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After we bid a fond farewell to BBC Radio 7 after over 8 years on-air - what a delight to be able instead to welcome you to the world of BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Whether you're a newbie or one of our loyal band of followers - I can promise you plenty to enjoy in our new schedule, which kicks off tomorrow at 6am.

In keeping with the joys of spring, and the romance of weddings in the air, we are delivering the traditional 'Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue' in our new line-up for the rebranded digital radio station.

For Something Old, Radio 4 Extra will open with a 90' production of George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man, starring Andrew Sachs and directed in 1984 by former Head of BBC Radio Drama, John Tydeman.

John e-mailed us with the following message:

Seven was Heaven! Since the same team are now scheduling Extra, I have every hope that it too will be something Extra good! There's a gold-mine to be mined of nuggets from the BBC's speech archive, and all programmes in the archive are there because of excellence or because they are of exceptional interest. Gold does not tarnish and often grows in value with age. Listeners are sure to be in for a rich experience for many years to come

Very well expressed, John.

For Something New, we have commissioned new children's dramas, beginning with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a family friendly magazine series, The Four O' Clock Show and an excellent archive drama new to the network, Fortunes of War. There's also plenty of new comedy, including a comedy magazine What's So Funny? presented by Rufus Hound.

Something Borrowed: well, the bulk of our programmes are already borrowed from the archive, but for 4 Extra, in addition to 'borrowing' Desert Island Discs and Ambridge from our sister station Radio 4, we've also borrowed some of the Radio 4 announcers to present some of our programmes. Alan, Kathy, Neil, Rory and Susan Alan and will be joining our presentation team over the coming weeks.

Something Blue? - certainly not our comedy, classic or contemporary! But blue is the colour of the Radio 4 logo, and we've moved a shade away from blue to the lovely, warm colour purple for Radio 4 Extra, as you can see on our website.

If we've managed to tempt you - BBC Radio 4 Extra is available to enjoy on digital radio, digital television and online.

Mary Kalemkerian is Head of Programmes at BBC Radio 4 Extra

  • The picture, from the BBC picture archive, shows George Bernard Shaw at the microphone in 1931. John Tydeman's production of Shaw's Arms and the Man opens broadcasting for 4 Extra tomorrow morning at 0600.
  • These words are from Mary's hugely popular weekly newsletter. Sign up to have it delivered to your email inbox free of charge here.

Comments

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  • Comment number 81. Posted by Dave Howes

    on 15 Apr 2011 18:08

    The target audience for the 4-5pm slot is 'nice people who live in 1947'.
    After all, one needs something to listen to while the tweenie warms the pot and butters the muffins......................

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  • Comment number 80. Posted by Eileen

    on 15 Apr 2011 13:14

    Would someone please explain to me the target audience for the 4-5pm slot. Previously it was for children, now it is for people sitting down for "tea". Who are they?

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  • Comment number 79. Posted by psiops

    on 15 Apr 2011 12:58

    mary posted about bringing back crime and thriller there is no mention of the full length shows like the wally k daly series we heard lately and does this also mean no christmas narnia or the like , is it to be replaced by a day or two of all the ambridge extra and d i d we turned of during the year.

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  • Comment number 78. Posted by Sue_Aitch

    on 14 Apr 2011 15:49

    BBC Search results now read as
    730 for BBC 7, 268 for Radio7, 91 for BBC7, 1 for Radio7

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  • Comment number 77. Posted by psiops

    on 13 Apr 2011 23:27

    you really have to go read what is said in the link in 73 but dont expect an honest responce if that is anything to go by?

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  • Comment number 76. Posted by unhappy_bunny

    on 13 Apr 2011 23:18

    Ah, at long last we might get a response. Not that I expect anyone will have really listened to what we are saying - it'll probably be the same platitudes "that it's been a great success", or that any faults are with "failure to communicate the message" & not the actual product.

    Thanks for the post Ellajo1209, I agree completely, you've put my thoughts into words too.

    I'm afraid that I've largely ditched Radio 4Extra. I can't stand the new schedule: DID, Archers, Loose Ends, Inheritance Tracks and the home for lost trailers (Sneaky Peaks). That combined with the ditching of the crime & thrillers at 1am, and the loss of any decent length drama, means that I dip into the odd item on iplayer (the stuff that was carried over from Radio 7) and switch the radio off.

    Like Cardi (post 75) my honest reactions to the changes are completely unprintable.

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  • Comment number 75. Posted by March Hare

    on 13 Apr 2011 21:21

    I don't think I have listened to so many cds or watched as many dvds in the few weeks that R4excuse4. Lost me as a listener.

    I would give my honest opinion but it would include far too much basic anglo saxon, and would get me modded.

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  • Comment number 74. Posted by andrew

    on 13 Apr 2011 12:18

    Very well thought out and reasoned post Ellajo1209.I don't think the BBC realise how important the radio is to so many people. I like many other purchased a digital radio specifically for radio 7 and cricket on 5 live extra but since the change I just get depressed looking at the 4 extra schedule, plus and not sure if this is linked but on the PC the radio player for any channel keeps cutting out and for some reason the bbc have removed the volume adjuster.

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  • Comment number 73. Posted by Steve Bowbrick

    on 13 Apr 2011 11:47

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your comments. We'll be posting Mary's reply as a comment on her more recent blog post tomorrow: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radio4/2011/04/radio_4_extra_the_first_week.html

    Steve Bowbrick, blogs editor

  • Comment number 72. Posted by Ellajo1209

    on 10 Apr 2011 20:45

    I said, I'd give it a week and rethink my position as to whether I remain a committed listener of R4E.

    To date, it is fair to say, R4E is not a patch on R7. It's abundantly clear, that the best of R7 has been replaced with a schedule of programming reminiscent of the R4 Schedule. In my opinion, Arthur Smith, as the main comedy club presenter is a mistake. His droll and laconic style of delivery isn't funny, interesting, or sincere and it lacks warmth, he's completely uninviting; in fact he's a literal turn off, (I do, and I have). Alex Riley got it just right and was an excellent comedy club host. Alan Smith, has potential and would be better in this slot than Arthur.

    As I write the awful Desert Island Disc has started. Time to turn off. On sunday evening when, the money programme is on R4, a drama is required on R4E, not DID. The programming on Sunday evening needs a rethink. Bring the Drama back, bring the catch up back...DID is a disaster, talk about depressing and that's just Kirsty. The radio is now off, I can't bare it.

    The 1-3am comedy slot! What were the schedulers thinking? Comedy at 1-3 am? Doesn't work, although I did hear a really good programme earlier on the week at this time and it was hilarious. But was lying in bed about to enter the land of nod.

    In short: R4E is no where near, not a patch on, not even close to the standard of R7. Too much chat from dull presenters, (Andy & Alan the exception). Bring back the thrillers, drama,catch up and Alex Riley. I'm not resistant to change, I welcome it. However, this project has not been thought through. Many avid and devoted R7 listeners are going to dessert the station and if you are trying to attract new and younger audiences, you are going about it the wrong way. I listened to 5 minutes of the Archers spin off - utter tripe and terrible acting. I would say that my listening has decreased by around 60 percent. I used to love getting home from work, switching on the radio and listening to R4 until 8pm and then over to R7 until midnight or longer. But - for much of this week, the radio has been off intermittently, only tuning in for programmes I know and avoiding the awful presenters.

    Schedulers - you must take a look at the scheduling/programmes...it's not working. Please take on board what we, the listeners are telling you, unless, of course, what you really want, is to close the station down.

    *Alex Riley, Michaela et al, thank you all for doing such a wonderful job over the last 6 years, (the time I was with R7). I'm sorry the BBC felt that you and your many talents had to be replaced by, well, mediocre presenters (all older, so, how does that work if you are trying to attract younger listeners?)and a rubbish schedule that is laughable, and for all the wrong reasons.
    Good luck - you are all missed.*

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