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Will Self on taking over A Point of View

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Will Self Will Self 10:30, Thursday, 29 September 2011

Will Self

Will Self

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?

Well, rather like Kenneth Williams in his Round the Horne guise as Gruntfuttock, I'm afraid I may not be able to restrain myself from doing "the voices".

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.


  • Comment number 1.

    I varied in my listening to Alastair Cook's "Letter from America": sometimes the morning broadcast, sometimes the evening, frequently both. I'm pretty sure the "Good morning" in one was substituted for a "Good evening" in the other. My theory was that Mr Cook had recorded both greetings and they were edited in as appropriate.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    A note is passed to me from the Radio 4 scheduler - this is how information travels in these parts. Unfolding the note I can see that it says:

    "Can you say the scheduler says 'Good Morning' would in fact work for the repeat, but not for the origination, which is this evening!"
    Paul, editor of the Radio 4 blog
  • Comment number 4.

    Self is clearly drawing attention to the complete disconnection between most mainstream politicians, overwhelmingly drawn from privileged ex public school/Oxbridge, and the rest of society, especially the rioting lumpen-proletariat.

    There has clearly been a serious error of BBC scheduling in allowing this subversive to reveal such libelous truth to an audience as extensive as Radio 4. One can think of few more blatant examples of Scandalum Magnatum, (bringing lawful authority into disrepute), and would clearly be grounds for criminal prosecution were this crime still on the statute book.

    Keep it up.

  • Comment number 5.

    Having listened to Mr Self's talk this morning, I have the impression of having just heard a solo version of 'Grumpy Old Men'. Yes, I felt it was as intellectually rigorous as that.

  • Comment number 6.

    Paul - there's a typo ('wilf' for 'will') in the url listed in the 'Topical posts on this blog' for this entry.


  • Comment number 7.

    Ah, The Nodes of Muchbinding in the Marsh would love the mention of the grand Gruntfuttock, Alistair Cook and a good read of the Observer TV/Radio critic of the day Clive James . . . oh what joy.


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