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The UK Theme


The new controller of Radio 4 has just announced that he's to scrap the UK Theme on Radio 4. Here are but a few of the many emails we received from you and apologies that we couldn't publish all of them:

Listen to the UK theme here.
Our own controller Mark Damazer on why he's decided to drop the UK theme music.
Mark Damazer

Controller of Radio 4, Mark Damazer

Join in the debate about this on the message board

BBC Radio 4

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My wife and I are both appalled to hear that the UK Theme is to be replaced with a "Look Ahead". We have seen where early morning "speculation" can lead - remember Andrew Gilligan ?  We already have too much speculation and news throughout the day.  The loss of the UK Theme will lose the BBC status - replace the Radio 4 controller and keep the Theme !
Richard Burkett

I was horrifed to hear the Controllers views on the opening melody. Does he not realize it is to the likes of people like me a corner stone of radio 4, which is a corner stone of British civilization! Its another example of change for changes sake! Isn't it time we got rid of stonehenge?
Bob Davis

My heart soared when I heard that at last this tiresome piece is to be replaced but sank again when there was no mention of the fate of Farming Today which is one of those programmes Radio 4 does so well- informative on unusual subjects and a welcome window on the non-metropolitan world.
J. Harris

Please sack the new controller, as an amateur sailor, the early morning theme is an integral part of my morning, PLEASE dont let this `change for changes sake` descision happen, rather change the controller
Jeff Harvey

As someone who is 35 I would have thought that I was a prime target for a Radio 4 listener younger audience and all that.  I really believe that ditching the theme would be a disaster and may be the biggest mistake ever made in recent BBC history.  If there needs to be more time for news at 5.30am - then why not finish the world service tranmission and open Radio 4, 5 minutes earlier.  Please keep the theme - it lets us remember who we are.
Anthony Brown

Thank you Today for highlighting the intention to dispense with the UK Theme. Interestingly, I could not find a more direct BBC area to comment in using the web list. Whilst I accept that Radio should not ossify, and that bringing in the medly 33 years ago itself represented a change, surely this must be one of the most unnecessary retrograde steps imaginable? The Controller's emoliently put reason that there is a call for yet more news and briefing in the gap between World Service Ending and R4 starting seemed utterly unconvincing. The theme is one of the better consolations for being up that early in the morning. The same can hardly be said for another dollop of news. My wife wishes to echo the point. 

This is part of being British. Removing these sorts of touches to Radio 4 moves it ever closer to the bland constantly repeating news programmes heard everywhere else in the world.
Phillip David

Whoopee!  Only that dirge 'Sailing Home' and the World Service's strident 'Lilli Bolero' to go!
Jenny Yearsley

The start of the day theme tune is an example of what is great about Britain and Radio 4. It is great tune that wakes you up with a smile on your face. If it should be changed then it should embrace Britain's multi culturalism not simply be axed for more space. What's next shipping forecast and the Archers! 
Colin Brown

Please tell Mark Damazer that I endure enough political correctness without it affecting my early morning listening. If it goes, I go.
Dan Baker

Please do not remove the radio 4 theme tune in a morning.  This medley of songs is a potent symbol of our United Kingdom. Scrap the National Anthem or Sailing By at shut down instead!!!
Grace Dicikinson,

As a poor sleeper at times I plugg into my radio in the early hours.  I find the signature music at 5.30a.m. uplifting as after a very sleepless night it gives that positive feeling that another day has arrived. Please don't  replace it with another news item which can be so depressing.
Jenny Weston

Please broadcast the beautiful arrangement of folk tunes that starts the radio 4 day , as a Podcast so that I can listen to it whenever that stupid Controller gets on his hind legs to pronounce another "improvement". Thank you
Hannah Wadsworth

The head of programmes of Radio 4 states that the UK melody has "served its purpose" and is now time to stop. This theme is like the beating heart of radio 4 how can it be allowed to cease? Maybe the heart of the programmer has served it's purpose, Let that stop instead.
Adam Pope

I was devastated to learn that the Radio 4 Controller has decided to scrap the signature tune.  I find it uplifting & an essential part of my day.  As it appears that this decision is not negotiable, would you at least be able to inform whether it is possible to obtain a copy of the recording. Would it be possible for you to reply personally to this email, as I have already left for work? Whilst writing, I would also wish to compliment the Today Team on the continuing superb quality of the program.
David Short

Another thing....while i am on the subject..... having typed my message i realised that my only way of transmitting it was to hit a button marked "submit" when what i was doing was NOT submitting to the controllers utter nonsense. The button needed to say "rebel" perhaps, given the mindset of the controller and his pc hypnosis he would support a website re-design saying "transmit". this should be suitably dull. boring, neutral and untraditional for him!
Michael Clark

Please start up a petition to keep the Radio 4 Theme tune.  It starts my day and I love it.
Judith Whitworth

I am frequently up early listening to the radio at 5.30 and i am delighted that i will soon be able to listen to a real radio 4 program at that time. May i suggest that those who will miss the radio 4 theme make a recording of it and play it to themselves whenever they wish. 
Bill Jowett

I don't know anything about the new radio 4 controller but any one who gets rid of Home Truths and that awful music at 5.30 gets my vote. Only Just A Minute to go.
Geoff Stow

Well, you might as well get rid of the music, I guess, since you have turned 'Farming Today' into 'Telling Townies what a cow is Today' and yes, what a good idea to have yet more 'What is going to happen later today' items - which you then report on finally when they happen, and discuss after they have happened. Those of us who are up and about early will finally switch off Radio 4. With a strange kind of relief.
Karen Allan

This tune is not merely a wonderfully uplifting start to the day, it is the preamble to the early morning shipping bulletin and an nessential part of the morning routine for sailors around the country. Up with the sun, bacon sizzling and pencil poised to take down the forecast - and you want to replace it with yet another "news item" (what about News 24?).  Where is your soul?
Tony Parker

Please do not change or halt the R4 theme music (as spoken about on Today this morning) I don't hear it every day but when I do it's just the right start for the day for me, and my wife.  Please reconsider.. Thanks
Tom McGiff

I listened with distress to the controller axing the theme music, a bastion of calm in a traumatic world. However he said there are people who need a briefing at that time of the morning, perhaps he should be considering us at the other end who have to suffer the discussions by 'experts' instead of getting the briefings we would like?
Tim Pickering

No, no, no. Please don't drop the Radio 4 theme tune. It's such a wonderful thing to wake up to! There's enough of news and talk later - let us have our gentle five minutes of easing into the day...
Janet Raynor

It would be better if the Controller of Radio 4 went quietly and left the theme tune where it was.  Some changes like the rescheduling of "Loose Endings and 'some other bloke' attempting to do  Home Truths ("Let's go..> 'click' "!) just don't work. Goodbye Controller
Bob Etherington

What a tremendous shame that, for the short term expedient of an additional six minutes of "more of the same", the controller (or is it the comptroller?) has decided to drop the UK theme. At a time when devolution seems to have an inexorable momentum toward complete disintegration there is a desperate need for cultural tools and symbols which remind us of our common heritage. I do not think that the importance of symbols such as the UK theme can be overestimated. Think again please.
Frank V McL Booth

The uk theme is part of the cultural fabric of the bbc, it is excellent, short and appropriate. I am sure that millions who enjoy it at 5.30 every morning will regret its removal and replacement with reportage.It will make life a bit duller.The idea is dull. please reconsider.
Glenn Fisher

Good Morning, How outrageous to do away with the UK theme!! Totally uneccessary and once again it appears that just because a few (minority - perhaps only a minority of 1 - the new R4 controller) may not be able to hear the News later on in the morning, the scheduling will change to suit them and remove soemthing that many (majority) are quite content with, even if not all listen to it every day. The UK theme sums up total Britishness - just as Brown was discussing the other day and should not be done away with. Start the campaign to keep the UK Theme.
Colin Stone

I regard the intention of r4 controller to abolish the early morning theme tune as another examole of anti British political correctness which well fit it very well with the general new labour agenda which the bbc seems ot suppport. Why not put it to listeners vote and be democratic ,we do pay the licence fee or `tax` as it is now called Kevin Cook

Can't you bloody people leave anything alone?!!!
John Richards

The best news yet!! I've just heard you are about to bury that awful music, the Radio 4 theme tune. At last, I can listen through without having to switch off for several minutes and then guesss when it would be safe to switch on again. And now, any chance please of being able to look forward to not being force fed the national anthem every day?
Ken Binns

Another victim of wall-to-wall 24x7 "noise". By the same argument most programme trailers are irrelevant as they are generally for periods of the day when most "Today" listeners will be at work.

Why aren't we allowed any music on Radio 4? What is wrong with 5 minutes of music at the end and the begining of the day? What is next is 'Sailing by' for the chop too? Radio 4 is beoming another characterless, faceless news and views program, just like the world service, which as an expat we have to suffer. That really is a rolling program, in the evening you get deja vu, when the morning programs come around again....yuk. Please leave something worth coming back to blighty for!
Karen Young

Just as we are being told to celebrate being British the BBC decides to scrap the Radio Four UK Theme. What could be more British than falling asleep to the soothing Shipping Forecast and waking up to the rousing UK theme?
James Paterson

So, some smartypants new Controller is to get rid of your signature tune in order to use the space for yet more news and bloody sports reports. We, have been listening to the Today Programme for ever and that signature tune is our alarm call. I know the words to all of the tunes, having learnt them at school. Yet another little treasure is to be removed in the name of progress. I suppose ' Sailing By ' will be next. Perhaps you should introduce a selection of music that reflects the ethnicity of this country. I am spitting blood. A word to the Controller - Stop tinkering and get on with your job!!!* **!!!***
Janet Turner

Editor, A disbelief the anesthetising of the morning melody; indeed the Controller has lost sight of his 'clients'. Indeed where the patriotism & Britishness, invoked, by The Rt Hon Gordon Brown?
Graham Livings

How can anyone even think of removing this inspirational and uplifting few minutes of music? It is the perfect way to struggle to the surface of consciousness. I don't want yet more sports news or - groan - business! The 5 o'clock programme on the World Service has just covered that. Not only should we keep the music - put back Enya's "The Celts" that used to precede it until some other saboteur had his way!

If the Controller of Radio 4 wishes more trailers for programmes he should switch to BBC television, awash with ghastly, loud forthcoming events. Leave the opening of Radio 4 as is, again an example of the BBC's complete disregard for Great Britain.
Richard Porter

Axe the controller. I (a transplanted American) love the theme, a tiny capsule of UK-ness, quaint and lovely. And no I'm no old fogey either-- I'm in my 30s. I think if you're going to kill it , you should  make it available for free download to iPods. Now that would be a good podcast... And certainly after yesterday's discussion of them all of your listeners should now be able to download it.
Jennifer kabat

Why not make it available as a download on the Today website.  A charge could be made with some (all) going to an appropriate charity?  That way, at least, the piece could continue to be heard by those who wish to continue to hear it.
Jules Roberts

Why do some people want to change everything, regardless?  The Radio 4 UK theme is, to me, a dear old friend and I shall mourn its passing.  Can you bring your influence to bear to enable listeners who feel as I do to download the theme from your website?
Jack Socker

Dear Friends, I am devastated to learn the wonderful Radio 4 Theme is being axed. I completely agree with the gentleman who argues in favour of it. I often listen to the World programme during the night and if awake just prior to 5.30am deliberately turn the radio on just to hear the Theme. It is part of our country and should be kept. When you take it away I simply will not bother to turn the radio on before my final wake-up about 8am.
Gillian leStrang-Brown

Please ask your Controller to keep his hands off that beautiful medley of folk tunes that start the day on radio 4. It's helped my wife and I through many an early morning with our baby son.
Mark Kelly

As a seasoned radio4 listener of 50 years standing, I for one am delighted at the srapping of the Radio4 theme tune.  Jingoistic, perhaps not but aesthetically challenged it is.  I think it's the most awful kitch.
Orde Solomons

I am furious that Mark Damazer has decided to axe the uk theme, only to replace it with yet more news.  As a confirmed insomniac, I love the uk theme and don't think it's in any way out of date or jingoistic.  Hands off the uk theme!
Dee Voce

I am comforted by the fact that i am just going to be one of many many thousands of people who will write to you to complain at the idea that you will be cancelling the UK Theme.  Tell the controller this from me...All of those thousands of complainants - who are probably all of the people who listen at 05.30. - all pay their licence fees. They will resent deeply having a great tradition (perhaps i should say - yet another great tradition) cancelled by some UNELECTED upstart who think he knows better.  Tell him to go and work on radio 1 or radio 5 live.... radio four is meant to be DIFFERENT and a key part of the difference is its link with ancient and valued traditions:

Just a Minute
Desert Island Discs
The Archers

These are valued as traditions by millions of listeners and so is the UK theme.  Leave it alone and go play with the traffic somewhere. Of course the world changes.
I think we should be a republic! But until a significant number of people agree with me the tradition of monarchy will live on in this country....and so should the UK Theme
Go away young man.
Michael Clark

Two years ago I was with a group of early risers, and  we wondered how this ever- inspirational and patriotic piece had been missed by the axe-weilding New Controllers of British society. We decided they didn't get up early enough to know about it. Now your bright young controller finds it tiresome. How many complaints has he had about - I didn't hear him mention any. Get rid of him and keep the Medley.
Michael Harrison

Please inform the controller of radio 4 that the Theme Tune at 05.30 is a much necessary part of the beginning of our day and should not be taken off in order to give us more news/papers/sport of which there is more than enough in Today. As licence payers, the controller should listen to us.
John and Judith Whitworth

So - the controller wants to reduce Radio 4 to a rolling news service. That's the joy of R4 - diversity - a balance of news, arts, science and even some sport. Maybe Gary Richardson isn't quite as secure as Jim said when introducing the 8.30 sports section... 

How ridiculous. Replace the theme tune with YET MORE NEWS??? You fool. Radio Four is about much more than news. We have a world service news rogramme at 5am. To follow that with a news briefing is ludicrous. The theme tune says that the station is more than news more than drama more than entertainment, it is about all culture of the whole nation. A previous controller has already inflicted an extra half hour of the Today programme on us, at 6am, and another 20 minutes at 8.40. Now we sound to be getting another half hour. Why not go the whole hog and run the programme through until 1am.
David Newton

Please rethink removing that wonderful music that starts the day - I'm usually doing the ironing, and would miss it tremendously. No more sport - ugh!!!  We can get that on radio 5.
Ann Wright

How can the Controller claim they need the time for news, papers and business? There are 3 solid hours of that from 6 until 9 on the today programme. Do we really need another half hour? This is almost the one UK-focused moment on Radio 4, and I think it doesn't hurt to reinforce that first thing - and I'm very far from being a flag-waving "patriot."
Moray McConnachie

I'm delighted the Radio 4 theme tune is to be dropped. At 5-6 minutes it is far too long and even an enjoyable piece of music, as this is, can pall with endless repetition.
And why is Prayer for the Day not being axed, too? What proportion of the listeners are (a) religious and (b) Christian?
Malcolm Ogilvie

The UK Theme provides an inspiring start to the day, providing us with a much needed moment of patriotism in this society where we're rarely encouraged to celebrate being British. Leave it alone and stop tinkering with elements of our cultural heritage.
Tom Flower

As a regular listener to the World Service may I suggest that if the controller wants to make his mark then he rids us of the item used at the other end of the night. I am referring to the dreadful piece of "Music"? called "Sailing By" If ever anything was tired this is it. The warbling flutes are just hideous. I've no doubt the composer and maybe one or two other listeneres might be upset by this suggestion but why not put it to the vote - "UK Theme" or "Sailing By" and let the listeners choose.
Mark Salmon

I don't know who your controller is but it's just as well he doesn't have to get elected - its just the sort of high handed action one expects from the unaccountable. Ed Stourton should have taken him to task as he would any other interviewee.
Dominic Collier

Please leave it alone - it's a wonderful way to start the day - if I want non-stop news/sport I can listen to Radio 5.  Where would we be if we got rid of everything/body just because it was over 30 years old!
Elizabeth Edwards

Oh Dear - the new controller needs help and guidance - don't let the poor deluded chap destroy the current Radio 4 theme tune until we, they who love to listen to the current, have heard his new suggestion. Why not have a vote?
Ted Bell

I just can't believe that there is anyone out there who would get rid of the theme. I am in my late teens and when I'm not listening to Radio 4, I listen to heavy metal. Not your conventional Radio 4 listener. But I still think that the theme is a beautiful piece of music and I would surmise that there are very few who want it to go.
Arthur Turrell

Although living in New Zealand, I have just 'choked on my cornflakes' at the horrifying sugestion that the anthem is to be killed. Remove the controller and his weasel words instead - I suspect his longevity will be more transient, and unlikely to endure a similar thirty year tenure. The anthem is a superbly arranged piece, and sets me up for the day, even if I 'tune in' to it religiously on the other side of the world!
Connie Bovill-Grigsby

Dear Sirs, Just because something has been around for 33 years does not mean it has "served its purpose". Many of our national institutions are somewhat older than this, and there is no conceivable reason for discarding with the medley of folk songs which opens Radio 4's broadcasting every day. What will Gordon Brown say? Another kick in the teeth for Britishness then. If your new controller wishes to make himself utterly unpopular, this is the way to go about it. We do not need more news: the Today programme is journalism at its best and is entirely adequate for the purpose. We do not need rolling news on Radio 4. I am not one of Radio 4's intransigent Archers-listening change-hating listeners, in fact, I'm in my early 30s - but I like the structure of Radio 4, and in a changing world, the established pieces of music are comforting and uplifting. Your controller should be keel-hauled. Yours faithfully

Why talk about the 5.30am start of the Today programme at 8.30?  The people protesting most about the changes are probably normally getting up at 5.30. Which means they will now be hard at work and unable to hear the discussion.
Mike Simpson

Excellent idea to scrap Fritz Spiegel's tired old medley. Please also change the evening schedule and scrap the nauseating "Sailing By" which makes me cringe and reach in panic for the off switch.
Ian McCallion

I was originally insensed when the BBC decided to distort the UK's weather forecast for the sake of fashion progress or whatever, but am even more disappointed that they plan to do away with the 5.30am theme.  As other listeners have said, it is a fantastically uplifting piece - wherever you are from.  I'm only 29 years old, and I feel like a grumpy, old, out of date, grandad saying this, but please don't do away with it!
Lewis Murray

I've only just heard: Losing the UK theme in favour of more news?  What a dreadful move.  There is regular news beforehand, on the world service, and a bulletin afterwards, and then the great dollop of Today.  How much news do we need - after all, it's so often miserable.  I sleep with the radio on, as I find it soothes wakeful moments, and I sometimes find myself awake for the Theme.  That, and the shipping forecast are comforting and familiar, and I will miss it very much.  Perhaps we could have it played at some other time?  In a constant loop for an hour instead of You and Yours perhaps?
Sue Archer

Hooray! As one who often tunes in for the first time in the morning to the sound of the uk theme, it sounds like a jarring mishmash of a medley in my half awake state. Now, the tune just before 1am at the end of radio 4's broadcast is just perfect... expect another email if plans to get rid of that arise!
Tracy Jardine

No no no! No more news! There is world news on the worlds service just before the theme. This is just another Islington ponce trying to make a name for himself. Leave the UK theme alone what harm does it do at 5.30 in the morning.
Mike Bird

Why does the Conroller not realise that he is temporary and the listeners are permanent. The UK theme is a unifying anthem and wiping away another part of the BBC unifying effect detracts from rather than adds to the BBC. We are not SKY or CNN to name two boring rolling news services.....we the people are the BBC not the temporary Controller. Rgds
John Hamilton

I was devestated to hear that the theme tune is to go. This must be overturned. The tune is the best thing about British radio & serves well to wake one up in the morning. We do not need an extra 6 minutes of news. In an age of digital radio which is meant to provide more choice let us that choose Radio 4 retain the reasons for which we choose it!
Stephen Lewis

Outrages this is part of radio four’s rich tapestry. Get rid of the morning theme! What next Sailing Bye.
Alex Campbell

Those of us who get up before the Today programme listen to World Service to hear the news until 5.30 am and don't need 'another dollop' of news at 5.30 am. The Today Theme is a great way to wake up and Radio 4 should be proud to keep it as its opening anthem.
Andrea Jones

I am relieved and delighted to hear of the axing of the "UK Theme Song". The apprehension and dread I have of hearing that annoying melody has kept me awake many, many nights.
Allyce Hibbert

Why on earth is the BBC changing this?  Its a beautiful piece of music and it really does kick each day off!
Tim Crew

Thank you! Mark Damazer has made the right decision in ending the Radio 4 theme tune. I have long objected to listening to this clever, but flawed piece of music, on a daily basis. It has nothing to do with jingoism as far as I'm concerned. I simply don't think it's a good enough piece of music to be heard more than once in a while. 
Can we now hope that Sailing By will get the same treatment?
Helen Heenan

Thank you for removing the R4 theme tune.  When I hear the tune start I immediately turn it off or switch stations.  At another time it is a good piece of music, so early in the day it is jingoistic and cringeworthy.
Barry Crompton

I am very sad about the axing of the early-morning Radio 4 Theme tune. It features melodies I learned at school many years ago, & which I am sure will now disappear forever as pop music takes over another aspect of life. Fritz Speigel should now get a mention at the end of whatever is played as Roy Plomley still gets a mention at the end of Desert Island Discs!
James Holmes

How depressing but not surprising to hear that the R4 theme has fallen victim to the political correctness police. It is quintessentially British. No doubt it will be replaced with a piece of Peruvian noseflute music. Shame on you BBC.
David Taylor

I for one love the radio 4 theme have always loved the radio 4 theme and will always love it. I am often travelling at that time of the morning and feel that I am a truly a citizen of the UK when it comes on. This is just change for change sake - do something useful and get rid of you and yours.
George Venables

The controller you interviewed used the time-honoured argument that "You can't please all of Radio 4's listeners all of the time". But who is he trying to please by removing the Radio 4 theme, which evidently brings pleasure to so many as it stands?
William Major

Why not open the station at 5.24, six minutes earlier, keep the theme and have the new "non rolling news" at 5.30 and keep everone happy?
Michael Beckett

Is is possible to have a mp3 download of the music that has been used on radio 4 for the last 33 years!, It would be a good tribute.
Andrew Mills

Regarding your interview with Mark Danziger this morning. There is absolutely no need to change the Radio 4 Theme at 5.30. Tinker with the slot between 5.30 and 6 if he likes, but hands off the tune.
Tim Smith

We love the UK theme! Get rid of the tired national anthem at close instead!
Ellen Brooks Pollock and Sally Brooks

Please BBC, don't get rid of the 5.30am music.  In my experience this is the only jolly thing to happen to me at 5.30am
Scott Hutchinson

I'm horrified to hear that the medley of tunes will be going  :-0
I'm not often up at that time, but when I am, I listen out for it -
it's most uplifting and like Sailing By (please don't tell us that will
be next for the chop) it's both enjoyable and reassuring. The fact that
it's been around for 30 years is no reason to loose it.
Controller, have the courage to change your mind - pleeeeeeeease!!!!!

I can't believe that the Controller wants to dump this gentle and entirely appropriate piece of music at the start of the Radio 4 day for the sake of a few minutes more speech. This looks like one of the most pointless and unnecessary "ideas" to come out of management's head that I've ever heard.
I know senior managers want to be seen to "make their mark" but there are more productive ways of doing it.
Please don't do it!
Christopher Slater-Walker

I have just listened to the interview that proposes to get rid of the early morning medley. This is an appalling decision and is just tinkering. If the dingbat in question sticks with this decision he should at least make the piece available for download or on CD so that those who love it can continue to listen.
Please let us know if the piece is available anywhere
Phil Terrett

They can't get rid of the UK theme!  It's the one decent thing on between 5:30 and 6.  Farming Today is rubbish and rather niche, though I must say I enjoy the Shipping Forecast.  
When I worked in a factory a couple of summers ago, I could time my journey to work by the UK theme.  I'm now a law student in Paris and when I get up at half 6 for early morning lectures, I love listening to the UK theme - it's a perfect reminder of home and helps me to face hours of French law! 
Matthew Longstaff

My bedside radio is set deliberately to come on after that irritating medley.
Michael Busher

Yes! Get rid of it! I have to get up at 5am and I'm sick to death of the same piece of music every day.  If you must have music at that unearthly hour, why not get you announcer to sing the shipping forecast?
Mark Gillespie

If the theme does indeed get scrapped, why not make it available for mp3 download and/or for listening to on the site? It won't please everyone, but it will help!
K. Howes

Oh joy. Thank goodness its going. It is an awful sickly jingoistic piece ill suited to 5:30. I turn R4 off or walk out the room if I am unlucky enough to catch it. Well done Controller.
Paul Burford

Mark Damazer - I read with disgust that you intend removing the theme tune at the start of the day, based on a belief that listeners don't want it - well to set the record straight WE DO. I feel so strongly about it that i intend lobbying my MP. Radio 4 / Old Home service is a great institution which we have grown up with, its perception is one of fairness and stability - we dont want change!!!!
Chris Sprules

Dreadful that the 530 tunes are being abolished. Who needs more news? The today programme is too long anyway. Tunes should either be changed or replaced with a morning poem.
Simon King

Radio 4 already has so much commentary that it is nice once in a while to listen to some music. I often have to drive early in the morning and I look forward to the tune, it is very uplifting.
Kirit Bedia

Bravo to the Controller for being brave enough to remove that ghastly mish-mash of a Radio 4 theme!
Matthew Goldsbrough

If it's so important to have a news briefing at 5:30, why not just move the UK theme to 5:24?
Owen Dunn

NO NO NO. Leave it alone. we have enough news and we certainly don't need any more at 5.30 am. Is being 30 years old good enough grounds for getting rid of it? What a moronic argument!!  And if you touch Sailing By, you lose another household for ever :-((
Rick Sareen

Assuming the piece is to be withdrawn from use - why not put it (perhaps with other pieces) onto a 'Today-CD' and sell it in aid of Children in Need 2006?  I will order one in advance.
John Chesworth

As a sailor this music allows me to be sure to be tuned in and ready to record the shipping forecast which follows.  Removing this music will not only be a loss of excellent music but will reduce the safety of sailors.
Derek Meadows

Hooray!  Thank you BBC for getting rid of the music that starts Radio 4 each day.  Yes, it may be a fine piece of music - but to hear it day after day is more than I can bear.  I find it little more than an irritating 'filler' before Radio 4 starts.  This will make my mornings better!
Chris Martin

Nooooooooooooo! How will I ever be able to get up again.
Granted, it's an odd piece of music...but at least it puts a smile on my face. Shame.
Vincent lacovara

How dare you? This is an uplifting piece and although it is 30 years old, this is no reason to bin it. Is there a problem with tradition at the BBC?
Vincent hammersley

I was surprised to hear the Controller let off the hook on this.  If he needs the time from 5.30 to 6.00 (or more particularly from 5.30 to 5.36 when the theme is played) for a news briefing, why does he not just move the theme to 5.24?  The 6 minutes of World Service coverage lost are easilt available for those who want them.
I don't expect the Controller will see sense, to be honest.  I just hope the theme is made available, as a download or CD, to those who love it.  Perhaps an idea for a 2006 Children in Need fundraiser in the same vein as the 'pips' download?
Martin Smith

Just how many listeners ,does the R4 Controller imagine, will be advantaged (in news terms) by replacing the 5 minutes of the R4 Theme by 2 minutes of business/sports news and 3 minutes of trailers? I, for one, abhor this pointless and spiteful action, the only purpose of which would seem to be attention seeking!
Jim Barker

Did I really hear the controller of Radio 4 say it wasnt his job to keep some people happy all the time;I think his views and opinions will not endear him to the majority of your listeners,no not your listeners but us.I for one am not ready for change to my morning anthem.Sixty plus years between my wife and I listening to RADIO 4.Go tinker somewhere else.
Alan Travers

Instead of getting rid of the marvellous patriotic music at 05.40 on Radio4 every morning how about getting rid of the mindless moron of a controller?
Gloria Percy

I was saddened to hear that it is proposed to drop ther Radio 4 theme tune. Like many others, I often need to leave home early to travel to an early meeting or to an airport and grnerally the only redeeming feature of these 4.00 am rises is the opportunity to listen to the theme tune. I love it, it's not jingoistic  just plain delightful. If it aint broke, don't fix it.
Harvey Young

The musical start to the Today programme is very British and it would be an abslute outrage to cut it. Why oh why should it be changed. NO NO NO
Rowena Bell

Am pleased to hear it is going - the sea area weather forecasts are in any case much more soothing at 5.30am!
Peter Hawkins

Very disapointed to hear today that the UK Theme is to be scraped. I get up every morning (well most anyway) especially to hear it. Reason: it reminds me of the 1950s when something very similar preceded the start of programes on the TV. Again, for about 5 mins, and with a picture of the BBC coat of arms. Severl, if not all of the tunes, were played. But you say on this morning's programme that it's only 30 years old?
Ray Westlake

Congratulations on getting rid of the UK theme. I will no longer have to switch off for 6mins. How about allowing non-religious views on the 'Thought for today' programme next?
Derrick Orton

How brilliant and typically British that the composer of the Uk  theme was, in fact, a refugee. How pathetic and totally idiotic is the idea of the Controller to get rid of it. Yes , let's replace something inspiring with more depressing rubbish. How sad can you get?
Darel Stutters

I have just listened to the Radio 4 controller making his excuses for axing the theme tune. He tells us that it is "Quite lovely" yet he intends to replace it with yet more news, to precede a news programme. Presumably we will also be able to hear irritating advertisements for The Archers etc. All this because the tune has been there for 33 years and has served its purpose. I accept none of his nonsense. I enjoy listening to the tune, I feel that it unites the people of these islands reminding us all just how integrated our customs and ways really are. It only lasts for a few minutes, so I doubt that anything that replaces it would be missed as much as OUR theme will be.
Ray Bessant

I was sorry to hear that the signature tune at 0530 was to be changed. I have been listening to that for the past 30 years. It has eased me in to the day on my way to work at the airport, through feeding both my children and then back to working early hours at the airport. To be honest it appears to be change for change's sake. There is nothing that can be said between 0530 and 0600 that the listeners cannot pick up throughout the day, even if they miss Today through being at work. The very fact that it includes such a wide variety of folk tunes is quite appealing these modern times. Even if you change the format after the opening tune at least leave us with that!!!
Harriet Willis

I have just listened to the Controller of Radio 4 trying his best to explain the demise of the Radio 4 UK early morning theme tune.  He failed miserably.  Instead he confirmed only one thing, that the BBC is well down the slippery slope of appeasement!  There is nothing wrong at all with the theme music.  It is clever in its composition, skillful in the way it begins gently and leads to a rousing cresecendo and exactlky the right way to start the day.  It would appear the even Radio 4 has been crushed by political correctness gone mad.  If your intention Mr Controller is to sell the Channel down the Swanee, carry on, you are bang on course!
Rev Fr Robert Halshaw

Oh dear, oh dear, what a boring man must be this new Controller of Radio 4, to think that we would prefer, 'a review of the papers, a sports review and a bit of business ...' rather than that uplifting piece of music at the beginning of the day.  Perhaps he thinks that as half the population listens to the Archers on a Sunday morning we'd like it better if he replaced that with 'a bit of politics'?  And as for his comment that you can't please the people all the time (and he didn't say all the people all the time)... I thought that was what he was supposed to do.  If you don't please people they generally go elsewhere. Ah well, yet another self-important prat gets a go at 'doing it his way'!  Come on BBC - we're the customers so let's have some 'customer service' please!
Annie Marks

I have just heard the interview with the controller who has decided to do away with the Radio 4 theme.  It sounded as though the theme was going to be replaced by yet another trailer.  The thing that seesm to have been missed is the damage this will do to the Radio Four brand.  The Music is an instantly identifyable mesage that one is tuned to Radio Four.  This decision is damaging to the uniqueness of radio four and should (but won't) be reconsidered. Yours, A voiceless pleb who will neve r listen to your channel again.
Kate Tarbet

If we are to lose the spiegel melody from Air  perhaps you can make it avaiable to down load  in mp3 format then we can be uplifted by it whenever we want.
Peet Williams

Please broadcast the beautiful arrangement of folk tunes that starts the radio 4 day , as a Podcast so that I can listen to it whenever that stupid Controller gets on his hind legs to pronounce another "improvement". Thank you
Hannah Wadsworth

Do we still use "comptroller" with a "p" (as in petard?) It is "fool or knave" time again. If the controller didn't consider a vote - in this interactive age - he is a fool, and if he did but applied his personal prejudice, he is a knave. I vote KEEP THE UK THEME along with Christmas and hot cross buns.
Barrie Singleton

Why doesn't Mark D commission a re-orchestration of 3-4 mins for 5.30 am?  Six mins is a bit long, but we need something to start the spring in our step rather than , as Ed Stourton put it, yet another 'dollop' of news and papers.  
John Reynolds

Please ,Please abolish the controller rather than the music!!!!!! First it was Lily Bolero on the overseas service and now this. Just occasionally we need some uplifting music. No one who has every heard Lily Bolero in the early morning in the middle of a distant continent could not be affected by it!
Andrew Richardson

About ***** time too. 20 years overdue in my opinion. Those who decry its passing have only to make a tape of it then they can play it all day long if they want to. "Tired" isnt the word for it but modesty prevents me from supplying an appropriate adjective.
Keith Crook

I noticed the Controller did not mention the Shipping Forecast, which follows the UK theme after a short news bulletin.  Why am I not surprised?!
Thousands of us rely on it.  Can the Controller assure us it will continue to be broadcast on Radio 4 LW shortly after 0530, please?
Keep up the great work.
Elizabeth Thorp

I am appalled to hear that we shall be losing the Radio 4 UK Theme. The reasons give by the controller just now make no sense at all. Why do these people have to come in and make changes just for the sake of it - which is what this appears to be. How many listeners have actually complained about it and demanded its removal? If it has to go - and I am sure MD will have no regard for what licence payers want - please can it be issued on a BBC CD so that I may continue to hear it?
Tim Pocock

Who is this upstart that wants to change 'TODAY'? Controller or something? It all sounds a bit New Labour. I remember that, in 1977 or there abouts, TODAY was bifurcated and a ridiculous programme called THROUGH 'TIL EIGHT intervened between the two halves. The listeners ran it out of town. Beware Mr Controller, do not tamper with TODAY. We dont want your howls of anguish to drown out the TODAY theme.
Chris Stephens

Absolutely outrageous! How dare the 'Fat Controller' sweep away one of the last pieces in the jigsaw that was the tradition and culture of our country. Doesn't he realise that it is these moments of culture (precious few now) that make a feeling of pride and belonging in a country? We are not all obsessed with the news picked over in ever more detail. R4 should know better and think very carefully before scrapping something that had stood the test of time for so long. As usual, the first act is to 'get rid' before having any clear idea of what to put in its place. It is a very very sad day indeed. For Heaven's sake see sense on this one.
Helen Drewett

I am overjoyed to hear that the dreadful, endless, anachronistic dirge that is inflicted on listeners at 5.30 in the morning is finally to disappear. I have to turn my radio off when it comes on and wait for it to finish before re-engaging. It drives me mad! When is it finishing? I can't wait!
Elayne Sutton

Can the Controller say who in hell's name he is pleasing by getting rid of Spiegel's introductory theme? We have already some idea of the opposition. Evidence please!
Des McConaghy

I want to add my voice to those who are utterly opposed to the removal of this music from the early morning schedule. Would you please pass on my message. Why ever does the controller believe that 30 years is long enough? it's a ridiculous argument. As with Rolling By and the Shipping News - the UK theme is another part of the BBC culture and a manifestation of the delightful quirkiness of being British. We do not want the BBC to sound like every other broadcasting channel. Please do not spoil my mornings. I love waing up to that music.
Jill Fairbairns

Pleeeease don't axe the radio 4 theme! It's the one thing that still provides comfort in a world, and sometimes country, that has gone mad, and has changed out of all recognition from when i was a child. There is absolutely no justification for its removal, whatever is said. Please, we need an identity.
Matthew Braim

I was enraged to hear this morning that the powers that be are going to get rid of the UK Theme.  How could they?  It is distincive, cheerful - its quirky counterpoint is the insomniac's consolation for having got through the dark hours, a gentle reminder that the light does return.  I don't listen to Radio 4 because it is like other channels, but because it is unique.  What will be next for the chop?  Sailing By?  Unthinkable!

Please stop the murder of the Radio 4 theme. I only hear it occasionally; but when I do - it is a reward for being up so early.
Mr F Rook

Hands off,its part of our heritage, remove it and you'll be banning bells on sunday next i suppose.
Eric Bysouth

How typical of the new breed of BBC controllers - throw out anything that's older than a few years and especially anything that may be construed as old-fashioned, patriotic or appealing to anyone over the age of 25 (I'm 49 but do not consider myself middle-aged or out of date). This is even more ironic since the BBC is in-house media supplier for the Labour Party, & the future Labour leader is calling for us all to celebrate our Britishness!
Sue Clay

Please, please, please leave the Radio 4 theme tune! I wake up here in Holland to this tune almost every day, and it makes a perfect alarm tune!
Martyn Simpson

The man in charge of that tune never asked us.
Frances Blackwell

The opening tune is distinctive and quite pleasant. If the BBC is going to get rid of something, I would suggest "Sailing By" -- I refer to it as music to die by.
Michael Barlow

You can't get rid of the Radio 4 Theme, it's my "going on holiday" music !!!
Cerys Byrne

I feel so virtuous when I wake up early enough to hear the radio 4 theme.  It makes me feel proud to be British.  Fire the controllor!  The 6am news is all anyone needs to brief them for the day. I am furious
Iain Corby

I'm very happy to hear that the Radio 4 theme tune is to be ditched. I hate it! and  have to switch the radio off when it comes on. I do find it jingoistic and out-dated. Can the national anthem also be dropped?
Kaye Bagshaw

How dare they get rid of that tune!   These tunes remind us of our past.

If you get rid of the UK theme, you should remove escaping and clock syncronization from the broadcasting network. The shipping forecast is important to me.
Doug Rice

The theme tune is wonderful! what a shame to lose it! 5 minutes of music - I expect thought of the day will be next? The theme is calm, interesting, clever, and very British [not just English] !!
If it must go, can you post an essay on its construction? and how do we access it?
Rowena Hunt

I am sick to death of being catapulted into consciousness when my radio, which I listen to intermittently throughout the night, bursts into that god awful jingoistic rubbish. I am so delighted it is going. Now could something be done about the dreadful Sunday morning programming? Mark (drone you to death) Tully and co desperately need retiring. Why do we still have to have religion on long wave? Get rid of it!
Imogen Bertin

Thank goodness that dreadful dirge is going. Far from being uplifted, when I wake up and hear it I am paralysed with boredom (having heard it ten thousand bloody times) and can't get up for another half hour as a result.
Niall Mansfield

Please do NOT get rid of this music. The R4 theme saved my life a few times on the M1, either on the way to Manchester or London, where I live and work.
Paul Disu-Lord

They musn't get rid of the UK theme tune. If it's being cut just to same time, why not save time by getting rid of the national anthem at the close of R4 every night. Edward Hopkins
Edward Hopkins

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