBC scrap them as well? Mind you, the media won't be as easy to silence as listeners, will they?

    (could that be the first reference to the board closures on a blog that *won't* be removed as 'off topic'?)

    'Favourable mentions'(along with 'groaning', of course) is as close as we will get to the negative press on the re-launch, I suppose. I would love to see a HD screen-shot of those notice boards, so we can see exactly what the 'publicity' consists of.

    In the meantime, is there a way to show us what listener 'feedback' is? Maybe you have a notice board for that, locked away in a dusty attic?

  • Comment number 8.

    I totally agree that this radio station has been totally ruined now it is no longer a pleasure to listen.I used to be able to turn the radio on at anytime day or night and find something i could listen to but not now.there is too much comedy and unwanted music.

  • Comment number 9.

    By the way, there are nine people in that lift. One actor, a man apparently, is amost completely obscured by Hugh Lloyd and Jack Watling.

    Anyone know who?

  • Comment number 10.

    According to IMBD it would have been Colin Howard as The Doctor...

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0595643/

  • Comment number 11.

    Just testing... >>

  • Comment number 12.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 13.

    Just remember, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!

  • Comment number 14.

    I didn't really see the point of rebranding Radio 7 as 4 Extra, but nevertheless I'd like to see these changes succeed.

    I'm an Archers listener and was encouraged by Ambridge Extra, I can see that there is a lot of scope for covering characters who don't get much air time in the main show. Having said that, I'm expecting that the next series of Feedback will include comments from disgruntled Archers fans who don't want to listen to a sister programme but feel they are missing out on stories if they if ignore it.

    When the Ambridge Extra series is complete, it would be nice if there is a magazine programme for listeners to comment on Archers stories and for members of the production team to answer questions, it could be called "Archers Almanac".

    Desert Island Discs Revisited - good idea.

    More prominence needs to be given to the Now Show Extra and there is a lack of podcasts for some of these programmes.

  • Comment number 15.

    The reason I went out & bought a digital radio was to listen to BBC Radio 7 and now it's been ruined by, changes that were not needed or requested, too much Radio 4 cast off rubbish, removing the long dramas I loved to listen to. I want my money back, I feel like I've been robbed.

  • Comment number 16.

    You've ruined what was a perfectly brilliant radio station - I used to have BBC 7 on pretty much all day for most of the week, especially in the evenings. Now I cannot bare it - very sad.
    Hopefully you lose enough listeners to realise had a good thing going with the BBC 7 schedule

  • Comment number 17.

    Yep, another one complaining about the lack of Crime and Thrillers at 01:00hrs and the plays and serials until 04:00hrs. I don't sleep well and the old Radio 7 schedule was a good listen.

    Did anyone ask the listeners if they wanted DI Discs or an Archers spin-off? No, I thought not. I expect we are supposed to be grateful for what we get! Well, I am very dissatisfied as I see are many others. I have more or less dumped 4 Xtra and hardly ever listen. My radio hovers between World Service and Jazz.

    I do hope that there is an audience out there for the radio 4Xtra selection but judging by what I read, it is going to have to be a brand new one as Radio 7 listeners and voting with their feet (or radio dial really I suppose!)

  • Comment number 18.

    This is off topic, I know, but the alternative is to complain about #12...

    http://radiofeedback.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=19

  • Comment number 19.

    Rufus Hound's programme was poor...the extra bit of The Now Show not really worth listening to...keeping my fingers crossed as I am still finding some gems amongst the schedule. A lot appears to be padding and filler...

    Most of the praise would appear to be for the kind of programmes that were liked on Radio 7 anyhow...

  • Comment number 20.

    I wonder, is this about what the critics and press have to say or what the audience think? It is all very well to have great reports in the press but if one has lost the audience who once listened to Radio 7 praise is a bit vacuous.

    How about asking the listeners what they want and not what Auntie says they should have? Is there a genuine demand for Desert Island Discs at 02:00hrs, evidenced by audience polls of individual requests? No, I thought not!

    Consult the old Radio 7 audience about what they want before they have all gone.

  • Comment number 21.

    Well I'm enjoying it. Not all of it, but there were plenty of bits of BBC7 I didn't like either and it was all getting rather repetitive. As I'm an early waker I'm enjoying listening to the Crime and Thrillers at 6.00am and the comedy programmes at 7.00am.

    I would like more full-length plays however.

  • Comment number 22.

    Good Bye Radio 4 Extra its time for me to retune to another Station, I loved Radion 7, but the twaddle that is now on Radio 4 extra is more than I can listen too, please would some tell ther presenters thaty we do not need to be told that we need a cake stand with lots of cakes on to listen to their programme,Radio 4 Extra 's new name should have been Radio Radish full of repeats, Desert Island Discs boring first time round, biographies of sad people like Jackie Gold,The Archers we have had 60 years of them on ordinary radio, I thought it might have been like the curate's egg good in parts but no, sadly time to retune. retune radio to find something better

  • Comment number 23.

    I see you didn't have room to mention the 72 mainly negative comments on your blog and the many negative comments on Twitter. No doubt we're the wrong sort of listeners. There is only 1 programme that I want to list to on 4Extra this week as compared to the many I listend to on Radio 7. I have now gone back to listening to music and ironically to Radio 4 itself, they have some good plays on you know, why don't you put some of them on 4Extra rather than endless 'comedy',DID Loose Ends (why?) and Front Row Interviews

  • Comment number 24.

    you may think it was a good idea to go from radio 7 to radio 4 extra,but I certanly don't,and judging by the other comments on here I am not alone.Why do it anyway and now I and many others living overseas cannot here the drama and comedy we all loved,thanks for nothing,rember if it ain't broke dont fix it

  • Comment number 25.

    I think if it is scheduled correctly and the programmes are chosen carefully Desert Island Discs could work on Radio 4 Extra(It may be for rights reasons and/or a lack of available programmes)but I think as an archive station we'd like to hear programmes not so recent or a mixture.

    Are any available from Roy Plomley's time?

    Possibly public figures no longer with us but they have an historical value...voices from the past.

    Lets be honest any speech material from the BBC is mainly going to be sourced from Radio 4 if it was broadcast in the last 44 years.

  • Comment number 26.

    I have been a dedicated Radio 7 listener since my children were born, mainly through sleepless nights, but also doing the boring domestic chores. I feel betrayed by the change to 4 extra and am not enjoying the new programmes or schedule. I've tried listening overnight in the last week or so, but rather than be upset by awfulness of the Archers or the irritating smugness of Desert Island Discs I have retuned to the World Service. I will not return to 4 extra unless the previous identity of 7 is restored. If necessary I will start buying dramas and audio books as downloads to keep me company.

  • Comment number 27.

    I didn't like everything that was on Radio 7 but the balance is wrong on Radio4Extra. There's far too much comedy and programmes like Front Row, Loose Ends and the more recent DID's, I turned to Radio 7 to get away from these types of programmes. I'd like to hear some of the DID from the very early days but the first DID last week was J K Rowling. Please can we have the 90 minute drama back and the crime in the usual format, not lots of 15 minute slots. I have looked at the Radio4Extra schedule and really can't find anything much that I can be bothered tuning in to hear.

  • Comment number 28.

    I like the news (factual) and science on Radio 4 and some of the comedy programs.
    I avoid the Archers and all art criticism and political discussion (That wipes out a LOT of the R4 output!). So I switch away from BBC.
    There are also many repeats on 4 which devalue the output - I hear the program in the morning on the way to work and there it is again later in the evening (same day) so there is nothing new to listen to. So I switch away from BBC.
    Radio 7 was a pleasure - I liked a lot of it and listened a wide variety of programs; not only to programs and topics that I was familiar with but also to many new ones. The longer programs are ideal to really get into a drama. I do not want to listen to lots of 15 minute chunks where several minutes at each end are lost, either as a catch-up introduction or what is to be played out in the next episode.
    I am very disappointed that the Archers is on 4 extra. In my opinion, the Archers is a soap opera, not a good quality drama and is already on R4 at least 12 times a week! Give it its own station if necessary (but not out of my license fee).
    R4 overflow - no thanks. I am only days away from dropping 4 extra altogether

  • Comment number 29.

    One week on and its not growing on me. I keep asking myself why does the BBC hate its audiences so. Have you been told to purge us, if so by who? Are we the wrong demographic? Will Chris Evans transfer to radio four to renew the station. All hail Chris.

  • Comment number 30.

    I bought two DAB radios and a DAB walkman so I could listen to my favourite radio station, Radio 7. I was even investigating getting a DAB radio for my car, fool that I was.
    I adored R7 and told everyone I knew who would like it, to get listening. None of them had ever heard of it before because the BBC kept it a dark secret.
    Those short years of Radio 7 were a such a joy, because it was everything Radio 4 is not. 7 had a lovely warm ambiance with wonderful presenters, world class radio drama and good archive comedy, crime and thrillers and the seventh dimension.
    The only interviews were real gems such as the great Michaela Saunders with Peter Coke (Paul Temple). Michaela I miss you so much.
    Everything has now been put through the mincer, with bits of this and bits of that, and any old tat they can get away with from Radio4.
    And all the things I ran away from on Radio4, presenters with harsh hyped up voices, irritating linking music, unfunny comedy, desert island discs, loose ends and the blinking Archers, have all followed me.
    Where has all the drama gone? I thought drama was going to be increased. I am convinced some things are being classed as drama which are really not.
    I gave it a chance and I had hoped things would not change too much, but what was a unique radio station has been destroyed and all those 15 minutes are so fiddly I can't be bothered. Anyone want three DAB radios?

  • Comment number 31.

    Please bring back Radio 7. I used to listen to loads of Radio 4 ls year and was a regular Archers listener. After the events at the New Year I stopped listening to that and to much of Radio 4's other output. Someone on The Archers' message board talked about Radio 7 and I only then began to discover what a lovely channel it was - and now it's gone...

    You are broadcasting each episode of AmEx ***eight*** times a week on 4Extra: each 15 minute episode goes out three times and then there are five repeats of the omnibus. How on earth did the programming for that be allowed to happen? Please bring back more proper drama. (I don't class Archers in any form as 'drama'.)

    I have been listening to Radio 7/4 Extra online. I don't intend to get a digital radio now. It seems pointless... so Tigermontague, thank you for your offer of three radios but no thanks!

    We have also given up telly in our house. I and my older teenage sons don't miss it. They watch DVDs if anything at all. I'm now thinking that I need to investigate audio books as an alternative to radio. At least by not having any broadcast media on it means that it's easy to miss the doom and gloom of news updates.

  • Comment number 32.

    I have just one question for the BBC: are you *happy* now?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi59kKLzo9g

  • Comment number 33.

    So delighted by your comments. I don't know why. I have listened to what now passes for your schedule. I stopped listening to radio 4 a couple of years ago. Then I was delighted to find radio 7. Now you have ruined it. What is Ambridge Extra? It's awful. They all sound the same. I don't know why I bother. You never listen. Which listeners are you attracting? Where is all the drama? What's with all the repeated comedy?

  • Comment number 34.

    Hi everyone, thanks for your comments. We'll post Mary's reply as a comment here tomorrow.

    Steve Bowbrick, blogs

  • Comment number 35.

    Just to mention, due to the wrecking of Radio 7 and, for some odd reason, the playing a very young children's programmes at 02:00 hours (not included in the schedule either) I have tuned away from both Radio 4 and Radio 4 Xtra. I have been a Radio 4 fan for nearly 50 years and I have not seen a station so wrecked as Radio 4 Xtra / radio 7. I suppose we now have to wait for a new controller to get things put right.

    Just one question - why were the audience not asked about all the changes?

  • Comment number 36.

    I was surprised to read of Mary Kalemkerian's delight in seeing "far more publicity for the network than we ever expected", because it seems to me the majority of the mainstream press coverage has been either negative or lukewarm.

    The Radio Times asks: "What do you think of Radio 4 Extra? RadioTimes.com users aren't too happy about losing Radio 7, it seems." (With a reference to the Radio Times blog.)

    The Telegraph says of the The Now Show Extra - "It doesn’t sound particularly unmissable to me."

    Kate Chisholm (Spectator): "The heart sinks. Is this the ‘added value’ we’ve been promised? If 4 Extra is to carve out an identity it surely needs to do more than just leach out the most listened-to bits of Radio 4."

    Miranda Sawyer (Guardian), on AmEx: "Either way, it's hard to work out who this show is for. Fans of The Archers will find it too silly; if it's an attempt to bring in younger listeners, it's a tragic one.", and on The 4 O'Clock Show: "It was more ludicrously eclectic than Woman's Hour, and that's saying something."

    My guess is that the vast majority of the press cuttings 'groaning' on R4X's notice boards are doing just that - groaning.

    Russ

    P.S. It might help the new station's fortunes if iPlayer acknowledged its existence.

  • Comment number 37.

    In my #36, I hesitated to give a url for the Radio Times blog entry, because I thought it might get modded, but here it is:

    http://www.radiotimes.com/blogs/1199-bbc-radio-4-extra-to-replace-radio-7/

    (Where one can see RT's claim of their posters not being happy is a marked understatement!)

    Russ

  • Comment number 38.

    R4 Extra has been a huge disappointment. It somehow seems to have combined all the worst aspects of R4 and R7.

  • Comment number 39.

    i read several posts and reports bout radio 4 extra none good so the bbc live by the mantra any publicity is good publicity even when they are being slated?

  • Comment number 40.

    Hussar everyone Mary will speak tomorrow.

    Mary who? I hear you ask, I don't know I reply. Steve who is this god like creature who comes to speak to us?

    No worries Steve, I know what she'll say. She will not look kindly on our comments, though she will pretend to be concerned, her honey tones will contain no regret. There will be not promise in her words!

    But we mourn our loss Steve, so tell you this to your Mary. We need not her false platitudes, we want not her gift of smelly socks. Be gone we cry, some might even be rude enough to tell her to shove it!
    It can't be helped Steve, Radio 7 listeners are ---. Sorry wear passionate but are no more.

    RIP Radio 7 you were taken from us in your prime, and a pox on radio sock extra may it die undarned and unloved.


  • Comment number 41.

    For the past six years my DAB radio has been tuned to Radio 7 and nothing else; not any more. You've taken a perfectly good radio station, tampered and messed with the content and schedule, axed able and popular presenters to end up with, what?.....Radio 4's ginger stepchild.

    Thus far the only achievement of this re-branding, as far as i can see, is the alienation of the existing Radio 7 listener base. I could be forgiven for donning a tin foil hat and saying; that far from bettering the station, it's been more of a clandestine attempt to kill it off completely. If this is supposed to be an improvement, then it's been carried out with a skewd logic that escapes me.

    Comedy agogo ad nauseum, Desert Island discs, Hollyoaks with cow dung, replacing Alex Reilly with the God-awful Arthur Smith, the pointless filler that is Inheritance Tracks, and, last but not least, the outright butchery done to the 1am slot with the removal of Crime and Thrillers and the feature length dramas. For all the aforementioned, my DAB radio is now an ornament.

    You've taken a diamond and turned it back into a lump of coal.

  • Comment number 42.

    mary will no doubt quote from the replys she has had to the change those being posts numbers 21 / 25 / 27 / and maybe the first line of 28 the rest of us will fall by the wayside.

  • Comment number 43.

    How about more pogramming FOR Men - BY Men?
    Getting SO tired of FEMININE/SUPER PC programming - especially on Radio4, 4Extra & Radio5.

  • Comment number 44.

    The thing that surprises me is just how completely this has driven me away from the station. I tended to start listening when I started work around 10am, but now there is nothing all week that I would dream of listening to in the 10-11am slot. Luckily, because of the total lack of DAB coverage in this area (I am 120 miles from London, I.E. 85 miles beyond the pail!)I bought an Internet radio, and have found a huge number of alternatives across the net. And having started the day elsewhere I tend to stay there. The trigger-times when you might have won me back - afternoon teatime and late evening - also broadcast a constant stream of drivel throughout the week.
    I don't expect to like everything broadcast on a radio station, that would be a bit weird, but it used to be possible to listen through the odd program to the next one. Now there are vital time slots dedicated to the programs we all came here to avoid. Smart marketing move there chaps!

  • Comment number 45.

    P.S. Arthur Smith is quite funny in small doses, but if he's going to be on that much you should at least buy him a new joke.
    'I live in Balham' is wearing a bit thin.........

  • Comment number 46.

    Just a thought - but has anyone noticed the amount of 'Factual' programming - on a station that is going to increase the amount a drama? If I want factual programming I have the choice of Radio 4 or World Service so 'factual' is not needed on Radio 4 Xtra.

    I rather think this is the core of the problems we all have with this disastrous change from Radio 7. We had Drama, Crime and Thrillers and Comedy and the station was different from all the others and great because it provided genuine choice. Now one might as well listen to Radio 4, which has a better schedule anyway, than waste time with what we might term Radio 4 knockoff.

    I recommend World Service as a better mix and for better programming.

  • Comment number 47.

    The Radio 4 Extra team have been reading your comments and Mary Kalemkerian, 4 Extra's Head of Programmes, asked me to post this reply:

    Mary writes:

    "Thank you to everyone for taking the time to comment on the blog, Twitter and elsewhere. I'm planning more posts in the near future but in the meantime here are responses to some things I can answer now:

    There have been issues with some of the quality of the online streaming last week that many of you reported. This was a wider problem, not just on Radio 4 Extra, and was as frustrating to all of us here as it was to our listeners. Hopefully now that is sorted.

    Crime fans will be pleased to know that Crime will be returning to its 1.00 am slot in a few weeks time. We do take your views on board and where we can, we will act on them.

    Many of you expressed a desire for more vintage programming on the station. We regularly dip far back into the archive, not only in Comedy from the 1950s and 1960s but also Drama. However, many of these old programmes, for a variety of reasons, have not been retained by the BBC archive. For example, there are only a few of the old Saturday Night Theatre programmes in existence. Unfortunately, the paperwork for some archive programmes might be missing (these are essential records so that we know who has to be paid for their contributions!) that restricts our ability to broadcast them again.

    In some instances, sadly, we do not get permissions from the artistes/writers to repeat their material. The BBC does not own all of the archive, and we need agreement from writers/adapters/performers/estates prior to broadcasting their programmes. In addition, if a film has been made of a certain novel, the film company is likely to have also bought up all of the broadcast rights. An example of this is the wonderful and often requested archive radio production, Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy, the rights for which are now owned by Disney, which means, disappointingly, that we are unable to broadcast the radio series.

    Thank you again for listening and for all your feedback.

    Mary"

  • Comment number 48.

    I am relieved to find that I am not alone in my intense disappointment at the disappearance of Radio 7, with its delightful mix of drama and humour and its wonderful night-time programming for insomniacs. Just the name "Radio 4Extra" was ominous enough; as the inane and over-hyped trailers on Radio 4 increased my heart sank; the reference to that ill-defined word "entertainment" in the scheduling sent out even more warning signals. Sadly my worst fears were realised when the first thing I chanced upon on the Sunday night was the ghastly, relentlessly jolly, irritatingly named 'Sneaky Peeks" informing us of how much we would all enjoy the new format and varied programmes on offer for the following week. Well no, actually, your breezy optimism was misplaced: I just felt an overwhelming sense of loss for a brilliant idea that has bitten the dust in the name of progress. Like many others, I consider the removal of the Crime & Thrillers night-time slot a major loss. I suppose there must be people out there who want to hear celebrities natter on about their childhood homes, inheritance tracks and favourite music but, for this listener, the early hours of the morning is not the appropriate time. Part of the joy of listening to Radio 7 at night was the predictability and repetition, together with the knowledge that one could catch up on Saturday afternoon, while doing boring household chores, if one fell asleep in the middle of the early morning episodes. In future I will record the few items I want to hear and put them on my iPod so that I don't have to suffer the puerile between-programme continuity chatter and jingles. I don't know to whom the new programmers, in their wisdom, are trying to appeal with this 'big idea' (and messy revamped website) but congratulations: you have succeeded not only in alienating this 71 year old Radio 7 night-time junky, but also her two disappointed teenage grandsons. I have just been listening to their lively analysis of why they, too, have ceased to listen. Incidentally, many years ago there was a wonderful production of Olivia Manning's "Fortunes of War" trilogy in six 1.5 hour episodes (I have five of them still on tape, but never managed to record the sixth - I wonder if it still exists in the bowels of the BBC?). It is a sad sign of the times that the 'modern' version, just rebroadcast on 4Extra - with, to my mind, the inappropriate choice of Joanna Lumley as the narrator Harriet in old age as she sounded nothing like the younger Harriet who was excellently portrayed by Honeysuckle Weeks - was reduced by 3 hours. Perhaps it will reappear in 10 years' time as 6 half-hour installments!

  • Comment number 49.

    Lost my comment...now what did I say?

    It may be said slightly differently but...

    I think the main problem is that this archive station(whether BBC 7 or Radio4 Extra)is caught up in a mire of copyright...

    That in future a new agreement is needed so that BBC programmes can be heard and rebroadcast and not restricted because as in the example given Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy being owned by Disney means it cannot be heard...unless it is published in audio form and the public has to buy it or Disney has a radio station and airs it on there.

    Otherwise no one hears it. That defeats the reason for having it in the first place.

    Also we need more private collectors to come forward and fill in the missing gaps in the BBC archive. There is not as much there are we think there is.

    Unfortunately the BBC now has to commission or broadcast programmes though they have the BBC name on them they are produced by an independent company.

    And thanks to the cost of drama which is very expensive and the budget restraints the BBC finds itself sadly such genres will be less likely to be produced.

    It is much easier and less costly to go to speech radio where it is a discussion or studio based. So we may save speech radio but it will not be what we'd like it to be.

    I wish radio 4 Extra well and it probably will improve but it seems copyright which is there to protect performers, writers etc...is actually working against what it is supposed to be doing.

  • Comment number 50.

    i hope one of the posts from mary will be an apology for the loss of radio7, if as they say they just wanted to make more people aware of radio7 why did they rebrand and change all the shows why not just advertise radio 7 and leave a good thing alone, from the many posts here and elsewhere on the net the most annoying things for radio7 listeners is the loss of the crime and thrillers for me i think the clive merrison and michael williams sherlock holmes was just brilliant i also liked julie enfield investigates and lord peter wimsey amongst many others so a mix of old and new worked fine , but to add shows from radio 4 such as ambridge extra and old d,i,d was a slap in the face as according to many posts and news paper s something that happend in the new year on the archers ( i am glad to say i have never listened to an episode in full ever) has lost a load of listeners , so why do we have to have it forced upon us and surely the place for am ex would be radio 4, now if you had put darling buds of may on and called it am ex i think you may have got away with it:). i cant see a place for d,i,d anywhere not even radio 4 i just cant understand why an actor or comedian or writer who listened to a record or read a book or if they got stranded on a desert island would want to take it with them would mean anything to anybody else, i have probably read the same books or listened to the same music but it doesnt matter it wont affect my life in any way having them tell me this as people get different things , more personal things from each song or book so why i like a record or book could be so different from why they like it, and at the end of the day if ricky gervais or peter sellers or winston churchill liked the same things i do means nothing to me nor should it mean anything to anybody else, i will not be a great comedian because i liked the sex pistols once , so i can honestly say i dont want to hear it and will do my best not to, i had radio7 running in the background while working or playing a game sometimes for 10 hours a day now i am lucky to get 2-3 hours on listen again but on the plus side audible is going to sell a lot more books, i would like to ask if you would post the results of the radio7 questionaire we took last year about improving radio7 and see if there was one reply that said yes i know change its name and all the shows and it will be better, my new book has just downloaded so i am off to listen to that for the ne

  • Comment number 51.

    In the Welcome blog, Steve Bowbrick noted that Mary would be replying to comments appearing in various blogs. I'm sure most of us were anxiously awaiting what she had to say. Her reply is forwarded post as #47 above. She doesn't say much. There have been many, many posts in this blog and 77 so far in the Welcome blog. As far as I can tell, all the posts are uniformly negative, some very much so. Some of the posts are quite long, insightful and well thought out and written. The comments seem contain the same themes:

    --- Complaints about the presenters. Many, including myself, miss the female voices from Radio 7, particularly Michaela Saunders, but also Penny Haslam and Helen Aitken. Others want Alex Riley back as the Comedy Club host. There's no comment regarding these complaints from Mary Kalemkerian.

    --- Complaints about the lack of drama programming, particularly longer (90 minutes) programs. One of the reasons for changing the programming from the old Radio 7 was to increase drama presentations. A survey showed that Radio 7's children's programming was not much listened to and so it was decided to eliminate most of that. The implication was that drama programming, including Crime and Thrillers, could be increased in its place. The 1:00 AM Crime and Thrillers is gone as is the weekend catch up of these programs. For those like me who can only use the Internet to get BBC - I'm in the USA - the catch ups are not that important, but for those in the UK using a radio set, I can see their value. On the other hand, if the catch ups are going to be eliminated, why not use the time for more long dramas? Mary Kalemkerian did say the 1:00 AM Crime and Thrillers would return in a few weeks. Nothing said about the other complaints.

    --- Complaints about broadcasting The Archers, Ambridge Extra and Desert Island Disks. If some of these programs are available on Radio 4, then why put them on Radio 4 Extra? I'm not at all enthusiastic, to say the least, about these programming choices. I'm being kind here! They seem to me, and many others, to be a waste of valuable time. Replace them with high quality drama and comedy. Mary Kalemkerian made no comments about these issues.

    These seem to be the main complaints about Radio 4Extra's programming. In Mary Kalemkerian's response, only one of these complaints was addressed, and that is the absence of the 1:00 Crime and Thrillers program. Other than that, nothing.

    Somewhere I read that the BBC has an archive of something like 600,000 hours of recordings and that it was being restored. Slowly restored! Surely some of this drama and comedy would be very appropriate Radio 4Extra even if for historical interest. Not all of it is locked up in the copyright jail.


  • Comment number 52.

    Well, to start with, thanks, Mary for bringing back 'Crime and Thrillers'. That is a big bonus. However,

    What about restoring the drama at 02:00 and 02:15? Drama starts again at 03:00 so it is just a matter of a bit of a shuffle then the radio 4 imports could go after - hopefully by which time everyone is asleep.

    How about restoring the 01:00 play on Saturday night and Sunday night? These were 90 minutes dramas and great at that time of day.

  • Comment number 53.

    Well, we've been thrown a bone, maybe we'll be good dogs now :-)
    Alas, unless something is done about the appalling 10am slot I won't be around to notice.
    The optimist in me says that maybe they've realised their mistake and, after a few face-saving delays, (such as the nebulous 'few weeks' for late night crime) things will be gradually put back.
    Alas, the pessimist in me says that this is their best shot for the relaunch, and it will only go even further downhill from here.
    I know for a fact that the BBC archive has a huge number of plays in the archive without copyright issues of 1, 1 1/2 and 2 hour length, but the current children in charge presumably consider them too long.
    I will personally only be happy when Ambridge Extra is dead and buried, (under a new housing estate would be favourite), and Desert Island discs is marooned a long way away, preferably on Bikini Atoll. Then we can talk again.

  • Comment number 54.

    Since there are podcasts for Desert Island Discs for all the programmes they have audio available I am not sure why we need it to be on the radio at all. We could, if we chose, download the lot and be done with it and I am sure fans will be doing that. If I am right, who will want to listen to repeats of this programme when they can listen at their own time and place?

    Yes, Dave, I would love to have more longer plays - we used to have 2 in the wee small hours of Sunday mornings and for those of us who don't sleep too well they were wonderful. Now I am supposed to be grateful for Garison Keeller - sadly I am not.

    I guess we will have a year to wait but I reckon by then we will be back to the old schedule, more of less, and maybe even some of the old presenters - Alex Riley first back please!

  • Comment number 55.

    When will the BBC Trust implement its intention to change the R4X service licence, in accordance with its recent view: "… to preserve the elements that audiences value, the Trust will strengthen the service licence so that the commitment to comedy and drama is increased, and limit the amount of Radio 4 catch-up programming." ?

    Russ

  • Comment number 56.

    Whilst I quite like Garison Keeller, he isn't exactly ideal late night/early morning listening! And again, every show he has done over the past 15 years or so is available for download, and the latest show is always spread like a rash across the internet, so odd random episodes on the BBC seem a bit redundant, especially as they are always for the wrong time of year.
    The copyright problems, missing episodes etc are all the result of past BBC short sightedness and/or mistakes, and you would think they would have learnt by now. I still have some ageing cassettes of the first broadcasts of Hitchhiker. The one most people know was a re-recording that had to be done because, surprise surprise, the BBC didn't get full clearance on the music used. So most people have missed the dramatic moment on Magrathea when Arthur Dent exclaims 'Did you know your robot can whistle like Pink Floyd?
    I was a Radio 4 listener from day one, until that went pear-shaped in the 1980's. The BBC lost me as a listener until Radio 7 started. Seems they don't really want me.......

  • Comment number 57.

    Disappointed in the change to what was a most enjoyable Radio 7. Have stopped listening. Will look forward to the restoration of the Crime and Thriller hour and will tune back in then. Listen via tv but no longer going to buy a digital radio owing to these changes.

  • Comment number 58.

    I would like to apologise for getting Alex Riley's surname wrong. Alex, wherever you are, I'm sorry.

    Now that I've apologised for my mistake, perhaps Tim Davie would like to sign in and make his apologies for overseeing what I consider to be the wrecking of Radio 7.

    And Dave, you're not wrong about the 10 am slot. In fact, I think you're being a tad kind in describing it as appalling. Mercifully I'm at work at that time of day and unable to get near a radio.

  • Comment number 59.

    "Crime fans will be pleased to know that Crime will be returning to its 1.00 am slot in a few weeks time. We do take your views on board and where we can, we will act on them."
    Thank goodness for that Paul, thnks for listening for once Beeb !
    I'll be able to start listening again . Now how about restoring some of the longer plays instead of the cackling and inane chatter , plus fatuous repeats of Radio 4 "comedy" shows we're having to endure !

  • Comment number 60.

    ... or more importantly, panel shows? Scripted comedy or proper stand-up is worlds away better than the banter in panel shows of all sorts.

  • Comment number 61.

    Nothing in Mary Kalemkerian's post fills me with anything other than despair.It seems every programme I avoided on 4 is now on 4extra ie DID in extended form, Loose Ends just celeb back slapping, Mark Lawson a man so convinced in his own opinions he tells his doctor how to diagnose illness, the dreadful Ambridge Extra,a programme even Archers fans didn't ask for. A surfeit of 15 minute programmes that destroy any feeling of continuity - something important in who dunnits almost as if no-one has an attention span of more than 15 mins.
    Mary's post has ignored just about every critical comment apart from one vague promise to restore the crime drama late night slot sometime maybe. No mention of the disaster that is now the listen again or listen live computer facility that worked perfectly well untill the BBC decided to mess with it.
    The BBC constantly says its good value for money but for £300 I get dozens of tv channels, my telephone calls and a decent internet connection but still have to pay a licence fee for the BBC, a service I use less and less because of its high handed and arrogant treatment of viewers and listeners. I loved radio 7 even if I didn't like every single programme, now its been destroyed and for no good reason.

  • Comment number 62.

    I agree with the comments before about short programmes. More full length programmes please, or at least put an omnibus edition option on the iplayer.
    One other point - can you please stop putting the synopsis of the episode against the iplayer link in the website? Why not put a link to the synopsis so that you can read it if you want?
    That would stop any risk of spoiling the story.

  • Comment number 63.

    Thank you Mary for promising to return the Crime and Thrillers hour to its 01:00 slot. My better half will be relieved following a week of my constant ranting!

  • Comment number 64.

    Mary I've had my reply to my official complaint to the BBC about your removal of any longer plays from the station, as well as the usual dumbing down.
    Like you, they've answered one point and denied or ignored all the rest of my comments.
    I don't know why we bother to pay our license fees when the station controllers just ride rough shod over our complaints and sweep them aside as if they're trivial
    Still I suppose we shouldn't be surprised, looks what's happened the the BBC Points of view Message boards, and Radio 5, any listeners comments are treated with disdain ! I'm disgusted that we're treated as if we don't matter, we pay your wages !

  • Comment number 65.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 66.

    Curmy, you are right! It is a shame that comments for listener are so ignored. In this day and age we are the customers yet no one coming here would think it - yet without us customers there would no be any jobs and Mary K would have to find work elsewhere.Maybe we should all put in complaints the BBC Trust....

    Putuck, I am being driven away by the inane programmes too. The Comendy Club last night had a programme on 'discussing comedy news and events' that is, news about news about comedy events not just funny news. I ask you, is that the sort of thing for a Comedy Club. I wonder if they tried that between stand-up acts at a live comedy club it would go down well!;-) The station needs to be freed up from factual programming and get back the the bare essentials of comedy, and drama.

    Meanwhile, in my sixties and having been a radio 4 listener for 50 years, I find I am increasingly bored with the Radio 4 / 4 Xtra programming and am finding other stations to listen too. Mary K needs to realise that is much easier to retain an audience than it is to lose one and try and get it back.

  • Comment number 67.

    It's this obsession with Yoof audiences that annoys eme ! I used to listen to Radio 5 before it dumbed down, ( I got bored with Radio 4 as well ) but BBC 7 was perfect for late evenings, and now they've ruined it!

  • Comment number 68.

    That's it! I've finished with 4 Extra for all the reasons everyone else has posted, Back to the audio books and CD's. The BBC couldn't give a da***about readers comments. I don't watch TV anymore so I will not be renewing my licence.

  • Comment number 69.

    I've found a site where you can buy lots of audio books on CD for £5. including "This Septred Isle"
    Goodbye BBC 7, I'll return when you've come to your senses !

  • Comment number 70.

    "Thank you to everyone for taking the time to comment on the blog, Twitter and elsewhere" As mentioned this completely avoids the point that the vast majority of comments are completely negative and does not constitute a valid response.

    Crime coming back "in a few weeks" - by then many people may have given up on the station altogether and this blog hasn't generated any comments from people praising Radio 4 Extra so who will be listening?

    It's already been said but in case it hasn't got through people want more "proper" drama (not the Archers Extra). Also less chatter, fewer (preferably no) music based programmes (if I wanted to listen to either of these there are plenty of alternatives) Hope this is clear and will influence the next response.

  • Comment number 71.

    Well, I've listened since the beginning and I don't know how much more I can stand! Where are those lovely warm human presenters that were so special on radio 7, did the 'powers that be' not realise how much pleasure they brought to the listener ? And I've just given up on 'lads-zone' of self satisfied young male comic bores that now infest the 10-12 pm slot. I didn't realise til I listened in to a few from habit (I was used to listening to alex on radio 7) just how tedious the average standups are, lots of self obsession dull dull dull heard-them-all-before observations and far too much uninspired testosterone. Send them back to a university bar where they may be appreciated, I can't bear to hear them drone on any more. I've given up on this slot on radio 4 extra, and am beginning to wonder about audio books myself... please bring back some of the genuine warmth and humour of the old radio 7.

  • Comment number 72.

    Radio 4 Extra is awful, just awful. There is far too much comedy and too little drama, the station ident is irritating, the presenters are patronising.

  • Comment number 73.

    I feel like radio 7 has been stolen from under my nose. I gave 4Xtra a go but found programmes I wanted to avoid on R4 are spreading to 4Xtra. The idea of additional, behind the scenes, out-take content smacks of cost cutting and maximising value. Switched to the World Service last night, please bring back R7.

  • Comment number 74.

    Radio 7

    R.I.P.

    A dear departed friend

  • Comment number 75.

    Radio 4 extra just seems so inane and unlistenable compared to the homely radio 7. We don't all have the attention span of a four year old but programmes seem to come and go at breakneck speed as though we aren't to be trusted to pay attention for longer than fifteen minutes.

    The whole thing is so disheartening. You've taken a perfectly good, if somewhat underfunded, radio station and ruined it by trying to make it something that it's not. I'll not be listening to 4 extra as it stands and i can imagine that many other radio 7 listeners feel the same. Shame on you Auntie!

  • Comment number 76.

    i see the other complaints blog is now shut will this one go soon? and where are the posts from mary or is it one a week, or do we have to search other blogs?
    well it looks like after hundreds of complaints the best we have achieved is a sort of promise that at some unspecified time in the future we will get the crime and thrillers back or did we only manage to get crime ?
    also we have heard the licence exscuse before many times , radio 7 ran for 8 years and seemed to manage ok, if you are having problems finding shows for radio7 what are we going to listen to on 4extra , this was just waffle and missdirection , surely the cost of shutting 7 and starting 4extra was more exspensive than just raising the profile of 7 ,as we were told this was the reason for rebranding? or was that more waffle , but atleast if you cant answer the questions truthfully you are saying nothing at all (almost nothing at all)

  • Comment number 77.

    I have just been looking at the 'All Drama' Radio section of the BBC iPlayer to try and understand quite what has disappeared from the schedule. Where there used to be a huge choice including feature length plays and crime drama there is now seemingly far less to choose from. The list used to be 5 or 6 pages long, it is now 3 pages long. Please restore this choice and the character of Radio7.

    Digital Radio was about diversifying choice not reducing it. We were told that a key idea of Radio4 Extra 'rebranding' was supposedly to increase awareness to the Radio4 listenership of the presence of Radio7 and the fact that it had old Radio4 content. Instead it is more of a destruction of Radio7 and an arbitrary need to add 'extra' bits onto current Radio4 content to justify the new name. This seems utterly unnecessary and unwanted. We do not need nor want extended Radio4 programmes. Please take off Desert Island Discs (you can remove it from the Radio4 schedule as well if you want) and superfluous ArchersExtra and bring back the feature length dramas and crime and comedy catch up hours that allowed listeners to wallow in radio. Its not difficult to do - you've done it before ... Thank you -

  • Comment number 78.

    Radio 4 Plus? Not heard it yet. I've heard the ads for it on Radio 4 but it sounds far too music-y for me; every ad is laced with music, and I prefer music free speech.

    I did listen to old comedy on Radio 7 from time to time, but the continuity was too loud, again too music-loaded, and compressed like some commercial radio station. Recording the shows on my video disk system off satellite often missed the ends as programmes were almost always broadcast late after a long continuity intro delayed them. I am not sure why they couldn't keep to schedule, it is not as if they are live (mostly more like 50 years old).

    It's a gallant risk of the Radio 4 brand to offer it to a new station. I gather this often leads to dilution of the brand as Radio 4 becomes associated with archive and second choice programmes. But I am sure the brand consultants the BBC employ know better than me. I gather it is a government lead initiative anyway, the aim is to increase the take-up of DAB for political ends of spectrum purification. No doubt a behind the scenes deal on the licence fee. The injunction was to change Radio 7 to Radio 4 plus and promote it to death on the analogue channels.

    As an Archers' fan I toyed with the new show, but decided to give it a miss. 75 minutes a week is enough soap for me. I am worried that the new story lines will start affecting the main show though, as the story writers now have to dovetail to story lines I don't get. It may be my imagination but I have the feeling that some inexplicable story twists are already creeping into the main programme, but I can't put my finger on anything specific.

    I'll catch up with it some time I am sure. If anyone is interested I will post any conversion I undergo as a result.

    Posted by Mike, as a member of an audience who does not like to "be delivered" as I have heard BBC marketing people describe the exercise.

  • Comment number 79.

    psiops 23.43

    Re your first sentence. When a certain BBC 1 prog with 2 now defected presenters received hundreds of complaints and criticisms, rather than address the issue the blog was shut down. Watch this space!

  • Comment number 80.

    Can someone at the BBC please hit The Now Show Extra with a big stick until it goes away?

  • Comment number 81.

    Maybe we'll be getting The News Quiz Extra soon...

  • Comment number 82.

    Before long we'll probably have Susan Rae telling us, that if we missed the Archers omnibus, we'll get another chance to miss it here on 4 Extra...straight after the repeat of saturday's edition of Money Box.

    Crime returning in a few weeks? Probably means Ambridge Extra getting a shoplifting storyline.

  • Comment number 83.

    You'll probably have to wait until Ambridge Extra Extra for that.....

  • Comment number 84.

    I listened to Radio 7 every week and especially enjoyed the crime hour at 1am and the full length dramas. Some of the "classic" comedy was a little dated for my tastes but overall the mix was very entertaining. The rebranding to Radio 4 Extra and the changes it has brought are very disappointing and I now spend little time on this channel. I do tune in occasionally to see if anything catches my attention but think the whole feel of the listening experience has changed for the worse unfortunately. If anyone reads these blogs my request would be, bring back the crime hour to 1am (and a little more of the old format) and I will do my best to endure the rest. Just to put this comment in context, this is the first time I have ever sent a comment to a radio or tv but felt I could not watch the demise of such a good station without speaking out.

  • Comment number 85.

    I really hope this awful change to Radio 7 is not an attempt to attract younger audiences.

    I am a 'Yoof' (17) and have been listening to and loving 7 for years. Now I am truly disappointed and feel betrayed by the Beeb.

    All I want to know is: "WHY?????" surely the sheer number of people complaining should force you to be frank with us - admit this was a mistake.

    I have turned Radio 4 extra off permanently now - I tried to give it a chance, but it's just too awful.

    Perhaps now I will be forced join other teenagers, hanging around on street corners and turning to drink and drugs to soften the pain of this loss.

  • Comment number 86.

    Mary - Firstly, thank you for listening to the overwhelming number of requests for the return of C&T at 0100. That's a good start.

    Next, like many others, I'd like to support the return of the 90 min drama in the weekend 0100 slot.

    And also in common with many others, please could we have 'proper' presenters back? I rarely tuned in early for C&T because I found Nicholas Briggs one of the most irritating presenters on R7 - wasn't too suprised when I found he's an actor/director/producer too. That would be fine, if only he didn't always try to big his part up. And he hasn't changed with 4Extra - I'm putting up with him at the moment because the Pratchett adaptations are well worth listening to. I'm afraid I find Arthur Smith similarly over-intrusive and another turn-off. Please just give us the programmes, introduced and rounded up professionally.

  • Comment number 87.

    Well this is yet another unhappy Radio 7 listener. The change to 4Extra has been an utter disaster. It seems that what someone thinks we want to hear is more self opinionated people talking about themselves rather than good entertainment a la the old radio 7.
    I was all for extending the selection from Radio 4 to 7 however it seems all the good drama has been replaced by comedy (someones idea of cheering up the country?) or talk shows (nothing worse than an old old talk show!
    Give us some alternative I used to be able to find something worth listening to on 7 even if I had to wait an hour or so for the theme to change now I can almost right off the whole day.

    If this continues for much longer I will join the majority below and re tune to something else (at least until you decide to change that!)

  • Comment number 88.

    Hello, Hello, anyone there? (silence)

    Ahhh, probably all out to lunch!


  • Comment number 89.

    Ambridge extra - lightweight; "Sneaky peeks" and "What's so funny" - unnecessary and uninteresting trailers for so called "comedy" and why are TV programmes included for review?; old interviews - I could keep listing. Radio 7 was distinctive from Radio 4 because there was something for everyone - drama, comedy, sci fi, thrillers - true choice. Please may we have it back? ASAP!

  • Comment number 90.

    Yes, quellenouvelles, all the rubbishy factual stuff too. Seriously,the Comedy Club ought to be comedy not talking-about-comedy. Maybe they have run out of programmes for the slots in the Comedy Club or putting chat programmes is cheaper. Oh, and do you find Arthur Smith annoying introducing these programmes? Bring back Alex Riley I say!

    Either way, I no longer listen to Radio 4 Xtra though I might re-consider if the Crime and Thrillers really come back at 01:00hrs

  • Comment number 91.

    Another disaffected ex-radio 7 listener here. I agree with a lot of what has already been said, too many short slots, no long drama, no real structure to the schedule, repeats of recent radio 4 comedy, bits of Front Row, Inheritance Tracks, Ambridge Extra, people talking about comedy, intrusive presenters - all awful.

    I used to be able to have it on all day (I didn't even mind the repeats) but after three weeks I have found I hardly switch it on at all and when I do, I seem to catch people talking about comedy (in a not-very-interesting way) or ten minute repeats of Front Row interviews.

    The one little crumb of comfort thrown to us loyal listeners is the return of Crime and Thrillers House at some unspecified time.

    I would like to say something positive but I really can't.

    The rights issues are constantly mentioned but if the BBC has been making Saturday plays and Classic Serials at any time in the last ten years without thinking about the repeat rights to its own programmes then it has been asleep.

    I am listening to unabridged readings now, filling in the time until Test Match Special is back on the air so I can have radio that I want to listen to all day.

  • Comment number 92.

    I too am concerned that Radio 4 Extra, will not be living up to its hype, but then it never could. Complaining is pointless and the only response that you will get, is if you offer compliments.

    When 7 began I thought that especially the BBC drama archive would provide a conucopia of brilliant plays going back to when drama was truly escapist unless now, when it is truly PC and worthy, with people in crises [I can get that at home any day of the week!]. When the end of BBC7 was in sight it was clear that as usual, the BBC was going its own sweet way - telling us what it thought we wanted.

    I will continue to listen t 4 Extra, because anything is better than the news!

  • Comment number 93.

    There is a Facebook page - perhaps the name "Save Radio 7 from Radio 4 Extra" is not appropriate now but you never know - bringing back the spirit (and schedule) of Radio 7 whatever the name would be progress! Here is the link:

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Save-BBC-7-from-RAdio-4-Extra/110275482357938 - Facebook had some influence on the saving of BBC Radio 6 so expressions of support here can't do any harm!

  • Comment number 94.

    Ah, the good old days when BBC7 didn't even bother to give us the time. As soon as it became successful the end was in sight and now that it's been "re-branded", well. . . Does the extra mean extra rubbish? Is it the intention I wonder that every Radio 4 programme should have an "extra"? The World at One—Extra, Thought for the Day—Extra, Any Questions—Extra. And is that inane jingle to be played after EVERY sentence the continuity announcer speaks? Is that the Extra you're so proud of?

    I don't want banal babble between the programmes—just like most other radio channels; I don't want you "chatting" to me like I'm your friend; I'm NOT your friend. I want a professional continuity announcer; that's all.

    I too will still listen—but nothing like as often as I used to. Shame.

  • Comment number 95.

    Thank you to everyone for taking the time to comment on the blog, Twitter and elsewhere. I'm planning more posts in the near future.
    mary wrote this on the 14th now the 23rd so near future is another bbc way of saying wait and take what we give you , thought that by now we would have had a decent reply but hay ho at least they havent closed this blog yet.

  • Comment number 96.

    I have been an avid listener to Radio 7 for years and have always thought of it as one of the best things that the BBC have done in a long time. The station seemed to have developed an individual style which many of us welcomed as an alternative to the current affairs and chat shows on Radio 4. I loved being able to switch on at any time to know that I would be able to listen to classic or contemporary comedy, excellent crime and drama or sci-fi and fantasy programmes.

    Like others, however, I have now given up listening to most of R4Ex live, particularly for the Comedy Club. I use my radio to select and record the shows that I want to hear and don't bother listening to the irritating continuity from Arthur Smith. Don't get me wrong, I think he is an excellent comedian, but not a chat show host, which seems to be his function on the station now. Come back Alex Riley, we miss you!

    I totally fail to see the point of sticking programmes which are so very Radio 4, like Desert Island Discs and the increasing number of talk shows, into the scheduling of what used to be Radio 7. If we wanted to listen to them, surely we would turn to Radio 4 itself? Would they put repeats of Radio 3's CD Review or Choral Evensong on Radio 2, for example?

    For whatever reason, the BBC seems to have totally shot itself in the foot with this one, by turning a great success story into a some kind of hybrid which seems to be pleasing nobody at the moment. It seems to me that they really have no understanding of their audience and that that doesn’t seem to bother them.

  • Comment number 97.

    Ambridge Extra's sole purpose is to try and attract more listeners from radio 4 over to radio 4 extra. Unfortunately, this programme, along with other puerile rubbish is alienating former radio 7 listeners from the station.

 

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