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27/02/2017
BBC Radio 4

    Last night The Voice of The Listener and Viewer - a group that campaigns for quality television and radio, whether from the BBC or elsewhere, garlanded Radio 4 programmes.

    A large number of broadcasters - editors, controllers, commissioners, broadcasters - were asked to choose their five favourite radio or TV programmes over the past 25 years. The results were revealed last night at BAFTA in a small theatre full of broadcasting panjandrums - past and present. Hosted by Andrew Marr.

    I had voted - for three radio programmes and two television ones. I will not reveal my radio choices. On the TV front I think I chose Edge of Darkness and Blackadder - or it may have been Newsnight or Channel 4 News. I can't quite remember.

    Suffice to say Radio 4 did spectacularly - perhaps embarrassingly - well. Number 25 - Test Match Special. Number 16 - In Our Time. Number 13 - From Our Own Correspondent. Number 4 Clue. Number 1 - repeat Number 1 - Today. And for good measure - The Proms on Radio 3 finished runner up. It's a very good spread of what Radio 4 has on offer.

    Among the TV programmes in the top 25 were - Edge of Darkness, Blackadder, Morse, World in Action (Death on The Rock), State of Play, Our Friends in the North, Newsnight, Channel 4 News, Jewel in The Crown etc. So we were in illustrious company.

    I grant you the VLV is more interested in high quality broadcasting than many - and I detected a natural empathy for Radio 4 - but even so this was a wonderful moment for Radio 4 and for radio in general. It's a tribute to the programme makers and the talent who created these programmes and a reflection of the lust the Radio 4 audience has for quality - whether in News and Current Affairs, ideas or comedy.

    We will celebrate soberly and parsimoniously - but we are much cheered. And more than 25 years after the arrival of breakfast television Today goes from strength to strength. There remains a huge appetite for the programme - the occasional wart and all. Because it delivers impartial, vigorous, broad and - yes - witty journalism that is unmatched at that time of the day. By a crack team.

    Mark Damazer is Controller of BBC Radio 4

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