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You & Yours Anniversary Programmes

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Julian Worricker Julian Worricker | 15:16 PM, Monday, 4 October 2010

Vintage Telephone

A friend of mine accused me of sounding 'wide-eyed' (if it's possible to sound wide-eyed) during one of the trailers for the You & Yours anniversary programmes. He was referring to my comments about the telephone, and how our use of it has been utterly transformed over the last forty years. Hopefully now that you've heard the programme in question you'll agree we've been through a period of dramatic change in telecommunications.

I was seven in 1970, and can remember the one telephone in the hall and the excitement that accompanied the arrival of the second slimline one in my parents' bedroom. When phones first went cordless I can remember the frustration I felt at the promise of freedom this new gadget would offer, only to discover that the reality was rather different. Walk more than six feet away from the main machine and the voice at the other end would at best crackle, and at worst disappear altogether. And I'm sure I'm still nursing the shoulder pains from lifting my first 'mobile'.

There's always a risk with anniversary programmes. Archive material is often intoxicating, and once we start listening to it the danger is that we overuse it, delighting in telling you too much about the past and too little about the future. I hope you'll agree that the archive material we used in the 'telephone' anniversary programme set the tone very nicely. The excerpt from Any Questions?, as panellists debated the merits of writing a letter as opposed to making a phonecall, was a lovely snapshot of the time, and then there were presenter Joan Yorke's instructions to listeners who wanted to get in touch. Suffice to say the system wasn't as spontaneous in the early 1970s as it is today.

So we looked ahead in the 'telephone' programme as well as indulging in a little bit of nostalgia. When I rather naively asked our contributor from the BBC's 'Click' programme if there was realistically anything else he wanted our mobile phones to do, it was someone else's turn to sound 'wide-eyed'. His enthusiasm for what may lie ahead was undoubted. You won't necessarily like everything he looked forward to - I confess I wasn't convinced - but it did suggest that when celebrating You & Yours' 80th anniversary we'll have plenty to talk about.

Julian Worricker presents You and Yours on BBC Radio 4

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