It’s not so bad being awake at three in the morning, with an unseasonably chilly wind blowing and the rain lashing at the window, when it gives you the chance to catch up with the World Service. During the day it’s always such a hassle to find the network unless you’re fully converted in all rooms and radio sets to the After Digital age and don’t have to twiddle with the knobs until you arrive at 648 MW. Maybe they should bring the World into Radio Four in the daylight hours? It could be a cost-saving device that would also really transform the home service, creating a truly global outlook in tune with the new world order of the Noughties.
World Service programmes have such a refreshingly different perspective, looking outwards rather than in. On a two-part investigation for Heart and Soul (the series that’s on during the day on Fridays, but if you’re sleepless is repeated at 3.30 in the morning), Peter Stanford went in search of 21st-century missionaries — and found them in some unexpected places. Jade, aged 23, from south Wales, bravely walks into the pubs and clubs of Aya Napa, once a family beach resort on the south coast of Cyprus, with a mission not to have as much ‘fun’ as she can but to bring about change in subtle ways. To get an idea of the courage it takes, just type Aya Napa into Google and see what comes up on YouTube.
Jade, at 16, was once a club ‘hostess’ herself, having run away from an unhappy home life. ‘I would like to help those people who are lost,’ she says, having turned her life around after visiting a drop-in centre and finding someone who at last took the trouble to listen to her.