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dum dum dum dee dee dum dee dee da

Sequin | 10:12 UK time, Friday, 16 March 2007

Got the theme tune running through my head - but as I said yesterday , and as Mr RIppon repeated VERY CLEARLY during our post programme meeting - "IT'S NOT COMING BACK".

Two more things about yesterday's programme - I still don't know the answer to my question about whether it'll cost more to go digital if you have more than one tv set in your home. For some reason, and lots of you picked up on this, the minister seemed to find my inquiry difficult to answer. It really was a genuinely innocent question that I thought you might also like an answer to. We're still waiting.

Also... and this is very disappointing. I read out a text from Torquay asking how much the 1948 Olympics cost. During the programme we had an email from a woman who said that one of her relatives had worked on the Olympics and she had detailed figures. Hurrah. We were hoping to interview her today. However, she got a better offer from the Mail. Boo.

Amanda has been running a sweepstake for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. I've drawn two horses which I'm reliably informed have no chance of winning! Forget the Past and Neptune Collonges. But you never know.....

Bye for now,



  1. At 10:36 AM on 16 Mar 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    I believe Forget the Past was nominated as a potential winner on the Today programme, so you may be in with a chance, Sequin!

    As to the Theme Toon - perhaps you and Eddie could record a duet? I'm sure there are wordsmiths out there who would provide something suitable. Then, when it hits No. 1, we'll see whether Peter Rippon will dismiss it so easily.

    The lady from Torquay should be ashamed. Thirty pieces of silver from the Mail compared to the integrity of a Radio 4 interview? Pah!

  2. At 10:38 AM on 16 Mar 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    Forget the Past and Neptune Collonges

    Sounds like some strange sort of interplanetary instruction.....! :-)

  3. At 10:59 AM on 16 Mar 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Sequin: According to this article from the Indy, the cost of the '48 olympics was £750,000:


    Confirmed by a BBC history article here:


  4. At 11:16 AM on 16 Mar 2007, Perky wrote:

    Can you believe it's Friday already? Time flies when sequin's in the chair.

    Good luck for the Gold Cup - I remember having family betting on the Gold Cup and the Grand National, for the grand sum of 5p each - and it was still really exciting if you won!

  5. At 11:29 AM on 16 Mar 2007, Eamo wrote:

    GM (1), I thought Neptune Collonges sounded more like some kind of gastric disorder...

  6. At 11:52 AM on 16 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    The digital question :- whether it'll cost more to go digital if you have more than one tv set in your home?

    Well yes, if you go down the Freeview line it will cost you the price of a set top box (STB) per television. I believe Asda are now one of the cheapest at around £20 per box.

    If you take the Sky route, I believe they have reduced offers for more than one Sky box but still around £10 a Month.

    Finally - many of these televisions will NOT have a scart connector.

    *This will render them totally redundant*

    -- unless you purchase a Freeview box with an RF modulator (a way of converting the signal) back to an (old style) analogue one to feed into the aeriel. These models cost substantially more than the cheap supermarket models, often more than £60.

    Hope that helps Carolyn.

  7. At 12:26 PM on 16 Mar 2007, jack williams wrote:

    Seems the government are doing a 'Maxwell' and 'Conrad Black', in raiding
    easy targets for the Olympic

  8. At 12:29 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Sequin: Apart from wishing you success in the Gold Cup (see above), may I also add a personal thanks to you for keeping Eddie's seat warm while he, presumably, warmed himself elsewhere? And good luck on Sunday back on your own roost.

    I'm sure you'll be pretty busy today, in between the broadcast business, clearing up the bottles, washing the glasses, and wiping the lippy off the mike.

    There again, you could leave it all for Eddie ...... Tempting, no?

  9. At 12:40 PM on 16 Mar 2007, La Corniche wrote:

    Madame Quinn,

    I hope that today your programme will wrestle with the issue of the day: How can HP sauce retain its name and branding now that it will be manufactured in Holland.

    Surely it would now be more appropriate to rebrand it as Binnenhof sauce, with a picture of the Hague on the label? As Holland is ahead of us on the environment game, it may also need to be recoloured green.

  10. At 12:43 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    We still have one of those iconic orange ball TVs from the early seventies that looks like a space helmet. It still works - but not for much longer. How sad.

  11. At 12:48 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Frances O wrote:

    That's what you get for eschewing cheque book journalism.

    The BBC. It's what we don't do.

  12. At 12:58 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Chrissie the Trekkie wrote:

    The cheapest way in the long run to go digital is to buy freeview ready TVs for each room. So long as your aerial is up to it.

    Minimum £250 each, although the price is probably coming down even as I speak.
    Otherwise it's a box for every room - satellite or cable or decoder. In the case of the first two it's also a monthly subscription!

    Theme tune? PM had a theme tune?
    Oh yes, so it did.....

  13. At 01:03 PM on 16 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    With the greatest of respect to Peter Rippon, who is undoubtedly the best Editor Radio 4 has, I don't think he is really the person to make judgements about the sound of the network To quote from a recent article in the Independant . "Half the station's audience listen to nothing except the Today programme, young listeners are a tiny minority and the established audience is ageing."

    I've said it before several times here but Mark Damazer needs to make the Network a lot more pacey, it lacks colour and the odd little themes brighten the output and break the monotony.

  14. At 01:38 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR wrote:

    Great Blog. Happy St Patricks Day and Happy Red Nose Day from Miami Florida. Roberto.

  15. At 02:01 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Appalled of Blighty wrote:

    La Corniche - I am appalled.

  16. At 02:28 PM on 16 Mar 2007, RogerN wrote:

    Re Digital, another question that is studiously ignored is what is going to happen to all those who only have a Black and White TV licence? Mostly pensioners who cannot afford colour.

    According to the information that I have seen, as soon as they purchase a digibox, they are are going to have to purchase a colour licence, even if they continue to watch in Black and White!

    I suppose their TVs are likely to be obsolete but how are they going to be able to afford this new technolgy?

  17. At 02:40 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Frances O wrote:

    jonnie (13):

    I love the quirkiness, wit and humour that are the lettering through the rock of Radio 4.

    Oooh, that looks like a strapline, nearly. Spose I'll have to email it to the PM wastebasket/trash/whatever, to join my other suggestions.

  18. At 03:09 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Jonnie, that quote about ageing is spot on :o(
    I love the quirky bits, like the random phone calls to public phone boxes, and a chat with whoever answers. It's the sort of thing which was done so well by John Peel, though I'm sorry if mentioning that opens up any sore wounds.

  19. At 04:00 PM on 16 Mar 2007, La Corniche wrote:

    Appalled, I am La Corniche.

    Good to meet you.

  20. At 04:07 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Aunt Dahlia wrote:

    Why are we humming the Archer's theme tune?

  21. At 04:07 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    HP will just stand for Holland Produced.

    I've never knowingly consumed the stuff, but they did make Tomato Ketchup as well. I suppose that's gone below sea level too, now.

    Jonnie - your revelation about cheap set-top boxes requiring a scart socket came as a shock to me. This makes the situation even worse, and if you can't pay for your TV licence at a Post Office any more, what is this country coming to? Sounds like a question for MOTP.

  22. At 04:10 PM on 16 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Frances and Gossipmistress. Indeed, you have both cited the exact reasons I love Radio 4.
    However there are many 18-25's and some under 35's which I'm sure would soon listen for longer if the network, as a whole, sounded less boring.
    For example I have mentioned programme names before.

    If you were 20 would you really think a programme called
    Woman's hour could have anything aimed, or of interest for you?
    It's all too quaint and mumsy. It was given the name in 1946 and I think we have moved on a little. That's just one example.

  23. At 04:12 PM on 16 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Frances and Gossipmistress. Indeed, you have both cited the exact reasons I love Radio 4.
    However there are many 18-25's and some under 35's which I'm sure would soon listen for longer if the network, as a whole, sounded less boring.
    For example I have mentioned programme names before.

    If you were 20 would you really think a programme called
    Woman's hour could have anything aimed, or of interest for you?
    It's all too quaint and mumsy. It was given the name in 1946 and I think we have moved on a little. That's just one example.

  24. At 04:14 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:


    Show me someone who is not ageing. OK, and not already dead.

    As for the theme tune, I hum one of them (the one that goes, "PM is on now; so peel back your ears...") every time the pips fade at 1700 hours.

    Ooh, have I missed the Humph song recording session?

  25. At 04:42 PM on 16 Mar 2007, La Corniche wrote:

    Vyle: The brand now belongs to Heinz, so there is no HP tomato ketchup I imagine.

    But the 'brown' stuff, 'Wilson's Gravy' - is the only sauce to have with lamb and sausages, imho. And I make no exceptions for mint sauce (mint with lamb? extraordinarily aberrant!)

    Also very good with cheddar.

  26. At 04:47 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Jonnie, what do you suggest we should rename it as "People's Hour"? In which case, who is the other 23 hours of broadcasting per day aimed at.

    I think it would be a mistake to rejig the network to appeal to a younger audience, who already have far more options and programmes catered for them than the ever-increasing 'elderly' population (which in media terms, is anyone over the age of 35). Given that it is not a commercial station and does not need the power of external consumerist advertising to guarantee it's survival at present, then why would a younger audience base help anything? If Radio 4 decided to rebrand (using Froghammer perhaps?*) to become more cool with the kids, then I will stop listening, simple as that. Not that a drop of one will cause the programmers cause for concern.

    *I'll be surprised if even one person gets THAT reference.

  27. At 04:58 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Frances O wrote:

    As I remember the theme tune, it was

    Da da DEEDly deedly deddly, da da DEEDly deedly

  28. At 04:59 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Fifi wrote:

    No, Jonnie, you can't touch Woman's Hour.

    Anything else, but not that.



  29. At 05:09 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Hmmmm. Jonnie.

    I started listening in my late 20s because I was bored by other BBC radio stations and the local radio was brain-numbing.

    I certainly had the wrong idea about Woman's Hour then. Till I listened to it.

    Dunno... what else could it be called? '51% stuff?' nah, joking.

    What makes me rush eagerly to do the washing up, clean the bath etc is the unutterably unfunny 'comedy drama' after 1100 and the interminably dull afternoon play thingies after the Archers. And the attempts at comedy at 1830.

  30. At 05:10 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    I think you underestimate the Lassies. My 26 year old is a regular R4 listener, and she's no throwback, despite her ancestry.

    Houb Salaam
    16/03/2007 at 17:15:37 GMT

  31. At 05:28 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh well, Carolyn, Forget the Past! Perhaps you'll draw the winner next year ....

    Have a lovely Saturday and see you on Sunday.

  32. At 05:38 PM on 16 Mar 2007, mrs-nostalgie wrote:

    Dear Mme Sequin, a most enjoyable week, thank you - & there was I moaning last Friday, 'No Eric all week'. I need not have feared. Calm, authoritative & with a lightness of touch; I particularly enjoyed the digital TV interview.
    Apopros of digital, how many realise that they will no longer be able to record one progamme whilst watching another?

  33. At 05:45 PM on 16 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: EdI - I'm glad and pleased, however figures reveal there should and could be more.

    Re: Vyle, The majority of returned Freeview boxes are because the public have been either mislead, or have not fully understood the wording about whether they will work with a TV set without a scart socket.

    After looking on the web there are very few Freeview boxes which will be compatible. All the original 'OnDigital' boxes have them, as do Sky boxes.

    The manufacturer's must be having a field day! All these new telly's they'll be selling.

  34. At 05:45 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Frances O wrote:

    As for HP sauce, having checked the new website


    I realise I've seen ads for it without realising it was HP they were advertising.


    Amazingly Amazon is selling bottles (???collector's items???)

    Goggle (you know what I mean) and see.

    I can survive as long as they don't touch Lee & P's or Marmite.

  35. At 05:47 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Emigdio wrote:

    I think it's time for a radical re-think for the 2012 olympics. I say go for a retro theme. Put 'em all up at an RAF base. Let the Canadians cater. Massive savings, and all that old time, ration-card charm.

    Thanks for that bit, it was delicious!

  36. At 06:14 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    I may be the right* side of thirty now, but I've been a Radio 4 addict since my teens.

    But I always hated the very depressing PM theme tune. I only really got into the programme after it had gone.

    btw, Sequin, don't worry. If it's going to be in the Mail it clearly isn't true anyway.

    A, x.

    *Yes, that is what I meant. This side is so much more relaxed.

  37. At 06:41 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    The same can be said for 65,

  38. At 07:04 PM on 16 Mar 2007, jacques wrote:

    I seem to remember that my children used HP sauce to polish copper coins. My younger son would polish his pocket money most weeks.

    I wonder if the new HP sauce from Holland will be as effective? (Will it be known as Hollandaise Sauce?) {:o)}

  39. At 08:30 PM on 16 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re Appy:- Depressing theme tune
    - and even though in your view it was depressing are you really implying that it was enough to put you off listening to a programme?

    This may sound a little condescending but it really isn't meant to be. As a Londoner, I never listened to BBC Radio 4 - only Radio 1.

    My Parents always had 'Today' on during breakfast, Jack Demanio .. etc I vaguely recall.

    Then in 1973 London was lucky enough to have it's own News and information station (namely LBC) By the early eighties it's breakfast audience, hosted by Bob Holness and Douglas Cameron had more listeners than 'Today' on Radio 4 and far more younger listeners. The rest of the ouput was generally compulsive listening - Brian Hayes, Gill Pyrah, Dan Damon, and of course lovely Martha Kearney, out and about!

    It succeeded because it was commercial and had to be innovative, creative, dynamic (all those marketing clichés) yet it achieved it's goals. At the same time Radio 4 also made changes, realising it sounded a little dated.
    The London radio listeners have been lucky enough to have experienced excellent competition - well certainly in the past.

    Times have moved now ... BBC Radio 4 still closes down and simulcasts the World service after 'Book at Bedtime' for all the Night workers.

    Hahaha! amazing really!

  40. At 09:10 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Francis O (33),

    I don't know offhand which multinational owns L&P, but it's definately not the Worcestershire Sauce my mother purchased. It's there on the label; it used to say "shallots", it now says "onions". And who knows what else has changed in the "flavourings".

    I happen to have an "old" bottle, now sadly virtually empty, but it really does smell different to the modern junk. (OK, I'm the last of the old Fogies). And it was definately a smell that takes me back to fried eggs for Friday lunch when I was young, and not quite any more...(even on Friday).

    So, Jacques, (37), not sure what this change will mean. But since it was the vinegar in the sauce that "cleaned" the coins, I predict no change in that effect, no matter how the taste changes. Will it still contain Seville Oranges?

    Aperitif, does that mean the relaxed side of 45? I only bring up the PM theme tune pour encourage les autres

  41. At 09:36 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Annasee wrote:

    Hmm, sounds as if anyone wanted to wind up Peter (that's "Mr", to us, obviously) Rippon, all they'd have to do would be start a petition to bring back the PM theme. That would be so naughty & mischevious, wouldn't it? Wouldn't it???

    Perhaps we could find a way to use it as an intro to our future hit single release of Always look on the Bright Side...

  42. At 09:48 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Fogive me if I'm picking up sticks at the wrong end but I have had a shandy or two.

    Ed (36), I'm pleased to hear it.

    Jonnie (38), I dunno why you would think saying you are from London is condescending? After all, none of us is responsible for where we are born or live as a child. You are amusingly impenetrable sometimes (fnar fnar). Yes, I really did find the theme tune so miserable I would switch the radio off when I heard it (same for Desert Island Discs I'm afraid). Once it stopped I managed to get to hear the programme and became a fan. I was a Radio 1 listener before Radio 4, ands it's still what I switch to if I'm in the car and Euan Ures comes on. (I only listen to music in the car).

    Deep John, this side of 45 is fairly relaxed -- are you the other side? Is it even more realsed when one gets over there? (Ed seems to suggest so!)

  43. At 09:50 PM on 16 Mar 2007, The Teach wrote:

    Jonnie, dare I point out that "its" and "it's" are different words with different meanings, and "it's" definitely does NOT mean "belonging to it"? More information available on request! Thanks, I feel better now, spleen vented. Going to listen again to yesterday's PM to hear the digital TV piece, which I missed (so, strictly speaking, I'm not listening again, I'm just...listening.). I need help. Pedantry is very wearing. Recommendations for a cure, anyone?

  44. At 09:58 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Teach, hello! The blog is the perfect place for pedants! There is no cure -- the beastress must be fed wherever she finds a grammar famine.

  45. At 10:30 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Belinda wrote:

    45: The age for which sex begins being simply a chance for a lie-down.

    Ooh that's so not going to get through the censors.

  46. At 10:33 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Annasee, I did think, idly, last night while doing last-minute housework (busy day) that the whistly bit of 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' could segue into the old theme tune...

    You can see I lead a full life

  47. At 10:35 PM on 16 Mar 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Teach, you'll find that there are quite a few of us pedants here.

    But I'm also aware that I'm capable of silly typos. In fact I think my last post might have one cos I added something as it was slowly wending its (!!!!!) (grin) way into the ether. Apologies if so.

  48. At 11:27 PM on 16 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    RE: The Teach, Thank you for pointing it out. Actually just an error, but as most of you know I can't normally spell Aperatif ;-)

    Re: Appy, Yes you are right - on re-reading it, that point made no sense. Alas I was disturbed about five times and forgot the flow.

    I think what I meant to say was that the Londoners were lucky enough to have heard alternatives to Radio 4, unlike the rest of the UK. That could have sounded a little condescending ?

    I'll conclude by saying again that it's a fabulous network, just with some tweaking and someone, possibly like Eddie in the driving seat it could be better. I mean if Mark Damazer can't even get rid of a bit of music before Farming today without an outcry?

    I'd start by getting rid of 'Feedback' and next remove all message boards and blogs!

    One could question where 700,000 listeners have disappeared to between the December 05 and December 06 Rajar results, whilst other stations have gained listeners?

  49. At 11:42 PM on 16 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Have just seen all the pedant comments.
    I have to say I think there are a few too many pedants out there.

    I can usually make sense of the comments without pouncing down peoples throats at the odd typo.

    I realise that it's important to make grammatically correct comments on the blog, if only for clarity's sake. However if I was a lurker, poised to submit a comment, without particularly good command of the language and then read the earlier comment from 'The Teach', I'd probably run a mile.

  50. At 12:49 AM on 17 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: appy,

    I'm off to bed, I gave you a meaningful reply, but it didn't make it through! -

    Basically you were right and it didn't make sense - I'll explain another time!

    Night night.

  51. At 08:55 AM on 17 Mar 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Hear, hear Jonnie (re pedants).

    I'm as prone as the next nitpicker to the sharp intake of breath at the sight of an errant apostrophe ... and editing is part of my job, so I really do spot them all ... but the blog is no place to mention them.

    Pedantry here should be -- not confined -- but positively channelled towards identifying weasly radio interviewees who won't answer the question, and suchlike.

    Much more conducive to improved understanding and love in the world.

    Anyone who wants the apostrophe business explained, please see me after school. :o)


  52. At 12:18 PM on 17 Mar 2007, Val P wrote:

    Appy - I so know what you are driving at with the "depressing theme tunes", music can have exactly the same effect on me and, I'm certain, many others.
    I had a huge long ramble in here, which I couldn't get to make any sense when I read it back, so I've deleted it all - sigh- all about embedded emotions.

    Fellow Pedants - hmmm, why do you think I modified my name? :o)

  53. At 04:01 PM on 17 Mar 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Concerning pedantry, as one who is usually lept upon from on high for errors - mainly spelling in my case, and by Germans (oh, the space bar is not working properly so if two words run together, I'll blaim that) - I usually pounce more as a wind-up rather than nit-picking. For example, when I pounced on Val P for an error...

    So welcome, the Teach, someone else to patrol the frog and pounce on errant apostraphies.

    Aperitif (42), and Belinda (45), it would appear I'm the other side of 45 to you. But the excuse fora lie down is not much help to me, as I fall asleep within seconds of being horizontal, no matter what's going on around me.

  54. At 05:41 PM on 17 Mar 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Ah, Val, you've always been so tactful in your pedantry.

    There will always be exceptions!

    See you on the Beach??

    Fifi xx

  55. At 06:26 PM on 17 Mar 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Oh I totally agree with Deep John and others -- the pedantry here is not nasty: it is always in fun. I am quite happy to be picked up when I make a mistake and I would only ever pick someone else up to tease gently, not to be unkind.

    Jonnie, your meaningful response has appeared and I have to say that (as I mentioned elsewhere) I was pretty squiffy last night, so probably would've understood your original post under less alcohol-influenced circumstances!

    You clearly think that I am not from London nor do I live there. I know I've hinted at where I work sometimes but I don't think I've ever said anything about where I was born and grew up. Hmm. I think I'll leave that there actually!

    Anyway, there are local radio stations all over the country -- some of them can't even be heard in London! ;-) What got us onto this topic again?...

  56. At 01:24 AM on 18 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re Appy,

    I've taken all your comments on board - even the PM theme tune and agree to disagree about that one. In fact I wouldn't want that one back - but perhaps something there.

    Re: Local Radio.

    Yes the country is littered with local stations, many, especially the BBC locals / regional’s do an excellent job. Talk Sport is the only real commercial competitition to BBC Radio 4, and only then loosely, due to its sporty content and phone-in content.

    As regards to your points about local radio.

    LBC, it was unique (in the late eighties/early nineties, due to the audience reach, (London) and it's unique franchise (News and information).

    It managed to (then) clobber BBC Radio London, which admittedly played a lot of music, however LBC gained more listeners than BBC Radio 4 across the peak programmes.

    Now, for example, if you lived in Dundee at that time and only had Radio Tay as any competition, you would have missed out on the London radio scene? - How a good pacey station, albeit News and information - with a few lively jingles, a little traffic update thrown in, which Radio 2 thrive on, can attract a very large listenership!

    Why for example doesn’t PM utilise the odd 30 seconds for a worthwhile traffic update for the majority of the listeners stuck in cars! -- instead of using a ‘voice’ to tell us about how we can contact the programme! Most bizarre?

    Aperitif, the BBC are not under the same pressure to get listeners as the commercial stations. The negative side of this is that the programme makers can become lacadasical, defunct of new ideas. You may think they are great, I'm just saying they could be better - or at least, aspects of the presentation styles.
    There is a little of this in Radio 4 – most of it far from PM though.

    I've sat through the meetings but also seen the results. Radio 3 would have been closed down years ago! There would have been a classical music Network but not attracting around one million listeners!

    Now who wants to share my Aero Instant bubbly hot chocolate drink I had sent through the post this morning ?

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