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Programme Information

Network BBC Radio Week 53

Tuesday 30 December 2008


BBC RADIO 2 Tuesday 30 December 2008
Madonna – 30 At 50
Tuesday 30 December
2.00-5.00pm BBC RADIO 2

Madonna turned 50 back in August and, by way of celebration, Simon Mayo counts down her all-time Top 30 biggest-selling singles in the UK, while stars of the music world consider her enduring appeal and enthuse about their favourite Madonna songs.


BBC Radio 2 also celebrates the 50th birthdays of Michael Jackson and Prince.


Presenter/Simon Mayo, Producer/Gary Bones


BBC Radio 2 Publicity

The Wonderful Sound Of Woolies
Tuesday 30 December
10.30-11.30pm BBC RADIO 2 (Schedule change 5 December)

In 1909 Woolworth & Co opened their first shop in the UK. Today, people will be familiar with the financial difficulties the store is facing, but may not be aware of the role Woolworths has played in bringing music to the masses.


Presenter Brain Matthew takes listeners on a 70-year journey looking at Woolworths' musical contribution, its "popular music on a budget" ethos and its own-brand recordings from the turn of the 20th century to the Seventies.


The programme looks at Woolworths' own labels, including Little Wonder, Little Marvel, Victory, Crown, Eclipse, Embassy and finally, in the Seventies, Chevron, which featured singers like Al Jolson, Al Bowlly, Vera Lynn, Mrs Jack Hylton and Sir Henry Cooper. Vera Lynn sold a million records on the Crown label years before becoming the "Forces' Sweetheart".


Brian looks at how the music changed from accordion and xylophone solos through to The Beatles, Roy Orbison and even Gary Numan cover versions; and where the Monty Python team discovered two of their best-known pieces of music, which were then adapted for their own purposes. He also traces how the discs changed from 5" through to 10" and back again; and how recording techniques changed from direct-to-vinyl via a huge horn to using an electric microphone.


The programme features new interviews with Dame Vera Lynn, who sings a few lines of her first-ever recording on the Crown label a capella; Henry Cooper, who talks about his version of Henery The Eighth I Am; Ken Barrie, also known as Postman Pat, who used to sing cover versions for the Embassy label; Mike Redway, who sang cover versions of Cliff Richard songs and records again, especially for The Wonderful Sound Of Woolies, the only version of We'll Have A Woolworth Wedding, written especially for the occasion of Norman Woolworth's wedding in Westminster Abbey.


Presenter/Brian Matthew, Producer/Clive Stanhope


BBC Radio 2 Publicity


BBC RADIO 3 Tuesday 30 December 2008
Composer Of The Week – Berlioz Ep 2/5
Monday 29 December to Friday 2 January
12.00noon-1.00pm BBC RADIO 3

Donald Macleod talks to Sir John Eliot Gardiner about the music of Hector Berlioz in this Composer Of The Week special, recorded at the conductor's Dorset farm. For Sir John, who speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers.


Today's programme explores two of Berlioz's symphonies – Harold In Italy and Romeo And Juliet – and considers whether they really are symphonies.


Harold In Italy includes a part for solo viola, which suggests a concerto; but it's more like a "song without words" – evoking the spirit of Byron's Childe Harold – than a true concerto role. That's certainly what Paganini thought – he commissioned Berlioz to write it in the first place, then lost interest when he realised that it wasn't going to allow him sufficient scope to show off.


Romeo And Juliet, with its voices, chorus and plot is as much a concert opera as it is a symphony, closely following the action of the Shakespeare play that had so impressed the composer when he saw it in September 1827.


Like a pioneering horticulturalist, Berlioz created new musical hybrids to suit his purpose; no wonder that some of his contemporaries were confused. But in the process he created some of the most thrilling, dramatic and beautiful music of the 19th century.


Presenter/Donald Macleod, Producer/Chris Barstow


BBC Radio 3 Publicity

Paradise Lost Ep 9/12
Monday 22 December to Friday 2 January
5.00-6.15pm BBC RADIO 3

Anton Lesser continues to read John Milton's Paradise Lost to mark the 400th anniversary of the writer's birth.


In Book Nine, Satan returns to Paradise "as a mist by Night" and enters into the Serpent. In the morning, Adam and Eve go about their labours, separately. Eve, while on her own, encounters the Serpent and takes an irrevocable step.


Reader/Anton Lesser, Producer/Nicolas Soames


BBC Radio 3 Publicity

New Generation Artists Ep 7/10
Monday 29 December to Friday 2 January
6.15-7.00pm BBC RADIO 3

BBC Radio 3 continues to present further performances from the current crop of its New Generation Artists scheme. In the seventh of 10 early-evening programmes over the Christmas period, Israeli pianist, Shai Wosner, plays Schubert's Sonata in A major, D959.


Producer/Lindsay Kemp


BBC Radio 3 Publicity

Berlin Philharmonic

Tuesday 30 December
7.00-8.45pm BBC RADIO 3

Listeners have another chance to hear Sir Simon Rattle and his Berlin Philharmonic orchestra open their second Prom of the 2008 season, with a work central to the ensemble's repertoire – Brahms's Symphony No. 3. The mellowest of Brahms's four symphonies, it was inspired by a visit to the Rhine in 1883.


Shostakovich wrote his powerful 10th Symphony 70 years later, just months after the death of Stalin. Its long opening movement seems to sum up the suffering of Shostakovich and his compatriots under Stalin's regime and it's hard not to hear a note of triumph when Shostakovich's motto signature DSCH (a musical motif he used to represent himself) appears in the finale.


Presenter/Martin Handley, Producer/Olwen Fisher


BBC Radio 3 Publicity

Belief Ep 4/5
Tuesday 30 December
8.45-9.15pm BBC RADIO 3

Joan Bakewell explores areas of belief in conversation with artists, thinkers, scientists and other public figures in a returning series of programmes on BBC Radio 3. In this edition, Joan speaks to the writer, journalist and cultural historian, A.N. Wilson.


An off-on believer in God, Andrew Wilson has supported and attacked religion in almost equal measure throughout his work and life. Initially heading for a vocation in the church, he left theological college after a year and embarked on an academic and then a writing career. In the Eighties, he argued that society should live without religion and published books on both Jesus and St Paul, professing profound scepticism. Yet, the death of his mother and his own journey as a parent have seen him distance himself from such writings.


Nowadays, Wilson is to be found in church on Sundays and welcomes a society that embraces religion. But not fundamentalist forms of religion, which he says are on the increase and are to be feared. His most recent book, Our Times, takes a scathing look at Britain since 1953 and claims it has changed so much as to be unrecognisable. He puts this down to, among other things, mass immigration, a decline in church attendance and a loss of any sense of being a nation. In Belief, Wilson discusses the quarrelsome dynamic of faith verses non-faith in his parent's relationship, his period as an outspoken atheist and his re-acquaintance with Christianity.


Presenter/Joan Bakewell, Producer/Karen Maurice


BBC Radio 3 Publicity


BBC RADIO 4 Tuesday 30 December 2008
The Dirty Dozens
Tuesday 30 December
11.30am-12.00noon BBC RADIO 4

Benjamin Zephaniah, best known for his own high-octane performance poetry, tells the surprising story of "The Dozens", a 17th-century language game and precursor to today's powerful rap battles.


Rap battling, where two artists compete for dominance with improvised quick-fire exchanges, has its roots in a 17th- century verbal contest of bad-natured, ribald "trash talk", which occurs between two people. Each putdown, or snap, ups the ante. Defeat can be humiliating, but a skilled contender, win or lose, may gain respect.


In its purest form, The Dozens is part of a custom of verbal sparring, descended from the traditions of West African culture. Inventive phrasing, fluidity and wit remain the game's most prized attributes, and it's the player best able to retain his composure in the face of extreme provocation who is likely to win.


Celebrating the inventive wit and verbal dexterity needed to play it, Benjamin pores over ancient documents and listens to rare archive recordings from the Fifties and, in conversation with up-and-coming and established British rap battlers, discovers why the game has such lasting allure.


Producer/Emily Williams


BBC Radio 4 Publicity

Playing Castro's Tune
Tuesday 30 December
1.30-2.00pm BBC RADIO 4

Playing Castro's Tune explores the way revolution and political and social change impacted on Cuba's music and musicians' lives.


On 1 January, 1959, General Batista's regime was overthrown by Fidel Castro's 26th Of July Movement. As in the case of most Marxist states, post-revolution culture became highly politicised. Support of culture and the arts became a priority for the Cuban government, but on its own terms.


The Revolution also created a mass exile to Puerto Rico, Miami and New York. Stephen Evans follows one of those routes to Miami, where he meets some of those who left the country of their birth and learns how a common musical heritage, which was split in 1959, developed differently in two parallel lives.


Producer/Paul Evans


BBC Radio 4 Publicity

Afternoon Play – 43 Letters
Tuesday 30 December
2.15-3.00pm BBC RADIO 4

Julia and David work together at the family historical archives. David is 56, and unable to move on from his divorce of six years ago.


But his daughter, Miranda, has other ideas and decides to place a lonely hearts ad for him. David receives 43 letters from interested women for his birthday, but fails to see the funny side and orders Miranda to write an apology to each and every one.


Inspired by Miranda's efforts, Julia gives David a birthday present, a DVD of Sleepless In Seattle, but, if she is trying to tell him something, David probably won't notice...


Written by Rony Robinson, 43 Letters stars David Calder and Helen Flanagan.


Producer/Pauline Harris


BBC Radio 4 Publicity

Case Notes Ep 1/8
Tuesday 30 December
9.00-9.30pm BBC RADIO 4

Mark Porter investigates the relationship between smell and taste, with tips on how to avoid children becoming fussy eaters.


Presenter/Mark Porter, Producer/Erika Wright


BBC Radio 4 Publicity



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