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22/07/2017
BBC Radio 4

    Mark Damazer

    Blog posts in total 63

    Posts

    1. Choosing the Reith lecturer every year is one of the privileges of the job. It is a rather wonderful piece of patronage (for me, at any rate) and poses numerous challenges. I look every year for something original - and someone who is a good communicator. Topicality can be an advantage, but wit...

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    2. I have known Gwyneth Williams for nearly 15 years - as a marvellous programme maker and editor and Head of Radio Current Affairs. She is full of flair - brimming with ideas of her own while encouraging others to bring their own best ideas to the table. She has an inherent elegance and a steely p...

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    3. I went to the Sandford St. Martin awards last night for the best religious radio and television broadcasts for 2009 - the blue riband event for the genre. The ceremony was held at Lambeth Palace. Roger Bolton presided over the TV awards and was as robust (or should that be peppery) as any liste...

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    4. Editor's note: keep up with the lectures and contribute to the discussion on Twitter. Follow @reith_lectures and use the hashtag #Reith - SB We have just finished recording this year's Reith lectures - given by Lord Rees - or Martin Rees as he prefers to be called. There are four of them - broa...

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    5. We had a good night at the Sonys - six Golds, four Silvers and five Bronzes (here's the full list). Winning a Sony Gold can often be a career highlight and (no names) there were some awards last night, not just Radio 4 ones, that left a very big glow. The margins on these occasions are rather ...

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    6. I will be leaving a job I have loved in October. I will miss almost all of it. But I always felt that I should not do much more than seven years as Controller of Radio 4 and by October I will have had the best job in the BBC for six of those years. I did not want to run the risk of my ideas dryi...

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    7. Drama on BBC Radio 4 is in rude health. The network continues to be the biggest commissioner of original dramas in the UK with 650 hours of drama and readings this year alone. Recent plays illustrate the breadth and ambition of our output: David Hare's Murder in Samarkand, starring David Tennant...

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    8. So the first tranche of A History of The World has come to an end - and very, very good it has been. We leave part one with a Chinese Bell. There won't be unanimous approval because too many people are listening to it for that - but the evidence is that those who do listen broadly love it. I h...

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    9. In Our Time is both in a central slot in the schedule and something of a cult. When it began 12 years ago it was a leap into the dark. Would a mass audience (over 2 million a week listen to at least some of it - and mostly all of it) take to something so straightforwardly intellectual - and so s...

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    10. It's RAJAR day. It happens four times a year. We get figures for the previous quarter's listening - in this case Oct- Dec 2009. And although not quite as vertiginous as the previous quarter - the figures are pretty decent. The headlines are that 9.84 million of you listen to at least 15 minutes ...

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    11. After more than three years today sees lift off for 'A History of The World' - the biggest factual series in my time at Radio 4 - 100 parts, each 15 minutes. Neil MacGregor - the Director of the British Museum - explores A (and it is 'A' not 'The') History of The World. I've written about this ...

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    12. I remember 5 years ago - after my first Radio 4 Christmas at the helm - being amazed when I was told how much money listeners gave to the Radio 4 Christmas Appeal (for the work of St Martin-in-the-Fields with homeless and vulnerable people across the UK). I knew of the existence of the Appeal (...

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    13. I last saw John Cushnie in mid-December recording a special Christmas edition of Gardeners' Question Time (GQT) at The Museum of Gardening History in Lambeth Palace. He was well - and in full flow. He was a handsome man and a very big presence. There was no sign at all of anything wrong - so hi...

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    14. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy part three has been and gone for me - though if you missed it you get the repeat next Saturday evening at 2100 and you can listen again on the Radio 4 web site. And I thought it was fabulously good. We have an audience measurement system for appreciation - called AIs ...

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    15. At the end of last week I had my annual Archers plotlines meeting. Those present - Archers editor Vanessa Whitburn and two trusty Archers senior producers, the Head of Radio Drama (England) and the Commissioning editor for R4 Drama - and R4's press officer. A few days in advance I get a brown ...

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    16. Today we unveiled details of the most ambitious and exciting factual project since I became Controller of Radio 4. It's 'A History of The World in 100 objects' presented and written by Neil MacGregor - the Director of the British Museum. In 100 separate 15-minute programmes Neil talks about a s...

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    17. Lenny Henry has won the 'Outstanding Newcomer' award at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards - one of the best known drama awards in the U.K. He won it for playing Othello - his first Shakespearean role. Indeed his first drama role. It is great news for him - but also for us. I saw him do...

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    18. The Thought for The Day ruling by the BBC Trust was never going to be greeted with universal applause - or anything like it. In a nutshell the Trust says that restricting Thought for the Day to speakers who espouse a faith does not breach the BBC's obligation to impartiality - but the Trustees ...

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    19. Well - the latest figures for Radio 4 are very, very gratifying. Indeed they are the best since a new measuring methodology was introduced a decade or so ago - and it's not possible to compare them with what happened before. Briefly, 10.22 million people listen to at least 15 minutes a week - b...

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    20. We are coming up to half-way through our initiative to bring to light brilliant books that have been unfairly/unreasonably/incorrectly/shamefully cast aside - by public indifference/daft publishers/the cruel hand of fate/rotten luck. Mariella Frostrup, Queen of Books, is interviewing a glitterin...

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