Kate Chisholm

Marriage lines

The Archers Omnibus (BBC Radio 4); Sunday Worship (BBC Radio 4); The Reunion (BBC Radio 4)

Weddings! You couldn’t avoid them on Radio Four this week. As if Usha plighting her troth with Alan not just once, but twice, on The Archers Omnibus was not enough, those who were up early on Sunday might have been surprised to find themselves like flies on the wall listening in to the real-life wedding of Steve and Zoe. Instead of the usual hymn sandwich, Sunday Worship proudly presented us with a slice of real-life drama. Actually, it was a recording of a ceremony that took place on 8 August, rather than a piece of radio-verité, so even this bit of ‘reality’ was not quite kosher. We were not really being witnesses to the solemnisation of Steve and Zoe’s marriage, but were rather hangers-on to a bit of radio history. Never before has the Sunday service been dedicated to a wedding. I couldn’t help wondering if next week we’ll be taken to a funeral, à la Mr Polly?

It was the oddest thing to overhear such intimate vows being exchanged first thing in the morning while sitting over coffee, croissants and the papers. As Zoe approached the altar, Steve, a salsa-loving estate agent from Coventry, confided how he had proposed to Zoe in the middle of a crowded restaurant with all the paraphernalia of a Hollywood movie: a bunch of white roses, a dinner jacket, and a burst of applause afterwards from the onlookers. Then we heard Zoe — as the organ belted out Mendelssohn’s ‘Here comes the bride’ — telling us what was happening step by step on her way up the aisle as if she was starring in her own DVD of the occasion, ‘Here I am just walking down the aisle with my Dad on my arm…’

The vicar in his sermon attempted manfully to justify the idea of turning Radio Four’s weekly fix of religion into a reality TV show by claiming that what they were doing at St Andrew’s, Rugby, was ‘transforming the ordinary things of life into something special and life-giving’.

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