The Slanket of Con: Origins
Martha Kearney in the Slanket of Con. Martha subsequently tweeted: "I have reached the pinnacle of my career thanks to Corrie Corfield..."
Editor's note: Some of you will be familiar with the Slanket of Con, some of you will have no idea what's going on. I first saw it being discussed online which in turn led me to the Slanket photo album, already viewed over 10,000 times. So I asked Corrie Corfield and Kathy Clugston, known to you as two of the voices of Radio 4, to explain all.
Corrie: We can lay the blame for The Slanket of Con firmly on Twitter! A few of us who spend hours in the Radio 4 Continuity studio and like to tweet started to make comments about how cold it was in the studio. Which it is. We have to sit under an air vent that seems to blast nothing but an Arctic gale. Various replies on Twitter suggested we needed a garment called a "Slanket" to keep us warm.
Kathy: The slanket is technically mine. Having read our nonsense on Twitter, my friend Mark (@mark_simpson) gave it to me for Christmas when I went home to Belfast. He agreed that the leopard skin marvel could be donated to Continuity for the use of us chilly announcers. As soon as Corrie set eyes on it, she whipped out her camera and starting snapping us in ridiculous poses. It made us laugh so much we thought people on Twitter would love it too. And so it began.
Corrie: Can't remember what possessed me to drape The Slanket over the shoulders of the lovely and extremely well known Michael Buerk but he was our first victim. Poor man had popped into 40B (The R4 continuity suite) to do a trail for The Moral Maze and the next thing he knew he was covered in a bizarre polyester tent. He was however a natural. After that the initial idea of just snapping the announcers grew into photographing as many of the famous voices on Radio 4 as possible. The reaction on Twitter has been amazing and now we get suggestions of who should be Slanketted next (along with concerned tweets about the cleanliness of the garment). What I have noticed though is the minute the leopard print monstrosity is upon the wearer their thespian tendencies are unleashed.
Kathy: Various colleagues have taken pictures, but Corrie is our main photographer while I "run" the website. She has a great eye for a pose and amazing powers of persuasion, especially useful in the beginning when no one had a clue what it was all about. When John Prescott came in to read the Shipping Forecast for Comic Relief, Alice (Arnold) and I were on duty and weren't sure if we had the nerve to ask. Alice braved it and before he could think twice about it, we flung the Slanket over him and I took a picture with my phone. I love it that people are such good sports.
Corrie: The Slanket of Con lives in a drawer in 40B in Broadcasting House marked "BUNS" (don't ask) but recently it's been on an away day to Television Centre where the news programmes originate. It may not be the only time it's liberated from the confines of BH as there are still quite a few Radio 4 regulars to be bagged. The Today presenters have so far managed to escape but now a Dame (Jenni Murray) and a Lord (John Prescott) have worn it perhaps they'll be easier to persuade. And I really want to get Melvyn Bragg. That would be the icing on the cake. Or perhaps that should be The Jewel in The Slanket.
Corrie Corfield and Kathy Clugston are part of the talented Radio 4 Announcers Team