Monday, February 18, 2002

The Shape Of Things To Come?

THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME?: Charlie Chester stopped taking holidays after the time he returned from a short spell at the seaside to discover his Saturday and Sunday evening show on Radio 2 had become a Sunday evening show alone. So, what should we make of the news that Radio One is to have a four week "holiday" from John Peel, with other shows being summoned from their middle of the night slumber to take over his slot while The Great Man has a rest?

In the past, famously, Peel shows always turned up when they were meant to - on tape, if he was off looking at chickens; in fact, until the night of his fiftieth birthday when the late John Walters presented to allow Peel to go off to a surprise party, nobody had ever sat in for him. Since then, there have been breaks - the longest when "The Pig" was quite seriously ill - but this is of a different order. Chris Evans sized breaking. Some of the replacements - Fabio and Grooverider and the Rock Show, not to mention plugs for the soon come urban station they're still calling Network X - suggests that this could be the Radio One equivalent of Operation Lion. (Operation Lion being the dry-runs the BBC hold to practice what they'd do in the event of the demise of the Queen Mother - like she's gonna die).

The usual assumption - that Lammo has been groomed as a dauphin - is looking shakier now. One-watchers have thought that R1 would want to keep a Peel-like show, if only out of some commitment to public service, but the increasingly zoned and genre-bound nature of the network (Pop till six, chart dance till eight, indie, then rock or whatever) suggests that creating a new show which plays Zambian and Jamaican alongside the Brentford and Seattle sounds may not be the first choice of the station; nor is it obvious why Lammo would want to swap from doing the Evening Session into a lowlier slot, however revered its previous occupant.

And you just know that any attempt to question what's going on would lead to Broadcasting House sending a flier for Radio Six in response. Of course, at the moment, it's speculation, but the last intelligent show on Radio One could be looking like it's increasingly playing at the wrong speed.

Those fill-in showcases in full - or try-outs, as it could be...

[Updated 23/08/08 to reflect current layout of site; content unchanged]


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