Will Self on taking over A Point of View
I grew up listening to Alistair Cooke's Letter from America which used to be scheduled in the spot now occupied by A Point of View - why? Because my insufferably bien-pensant parents had got rid of our television because they thought it was a terrible influence on children, making them distracted and functionally illiterate.
Well, if they were alive today I expect they'd be just a little bit pleased with themselves upon hearing my lugubrious tones flute out of the set as I deliver the first of what I hope will be many Points of View.
I'd like to adopt Cook's own chirpily-austere trademark salutation "Good-morning", but of course this wouldn't scan for the repeat and plenty of listeners might feel I was traducing the late, great meliorist. Instead, I will hope to complement not only the sort of broadcasting that he so effectively did, but also to be a worthy stablemate for such excellent views-makers as John Gray.
What will I bring to it?
It seems to me that POV is a spot that while ostensibly mandating a monologue, nonetheless allows for opening-out into an entire playlet, complete with a dramatic arc.
Opinion is everywhere in the contemporary world, and I suspect some listeners may feel a little blase when they're offered still more of it.
I hope to insinuate really rather radical ideas into those nodding heads and closed ears by couching them in contexts - humorous, anecdotal, amusing - before hitting them with the sucker-punch of wanton irreverence. I hope Cook would, if not approve, understand: needs must...
Will Self presents A Point of View from this Friday, 30 September on Radio 4
- A Point of View is on Fridays on Radio 4 at 20:50 BST and repeated Sundays, 08:50 BST. You can hear the programme shortly afterwards on the Radio 4 website.
- Visit A Point of View on the web
- You can find an archive of A Point of View episodes to download and keep via the podcast page. You can also subscribe to the podcast.
- You can find the weekly A Point of View essay published on the BBC News website Magazine.
- You can hear previous presenters of A Point of View including John Gray, Alain de Botton, Joan Bakewell, Sarah Dunant, Lisa Jardine, David Cannadine, Simon Schama and Clive James in the programme archive.