Thursday, August 23, 2007

Radio One More Time: Skyman (not, erm, Starman)

"Set the controls for economy wash..."

A curiosity but one which, if you heard it, I guarantee you will be smiling at the memory of. Little more than a short series of half-hour programmes hosted by Mark Radcliffe talking through some sort of vocoder, pretending to be the titular Starman, observing Earth through the medium of space-themed songs.

Telstar, Apollo 9, that one by Ian Brown; that sort of thing. You could choose to see it as an academic exploration of the links between rock and space exploration, and how they both had strong roots in post-war America.

Or you could just see it as thirty minutes of inspired mucking about that brought Radcliffe from Radio 5's Hit The North to the network he would eventually do a breakfast show for. For about as long as he was Starman.

"They say 'in space, no-one can hear you scream'.
Well, that's that one disproved, then..."

Starman gave way to Out On Blue Six, an hour-long chunk of esoteric choices - we're using esoteric in the sense of "for early evening Radio One" - and then on to the Graveyard Shift, ensuring at least that The Tindersticks would never go hungry again.

Radcliffe's knack for radio lies, in part, on his history as a producer - before he started presenting, he'd worked on Chris Evans' shows on Piccadilly Radio and Radio 2's The Organist Entertains. The latter, of course, was during the era when The Organist would shout about battered cod balls above the noise of the Wurlitzer.

[Or even Skyman. Bugger.]