Crucifixion by Michele da Verona - 1501 (Photo: Art Archive/ DeA Picture)

BBC radio gets Easter right


Given the decline of Christian belief in the UK, it’s surprising to discover there’s quite so much about the Easter story on the airwaves this week. You might have assumed that no space would have been found in the schedules… Read more

Pickets in Thoresby (Photo: STAFF/AFP/Getty)

Police and miners clash again over Orgreave on Radio 4’s The Reunion


Four could have been dubbed the Frank Radio network this week as the sharp skills of Sue MacGregor, Alan Dein and Fi Glover teased out some stark opinions and revelations. MacGregor was back on Sunday morning with a new series… Read more


Radio that makes you feel the wind on your cheek


After a walk in Richmond Park beset by rush-hour traffic, the Heathrow flight path and a strange swarm of flying ants (strange because so early in the year), it was unsettling to come back in and switch on and listen… Read more

Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo

How Radio 5 Live transformed the airwaves


It’s amazing to think that it’s 20 years since the launch of Radio 5 Live. But it was bright and early on the morning of 28 March 1994 (long before Princess Diana’s death, 9/11, the Iraq war, the London bombs,… Read more


Lives captured in transit


It’s such a simple idea. Take a tape recorder. Hang around at the entrance to a railway station or in the departure lounge of an airport. Look for an intriguing face, an unusual couple, a dashing outfit. Rush up to… Read more


The sound of growing rhubarb


When the BBC proposed to do away with 6 Music a few years ago, the media-savvy fans of the station created such a fuss on Twitter and Facebook that the Corporation caved in. Threat of closure was exactly what the… Read more

Over half a million people were massacred in Rwanda by government forces, militiamen and nationalist Hutus Photo: Getty

Listening to genocide – and what came next


It doesn’t take long for an international event of historic importance to fall off the news agenda. Ukraine is still there, making headlines, but soon it will be forgotten as the political drama in Kiev, Sebastopol, the Crimea is overtaken… Read more

Anti-government protestors outside a parliamentary building in Kiev Photo: AFP/Getty

The Today programme's 'Phwoof!' moment


‘Phwhoof!’ exclaimed Evan at 8.27, before reluctantly turning us over to the sport report on Saturday morning’s Today (Radio 4). His intense connection with what he had just listened to in the studio (and we had heard at home while… Read more

People pay their respects for the war dead at the Yasukuni Shrine Photo: Getty

When a Chinese and a Japanese visit Tokyo's Yasukuni war shrine


What does freedom mean to you? That’s the question the BBC World Service has been asking of us through its season of programmes Freedom 2014. The Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield (whose daily blog from space went viral) gave us a… Read more

A stowaway jumps from a ferry to avoid police checks Photo: Getty

Ali risked his life to escape Afghanistan — and now teaches Britons how to survive there


‘Brown is very good — no Cameron. David Cameron no good,’ he said. Just in case we weren’t sure what he meant, he repeated, ‘Brown I like. Labour government I like. I like the Brown. I like the Tony Blairs.… Read more


Some things are better heard on radio, than seen


A double dose of BBC1 drama at the weekend (Silent Witness, Casualty) left me wondering whether there’s a link between the falling crime figures announced last week and the levels of blood and bestiality now showing nightly on TV. With… Read more

Germaine Greer (Photo: David Levenson/Getty)

Radio 3 needs to stay relevant, and world music is just the ticket


When my colleague Charles Moore first began accusing Radio 3 of becoming ‘babyish’, and talking down to us as if we’re too ignorant to understand anything complicated, I had to agree. The constant twittering between items, the gimmicky brainteasers and… Read more

June Spencer, 94, plays the canny Peggy Woolley Photo: Getty

Two women, ages 94 and 83, completely own The Archers


You might think the main storyline in The Archers is all about Helen’s affair with dastardly Rob. (What does she see in him? It’s so obvious he’s a mean-spirited control freak.) Or the new ‘voice’ for Tony, as David Troughton… Read more

Key Scenes From Jo Yeates Murder Case

When did you last hear a news report you could trust completely? 


‘It put a lot upon us,’ said Christopher Jefferies’s aunt. ‘The ripples went on and did not stop for a long time.’ She was talking about the after-effects of the media witchhunt that skewered her nephew after his arrest in… Read more


Bye-bye Bric, hello Mint — are Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey really the new boom economies?  


New year new ideas as we woke up on Monday morning to find ourselves in Lagos with Evan Davies trying to convince us that Nigeria really is undergoing an economic earthquake. It’s part of a week-long campaign by Radio 4… Read more

(Photo: Frank Hurley/Hulton Archive/Getty)

How radio — and the digital age — help us to remember the first world war


Perhaps the most moving programme of all amid the huge range that will mark the coming centenary of the Great War will be on 28 June, the day when in 1914 Gavrilo Princip shot dead the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and… Read more

Just imagine what the BBC schedules might look like in Christmas Future Photo: Diane Diederich

Just imagine what BBC schedules might look like in Christmas Future


Is it time to scrap the licence fee? That’s a question we’re going to hear more and more about in the next couple of years. Why should the BBC retain its archaic monopoly over the airwaves? Why not abolish the… Read more

Joshua DuBois with President Obama Photo: Pete Souza/Landov/PA

The man who looks out for Obama's soul


Just in time for Advent, that season of preparation, of getting ready, of making sure we are in the right mind to weather the excitements of Christmas, the World Service gave us a short programme designed to get us in… Read more

Author Robert Preston With Political Book Browns Britain

Why didn't financial journalists blow the whistle on Paul Flowers? Robert Peston can't tell you


As I listened to Robert Peston early last Friday fluffing on about the Revd Paul Flowers and the possible effect of his indiscretions on the future of the Co-operative Bank, I couldn’t help wondering why none of the financial journalists… Read more

John Kennedy Jr. playing in the Oval Office, one month before his father was assassinated, October 1963 Photo: Getty

What Jackie did after JFK was assassinated


A surfeit of anniversaries this week reminded us that on the day of President Kennedy’s assassination, C.S. Lewis (born 1898) and Aldous Huxley (born 1894) also died. Three such different figures are hard to imagine — Kennedy, the wily politician,… Read more

(Photo: BBC)

Radio 4's All In The Mind is a perfect example of why we still need the licence fee


Best line of the week came on Monday from the composer John Tavener, and was given added poignancy by the announcement the following day that Tavener had died. He told us, ‘Life is a creeping tragedy; that’s why I must… Read more

The Scala Theatre (Picture: H.O/AFP/Getty)

You lost Aled Jones and Catherine Bott, Radio Three — but all is forgiven


It’s hard to stay cross with Radio 3 for long. Just when I thought the network had stretched my loyalty too far by not only allowing Aled Jones to decamp to Classic FM but also saying goodbye to the great… Read more

Your life is not like a Detroit assembly line — it's worse


This year’s Free Thinking festival at the Sage in Gateshead has been asking the question,  Who’s in Control?. Oddly, or perhaps presciently, as soon as I typed that last word ‘control’, the power went off in the midst of Monday’s… Read more

Grayson Perry (Picture: BBC)

Grayson Perry is an inspired choice for the Reith Lectures


You’ve probably already read or heard somewhere that the inspiration for Grayson Perry’s current series of Reith Lectures on Radio 4 was none other than Lynda Snell. (I wonder if she knows.) What a coup for the establishment network, the… Read more


Come over here, Tom Stoppard


‘I was mad with jealousy,’ said Gwyneth Williams, the controller of BBC Radio 4. ‘I am mad with jealousy,’ she corrected herself, and I believed her. We were discussing Tom Stoppard’s Darkside, a radio play written to celebrate the 40th… Read more

(Photo: BBC)

Last week's all-female Today proved women make for a more uplifting show


Boy, we’ve had to wait a long time for this. But last Thursday morning something unusual happened on Radio 4; something so unexpected, so rich with potential. It happened at peak time in the morning. Eight o’clock. The Today programme.… Read more

Sue Tilley, one of Lucian Freud's models (Picture: Getty)

Sometimes Radio 3 tries to be too clever by half


Why are we still listening to the radio in 2013, to an outdated technology that has hardly changed in manufacture or output since it first appeared in the 1920s? How come TV did not wipe it out, as CDs wiped… Read more

The TV license is like a cup of ovaltine: a pre-war relic

Autumn shake-up in Radios 2 and 3 scheduling


This time round in the autumn shake-up of the schedules it’s Radios 2 and 3 who are on the frontline of change. They have had to face ‘tough decisions’ and to address ‘the financial challenges due to the licence-fee freeze’.… Read more