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That Friday Feeling

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Peter White Peter White | 16:22 PM, Thursday, 17 June 2010

Blackpool-pier.jpgSo: what's special about Friday, then? Well, clearly it's the start of the weekend: although if you're retired, or not working at the moment, or even someone who regularly works weekends, that might not be such a big deal for you! But on You and Yours for the past eighteen months or so, we have been trying to give Fridays a slightly different "feel" to it.

It's not always that easy to define what that "feel" is, and we don't always agree about its definition. You know you're in trouble in editorial meetings when you come up with what you think is an absolutely cracking idea for the day's programme, only to have some bright spark pipe up in the corner, "Yes, but is it really Friday?" Back to the drawing-board.

I've been the regular presenter on Fridays over this period, and I couldn't give you an exact definition, but I suppose if you had to put it in one word, it would be "leisure", but interpreting that term pretty widely; so it could be travel and holidays, sport, the arts - books, film, music, the visual arts - transport (because so often to enjoy that leisure you have to be able to get there): or just some of the many and varied things people do for fun: potholing, collecting matchboxes, flying an autogyro!

But you can already see the potential problem: that's a big remit, and ripe for debate! One of our regular discussions is should we signpost it as a programme with a particular remit; certainly sometimes I'll say something like "Welcome to Friday's You and yours, and there's a strong leisure feel about today's prog"; but frankly we don't want to keep banging on about it, and I think we figure that regular listeners have already worked it out for themselves, and new ones will very soon get the idea.

In any case, it's not rigid. Clearly if a really big story comes up which is bang on the You and Yours agenda - a story say about the cost of energy, or the housing market, or Social Care, then we would do it; but that's when the debate about "is this really Friday?" is likely to get into full swing. The point is to make the content slightly different, but to stick very much to the You and Yours ethos of trying to get behind a story, and to find out what it really means to you and me as consumers.

So: it's not: what's the big new book, film, art exhibition of the week, but how is it being marketed, and how are we being persuaded to buy it. Not: where to go on holiday, but what underlying economic or lifestyle changes are influencing where we go, and what we're being offered. This is why we do quite a lot of sport: not because we want to add to the flood of coverage of results, personalities etc. but because we'd like to explain what's happening in the background: how much are you paying for the Olympics, what are you getting for your money if you don't live in London: what influences which sport you're able to see on the box!

That's why in many ways the classic "Friday" story has been for me the montages we've been doing on the World Cup. The event certainly doesn't need any more publicity from us but it is being used to sell us things: everything from hay fever remedies, to marriage guidance advice, to special horoscopes for the World Cup's duration! They give you a peep behind the hype, to uncover - more hype!

And by the way, if you've got an idea about a pastime, or a bit of marketing, or a travel trend that you think would make a good Friday investigation, we'd like to hear about it! You can be pretty sure your idea will start that debate all over again - "but is it really a Friday idea?"

Peter White presents You and Yours and In Touch on BBC Radio 4


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