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Is Radio 4 dumbing down?

(115 Posts)
Etino Mon 03-Jun-19 10:08:59

Very unscientific but I find myself switching off a lot atm. Lots of podcasty chatty content, yesterday in the space of a 2 hour drive there were 2 half hour chatty, contentlite progs. (I’m on 1% so will check and repost what- utterly un memorable)

Etino Mon 03-Jun-19 10:13:59

Found them- both food programme and translating for mum and dad sounded like a gcse project. Both subjects I’m interested in but both sounded like conversations you’d hear on a bus- no edit or focus!

Ivegotthree Mon 03-Jun-19 10:15:44

I think so. Lauren Laverne a bit dim-witted on Desert Island Discs which is such a shame.

Time40 Mon 03-Jun-19 10:20:00

Yes, I'm afraid that Radio 4 is dumbing down.

But also, as well as dumbing down, I think they are changing the presentation style to make it more up-to-date ... which, as I don't want to have everything I like updated, I don't like!

Another thing I've noticed is that they have more music than they used to. I can't see the point of that at all. There is a lot more talk on Radio 3, too.

Etino Mon 03-Jun-19 10:33:17

Yes! More music, which is ok but why? And presenting style much more chatty.

WheresThatCatGoneNow Mon 03-Jun-19 11:15:30

Yes, I've noticed the music too angry

The Untold is the worst culprit. Intrusive and unnecessary.

Etino Mon 03-Jun-19 11:21:18

Is the untold with Grace Dent? That's exactly what I mean, very dumbed down style. Actually having said that, I'm listening it to it know- it's good, but what does GD's breathy interjections add? And why on earth do they keep doing the skypey noise, yes, we understand what's an interview and what's a phone call.angry

WheresThatCatGoneNow Mon 03-Jun-19 11:45:10

Yes, Etino, that's the one.

Her breathy, slow interjections irritate me hugely.

terryleather Mon 03-Jun-19 19:55:03

I think LL is dreadful on DID.

Bring back Kirsty!!!!

Ghostontoast Tue 04-Jun-19 10:40:27

Oh dearie me, I like LL and GD on Radio 4 as they have such nice accents to listen to (similarly Kirsty Young). I don't mind if they have a chatty style, I can't be listening to Oxbridge folk speaking highfalutin stuff all the day.

I recently heard a programme with Michael Rosen talking to Damian le Bas, and I really enjoyed them discussing Roma(ny) words/language/etymology. I liked Damian's accent and his choice of words - yes I know he is an Oxbridge graduate too but he is "of the people". I personally think Radio 4 should snap him up!

WheresThatCatGoneNow Tue 04-Jun-19 14:29:37

It's not the accent(s) that bother me, just GD's overly dramatic delivery!

I love that R4 now have so many presenters and continuity announcers with regional twangs. Sheila Dillon (Food Programme) and Alan Smith (CA) are two of my favourites. Kirsty Young was lovely to listen to aswell. I've been under the impression that Lauren Laverne was just 'sitting in' temporarily on DID, but is she permanent?

Cut glass English is delightful too - but not all the time!

A lot of sound effects are creeping in, too. Particularly on pre-recorded factual inserts during programmes. You and Yours springs to mind immediately.

Lastly, some of the Afternoon Dramas are awful. None of them seem to be light-hearted anymore. I only need to listen to the first minute to know whether I am going to switch off or not. And, sadly, I usually do switch off these days <sigh> sad

Ghostontoast Tue 04-Jun-19 16:04:31

There was "Recycled Radio" presented by Gerald Scarfe that I heard last year that had loads of sound effects and clips and I thought it was great. There's also an occasional programme about great anthems soul songs (I can't remember the name) thats was also very good.

I think radio has to evolve to survive and if that means presenters such as LL and GD, a bit of music and some sound effects then I'm all for it - I can't see why people call them dimwits as they're not - they dilute the public-school-Oxbridge scions of existing presenters somewhat.

HollowTalk Tue 04-Jun-19 16:07:47

I think Grace Dent is a terrible presenter.

I really love Radio 4 in general though. I can put it on at any time of day and enjoy it, whether they're talking politics or money or science. What I can't stand, though, is that half hour at 6.30 pm when they usually have comedy - I turn that off immediately.

What I like best about R4 is that the presenters are all sane people grin

Ghostontoast Tue 04-Jun-19 16:09:31


anthemic soul songs, that was

WheresThatCatGoneNow Tue 04-Jun-19 16:15:11

Yes! Calling them dimwits is very insulting.

Regional accents enliven (or even liven up!) national radio, in my opinion.

HollowTalk Tue 04-Jun-19 16:41:13

Yes, I like regional accents, but I don't like the way Grace Dent speaks with the breathy pauses etc.

WheresThatCatGoneNow Tue 04-Jun-19 17:16:25

The only 6:30 pm (weekdays) comedy that I like are Dead Ringers, David Sedaris and Just A Minute.

Sometimes John Finnemore - if he's doing an Archers skit!

CaptainMyCaptain Tue 04-Jun-19 17:25:12

* it's good, but what does GD's breathy interjections add? * I also find her voice annoying.

I do think R4 is dumbing down a bit. I often find on the, supposedly, more intellectual panel shows like Brain of Britain and Round Britain Quiz that those taking part don't know things that I regard as general knowledge. But maybe that's me being a grumpy old woman.

leckford Tue 04-Jun-19 17:33:12

Yes they are destroying it. A lot of the content Is tediously pc and not funny. And don’t get me started on what they have done to the Archers ......

WheresThatCatGoneNow Tue 04-Jun-19 17:37:20

Oh, well, yes! The Archers is/are having a bit of an odd time at the moment, I do agree!

R4 Tue 04-Jun-19 18:18:41

Can I join in having a dig at Dent. I hate her delivery style and I find that, when you strip out that self-important, breathy slow facade, what's left is usually pretty banal.

They need to sack whoever it is that they employ to find "the right pop song to tie in with this feature". We are not teenagers, we don't need constant intrusions of music.

I also agree that there is far too much vox pop. I want informed presenters, not the views of the know-nothing on the Clapham Omnibus. In these internet days when anyone and everyone can blog/vlog/post to their heart's content then there is even more need for the BBC to be an honest broker and editor.

IrmaFayLear Tue 04-Jun-19 18:21:55

Whoever commissions the "comedy"... why? Just why? It is absolutely toe-curlingly awful .

fotheringhay Tue 04-Jun-19 18:27:28

It's amazing that I still love radio 4 considering all the things I hate about it:

"Comedy" - cringeworthy
Afternoon play - often weirdly disturbing
The Archers - I just turn it off
All science programmes - seem aimed at primary school level (and too rarely about biology/medicine for my liking)
Women's Hour - huge missed opportunity (baking and fashion, I ask you??)

I still turn it on every day though

R4 Tue 04-Jun-19 18:29:17

Whoever commissions the "comedy"... why? Just why? It is absolutely toe-curlingly awful.
Not all of it. My side-bar has an advertisement for a book called Hinch Yourself Happy and my immediate reaction was to wonder if Ed Reardon wrote it.grin
But a lot of the "comedy" is dire.

OrchidInTheSun Tue 04-Jun-19 18:42:44

I listen to radio 4 all day long (work from home). I hate LL on DID (sadly Kirsty is unwell so no idea when she'll be back). I am a devotee normally but I can't listen to it with her.

Other things I hate:

Repeating front row on Monday mornings -WHY?

Grace Dent - stupid breathy voice

Terrible drama

Awful comedy

Women's hour which is super pro trans

You and Yours which is dreadful

Afternoon play which is worse

Michael Buerk who is an appalling misogynist.

What else should I listen to? I clearly need to move on

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