Not impressed by new Classic FM schedule

Following the news that GCap Media are to scrap their theJazz and Planet Rock digital radio stations, it seemed that Classic FM, as an analogue station, would emerge unscathed. Unfortunately, the closures have had a knock-on effect that has changed Classic FM for the worst.

In the week, I’m only really able to listen to the station in the evening. Changes at this time of day include the scrapping of the 6:30pm Classic Newsnight programme. While this was not the best news programme imaginable, it was the only news bulletin I could catch after work, having usually missed most of Radio 4’s news. Instead, Smooth Classics at Seven has been extended by an hour, becoming Smooth Classics at Six. Smooth Classics, presented by John Brunning, was always one of my favourite programmes. Unfortunately, they have now pushed John out in favour of Margherita Taylor, who apparently used to present a programme called Easy Jazz at Six on theJazz. I’m afraid I am so far unable to get used to Ms Taylor’s voice. I don’t know if she’s supposed to be a celebrity because she’s been on TV; I’m not interested in celebrities. I liked John Brunning’s smooth voice presenting this programme. Margherita Taylor appears to have a “trendy” voice with an end-of-sentence intonation I don’t appreciate.

In turn, John Brunning has displaced Nick Bailey as the presenter of the Evening Concert programme, which has been renamed The Full Works. For around five years, Nick has presented the programme live, enabling him to read out listeners’ e-mailed comments as he received them (including several of mine over the years!) This gave the programme a much more personal touch, and meant it was better company for anyone listening alone. Early indications are that The Full Works is no longer presented live. Nick Bailey has now been pushed into the overnight slot, starting from 2am, displacing Mark Griffiths who has now left the station. I’m quite certain Nick isn’t happy about losing the Concert and having to present overnight.

One aspect of the new schedule that has proved most controversial is the introduction of two hours of jazz each night, starting at midnight. The programme is presented by Helen Mayhew, who is also a refugee from theJazz. Lisa Duncombe, the young violinist who was given a job after complaining that the station didn’t promote young artists enough, has also been given the axe. Classic FM used to promote itself as the country’s only 100% classical station, as opposed to rival BBC Radio 3, which has always played jazz. That distinction has now been lost. I should probably go to bed at midnight anyway, but I have to say that, despite my reservations, the jazz programme is the change I mind the least. The music is still quite relaxing, and at that time of night the music is only background to reading or whatever, rather than being for serious listening.

The station has responded to complaints about the introduction of jazz by claiming:

Radio stations periodically change their programming line-ups and our research shows that there is a very strong cross-over between listeners to classical music and jazz.

That is implying that they introduced the new schedule as a result of careful audience research. I would contend that they have done no such thing. The new schedule was introduced in a hurry after GCap decided to pull out of DAB. The evidence for this is clear. In the past, new schedules on Classic FM have been the subject of much fanfare and promotion for weeks beforehand. Now they are calling this the biggest change in 15 years, yet there was no mention of the new schedule until just before it started this week. In the just-released April issue of the Classic FM magazine, they have just managed to get the new schedule in there. But there is a detailed listing of the music that will be played on the Evening Concert in March, with an accompanying article by Nick Bailey who it says, “presents the Classic FM Evening Concert every weekday night from 9pm”. That shows these changes to the schedule weren’t carefully planned as the result of audience research. They were rushed through for commercial and contractual reasons as a result of theJazz closing, after much of the magazine had already been produced.

The jingle that accompanies the new programmes can only be described as naff. I don’t believe it was created by David Arnold, the composer of the famous Classic FM jingle, and of the many arrangements that are heard on the station. It was no doubt recorded in a hurry, again because the schedule change wasn’t planned very far in advance. And what on Earth is the slogan “We raise you up” supposed to mean?!

It seems GCap needed to find a job for Margherita Taylor as a matter or urgency. Perhaps she had some sort of contract that would have been expensive for GCap to terminate – more expensive than sacking Mark Griffiths anyway. Perhaps the contract also specified that Ms Taylor’s programme should be at a time when decent numbers of people are listening, not in the middle of the night. So to make way for her, they have shunted along two long-standing presenters on the station who had presented their respective programmes for many years extremely successfully. The same may be said for Helen Mayhew replacing Lisa Duncombe, although there the motivation is probably also an attempt to appease jazz fans: they can still listen to jazz, as long as they don’t mind staying up until 2am!

I am quite unimpressed with the changes to Classic FM’s schedule. Because of what are ultimately business decisions by the owners, they have spoilt my favourite station quite a bit. Now I can’t listen to the news, I can’t hear “Mr Smooth” present his classics, and I can’t enjoy listening to the concert with Nick Bailey. I hope some of these changes can be reversed when theJazz’s former presenters’ contracts expire. I know that other listeners are unhappy, particularly with the jazz programme. Yet they are unlikely to abandon the station as there aren’t many alternatives. Unless, that is, GCap’s own internet broadcasting strategy turns out to be the way forward, in which case people may well discover that there are many good classical music stations around the world (from countries without draconian copyright laws) and so they can consider abandoning the station that puts business before its listeners.

236 responses to “Not impressed by new Classic FM schedule”

Showing comments 141 to 160

  1. Jan

    Just to introduce a little light-hearted debate into the forum, can I wonder aloud why the ‘prize slot’ of the Breakfast show was given to Jane Jones for a few years before Mark took it over? I’m not sure anyone groomed her for it! But then, maybe they did and the exercise failed….! No, that’s unkind. I like Jane, she sounds a super person but from my earlier posts on this forum you will see my pet irritations with her. However, I have since listened to the Full Works show once or twice and her manner is so much better.

    As for the HoF, I completely agree with Phil’s observations. The whole project is an amusing diversion, and as an amusing diversion I keep stats on it. But the project itself is not scientifically conducted and is probably largely influenced by the pieces of music that CFM chooses to broadcast in the months leading up to the vote itself! Having said all that, CFM claims it is the largest vote on classical music in the world, and thus does have some value. So it is mildly distressing that works such as Part’s ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’ can make it into the top 300 and not, say, Haydn’s magnificent Cello Concerto no 1 or indeed any of his 100-plus symphonies.

    I do find it curious that ‘Lark’ is somehow considered VW’s greatest work but I don’t lose any sleep over it. Albinoni’s Oboe Concerto in D minor was in the HoF hour this morning. Again. Actually it is a very beautiful piece. But my morning was made when Mozart’s ‘Laudate Dominum’ was played, the lovely version by Cecilia Bartoli, and after that I didn’t care what happened.

    That will keep me smiling for a good long while. 🙂

    Jan.

  2. Phil Platts

    I too got used to Jane. As I commented in a previous post she does at least sound a warm person whether she has an eccentric presentational style or not. My bete noir has always been Myleene, who sounds like a vocal version of a block of ice. I know she has gone somewhere else on CFM but I don’t look too hard.

    On the subject of what CFM chooses to play in the run up to HoF, my all time favourite classical piece, equal with Beethoven’s Choral (no comment needed there) is Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasie Overture. There are few pieces that switch from violent, crashing bars to wonderfully serene driftingly beautiful music so easily and I believe it merits the description of masterpiece. The big trouble is this – it is, depending on which version – between 19 and 21 minutes long, and is a one movement composition. Therefore, and you will guess where I’m going with this – it doesn’t fit into either prime time breakfast or drivetime. Too many traffic reports, news bulletins, weather forecasts and, mmm…ads to get that in. I once went a whole year without hearing it on CFM – I’m sure it was played on some programme or other, but not one I was listening to. Perhaps we could have our own HoF!! My 3rd choice would be the Brahms piano no 2. Unfortunately, there are so few of us on this site to vote, we might end up with an equal top 21, all with one vote each!!

    Regards to all. Phil

  3. Jan

    I regard Myleene and Margherita as interchangeable. They are both dull and with questionable broadcasting styles that tend to irritate me sooner and more often than anyone else on CFM, with the possible exceptions of the lovely Jane when she was on Brighter Breakfast, the mumbling Anne-Marie Minhall and Jamie Crick, whom I can tolerate only when I have large quantities of alcoholic liquid available – usually on Christmas mornings when I listen to his programme as I am cooking the Christmas lunch. Oh dear. I realise that this is quite a long list!

    On the other extreme, I can listen to Nick Bailey for hours (and often do), and have come to like John Brunning. I like Mark Forrest and David Mellor, but am largely indifferent to most of the others, though I can’t really give an opinion on Laurence Llewelyn Bowen because I haven’t really listened to his programme at all. Of course, Mark Griffiths was absolutely splendid. I miss his show. He had the mix of music and talk just about right every time.

    The disadvantage that longer pieces have to get a look-in on CFM is unfortunate. As Phil says, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture is seldom played, and the outings of the first movement of his piano concerto almost equally rare. And apart from its being played on the Full Works or the HoF itself, I myself have never heard Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy on CFM. I suppose we should not be too critical: CFM needs the revenue from their frequent advertising interruptions!

    Restricting me to one choice on a slimmed-down HoF would be impossible! I couldn’t possibly choose. I find it difficult enough to select three choices for the HoF proper. I have often tried to give thought to my top ten but then came to the conclusion that practically all the positions would be taken up by Beethoven and Mozart so the exercise was fruitless. However, if I place the limitation of one piece from each composer, then I guess Mozart’s Laudate Dominum would be there, and the aforesaid Choral Fantasy; and of the rest, I can imagine that Sibelius’s Finlandia would make the cut, and Bizet’s L’Arlesienne Suite no 2, Rossini’s William Tell Overture, Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, Hummel’s Piano and Violin Concerto (another one that is never played on CFM), Vaughan Williams’s English Folk Song Suite (though that would be a fight with the Fantasia on a Theme from Thomas Tallis), Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor (my, do I wish I could play that myself), and there would be an almighty struggle for the tenth place, with Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto probably winning against either Handel’s Water Music, Ombra mai fu or the searingly beautiful Lascia ch’io pianga. And I haven’t even mentioned Mendelssohn’s music from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or indeed anything by Vivaldi, Bach, Schumann, Mahler, Wagner, Brahms or Purcell. Eeek! I’m so glad I have an ipod with the lot on.

    But I am not able really to quantify one piece of music against another. Each evokes different moods. That’s what makes the HoF both impractical and eminently enjoyable. To take just one composer – Beethoven, say – I can’t tell if I prefer Choral Fantasy to his third, fifth, sixth, seventh or ninth symphonies, or to his piano concerto no 1 in C, or to the wonderful piano sonatas nos 12 and 18, or the incredible violin concerto. That’s just for starters. I provisionally chose the Choral Fantasy for the top ten because it has a bit of everything Beethoven was sublimely good at – solo piano, piano and orchestra, piano and chorus, orchestra and chorus.

    Hey, this has been a long post. Sorry for that, I get carried away. Anyone else got a top ten?

    Jan.

  4. joyce popplestone

    Joyce Popplestone I must say that I too cannot understand how Lark Ascending is top of HoF. How could one even start to compare it with the likes of Beethoven’s Pastoral symphony. On the subject of the Breakfast slot, I rather selfishly would shift Mark Forrest back to the afternoon as am inclined to miss a lot of his programme these dark mornings.

  5. Josh

    The introduction of Ms Taylor coincided with a new schedule (which is what this post was about in the first place) replacing a perfectly fine schedule with the right presenters in the right places. I, being conservative by nature, did not take this (and, by association, Ms Taylor) well.

    My top 3 always include Rachmaninov’s Piano Conerto No.2 and Bach’s Partita No.3 in E for solo violin, and the third depends upon what I feel like at the time. If I only had one vote to cast, it would be for Bach’s Partita. I cannot believe it’s not in the Top 300. The prelude is heavenly!

    I reckon many people who vote for The Marriage of Figaro actually mean to vote for Largo al Factotum, but are misled by the Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! etc in the Largo.

    My ideal weekday schedule would be:

    00:00 Mark Griffiths – Late Nights
    6:00 Mark Forrest – Brighter Breakfast
    9:00 Simon Bates – Mornings
    13:00 Jane Jones – Requests
    16:00 Jamie Crick – Drive Time
    19:00 John Brunning – Smooth Classics at 7
    21:00 Nick Bailey – The Evening Concert

    Saturday:

    00:00 Mark Griffiths
    6:00 Mark Forrest
    9:00 Mark Goodier – The Official Classic FM Chart
    12:00 Jane Jones – Requests
    14:00 Natalie Wheen
    17:00 Simon Bates – Classic FM at the Movies
    18:00 David Mellor – The New CD Show
    19:00 John Brunning – Smooth Classics at 7
    21:00 Leslie Garrett – The Opera Show
    22:00 Anne-Marie Minhall

    Sunday:

    12:00 David Mellor – If you like that, you’ll like this

    As for the rest of the day, any combination of the above presenters.

    OR just go back to the schedule we had several years ago. (The old website was better to, IMO. And all the jingles!)

    As you can see, I’m not completely unhappy with the current schedule. Actually, I think Classic FM is doing a lot of things right, and Classic FM is one of the things which make me grateful for being able to live in the UK. For instance, Classic FM’s Most Wanted is a great idea, so are the Requests programme, the CD of the Week, the Full Works, the Classic FM Chart, and the Hall of Fame hour; the New CD show is always interesting, as is If you like that, you’ll like this; my Christmas season gets started with The Classic FM Christmas Appeal, and when the Hall of Fame comes around, I know that summer isn’t too far away. . .

  6. Philip Platts

    Great to see the “lines” buzzing so much.

    Jan, you can’t have that many!! 🙂

    It’s true that a person’s favourite piece depends on their mood at the time. I suppose the only way to get to 3 top choices is to take a Desert Island Disc view – which 3 recordings would you take if you knew you were going to be stranded on an island? Incidentally Jan I’m not familiar with Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy; when I mentioned Beethoven’s Choral, I meant his 9th Symphony. But I will look up the Fantasy.

    My prediction that we’d end up with lots of different pieces with 1 vote each is holding good so far though, we haven’t any common denominators so far!

    I heard Jon Lord’s Evening Song the other day for the first time and thought it was quite beautiful.

    Regards to all. Phil

  7. Jan

    Phil, if you like the Choral Symphony you will probably like the Choral Fantasy – it is sometimes described as Beethoven’s ‘practice run’ at the Choral Symphony! It’s about 18-20 minutes long, hence its absence from CFM’s daytime playlists. There are plenty of fine recordings, including performances from soloists Helene Grimaud, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Evgeny Kissin, John Lill, Daniel Barenboim, Ronald Brautigam, Alfred Brendel and Yefim Bronfman.

    I think my three Desert Island Discs this week would be the ubiquitous (at least in my postings!) Laudate Dominum, I never tire of listening to it, and then I would take Beethoven’s sixth symphony which I fell in love with 35 years ago, and then, yes, the Choral Fantasy.

    But then if you asked me next week I would probably have two Mozarts and one Beethoven. There is so much beautiful music out there that being forced to choose is just so unfair!

    I haven’t heard the Jon Lord piece you mentioned, but I will listen out for it.

    Cheers,

    Jan.

  8. Phil Platts

    Thanks Jan, I’ll have a listen to Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. Strange, I just never came across it. I fell in love with the Pastoral 42 years ago (well, I WAS a kid!) so I’m just ahead of you, but I learned to love the 9th just a little more. With regard to your Desert Island Discs, two comments, as predicted none of us has yet named one piece the same as the other ( though I think only three have voted so far) and…what…no Einaudi???

  9. Jan

    Einaudi? Who he?

    No, seriously, I do enjoy listening to Einaudi on occasion, but he is not in the same league as major composers. His work is light-weight in terms of content. However, IMO (and it’s only my opinion) I feel Einaudi knocks spots off the likes of Arvo Part and Pierre Boulez and the dreaded Schoenberg.

    Perhaps we should have a Hall of anti-Fame? 🙂

    Amongst the top ten, for me (apart from the above), would be George Gerschwin, Frederick Delius, Gerald Finzi, Henryk Gorecki, Erik Satie and Philip Glass. I find Aaron Copland quite a boring composer, and the only reason he would escape the top ten would be that Claude Debussy beat him to it.

    It’s all a question of taste, of course, and I have to admit that there are some pieces of Beethoven that I have yet to come to terms with. Does anyone like or understand the ‘Grosse Fuge’, by any chance? I remember John Suchet playing it on an evening concert a couple of years back, when he had an evening of works devoted to Beethoven. I loved the early part of the concert and then Suchet moved on to the ‘Grosse Fuge’. As a family we listened in silence to the first 10 minutes. And then I said, tentatively, ‘is it just me, or do you feel the instruments aren’t tuned properly, and aren’t playing together?’ I was not alone in the belief. It was bizarre. It’s clearly a piece that needs some concerted effort on my part to understand what’s going on!

    Jan.

  10. joyce popplestone

    I suppose we shouldn’t be put off by certain presenters on classic fm. I know of at least one person who listens to the music and the name of the piece and doesn’t know the names of any presenters. How is that for a novel idea!

    By the way Phil, I have a dreadful confession to make. I went to an Einaudi concert last year and enjoyed it. I wouldn’t however have more than one CD…too much of a muchness.

  11. Phil Platts

    Oh dear…and I thought we shared musical tastes, but…

    I love Finzi, and have from the firsy time I heard his music on CFM many years ago. The middle movement of the clarinet concerto is a dream; but if you don’t enjoy that, I’d accept you’d need to leave Finzi alone. I never used to like Gerschwin, but so many people said he was brilliant, I went out and bought some of his stuff and taught myself to like it. Though I am still selective – but the piano concerto in E and Rhapsody in Blue, just wonderful. Delius for me produced some of the most technically perfect and beautiful music of all, and I think I read that VW took some lessons in composing from him. Satie, the eccentric, never wrote a note too many in his compositions (unless, you don’t like him of course in which case you’d say he wrote far too many notes!!) – but he did produce some wonderful pieces if you steer away from the ones that have been used in commercials. Debussy, well that haunting Prelude a l’apres etc. The others I’d agree with, and I don’t think Glass and Part are worthy of comparison.

    But, as you say, it’s all about opinions, it would be terrible if we all liked and disliked the same things. Anyway, we’re way off the subject header, which has been there for a long time now. We all seem reasonably OK with CFM at present – or am I way out?

    Best wishes.

  12. Jan

    I think it is laudable to ignore the presenters if you can, actually: it makes for more satisfactory listening. The trouble is, when I bother to turn on during her watch, I find that Ms Taylor’s awkward presentation just intrudes too much and I find myself shouting at the radio to get on with the music, or humming to myself loudly so that I can’t hear her.

    Jan.

  13. Jan

    You should be aware that as a matter of course I rarely like any (classical-type) music that was written after about 1900!

    😉

    There are certainly exceptions, but they are very few. I like some of VW’s work and was puzzled that I didn’t like more of it, but when I read that VW said he didn’t like Beethoven’s music I realised why. There must have been a kind of anti-German sentiment in the early part of the 20th century (possibly based on the political situation) as VW also prided himself on weaning George Butterworth off the ‘German influence’. A new type of ‘English music’ appears to have been established, with the leading lights being the aforesaid VW, and also Elgar, Delius, Holst and other contemporaries.

    Quite frankly, I have to admit that I don’t see the point of Delius. I have listened to his music quite a bit and although I don’t know the pieces very well I always know when I’m listening to Delius. He has a very distinctive style. To my ear, it meanders all over the place with very little structure, and I never know where it’s come from or where it’s going to. That’s not to say that it’s unpleasant, I would never suggest that, but it’s not the kind of music that makes me stop and listen as, say, a Beethoven symphony or a Handel aria would. I guess I think of it as ‘wallpaper’ or ‘background’ music.

    He reminds me of Debussy, though I would probably listen to Delius in preference to Debussy.

    Gershwin is just too jazzy for my taste. ’Nuff said.

    But to pick up your point on Classic FM – OK or not OK? I think OK, though I think their weekend schedule could be improved, esp. in the evenings. I don’t care for the Alex Masterley thing, or the Nick Ferrari interview (too much talking) and I’ve completely lost track of where the Classic FM magazine show now is. Has it gone?

    But apart from this, and a few less than adequate presenters, I think CFM does a good job. I would like my late evening listening to come back, but that relies heavily on Ms Taylor’s future with CFM!

    Jan.

  14. Josh

    Jan, now that you mention it, I think both the Choral Fantasy and the fourth movement of the Choral Symphony climax on an epic minor chord.

    Grr, I’m listening to Classic FM right now, a man requested Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No.2, and they’ve gone for the slow movement again!

    Anyway, as for my top ten composers (considering their works as a whole). . . J S Bach, Handel, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Brahms, Grieg, Chopin, Dvorak, Elgar, Rodrigo. Roughly in that order.
    But I have a further ten composers only one or two of whose works I really like: Allegri (Miserere), Paganini (Caprice No. 24), Faure (Requiem), Berlioz (Symphonie Fantastique), Saint-Saens (Samson and Delilah), Rachmaninov (Piano Concerto No.2), Jenkins (The Armed Man), Bruch (Scottish Fantasy and Violin Concerto No.1), Schubert (Rosamunde), Borodin (String Quartet No.2).

    I think Haydn and VW are overrated. I dislike Mahler.

    Jan, I agree that the schedule is OK and that the weekend schedule could be improved. I too dislike the Masterley and Ferrari programmes. Happy with Simon Bates, John Brunning, Jamie Crick, and Anne-Marie Minhall.

    Phil, yes, I think it would be terrible if we all liked and disliked the same things. I think whether or not we like a piece of music can sometimes depend on the circumstances under which we heard it. So, I like Einaudi and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (though not his other works) because I heard them during my quite happy teenage years. Actually, I like all the pieces in my second top ten because I heard them during my teenage years and liked them. They’re not too complicated or profound and that’s why I probably liked them when I heard them as a non-profound teenager!

  15. Jan

    Josh, what a good list of composers you have made. Would it be fair to say that much of your favourite music is, very broadly speaking, from the Romantic era? (Though I note the major presence of the Baroque masters.)

    It’s so much a matter of taste, I love finding out what others listen to. The variety and spread of choices for the HoF never cease to amaze and delight me and it’s what makes the Easter weekend a really enjoyable one.

    Although I am a little ambivalent towards Vaughan Williams (some of his stuff is way too modern for me!), I do like Joseph Haydn. And his brother Michael. I have just been listening to Joseph Haydn’s sinfonia concertante in B flat, and it’s absolutely lovely – where has it been all my life? I’ve only just got round to listening to it and it’s not even an obscure piece!

    I adore JC Bach, youngest son of JS. I would suspect you don’t! At times I have trouble distinguishing JC from Mozart’s youthful works. But then JC was a huge influence on Wolfgang during the latter’s visit to London in 1764-5, an influence that Mozart carried with him back home.

    I do like Rodrigo, but get annoyed when almost every time it is heralded on CFM with a comment from the presenter that we are going to get ‘a bit of sunshine’. It’s as if they all have a common tag for the composer which they are determined to say regardless of the danger of repetition. And I don’t even think some of Rodrigo’s work is even evocative of sunshine – or meant to be….

    Jan.

  16. Josh

    Now that you mention it, yes, I do appear to like music from the Romantic era.

  17. Mika

    Nathalie Wheen is coming back to Classic FM! Starts 21/11 evening! One more show to listen to on weekends. 🙂

    I would like Organ-pieces of Jehan Alain, Fantasia in E-Flat of Camille Saint-Saëns, Te Deum of B Britten, Day of Pentecost of Leland B Sateren to mention a few of the pieces I love to listen to.
    ~Mika

  18. Simon Lowrie

    I see that this page is now listed on the wikipedia entry for Classic FM. This makes it an extremely valuable outlet – indeed the only outlet – for the five millions listeners to reach the management of this station, and try to penetrate their wax-laden ears. Here, for their delectation and delight, is The Presenters’ Hall of Infamy, as compiled in the 157 posts above this one. I have done my best to exclude duplicate gnashings and wailings from the same person, and I haven’t included those DJs who have Departed this Airwave. The figure after a plus sign indicates how many roses have been strewn in their path throughout this conversation; after a minus sign, the commensurate number of dog turds:

    The least infamous, by some way, is Nick Bailey: +11, -1. Could this be because he talks like a real human being?

    John Brunning: 5+, -0.
    Mark Forrest: +5, -1
    Jamie Crick: +3, -1
    David Mellor: +2, -2
    Anne-Marie Minhall: +2, -1
    Alex James: -4
    Myleene Klass: -4
    Laurence Llewelyn Blow-Dry: -4
    Jane Jones: +3, -10

    And the runaway winner, the Turkey Descending, is the robot codenamed ‘Margherita Taylor’, with a dazzling score of +1, -25. Sarah puts it exquisitely: “A voice designed for silent movies.” Her one defender, meanwhile, began his peon as follows: “Miss Taylor has an extremely soothing voice if you please Sir,” and yes, it is natural that those who uses such phrases would find her voice pure honey for the soul. But for the rest of us – please Mr Management! – do the one simple deed that would improve your station more than any other!

  19. Jan

    Simon, you’re a man after my own heart! Statistics! I love them! And I definitely like your compilation of presenter statistics. I am pleased that Nick Bailey is top of this particular chart. He is my favourite presenter and yes, he does speak like a normal person. I am missing him dreadfully at the moment – has he gone on another cruise? – and I am having to put up with Anne-Marie Minhall. I suppose that I am the ‘-1’ in the chart with regard to Ms Minhall because I know I have moaned about Anne-Marie Mumbler in the past!

    There is as yet no mention of John Suchet. Until he stood in for Simon Bates these past two weeks I had not heard him much beyond the odd programme. But in listening to him for two weeks straight I have emerged unimpressed. Am I alone in thinking that his manner is faintly patronising? He can’t help it, I get the feeling he is trying too hard to be ‘nice’ and ‘all-embracing’. Perhaps he will improve as he settles into the role……

    Jan.

  20. joyce popplestone

    I agree with you, Jan, about John Suchet. I have heard him briefly in the car. Probably a very nice man but not one guaranteed to make me want to tune in. Better as a news reader.

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