Bbc Radio 3 Iplayer The Essay By Robin

BBC Radio 3 is a British radio station operated by the BBC. Its output centres on classical music and opera, but jazz, world music, drama, culture and the arts also feature.[1] The station is the world's most significant commissioner of new music,[2][3] and through its New Generation Artists scheme promotes young musicians of all nationalities.[4] The station broadcasts the BBC Proms concerts, live and in full, each summer in addition to performances by the BBC Orchestras and Singers. There are regular productions of both classic plays and newly commissioned drama.

Radio 3 won the Sony Radio Academy UK Station of the Year Gold Award for 2009[5] and was nominated again in 2011.[6]


Radio 3 is the successor station to the BBC Third Programme which began broadcasting on 29 September 1946.[7] The name Radio 3 was adopted on 30 September 1967 when the BBC launched its first pop music station, Radio 1[8]:247 and rebranded its national radio channels as Radio 1, Radio 2 (formerly the Light Programme), Radio 3, and Radio 4 (formerly the Home Service).

Radio 3 was the overall label applied to the collection of services which had until then gone under the umbrella title of the Third Network, namely:

  • the Third Programme proper (as launched in 1946, an evenings-only offering of demanding cultural fare, both musical and spoken)
  • the Music Programme (a daytime service of classical music)
  • sports coverage (chiefly on Saturday afternoons) and adult educational programming in the early part of weekday evenings (known as Network Three).

All these strands, including the Third Programme, kept their separate identities within Radio 3 until 4 April 1970, when there was a further reorganisation following the introduction of the structural changes which had been outlined the previous year in the BBC document Broadcasting in the Seventies.

Broadcasting in the Seventies[edit]

On 10 July 1969 the BBC published its plans for radio and television in a policy document entitled Broadcasting in the Seventies. Later described in 2002 by Jenny Abramsky, Head of Radio and Music, as "the most controversial document ever produced by radio",[9] the document outlined each station's target audience and what content should be broadcast on each channel. This concept went against the earlier methods laid out by the BBC's first Director General John Reith and caused controversy at the time, despite laying out the radio structure that is recognisable today.[10]

At the time of the review, Radio 3 faced several problems. An early option to cut costs, required under the proposals, was to reduce the number of networks from four to three, so that Radio 3 would not broadcast during the day and would use the frequencies of either Radio 1 or 2 as the two stations would merge content. However "Day-time serious music would be the casualty" of these proposals and caused some controversy.[8]:249 A further rumour was expressed that Radio 3 could be closed altogether as a strong statistical case existed against the station according to The Guardian.[8]:251 However, the Director-General, Charles Curran, publicly denied this as "quite contradictory to the aim of the BBC, which is to provide a comprehensive radio service".[8]:251 Curran had earlier dismissed any suggestion that Radio 3's small audience was a consideration: "What is decisive is whether there is a worthwhile audience, and I mean by worthwhile an audience which will get an enormous satisfaction out of it."[8]:251

As a result of Broadcasting in the Seventies, factual content, including documentaries and current affairs, were moved to BBC Radio 4 and the separate titled strands were abolished. The document stated that Radio 3 was to have "a larger output of standard classical music" but with "some element in the evening of cultural speech programmes – poetry, plays".[8]:253 Equally, questions were being asked by the poet Peter Porter about whether other spoken content, for example poetry, would remain on the station. These concerns also led to the composer Peter Maxwell Davies and the music critic Edward Greenfield to fear that "people would lose the mix of cultural experiences which expanded intellectual horizons".[11] However, Radio 3 controller Howard Newby reassured these concerns by replying that only the coverage of political and economic affairs would be passed to Radio 4: Radio 3 would keep drama, poetry, and talks by scientists, philosophers and historians.[11]

The Broadcasting in the Seventies report also proposed a large cutback in the number and size of the BBC's orchestras. In September 1969, a distinguished campaign group entitled the Campaign for Better Broadcasting was formed to protest, with the backing of Sir Adrian Boult, Jonathan Miller, Henry Moore and George Melly.[12] The campaign objected to "the dismantling of the Third Programme by cutting down its spoken word content from fourteen hours a week to six" and "segregating programmes into classes".[13] Mention of the campaign even reached debate in the House of Commons.[14]

The 'arts' controllers[edit]

From the launch until 1987, the controllers of Radio 3 showed preferences towards speech and arts programming as opposed to focus on classical music and the Proms. The first controller, Newby, made little contribution to the station, focusing on the transition from the Third programme to Radio 3 and as a result of the Broadcasting in the Seventies report.

The second controller, Stephen Hearst who assumed the role in 1972, was different. As Hearst had previously been head of television arts features[15] his appointment was seen with scepticism among the staff who viewed him as a populariser.[8]:269 According to Hearst when interviewed for Humphrey Carpenter's book, the main rival candidate for controller Martin Esslin, head of Radio Drama, had said to the interviewing panel that audience figures should play no part in the decision making process over programming.[8]:268 Hearst said he responded to the same question about this issue by commenting that as the station was financed by public money it needed to consider the size of its audience – there was a minimum viable figure but this could be increased with "a lively style of broadcasting",[8]:268

Hearst attempted to make the content of the channel more accessible to a wider audience, but his efforts, which included the evening drivetime programme Homeward Bound and Sunday phone-in request programme Your Concert Choice (the former an uninterrupted sequence of musical items identified only at the end of the programme; the latter a resurrection from the old Home Service), were criticised.[8]:289, 296 However, during this time the long running arts discussion programme Critics' Forum was launched[8]:290 as well as themed evenings and programmes of miscellaneous music including Sounds Interesting.[16]

In 1978, Ian McIntyre took over as controller of Radio 3 but quickly faced uncomfortable relationships between departments. At approximately the same time Aubrey Singer became Managing Director of Radio and began to make programming on the station more populist in a drive to retain listeners in face of possible competition from competitors using a "streamed format".[8]:304 An example of this is the replacement of Homeward Bound in 1980 with an extended, presenter-driven programme called Mainly for Pleasure. The same year an internal paper recommended the disbandment of several of the BBC's orchestras and of the Music Division, resulting in low morale and industrial action by musicians that delayed the start of the Proms.[8]:306–307 Senior management was also getting dissatisfied with listening figures leading to the Director-General Alasdair Milne to suggest that presentation style was "too stodgy and old-fashioned".[8]:313

The 'music' controllers[edit]

In 1987 the positions of Controller of Music and Controller of Radio 3 were merged, and with it the operation of the Proms, under the former Music Controller John Drummond. Drummond, like Hearst, believed that the music programmes' presentation was too stiff and formal[8]:326[17] and he therefore encouraged announcers to be more natural and enthusiastic. Repeats of classic drama performances by the likes of John Gielgud and Paul Scofield were also included because, in his view, newer drama was "gloomy and pretentious".[18] He also introduced features and celebrations of the anniversaries of famous figures including William Glock, Michael Tippett and Isaiah Berlin. Drummond also introduced the show Mixing It which targeted the music genres that fell between Radios 1 and 3, often seen as a precursor to the programme Late Junction.

During Drummond's time, Radio 3 also began to experiment with outside broadcasts including an ambitious Berlin Weekend to mark the reunification of Germany in 1990 and a much praised weekend of programming that was broadcast from London and Minneapolis-St Paul – creating broadcasting history by being the first time a whole weekend had been transmitted "live from another continent".[8]:331 However, Drummond complained about the former that "not one single senior person in the BBC had listened to any part of it",[8]:331 reflecting his general feeling that the BBC senior management paid little attention stating: "I can't remember ever having a serious conversation with anyone above me in the BBC about Radio 3 ... I would much rather have had the feeling that they thought it mattered what Radio 3 did."[8]:328–329

Drummond's successor was Nicholas Kenyon, previously chief music critic of The Observer, who took over in February 1992 and was immediately faced with the looming launch date for commercial competitor Classic FM who were, and still remain, Radio 3's biggest rivals. Kenyon, similar to Singer a decade earlier, believed that Radio 3 had to make changes to its presentation before the new station began broadcasting rather than react later.[8]:304, 339 As a result, three senior producers were sent to study classical music stations in the United States[8]:339 and the station hired advertising agents Saatchi & Saatchi to help improve public perception. Kenyon's tenure was to meet with much controversy: in attempts to update the station's presentation, popular announcers Malcolm Ruthven, Peter Barker and Tony Scotland were axed; drama was cut by a quarter resulting in a letter of protest to The Times signed by Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard and Fay Weldon among others;[8]:342 two new programmes for drive time, entitled On Air and In Tune, were launched[8]:341 and a new three-hour programme of popular classics on Sunday mornings fronted by Brian Kay was also launched.[8]:342

These moves were defended by Kenyon who argued that the changes were not "some ghastly descent into populism" but were instead to create "access points" for new listeners.[8]:341 However, there was still "widespread disbelief"[8]:357 when it was announced in the summer that a new morning programme would take the 9 pm spot from the revered Composer of the Week and would be presented by a signing from Classic FM – the disc jockey Paul Gambaccini. The criticism, especially once the programme went on air a few weeks later, was so unrelenting that Gambaccini announced the following spring that he would not be renewing his contract with Radio 3.[8]:357

However, Kenyon's controllership was marked by several highly distinguished programming successes. Fairest Isle was an ambitious project from 1995 which marked the 300th anniversary of the death of Henry Purcell with a year-long celebration of British music and the programme Sounding the Century, which ran for two years from 1997, presented a retrospective of 20th-century music. Both won awards.[19] He also introduced a number of well received specialist programmes including children's programme The Music Machine, early music programme Spirit of the Age, jazz showcase Impressions, vocal music programme Voices and the arts programme Night Waves.

BBC Radio 3 began nighttime transmissions in 1996 with the introduction of Through the Night, consisting of radio recordings from members of the European Broadcasting Union and distributed to some of these other stations under the title Euroclassic Notturno.[20] The introduction of 24-hour broadcasting resulted in the introduction of a 22.00 fixed programming point so that if live programme overran, later programming could be cancelled to allow Through the Night to begin promptly.

In 1998, Roger Wright took over as controller of the station. Soon after his appointment some changes were made to showcase a wider variety of music; a new, relaxed, late-night music programme Late Junction featured a wide variety of genres; programmes focusing on jazz and world music were given a higher profile as were programmes presented by Brian Kay, focusing on light music, and Andy Kershaw, whose show was previously dropped by Radio 1. In these changes, Wright believed that, in the case of the former, he was addressing "this feeling people had that they didn't want to put Radio 3 on unless they were going to listen carefully"[21] and in the latter cases that he was "not dumbing down but smarting up" the programmes.[22]

By 2004, Radio 3's programming and services were being recognised by the corporation at large, as seen in the 2003/4 Charter renewal application and the Annual report for the year which reported that Radio 3 had "achieved a record [audience] reach in the first quarter of 2004",[23] and by the government: the Secretary of State's foreword to the government's Green Paper in 2005 made special mention of "the sort of commitment to new talent that has made Radio 3 the largest commissioner of new music in the world" as a model for what the BBC should be about.[24]

By 2008 however, the station faced pressures to increase its audience by making programmes more accessible while loyal listeners began to complain about the tone of these new changes. Presentation was described as "gruesome in tone and level"[25] and global music output was mocked as "street-smart fusions" and "global pop".[26] At the same time RAJAR began to record lower listening figures and decisions on policy were being changed resulting in the children's programme Making Tracks, experimental music programme Mixing It, theatre and film programme Stage and Screen and Brian Kay's Light Programme all being dropped, a reduction in the number of concerts[27][28] and format changes to several other programmes. In spite of the changes, figures still continued to fall.[29]

The mid to late 2000s did however offer new projects undertaken on the station: The Beethoven Experience in June 2005 saw the broadcast of his works broadcast non-stop for six days.[30] A similar project occurred six months later when A Bach Christmas was run for ten days in the lead to Christmas[31] and in February 2007 when a week was similarly given over to the works of Tchaikovsky & Stravinsky, and Schubert in March 2012.[32] As part of the original Beethoven Experience, the BBC trialled its first music downloads over the internet by offering free music downloads of all nine symphonies as played by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra under Gianandrea Noseda. The stated aim was "to gauge audiences' appetite for music downloads and their preferred content, and will inform the development of the BBC strategy for audio downloads and on demand content".[33] The experiment was wildly successful, attracting 1.4 million downloads but was met with anger from the major classical record labels who considered it unfair competition and "devaluing the perceived value of music".[34] As a result, no further free downloads have been offered, including as part of the BBC iPlayer service, and the BBC Trust has ruled out any classical music podcasts with extracts longer than one minute.

In 2007, Radio 3 also began to experiment with a visual broadcast as well as the audio transmissions. In October 2007, Radio 3 collaborated with English National Opera in presenting a live video stream of a performance of Carmen, "the first time a UK opera house has offered a complete production online"[35] and in September 2008, Radio 3 launched a filmed series of concerts that was available to watch live and on demand for seven days "in high quality vision".[36] This strategy was also introduced to some of the BBC Proms concerts.

By the latter years of the 2000s, Radio 3's prospects were improving. The year 2008/9 saw the introduction of more concerts[37] and other innovations had introduced Radio 3's largest event to a wider audience. The introduction of family orientated concerts to the BBC Proms, which are broadcast live on Radio 3, helped the station to introduce itself to a younger audience. Innovations of this type began in 2008 with the introduction of a concert celebrating the music from the television programme Doctor Who as composed by Murray Gold[38] and was later followed by a further Doctor Who prom in 2010,[39][40] a free family prom in 2009,[41] another free Horrible Histories prom in 2011[42] and a Wallace and Gromit prom in 2012.[43] These particular concerts were introduced by Wright, who became Proms Director in addition to his duties at Radio 3 in October 2007,[44] and many were also televised for broadcast at a later date. The mix in these proms of classical music to combine with music of a classical nature from the programmes was hoped to introduce a much younger audience to the genres catered for by Radio 3.[39]

As of 2014[update] Radio 3 was having to undergo further changes as a result of recent findings from the BBC Trust. In the station's latest service review, carried out in 2010, the Trust recommended the station become more accessible to new audiences, easier to navigate through the different genres and to review the output of the BBC's orchestras and singers.[45] Soon after this verdict, the license fee was capped and the BBC given more services to pay for with the same level of income. As a result, the corporation had to reduce its costs. In the proposal entitled Delivering Quality First, the BBC proposed that Radio 3 contribute by broadcasting 25% fewer live or specially recorded lunchtime concerts and reducing the number of specially recorded evening concerts.[46] The Trust did recognise however that "Radio 3 plays a vital role in the cultural and creative life of the UK"[46] and as a result, the report did agree to reinvest in the Proms,[46] to retain the long dramas found on the station[46] and to continue to broadcast a new concert live each evening.[46]


BBC Radio 3 broadcasts from studios inside the 1930s wing of Broadcasting House in central London. However, in addition to these studios, certain programmes and performances are broadcast from other BBC bases including from BBC Cymru Wales' Cardiff headquarters and BBC North's headquarters at MediaCityUK, Salford.[47] The BBC also has recording facilities at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall which can be used to record and broadcast performances at these venues.[48]

BBC Radio 3 is broadcast on the FM band between 90.2 and 92.6 MHz, on DAB Digital Radio, the digital television services Freeview, Freesat, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk TV and Virgin Media Ireland. Radio 3 programmes can be listened to live on the Radio 3 Website through the RadioPlayer and BBC iPlayer services; the iPlayer also allows Radio 3 programmes to be heard for 30 days after broadcast.

On its FM frequencies, the station uses less dynamic range compression of the volume of music than rival station Classic FM. On DAB it uses dynamic range control (DRC) which allows compression to be defined by the user.[49][50][51][52]

The station also uses a BBC-designed pulse code modulation digitisation technique similar to NICAM, which is used for outside broadcasts running through a telephone line. This runs at a sample rate of 14,000 per second per channel.[citation needed] A similar technique was later used for recording at the same rate. In September 2010, for the final week of the Proms broadcasts, the BBC trialled XHQ (Extra High Quality), a live Internet stream transmitted at a rate of 320kbit/s, instead of Radio 3's usual 192kbit/s, using its AAC-LC 'Coyopa' coding technology.[53] This technology was later developed further, and Radio 3 became the first BBC Radio station to broadcast permanently in this High Definition Sound (as it has been termed) format.[54]

Notable programmes[edit]

Choral Evensong[edit]

The Anglican service of sung evening prayer is broadcast weekly on Radio 3 live from cathedrals, university college chapels and churches throughout the UK.[55] On occasion, it broadcasts Choral Vespers from Catholic cathedrals, (such as Westminster Cathedral), Orthodox Vespers, or a recorded service from choral foundations abroad. Choral Evensong is the BBC's longest-running outside broadcast programme, the first edition having been relayed from Westminster Abbey on 7 October 1926.[55] Its 80th anniversary was celebrated, also live from Westminster Abbey, with a service on 11 October 2006.[56]

When Choral Evensong was moved from Radio 4 to Radio 3 with effect from 8 April 1970 and reduced to just one broadcast per month, the BBC received 2,500 letters of complaint, and weekly transmissions were resumed on 1 July.[8]:262–263[57]

In 2007 the live broadcast was switched to Sundays, which again caused protests.[58] The live transmission was returned to Wednesdays in September 2008, with a recorded repeat on Sunday afternoons. Choral Evensong forms part of Radio 3's remit on religious programming though non-religious listeners have campaigned for its retention.[57]

Composer of the Week[edit]

Composer of the Week was launched in the BBC Home Service on 2 August 1943 under its original title of This Week's Composer.[59] From 15 December 1964 the programme became a regular feature in the schedule of the newly established daytime "Third Network" classical music service, the Music Programme (later to be absorbed into Radio 3).[8]:231 The programme was renamed Composer of the Week on 18 January 1988.

Each week, in five daily programmes, the work of a particular composer is studied in detail and illustrated with musical excerpts. Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart and Handel have all featured once most years,[59] a different aspect of their work being chosen for study each time. However, the programme also covers more 'difficult' or less-widely known composers, with weeks devoted to Rubbra, Medtner, Havergal Brian, Kapralova, and the Minimalists among others. The programme is written and presented by Donald Macleod. On 2 August 2013, in honour of the station's 70th year, listeners were asked to nominate a composer who had never before been featured for a special broadcast at Christmas.[60] The composer listeners chose was Louise Farrenc.[61]

Record Review[edit]

Record Review is a Saturday morning programme (usually airing from 9 am to 12:15 pm) dealing with recent classical music releases, topical issues and interviews. The programme title is a return of Record Review which was broadcast on Network Three occasionally from 1949, then weekly from 1957 presented by John Lade and then from 1981, Paul Vaughan, until 1998. From 1998-2015 it became CD Review,[62] with the format remaining largely the same. Then, from 2 January 2016, its title reverted to Record Review to reflect the diversity of media proliferating (CDs, downloads, streaming, and so forth). It includes the feature Building a Library which surveys and recommends available recordings of specific works. In 2006 Building a Library was attacked as 'elitist' for including such composers as Karl Amadeus Hartmann and Elliott Carter and lesser-known works of great composers, at the expense of well-known mainstream works.[63] However, the charge was rebutted by the programme's producer, Mark Lowther, who said that Radio 3 audiences wanted programmes that challenged and inspired.[64] As of 2016[update] the regular presenter of Record Review is Andrew McGregor.[65]

Jazz Record Requests[edit]

Jazz Record Requests was the first weekly jazz programme on the Third Programme. First presented by the jazz musician Humphrey Lyttelton, the 30-minute programme was launched in December 1964 and is still running. Now an hour long, it is still broadcast on Saturday, usually in the late afternoon. Presenters on Radio 3 have included Steve Race, Peter Clayton, Charles Fox and Geoffrey Smith. Alyn Shipton became the presenter in May 2012.[66]

Pied Piper[edit]

Pied Piper was an iconic children's programme, presented by the 29-year-old early music specialist, David Munrow, it had the sub-title Tales and Music for Younger Listeners[8]:265 and ran from August 1971 until 1976. Lively and varied, it was aimed at the 6–12 age group, though much older children and adults also listened.[8]:266 The programme ran for five series and a total of 655 episodes until it was brought to an end by Munrow's untimely death in May 1976.

Radio 3 Live in Concert[edit]

Radio 3 Live In Concert is a programme, broadcast between 7:30 and 10 pm each weekday evening, with live concerts from various venues around the country. Regular presenters include Nicola Heywood Thomas, Martin Handley and Petroc Trelawny.

The Early Music Show[edit]

The Early Music Show is broadcast at 2 pm each Sunday which presents European music from the time of Bach and earlier. Episodes cover the music itself as well as performers and occasional discussions of musical style. Regular presenters include Lucie Skeaping and Hannah French.

News broadcasts[edit]

BBC Radio 3's remit focuses mainly on music and the arts, and news is a minor part of its output, though the station does provide concise news bulletins throughout the Breakfast programme and also at 1 pm, 5 pm and 6 pm to give listeners the chance to switch to a more news-oriented station should they want more details about a particular news item.[67][68] Following the Delivering Quality First proposals, it was suggested that Radio 3 share bulletins with Radio 4, so that the same bulletins would be broadcast on both channels.[46] During weekdays the 1 pm, 5 pm and 6 pm news bulletins are read by a member of the Radio 4 presentation team.

As of 2018[update] the Radio 3 Breakfast newsreading team included Viji Alles, Kathy Clugston, Vaughan Savidge, Jill Anderson, Ian Skelly, John Shea, Susan Rae, Paul Guinery.[69][additional citation(s) needed] These newsreaders can be heard on the Breakfast programme and at 1 pm on weekends.

David McNeil, originally from New Zealand, was a foreign correspondent for the BBC for 21 years, based in Beirut, New York, Johannesburg, Jerusalem and Washington. He reported for the BBC from forty-six countries and also presented news programmes on BBC Radio.[70] He was a news presenter on Radio 3 until his retirement on 27 March 2015.[71]

Performing groups[edit]

Main article: BBC Orchestras and Singers

Much of Radio 3's orchestral output is sourced from the BBC's Orchestras and Singers. These groups are:

In addition to the BBC's own orchestras it also has broadcast commitments to the BBC Big Band, which is externally managed, and also broadcasts some works of the Ulster Orchestra, which it part funds.[72]


An author, he published four novels during his time at the Third Programme/Radio 3, winning the first Booker Prize for fiction in 1969. Oversaw the implementation of Broadcasting in the Seventies and an increase in the amount of classical music on Radio 3.[8]:253
Previously head of BBC's television music and arts department, Hearst attempted to make Radio 3 more accessible to a wider audience by introducing drivetime and request programmes as well as themed weekends. Some of these ventures were poorly viewed by critics.[8]:289, 296
Previously controller of Radio 4, McIntyre faced budgetary cuts that closed several orchestras and uncomfortable relations with the Music Division.[8]:302 The possibility of future competition to Radio 3 also resulted in more programmes viewed as populist by critics in an attempt to retain listeners.[8]:304
Previously an administrator for events including the Edinburgh Festival, Drummond introduced repeats of classic drama performances and celebrations of artists anniversaries. His work also included programmes targeting fringe genres and ambitious outside broadcasts.
Kenyon, previously chief music critic of The Observer, made many controversial decisions relating to accessibility to the service in light of the launch of Classic FM including new drive time programmes. However several celebrated programmes and series of programmes were launched and Radio 3 began 24-hour broadcasting.
Wright attempted to ensure that all of the station's musical genres were represented more equitably, and to "smarten up" programmes. While some of these measures were recognised by the BBC and Government, the audience began to decrease, and attempts by Wright to make programmes more accessible were met with complaints from listeners.[73] It was announced in March 2014 that Wright would step down in early September 2014.[74]
Davey became Controller in January 2015, having been chief executive of Arts Council England since 2008.[75][76][77]


Controller Nicholas Kenyon summed up the perennial problem of Radio 3 as "the tension between highbrow culture and popular appeal …the cost of what we do and the number of people who make use of it":[8]:364 elitism versus populism (or 'dumbing down') and the question of cost per listener. This argument has included members of the BBC, listeners and several different protest groups.

In 1969, two hundred members of the BBC staff protested to the director general at changes which would 'emasculate' Radio 3, while managing director of radio Ian Trethowan described the station in a memorandum as "a private playground for elitists to indulge in cerebral masturbation".[8]:255 Later, former Radio 3 controller John Drummond complained that the senior ranks of the BBC took no interest in what he was doing.[78]

In 1995/6 listeners and press critics protested against the introduction into a slot formerly used for Composer of the Week of a programme presented by Paul Gambaccini, a former Radio 1 and Classic FM presenter. This was seen as part of a wider move towards popularisation, to compete with Classic FM and to increase ratings.[8]:357–358 Gambaccini is quoted as saying: "I had a specific mission to invite [Radio 4's] Today listeners to stay with the BBC rather than go to Classic FM."[79]

Several groups were formed to protest against any changes to the station. These have included:

  • The Third Programme Defence Society (1957) opposed cuts in broadcasting hours and the removal of what the BBC considered "too difficult and too highbrow". Supported by TS Eliot, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Laurence Olivier[8]:169–174
  • The Campaign for Better Broadcasting (1969) opposed proposed cuts in Radio 3's speech output. Supported by Sir Adrian Boult, Jonathan Miller, Henry Moore, George Melly.[8]:255–257
  • Friends of Radio 3 (FoR3),[80] a listeners' campaign group set up in 2003 to express concern at changes to the station's style[81] and scheduling, including the shift to presenter-led programmes stripped through the week, as on Classic FM and other commercial music stations. Officially, the BBC stated that "the network's target audience has been redefined and broadened and the schedule began to be recast to move towards this during 1999."[82] The group's stated aim is "To engage with the BBC, to question the policies which depart from Radio 3's remit to deliver a high quality programme of classical music, spoken arts and thought, and to convey listener concerns to BBC management." The group is supported by Dame Gillian Weir, Robin Holloway, Andrew Motion, Dame Margaret Drabble.[83] The BBC has rejected claims that the network has 'dumbed down'.[84]

See also[edit]


  1. ^"BBC Radio 3". Service Licences. BBC Trust. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  2. ^"British Academy of Composers and Songwriters". Archived from the original on 28 October 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  3. ^"Roger Wright, Controller, Radio 3 and Director, BBC Proms". About the BBC. BBC. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  4. ^"New Generation Artists". BBC. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  5. ^"Sony Radio Academy Awards 2009". Sony Radio Academy. 
  6. ^"Sony Radio Academy Awards 2011". Sony Radio Academy. 
  7. ^"BBC Radio 3 – Sixty Years On". British Broadcasting Corporation. 
  8. ^ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzaaabacadaeafagahaiajakalamHumphrey Carpenter (1996). The Envy of the World: Fifty Years of the BBC Third Programme and Radio 3, 1946-1996. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-81830-4. 
  9. ^"Sound Matters – Soundtrack for the UK – How did we get here?". Text of a lecture given by Jenny Abramsky, News International Visiting Professor of Broadcast Media 2002 at Green College, Oxford University. Retrieved 26 September 2008. 
  10. ^"Gerard Mansell – Obituary". The Telegraph. 27 December 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  11. ^ abRadio Times, 4–10 April 1970, BBC Magazines
  12. ^Briggs (1985), p. 353
  13. ^Briggs (1985), p. 355
  14. ^Stonehouse (16 October 1969). "British Broadcasting Corporation". Hansard. 788: 575–577. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  15. ^Purser, Philip (30 March 2010). "Stephen Hearst obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  16. ^Radio Times, Saturday 1 April 1978, BBC Magazines
  17. ^Drummond (2001), p. 354
  18. ^Drummond (2001), p. 370-371
  19. ^"Knighthood for ex-Proms supremo". BBC News. 29 December 2007. Retrieved 8 October 2008. 
  20. ^"Euroclassic Notturno". BBC. Archived from the original on 18 July 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2008. 
  21. ^Thorpe, Vanessa (23 June 2002). "Into bed with Fiona and Verity". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 19 October 2008. 
  22. ^"Roger Wright, The Necessity of Re-invention". Speech given at the Musicians' Benevolent Fund annual luncheon, 21 November 2001, BBC press release. 2001. Retrieved 19 October 2008. 
  23. ^BBC Annual Report 2003/04, p. 34
  24. ^Review of the BBC's Royal Charter: A strong BBC, independent of government, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, March 2005, p. 3
  25. ^"Update on Three". The Spectator. 2004. Archived from the original on 10 January 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2008. 
  26. ^"The BBC's growing debasement of world music". London: The Independent on Sunday. 28 February 2005
The tercentenary of Henry Purcell's death was marked in 1995 by the award-winning Radio 3 series Fairest Isle
The BBC Radio 3 logo, 2000–2007
The Beethoven Experience: A manuscript page of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
BBC Radio 3's studios are located in Broadcasting House, London.
The first BBC broadcast of Choral Evensong came from Westminster Abbey in 1926

* "The Motion Show" series 3, hosted by Graeme, is being repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Fridays; the currently available episodes can be found at

* I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again repeats (with all three Goodies) on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Fridays; the most recent episodes are available from

* Hamish & Dougal: You’ll Have Had Your Tea (with Graeme Garden) repeats on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Wednesdays.  The currently available episodes can be found at

* The Right Time series 2 repeats on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Wednesdays.  Graeme is in the cast for this series (along with Eleanor Bron, Neil Innes, Paula Wilcox, Clive Swift, and Roger Blake”); Graeme is also one of the series' writers.  Currently available episodes can be found at

* The Hudson & Pepperdine Show, series 2, repeats on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Thursdays.  Graeme Garden was script editor for this series.  Currently available episodes can be found at

Posted by lisa at 07/03/2018 22:52 GMT

The Imitation Game and John Finnemore's Flying Visit
more from same (British Comedy)
The following information was sent to the ISIHAC Newsletter mailing list:

Dear I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue Mailing List Member,

I bring news of a couple of ISIHAC-related shows you might be interested in coming to see…

The first is a brand new comedy series called ‘The Imitation Game’ devised by Graeme Garden and myself, which is being recorded at the newly re-furbished studios in the old BBC Television Centre building in White City.  Many of you were kind enough to attend the pilot in Elstree.

The show could be described as a version of ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’ for impressionists – and was inspired by appearances on ISIHAC by the likes of Rory Bremner and Jan Ravens.  We’re making it for ITV and it’s hosted by the brilliant Alexander Armstrong, with Rory Bremner and Debra Stephenson (of ‘Dead Ringers’ fame) as regulars, plus a host of impressionists appearing as guests, including Jon Culshaw, Alistair McGowan, Ronni Ancona, Lewis McLeod, Kate Robbins and many more.  Steve Brown (Glenn Ponder from ‘Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge’) and his band will provide musical accompaniment.

Our recording dates are on the evenings of:

Friday 9th March
Tuesday 13th March
Thursday 15th March
Friday 23rd March
Tuesday 27th March
Thursday 29th March

Tickets are free.  You need to be over 16 to apply and you should do so via the website of the ticketing company Standing Room Only, which is:

I’ve managed to ensure that members of this mailing list will receive priority seating if they input the codeword ‘Garden’ into the 'Comments and other information' box on the application form.

So, to apply for the special ISIHAC Mailing List tickets, visit the SRO Audiences
site now and apply. The website address again is

Graeme and I look forward very much to seeing you there.

Another show that will be well worth seeing is that of Radio 4 stalwart and Clue regular John Finnemore.  John is soon to tour his first ever live stage show, which is entitled ‘John Finnemore's Flying Visit’.  It features the cast of ‘John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme’ and will be on the road in May and June. These are the dates:

17th May - Brighton - Brighton Dome. Tickets will go on general sale on Friday 23rd February
18th May - High Wycombe - Wycombe Swan
20th May - Hastings - White Rock Theatre
21st May - Preston - Preston Guildhall
22nd May - York - Grant Opera House
26th May - Cheltenham - Cheltenham Town Hall
30th May - Birmingham - New Alexandra Theatre
3rd June - Richmond - Richmond Theatre
6th June - Swindon - Wyvern Theatre
7th June - Leamington Spa - Royal Spa Centre
8th June - Tunbridge Wells - Assembly Hall Theatre
10th June - Dorking - Dorking Halls
13th June - Basingtoke - Basingstoke Anvil
15th June - Edinburgh - The Queen's Hall

All John’s shows start at 7.30pm and finish around 10pm (with a 20 minute interval). The show is kid friendly, so bring the whole family along. Full details of the tour can be found on John’s website:

And that about the size of it.  I’ll be emailing again in March with details on the next series of ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’, which we’ll be recording over three dates in May, June and possibly July.  Thank you for listening!

With best wishes,
Jon Naismith
Producer, "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue"  [i][/i]

Posted by lisa at 22/02/2018 22:30 GMT

Tim in forthcoming audio version of "The Importance of Being Earnest"
more from same (British Comedy)
Barnaby Eaton-Jones reported this information on Facebook:


The sound design and final edit of the full-cast audio version of 'The Importance of Being Earnest', featuring Tim Brooke-Taylor as Lady Bracknell, has been delivered by the incomparable Joseph Fox. It is a beautiful listen! There a handful of lines, added by me, to turn this from a stage production into an audio; where I had a Wilde time impersonating Oscar and nobody spotted by bon mots (I always keep them well hidden). So, that was a relief!

Keep your ears clean for the upcoming release from Spiteful Puppet.

Posted by lisa at 06/02/2018 16:58 GMT

upcoming TV & radio shows of interest to Goodies fans
more from same (British Comedy)
* "Hamish & Dougal: You’ll Have Had Your Tea" (with Graeme Garden) repeats on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Wednesdays.  The currently available episodes can be found at

* "I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again" repeats (with all three Goodies) on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Fridays; the four most recent episodes should be available from

* "It Was Alright in the 1970’s", a documentary with contributions from Bill Oddie, will be repeated on more4HD on Sunday, Feb 4th at 23:05  Program description: "In the final episode of the series, narrator Matt Lucas looks back once more at the 1970s. The theme this time is Living Dangerously, revealing more television to leave viewers wide-eyed and shaking their heads. In the world according to TV, the 1970s was a dangerous place where it was still perfectly legal for a husband to beat his wife, and a parent or teacher to beat a child. DJ and presenter Tony Blackburn climbed into a cage to sing to four fully-grown lions. On the Isle of Man, there was a feeling that if they banned the birch it would lead to moral ruin. Meanwhile, mainstream comedians were perfectly comfortable making jokes about domestic violence. Spike Milligan's comedy lived so dangerously, that even in the 70s his multi-racial sitcom The Melting Pot was considered too much and was pulled from the air. Responding to the clips are Tony Blackburn, Bill Oddie, Jennie Bond, Samira Ahmed and Elis James."

Posted by lisa at 31/01/2018 16:28 GMT

Oh Goody! An Audience with Tim Brooke-Taylor 2018 UK dates (so far)
more from same (British Comedy)
Here are the current upcoming dates for "Oh Goody! An Audience with Tim Brooke-Taylor and Chris Serle".

* February 9, 2018: The Festival Drayton Centre, Shropshire

* May 8, 2018: Theatre Royal, Dumfries,

* May 9, 2018: Coronation Hall, Ulverston,

* June 25, 2018: Lymm Festival,

Here is a description of the show: "A true master of comedy shares a wealth of great stories and anecdotes from his career on stage, screen and radio including of course “The Goodies” and “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue”. There are plenty of surprises too. Tim relates how he directed Orson Welles in a feature film, shot a memorable round of golf with Sevvy Ballesteros, persuaded David Frost to employ Marty Feldman and played a key role in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. We’ll hear stories about John Cleese, Richard Wilson, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and many more. With luck Tim may just be persuaded to reveal the truth about Samantha and the rules of Mornington Crescent. Add to all this warmth and good humour plenty of clips of great moments from Tim’s TV and film appearances and you’re sure of a memorable evening of fun and laughter."

Posted by lisa at 30/01/2018 15:08 GMT

ISIHAC First Autumn 2017 Recording Date
more from same (British Comedy)
From the Official ISIHAC Mailing List:

Dear I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue Mailing List Member,

Here are the details of the first recording in the Autumn 2017 series of "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue".

The recording will take place as follows:

1) Monday 16th October at the Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe. This will be a double recording of the show (i.e 2 programmes will be recorded) for broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Tickets are all priced at £5 and are obtainable from 10am on Wednesday 4th October via the box office (located at the Wycombe Swan), by telephone (01494 512000) or online via the venue's website.

For those wishing to purchase tickets in person, the address is Wycombe Swan, St Mary Street, High Wycombe, HP11 2XE. The Box Office opening times are 10am – 5pm.

The recording starts at 7.30pm and will be finished around 10.30pm. Tickets will be limited to a strict maximum of 4 per applicant - by whatever booking system. Demand for tickets is very great, so you are advised to purchase early to avoid disappointment, and you should allow for queue waiting times for the Box Office, either by phone or in person, to be longer than usual. Please do not try to obtain tickets before they go on sale.

The 68th series will begin transmission on Radio 4 from Monday 13th November at 6.30pm.
That’s about the size of it for now.

With best wishes,
Jon Naismith
Producer, "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue"

Posted by lisa at 29/09/2017 18:32 GMT

Bananaman the Musical in London 15 December - 20 January
more from same (British Comedy)
While the Goodies are not appearing in this show, we wanted to pass along a news item for the Bananaman fans. Apparently "Bananaman the Musical" is coming to London at the end of this year. As you may know, Tim, Graeme, & Bill provided the voices for the animated Bananaman television series in the mid 1980s).

The official site for the show is

Here's an article about the show:

"Everyone's favourite fruit-based superhero, Bananaman, is set to hit the stage in an all-singing, all-dancing musical which will receive its world premiere in December.

Written and composed by Leon Parris (Wolfboy, Monte Cristo), the musical will see Eric swap 29 Acacia Road for 77-85 Newington Causeway when it debuts at Southwark Playhouse later this year.

Bananaman started fighting crime in 1980, before transferring to The Dandy and then The Beano in 2012. The popular TV cartoon ran between 1983 and 1986 for 40 episodes and featured the voices of Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie.

The musical will be directed by Mark Perry (A Comedy of Arias, Little Shop of Horrors) and sees our hero attempt to halt the evili plans of supervillains Doctor Gloom and General Blight.

The production will have musical supervision by Alan Berry, design by Mike Leopold, and choreography by Grant Murphy. Casting to be announced.

Bananaman the Musical will run at Southwark Playhouse from 4 to 20 January 2018, with previews from 15 December 2017."

Posted by lisa at 12/09/2017 17:28 GMT

At Last the 1948 Show - Live! in Chicago Sept 15, 2017
more from same (British Comedy)
For any "At Last The 1948 Show" fans in the Chicago, IL area - a live version of sketches from the 1967 television show (written by John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor, and Marty Feldman) will take place Sept 15th. The cast for "At Last the 1948 Show - Live!" includes Camilla Cleese (yes, daughter of John).

More details and a link for purchasing tickets can be found at

Here's the show's description from that website: "At Last the 1948 Show -- LIVE!
After 50 years of preparation, rare sketches from one of British television’s silliest shows are being presented in America for the very first time for two weeks only.

“At Last the 1948 Show—Live” is written by John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Marty Feldman, and the cast is headed by Camilla Cleese (who is no relation to Chapman, Brooke-Taylor, or Feldman), with Isabeau Dornevil, Iris Kohler, Lauren Lonergan, Kristen Lundberg, and Lauren Pizzi—an all-female cast (if you don’t include Kim “Howard” Johnson, Michael McCarthy, and Bill Russell, although they are also in the cast).
The live show is produced and directed by Johnson in association with Wing Commander Muriel Volestrangler, F.R.H.S. and Bar, and the iO Chicago.

“At Last the 1948 Show” aired on British television in 1967. Afterward, the network realized they could save a little money by recording over these comedic masterworks, and it was only through the tireless efforts of Wing Commander Volestrangler and others that copies have been found and scripts reconstructed. While a few of these sketches were later re-recorded by Monty Python, and others can be found in the darkest corners of the internet, many simply don’t exist anymore. But now, Chicago audiences can experience them live on stage for the first time ever.

Camilla Cleese, with Isabeau Dornevil, Iris Kohler, Lauren Lonergan, Kristen Lundberg, and Lauren Pizzi—an all-female cast (if you don’t include Kim “Howard” Johnson, Michael McCarthy, and Bill Russell)"

Posted by lisa at 12/09/2017 17:25 GMT

Graeme & Bill participating in Slapstick 2017 festival
more from same (British Comedy)
Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie will once again be participating in the annual Slapstick Festival.  Slapstick 2017 will be held January 18th - 22nd in Bristol, England.

The full festival schedule can be found at  Note that in addition to the events with the Goodies there are also events with Barry Cryer, Colin Sell, and a celebration of "The Young Ones" with Alexi Sayle, Nigel Planer & series co-writer Lise Mayer.

Here are the Goodies-related events:

1."Robin and Not Josie's Book Shambles: The Goodies
Watershed | 1.20pm | Tickets: £9.00/£6.50

The hugely popular podcast 'Robin and Josie's Book Shambles' comes to Slapstick to interrogate Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie on the books they made as two thirds of the TV comedy trio The Goodies (1970 - 1982). They'll also be talking about the making of The Goodies Disaster Movie and about the books and the authors that have inspired them.

Sadly, Josie Long is showing off in New York, but there will be a special guest co-host announced soon.

2. Accidentally Preserved: Surviving Slapstick on 16mm
Watershed | 9.30am | Tickets: £8.00/£6.00

Slapstick comedy shorts were excellent fodder for home movie companies of the 1920s and 1930s. Kodascope and Pathescope rented or sold safety film prints for people to watch in their homes, not realising that decades later they would out-survive the 35mm versions originally in circulation. This programme contains hilarious rare slapstick shorts starring comedy stars whose work has been largely forgotten.

This event has been curated by Ben Model (silent film historian, accompanist and filmmaker) and will be hosted by Goodie Bill Oddie and Infinite Monkey Cage (Radio 4) star Robin Ince.

With live accompaniment from Guenter A. Buchwald.

Posted by lisa at 18/11/2016 21:03 GMT

RIP Sir George Martin
more from same (British Comedy)
We're very sorry to hear that Sir George Martin has passed away - he worked with Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie as producer of  the 1963 album of their Footlights Revue "Cambridge Circus" (other members of the cast were Anthony Buffery, John Cleese, David Hatch, Jo Kendall,  and Chris Stuart-Clark).  The "Cambridge Circus" revue later moved to the radio and became "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again".

Posted by lisa at 09/03/2016 14:04 GMT

"I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again...Again" in Cheltenham Feb 19, 2016
more from same (British Comedy)
Coming up at The Bacon Theatre in Cheltenham on February 19th - "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again...Again" - from the event's Facebook Page: "Performed on stage in classic radio comedy style with music and sound effects, The OFFSTAGE Theatre Group recreates the anarchic and deliciously surreal cult comedy show that laid waste to BBC Radio in the 60’s and 70’s.
A Greatest Hits compilation of original material by Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, this knockabout show celebrates the radio series that gave birth to The Goodies and Monty Python’s Flying Circus - not to mention I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue."

Posted by lisa at 02/02/2016 15:42 GMT

 This website was created with phpWebThings 1.5.2.
© 2005 Copyright , The Goodies Rule - OK! Fan Club 

Categories: 1

0 Replies to “Bbc Radio 3 Iplayer The Essay By Robin”

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *