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Saturdays feel different on Radio 4 and that mood is caught by Saturday Live.

Whether it is the Inheritance Tracks or the poem or that interview, there is always something that makes me look up from my morning coffee and stop reading the FT magazine. So much so that I began to feel the programme pushing at the edges of its time slot.

There is something about that Saturday mood that wants to carry on in that eclectic mix for just a little longer and with that in mind, I've extended Saturday Live to one and a half hours.

But for all those Radio 4 listeners who love travel and hearing Sandi Toksvig and John McCarthy wander the globe and talk with the intrepid and the travel-worn, fear not - the longer Saturday Live will incorporate some of the wanderlust spirit of Excess Baggage. It makes sense to ask John and Sandi to join in with features or just to show up and talk about their travels. And we're exploring ways in which Radio 4 travellers can join us online with some of their own experiences. So from May 5th the splendid Richard Coles will be joined by Sian Williams - someone I've long wanted to hear on the network - for a jointly presented hour and a half of Saturday Live.

I am delighted to have Sian back on Radio 4 and I can't wait to hear her hosting the programme with Richard. She brings her own unique brand of charm and experience, formidable interviewing skills and we are lucky to have her.

Extending Saturday Live is an idea I have had brewing for quite some time and Sian has been part of my thinking from the start. She is someone I know the Radio 4 audience will take to their hearts. So here it is - an even bigger Saturday Live - I know that the team will cook up something special for us and I wish them luck.

Gwyneth Williams is Controller of BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 4 Extra

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  • Comment number 2. Posted by Merryjom

    on 4 Mar 2012 18:53

    I wholeheartedly agree with the previous comment. I really enjoy Excess Baggage, far moreso than Saturday Live. Excess Baggage is a consistently high quality and reliable show which is both informative and challenging. On a good Saturday, Saturday Live can be very good and the banter can be interesting. On a bad Saturday the inanity is sufficient for me to turn the radio off! It can, at times, feel that there is a mere 30 minutes of content which is extended to an hour, and I worry about what extending it further will do. Excess Baggage also acts as an excellent transition to some of the deeper programmes like From Our Own Correspondent.

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  • Comment number 1. Posted by arthur mee

    on 1 Mar 2012 22:00

    You are surely not saying that you are doing away with "Excess Baggage"
    Please tell me that you are not doing this remarkably stupid thing!
    If you think that Sandi speaking for two minutes each Saturday morning in a separate programme then you are quite deluded and taking regular listeners for fools

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