Greatest radio programmes

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Brock
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Greatest radio programmes

Post by Brock »

A panel of 46 "industry experts" have compiled list of the 30 greatest radio programmes of all time for the Radio Times. Here it is:

30. Private Passions, Radio 3 – 1995 – present
29. The World Tonight, Radio 4 – 1970 – present
28. Ed Reardon’s Week, Radio 4 – 2005 – present
27. The Reunion, Radio 4 – 2003 – present
26. The Shuttleworths, Radio 4 – 1993 – 2010
25. The Proms, Radio 3 – 1946 – present
24. The Shipping Forecast, Radio 4 – 1911 – present
23. Test Match Special, Radio 4/5 live sports extra – 1958 – present
22. Soul Music, Radio 4 – 2000 – present
21. The Goon Show, Home Service – 1951 – 1960
20. Under Milk Wood, Third Programme – 1954
19. Dead Ringers, Radio 4 – 2000 – present
18. PM, Radio 4 – 1970 – present
17. In Our Time, Radio 4 – 1998 – present
16. Woman’s Hour, Radio 4 – 1946 – present
15. Just a Minute, Radio 4 – 1967 – present
14. On the Hour, Radio 4 – 1991 – 1992
13. John Peel, Radio 1 – 1967 – 2004
12. Wake Up to Wogan, Radio 2 – 1993 – 2009
11. Letter from America, Radio 4 – 1946 – 2004
10. Today, Radio 4 – 1957 – present
9. I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, Radio 4 – 1972 – present
8. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Radio 4 – 1978 – 1980
7. From Our Own Correspondent, Radio 4 – 1955 – present
6. The News Quiz, Radio 4 – 1977 – present
5. In the Psychiatrist’s Chair, Radio 4 – 1982 – 2001
4. Hancock’s Half-Hour, Light Programme – 1954 – 1959
3. Round the Horne, Light Programme – 1965 – 1968
2. The Archers, Radio 4 – 1951 – present
1. Desert Island Discs, Radio 4 – 1942 – present

There have been complaints that it's 100% BBC, and it seems that the panel was overwhelmingly made up of people with a BBC background. But it's hard to think of anything that commercial radio has come up with that could match any of the above. Comments?

Mark
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Re: Greatest radio programmes

Post by Mark »

"Hancock" at 1 surely...well maybe 2 after "DID", and "The Goon Show" at 21.?...Nooo!
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stearn
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Re: Greatest radio programmes

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ITMA, Take It From Here, Lord Of The Rings, Journey Into Space, Paul Temple and even The Navy Lark, all missing. Like all 'lists' this says more about the age of those consulted and what is readily available to them, rather than what might be classed as great radio. It is rather surprising (and pleasing) to see Round The Horne higher than Hancock, especially as there were the missing Hancock's far more recently and his awareness is through both TV and radio. I've always thought RTH a better show - well, the first couple of series until Feldman jumped ship, anyway.

brigham
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Re: Greatest radio programmes

Post by brigham »

That's a bit unfair.
Feldman was co-creator, wasn't he? I don't think he intended it to be a life-sentence, but simply another aspect of a his varied career.

Brock
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Re: Greatest radio programmes

Post by Brock »

stearn wrote:ITMA, Take It From Here, Lord Of The Rings, Journey Into Space, Paul Temple and even The Navy Lark, all missing. Like all 'lists' this says more about the age of those consulted and what is readily available to them, rather than what might be classed as great radio.
I agree. For a supposed list of the greatest programmes of all time, it's heavily biased towards programmes that are still running or at least lasted into this century. Most of the exceptions are programmes that still figure prominently on Radio 4 Extra (Hancock, RTH and the Goons).

I was pleased to see In the Psychiatrist's Chair so high up the list, and I'm surprised that Letter from America only made it to number 11. I thought Soul Music was an interesting inclusion - for a relatively recent programme it seems to have achieved "classic" status almost by stealth. I have no idea what The Shuttleworths is doing on the list - it was an amiable enough little programme but surely nothing ground-breaking. And I'd question whether the shipping forecast is actually a "programme" at all.

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JezR
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Re: Greatest radio programmes

Post by JezR »

The Shipping Forecast did originally get its own billing in the Radio Times in the same manner as any other programme. Somewhat odd to give it a start date of 1911 though, as the current format of it didn't start until 1924, and maybe it should list all the stations it has been on but it is a long list (regularly GFA, 5XX, National Programme, Home Service, Light Programme, Radio 2, Radio 4).

As to commercial radio, John Peel for example didn't appear out of nowhere in 1967.

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stearn
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Re: Greatest radio programmes

Post by stearn »

brigham wrote:That's a bit unfair.
Feldman was co-creator, wasn't he? I don't think he intended it to be a life-sentence, but simply another aspect of a his varied career.
You can certainly tell which bits of RTH have Feldman's hand in the writing - it is the stuff that is the equivalent to picking scabs - oddly appealing but a bit icky. There is an edge to it. The fourth series becomes a bit 'meh' as far as I am concerned with Cooke and Mortimer bringing in pale imitations of earlier characters and taking it from the stand-out comedy it was in the first couple of series to a more settled, rest on its laurels, comedy.

I have always thought that Feldman was the comedy genius in the Took-Feldman partnership, but Took owned the typewriter, so both were vital in their own way.

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Re: Greatest radio programmes

Post by Brock »

JezR wrote:The Shipping Forecast did originally get its own billing in the Radio Times in the same manner as any other programme. Somewhat odd to give it a start date of 1911 though, as the current format of it didn't start until 1924
And the BBC didn't start until 1922!

1911 appears to be the year that the shipping forecast was first telegraphed out to ships.

Another comment: most of the entries are naturally enough long-running programmes (apart from the one-off play Under Milk Wood, which is perhaps the only radio play to have gained the status of "literature"). So it's especially gratifying to see On the Hour on the list, which ran for only two series but was an undoubted landmark in radio comedy. There was nothing like it before, but its influence is unmistakable.

(Incidentally there was an item on Today the other week marking the 25th anniversary of The Day Today, which barely acknowledged On the Hour. You'd have thought that Radio 4 would be more interested in celebrating one of its own programmes than a TV spin-off which only lasted one series.)

Mark
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Re: Greatest radio programmes

Post by Mark »

You would have thought, "The News Huddlines" or "Week Ending" might have made the list as well.

As good as "Round The Horne" was, I thought it didn't really get going until after the first few editions with "The Clissold Saga", then it settled down into it's best loved format,( although it was a couple of series before "Beyond Our Ken" did the same thing).
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Private Frazer
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Re: Greatest radio programmes

Post by Private Frazer »

Good to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy listed and, as to be expected, quite a few that went to TV. Knowing Me Knowing You might have made the list? (on recently because of 'This Time').
Probably everybody has a few Radio 2 talk-ins favourites on a day to day basis - nowadays Ken Bruce and I still remember wanting to catch Derek Jameson's. They're represented with a few on the list but maybe these interactive radio programmes are more the future.
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