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Archives for September 2010

You and Yours celebrates its fortieth anniversary

Andrew Smith | 12:38 UK time, Thursday, 23 September 2010


The arrival of a new Controller at Radio 4 has prompted some of the leading radio critics to ponder what changes to the schedule might be made as a result.

John Plunkett of the Guardian wonders whether we need You and Yours five days a week.

And Jane Thynne of the Independent questions whether You and Yours really merits an hour each day.

That was very much an issue back in 1998 when the programme was first doubled in duration and the World at One was shortened, but these days it's rare for a listener to question our right to occupy our current place in Radio 4's daily line-up. Interestingly there were similar doubts in the BBC about the merits of consumer journalism when You and Yours was first introduced in 1970.

Virtually no early editions of the programme have been preserved by the BBC - the first complete edition in the archive was broadcast on 7th May 1971. The very first script shows presenter Joan Yorke tackling "modern" packaging, measles vaccination and buying your first home. Undeterred, by the lack of old material, we're in the process of finalising the programmes to mark our 40th anniversary. The series will be part social history and part crystal-ball gazing. And we still want to hear your reflections on the 1970-2010 period.

On Monday October 4th, it's 40 years to the day since You and Yours was born and Julian will be looking at a product which has done as much as most to transform our lives during the programme's lifetime - the telephone. In 1970 some customers were only just getting the facility to direct dial abroad - today you can use your phone to watch television or access the internet. Using your phone to call someone, is so old hat!

Next up is a similar job on travel steered by Winifred. That's due on Friday October 15th and will start from the days when a tour operator had to get government permission to offer a four day break in Majorca for just £18.

Peter will be bringing his own expertise to a programme which assesses the changes for people with a disability which will air on Wednesday October 20th. Next up is food on Thursday October 28th where Winifred will bring you farmers pleading poverty and demanding we join the EEC, plus campaigners worried about the rise and rise of the supermarket. Plus ca change!

Julian rounds up the series on Monday November 1st with a programme on energy which features concerns about a world oil crisis, an impending oil crisis and the introduction of natural gas into UK homes.

'Optimise Your Kerbside Logistics'?

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Winifred Robinson | 14:23 UK time, Friday, 17 September 2010


What does it mean to 'optimise your kerbside logistics'? The question was emailed by Stephen as Thursday's programme was on air and I read it out at the end, promising to explain in the blog - so here goes.

The phrase was used by Samantha Harding from the Campaign to Protect Rural England. The CPRE had published a report extolling the gains to be made from a money-back-on-the-bottle system for soft drinks containers - bottles and cans. It had a lot of publicity and the Prime Minister David Cameron promised during Prime Minister's Questions to look into it. For those of you too young to remember money-back-on-the-bottle used to be standard practice from the 1950s to the 1980s. You paid an extra few pence on top of the price of your drink, as a deposit on the container and claimed a refund when you took the container back. Children used to collect the bottles for pocket money and according to your emails in some parts of the world where they currently operate, lots of people leave their bottles and cans out for others to collect as a way of donating to the poor.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England calculates that introducing a new version of this idea would cost £84m (a one off cost) but would save local authorities £160m every year because there'd be less litter to pick up AND THEN CAME THE PHRASE 'and because they could re-optimise their kerbside logistics'.

Now clearly, this is jargon and means nothing to most of us. So I telephoned the CPRE after the programme and spoke to Jack Neill-Hall. For the record this is what happens when local authorities 're-optimise their kerbside logistics'. "If you're not collecting bottles and cans you need fewer trucks and collections, and you can make your collection more efficient by concentrating on other recyclable goods, things like plastic food trays and yoghurt pots which have a very poor recycling rate."

So there's your answer Stephen. Maybe it would have been better if Samantha Harding had said that in the first place? Or perhaps I should have pressed for an explanation on-air.

Winifred Robinson presents You and Yours on BBC Radio 4

40 Years of You and Yours

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Andrew Smith | 17:40 UK time, Thursday, 9 September 2010


Daily Mail Headline

Can you help us celebrate our 40th birthday? You and Yours was born on October 5th 1970 and we're looking for listeners, ex staff and guests who appeared on the programme to tell us what they remember of 1970. Oil was being discovered in the North Sea, inflation was running at more than 5 per cent, Edward Heath was preparing to take us into the EEC, the Boeing 747 made its maiden flight, the first shop bar codes and computer floppy discs arrived. And presenter Joan York launched our happy ship with a look at the "dos and don'ts" of home ownership. Personally I'd have opted for the floppy disc item. The following day "the Radio 4 series which tackles topics of direct concern to you" was looking at the impact of children making the change from primary to secondary school. Pension provision was up next day.

In short we want your memories of 1970, your photographs of 1970, your videos of 1970. If you too are 40 we'd welcome your advice on how You and Yours should grow old gracefully. We'll probably call you the You and Yours Generation or something cheesy like that.

We're planning a series of programmes on subjects which reflect the programme's agenda and explore the controversies on our arrival in this world and how they contrast with the debates of today. But which subjects to pick - Travel? Energy? Technology? Food? - I'm sure you can suggest others.

And as the recent headline from the Daily Mail shows - there's plenty of life in us yet. Oh and a sign of our maturity perhaps - only this week we picked up an award for our coverage of social care in the Counsel and Care Older People in the Media Awards 2010.

Anyway you're invited to our party, it's free, you don't even have to bring a bottle. Although if you do...well it'd be rude not to. And we're not driving. Obviously.

Andrew Smith is the Editor of You and Yours, In Touch, Fact the Facts and The Media Show on BBC Radio 4.

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