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A new schedule, The Archers and cuts

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Roger Bolton Roger Bolton 13:55, Friday, 28 January 2011

Graham Seed as Nigel Pargetter, John Peel, John Walters and Trevor Harrison as Eddie Grundy in 1984.

Editor's note - Feedback is back. And highlights of the first episode of the new series are a wide-ranging interview with Controller Gwyneth Williams and an encounter with Archers editor Vanessa Whitburn for two of her listeners - SB.

Hardly had Feedback gone off the air before Christmas then James Naughtie and Andrew Marr struggled to say "Jeremy Hunt the Culture Secretary" without lapsing into language more usually associated with Mellors, Lady Chatterley's lover. Trebles all round and the inevitable puns about Naughty Naughtie and Marred reporting.

Not much humour, intentional or otherwise in the first Feedback of the new run. Instead we travel with lovers of The Archers on their journey to Ambridge, still livid at the death of Nigel Pargetter and intent on resurrection or revenge. There is an emotional confrontation with Nigel's killer, Archers editor Vanessa Whitburn. Does she regret pushing him off the roof?

We also hear from the newish controller of Radio 4, Gwyneth Williams, who after four month in the job is now ready to announce some initial changes. Good news for fans of science and foreign affairs. Bad news for those of you who enjoy series like The Choice or On The Ropes.

Gwyneth's previous role was at the BBC World Service and I'll be talking to the director of the World Service, Peter Horrocks on next week's programme so if you have a question you want me to ask, do let me know.

So this week, there are two extracts from Feedback for you.

The first is that visit to Ambridge, the second the interview with Gwyneth Williams (by the way, rumours that she walks everywhere in bare feet as an economy measure are not true - in her office maybe but not in the Feedback studio when I interviewed her. And you'll be glad to know that biscuits and croissants she mentions in her blog post were not provided. Only water... from the tap.

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Roger Bolton is presenter of Feedback

  • Listen again to this week's Feedback, produced by Karen Pirie, get in touch with Feedback, find out how to join the listener panel or subscribe to the podcast on the Feedback web page.
  • Feedback is on Twitter. Follow @BBCR4Feedback.
  • Gwyneth Williams blogged about her planned schedule changes earlier this week and Vanessa wrote about reactions to the 60th anniversary episode on the Archers blog.
  • Finding pictures to illustrate blog posts about The Archers is getting harder. This one shows the visit of DJ John Peel and his producer John Walters to the programme in 1984. On the left is Graham Seed playing Nigel and on the right, Trevor Harrison as Eddie Grundy.


  • Comment number 1.

    Is she getting rid of Saturday "Dead"? Pleeeeeassse say she said she was getting rid of that miserable, mawkish, dismal excuse of a programme and giving us something nice like Loose Ends back on a Saturday morning!

    Oh well.

  • Comment number 2.

    Thanks for the photo – Happy days, never to be repeated : - (

  • Comment number 3.

    I liked what she had to say about having a programme with working scientists. Life and Fate by Grossman in December will, I'm sure, be an excellent production.

    I know little about "Story Core", but if the nation's temperature needs to be taken doesn't this mean that the nation is ill and could this not then be a bit depressing?

    I was surprised that no question was asked of the Controller about her most radical change to the Radio 4 schedule to date (Bible Day). She may not have got coffee and croissants at Feedback's offices, but these new 15 minute programmes she is proposing might bring her chocolates from some would-be presenters!

    And as for carping...

  • Comment number 4.

    Did I really hear Vanessa Whitburn say that "several" listeners didn't like the storyline? I assume some overenthusiastic sub editor accidentally cut the word "thousands" or even hundreds of thousands. Or is Miss W demented enough to think that it was really just "several"


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