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4 what it’s worth

40 reasons to cherish the 40-year-old Radio 4:

1) That bit on Today just before the 8.30am news when they have a joke with whoever’s presenting the programme on at 9am.
2) Round Britain Quiz, specifically the music-themed questions
3) Nicholas Parsons shouting “Welcome to Just A Minute!”
4) Kirsty Young
5) “North Utsire, South Utsire…”
6) They have a continuity announcer called Zeb
7) The bit at midnight when the newsreader has to try and speak between the Big Ben “chimes and strikes”
8) “Over on Long Wave, it’s time for…”
9) Jim Naughtie
10) The special accordion version of The Archers theme used for the omnibus edition
11) Humphrey Lyttelton’s innuendos
12) It’s the only place you get to hear Richard Stilgoe anymore
13) Ditto Clive James
14) The theme tune to File On 4
15) Jenni Murray, the best mum you could ever have
16) The Archive Hour
17) “…and that’s the world at 1.30”
18) Whenever a station controller has to turn up on Feedback and explain a scheduling change to an angry listener
19) Today In Parliament, especially the what-kind-of-week-has-it-been? Friday editions
20) The way the guests on The Moral Maze are called “witnesses”
21) Masterteam with Peter Snow
22) John Humphrys in a tenacious mood
23) Hearing someone in the audience shout “for shame!” during the live transmission of Any Questions
24) The “sideways look at…” feature in the last 15 minutes of The Westminster Hour
25) Getting to eat your lunch while listening to Martha Kearney
26) “Coming up, the Greenwich time signal…”
27) Documentaries presented by Charles Wheeler
28) The fact Woman’s Hour has to come from Manchester once a week
29) Sean Barratt reciting poems on Poetry Please late at night
30) Andrew Marr verbally jousting with four guests at the same time on Start The Week
31) Edward Stourton getting indignant with slippery foreign ambassadors at 7.20am
32) Waking up too early on Sunday mornings and hearing five minutes of church bells
33) Any programme based on a parlour game
34) Annie McKie reading the news
35) You can still get it on Medium Wave in London and Northern Ireland
36) The fact that, in the event of war, British submarines have been ordered to interpret the repeated absence of the Today programme from Radio 4’s frequencies as proof Britain has been the subject of a nuclear attack
37) Whenever The Archers drops in a specially-recorded last-minute scene to incorporate some topical news story or other
38) Eddie Mair
39) ‘Sailing By’
40) “So, from everybody here at Broadcasting House, it’s a very good night.”



  1. simon h b

    October 1, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Re 15 & 28 – You wouldn’t include these two if you’d ever encountered Jenni Murray in the corridors of New Broadcasting House. Passers-by got looks like they were a Radio 4 scheduler at a Retired Colonel’s meeting.

    Or maybe it was just me she took exception to.

  2. David Pascoe

    October 2, 2007 at 9:12 am

    41) Being lulled off towards sleep by the dulcet tones of Mark Tully/Fergal Keane/Mike Wooldridge/Adjoa Andoh/Andrew Sachs/Frank Stirling (delete as applicable) on the Sunday night repeat of Something Understood.

    42)John Culshaw’s Brian Perkins impression.

    43) That Mitchell and Webb Sound.

    44) Ed Reardon’s Week.

    45) Whenever they do a programme recorded in Madagascar or India.

  3. Anonymous

    October 21, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Not just London and Northern Ireland, but Aberdeen as well (1449kHz) which meant not having long wave anymore on my stereo systems wasn’t so bad. Unfortunately, this was right next door to Luxembourg on 1440, which was sometimes a problem…

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