Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Dear BBC: Can we have the Radio4 "UK Theme" back, please?

Just before the start-up of regular programming in the early morning on BBC Radio4, latterly as a break between the re-broadcast during the night on Radio4 of BBC World Service programmes and the start of domestic Radio4 programmes, a charming musical interlude comprising traditional songs from all four constituent parts of the UK was broadcast between November 1978 and April 2006, when it was 'axed' by the then Controller of Radio4, Mark Damazer, because he concluded that a vanishingly small number of people would have been listening at such an early hour of the morming and that, anyway, those who were awake or up and about would prefer a news summary. No doubt this is why about 6,000 people made formal complaints to the BBC, asking for it not to be 'axed' and/or to be re-instated?! It now turns out that Mr Damazer's decision was based upon flawed listener statistics. It seems that hundreds of thousands were in fact listening at that hour, so complaints from 6,000 is an unprecedentedly high number!

If you don't know what I am talking about, then you could do worse than spend 5 minutes of your life listening to a recording of the medley in question:

Mark Damazer is no longer Controller of Radio4, so I think his departure should be marked by the speedy return of this lovely music. Although it comprises traditional British songs it was in fact compiled by an Austrian refugee to this country in the late 1930s; perhaps it took someone originally from outside of these islands to encapsulate in music just what a wonderful country we have.

So, Dear BBC:
Can we have the Radio4 UK Theme back, please?

1 comment:

  1. I agree, Bill. Just like 'Sailing By' before the late night shipping forecast, the UK theme was part of what made Radio 4, well, Radio 4.

    As a musician, I find the final bars of the combined Annie Laurie and Londonderry Air excruciating and it always makes my teeth water, but, for me, that's all part of its charm. Bring it back!


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