Monday, September 17, 2007

Radio One More Time: Christmas Lunch at Grey Gables

Every year, the nation's families gather and try to pretend they like each other for long enough to enjoy a Christmas Lunch together. So, too, did the Radio One djs, forced to get together to pre-record a show full of bonhomie and good humour to be played out on the big day. We're not entirely sure this idea had ever been fully thought through - no Dad was ever going to let his kids have the bloody tranny on during Christmas dinner, so the only people who would ever listen to the show would have been the ones who had elected to avoid turkey, rows and the Queen, or else who had no-one with whom to celebrate. It's unlikely either would have actively requested the chance to hear Mike Read and Steve Wright going through a grim parody of the self-same event they were excluded from.

And, for all the professionally-faked enthusiasm as Annie Nightingale unwrapped a "gift" from Ready, the truth about this event - that it wasn't a jolly get-together for friends, but a works Christmas do on a three-line whip - always came through. So it's little surprise that one year, in a fit of crossover madness, Radio One bosses decided to hold the let's-pretend party in a fictional locale.

Grey Gables. Yes, that Grey Gables. The one in Ambridge. The plot of the Archers buckled in order to explain why the entire on-air staff of Radio One was driving two hundred miles on Christmas Day - hinging, apparently, on the hitherto unmentioned fact that Robert Snell had been at school with John Peel. This seemed slightly unlikely - a social climber like Linda would surely have been keen to drop that gem into conversation at any opportunity - but did earn Peel an appearance or two in Archers scenes. Trouble was, he turned out to be rubbish at doing his own voice, and sounded more like they'd got someone from WeekEnding to do his bits.

Regardless, it was to Grey Gables that the DJs went, with the usual Christmas festivities being punctuated by cameos from Archers characters. We've no idea what the crossover audience between daytime Radio One and Radio Four would have been at this point, but the crashing of an event at the hotel by Eddie Grundy would surely only make sense if you knew who Eddie was, and, for most of the listeners, we're assuming that they wouldn't have. They might as well have decided to hold the party in historical Nazareth, and peppered the show with cameos from Biblical patriarchs for all the sense it made.

And Gary Davies never even tried it on with Susan Tucker.

[Part of Radio One More Time]


Paul Wells said...

Ah, bizarre radio 1 & archers cross-overs. Glad to see those days are behind us. I mean, its not like you ever see Chris Moyles popping up with a cameo to order a pint in The Bull... oh.

Anonymous said...

On a point of order, m'lud....
Susan's surname is Carter (nee Horrobin).

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Yes, you're quite right - although actually I meant to say Betty Tucker, to cast Gary Davies as the Brian Aldridge of the Radio One team...

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