UK-centric rant: I'm jolly annoyed with Radio 4

No, I’m not annoyed with Radio 4 itself. The problem is I like it too much.

Since I was a homesick 14-year-old on a school exchange with France, and discovered it on an old valve wireless on 198 longwave, I’ve been hooked. It’s so bloody interesting and informative - politics, current affairs, debates, comedy, the arts - simply wonderful (apart from the godawful plays). I’m even addicted to the Archers…

But since I’m not in the UK, I can only pick it up on longwave. And what does the Beeb do to the Radio 4 longwave signal every time there’s a cricket match anywhere in the world? They put the bastarding fucking cunting thing on fucking Radio 4 longwave.


The controversy over Zimbabwe notwithstanding, this is cricket I’m talking about: test matches last for up 8 hours a day for up to three bleeding days, and with the World Cup just started we’re talking dozens of bastard fucking shit boring cricket matches, going on for weeks. And nothing ever happens! Instead of thrilling, edge-of-your seat pants-wetting sporting dynamic tension, you get two ancient, plummy old duffers wanking on about a jumper they’ve been sent by some mad spinster in Dorking, or arguing over whether it’s a collared dove or a wood pigeon that’s hopping around near the stumps. Then occasionally you hear the gentle click of leather on willow, and “Ramprakash caught there for a duck, oh dear”, then back to bollocking on about the biscuits that the widow of a retired colonel in Chichester has baked them. I once even heard the following exchange - I swear this is true:

Duffer #1: Well the teams are coming back from tea, so while they take up their positions, we ask the question of whether or not the ball flies faster with the seam vertical or with it horizontal.
Duffer #2: Well the studies done by Wing Commander Wankington-Twatte indicate that it does indeed fly faster with the seam vertical.
Duffer #1: What possible authority on cricket balls is a flyboy? He’d only know about planes.
Duffer #2: I’ll have you know he’s an aerodynamics expert, and he’s been in the RAF for over seventy years.
Duffer #1: I’m not standing for this! The RAF hasn’t even been in existence for that long! [Sound of lapel microphone being pulled off and angrily thrown onto the desk.] [Receding into the distance] I won’t take this sort of nonsense.
Duffer #2: Oh. [sound of ball hitting stumps] Hussain bowled out there, oh dear.

Now tell me, auntie BB fucking C: what the FUCK did you create 5 Live for??? Live sports coverage, I thought. Now I can just about pick that up with my worldband radio, and what do I find when I tune into it? Highlights of the bloody cricket! What the FUCK is wrong with you knob-ends? How many fecking people are actually that bloody interested in bloody fucking ball-by-ball coverage of an entirely radio-unfriendly sport? It’s not that England are any bloody good at it, either. Cricket on Radio 4 is an exercise in repeated national humiliation, and turgid aural defilement.


Does your stereo have a connection on the back the same as a TV pipe connector? If it does you can get BBC4 and many more British and Irish channels through the FM connection that is part of your NTL box. Crystal clear digital signal is piggy backed on the TV signal or some such techo mumbo jumbo.

Other than that enjoy the cricket :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, I do get Radio 4 FM on cable, but it’s in my living room. See, I always drop off to sleep with the gentle sounds of Radio 4 in my earpiece. And when I’m commuting I can only listen on longwave, too.

Grumble grumble.

Good rant, good point. And a wonderfully accurate summary of what R4 ‘Test Match Special’ actually sounds like.

It’s the same with BBC2 and snooker and tennis coverage. It doesn’t matter to me personally either way, but there are legions of fans of many different shows who are regularly infuriated by the way their favourite series are simply kicked off the schedules for 2 or 3 weeks just so that we can have endless hours of people pushing or hitting balls around. BBC2 has the same 168 hours per week to play with as the rest of us, but as soon as a sports match comes along they can suddenly find no room whatsoever for the next episode of Buffy or a Star Trek franchise or other popular series fans are really keen to follow. Even if they can’t show an episode at the regular time, you’d think with 168 hours to play with they could put it on sometime, and then at least those with a vid could catch it.

And you know what? No matter how many people the BBC manage to piss off in this way, they couldn’t give a flying feck one way or the other? Why should they, when you have to pay the TV tax (licence fee) by law, whether you want to or not.

Cricket coverage on Radio 4? It’s why I listen to Radio 3.

Ah, I love a good Stockhausen in the morning. Actually, it was the Radio 3 audience (all five of them, and one of them must be you) that is indirectly responsible for this situation, since R3 listeners used to have to endure the same crap, until one of them complained beeb swapped it over to R4. Bloody elitists.

ianzin, you’re right about the license fee I think - though I’m not really eligible to complain about this, since I don’t pay the UK TV license. I do, however, have pay the Irish one… Don’t get me started on that situation. Grrrrrrrr.

And you shall be mocked. Oh, how you shall be mocked.

…ahh, cricket rocks!!! And I love following it on the radio! Once when I was working down south I remember driving 15 kilometres from the hotel, stopping at the side of the road, and listening to the NZ vs South Africa test match because that was the only place where I could pick up the commentary…

We have a letter of complaint, from a Mrs Trellis of North Wales…

One of my favourite shows, casdave. That’s why I love Radio 7; ISIHAC, Hancock and Steptoe & Son - who could ask for more?

That said, the person who invented Mornington Crescent will pay for their crime.

You think that’s bad, jjimm?

Last night I turned on my local Fox TV affiliate expecting to settle in to a double bill of Cops and America’s Most Wanted (reality crime-fighting at its most erudite), and instead there was an endless Budweiser Stock Car Race, with the sort of commentary that I’m sure rivals cricket for inanity (we sometimes get auto racing radio broadcasts here, believe it or not).

Are Mad Spinsters of Dorking anything like Werewolves of London? :smiley:

jjimm, that was howlingly funny.

Any chance one of you could elucidate as to what the different numbers represent?

The BBC runs numerous national radio stations, many of which are identified by number – Radio 1, Radio 3, Radio 4 etc. The site I’ve linked to indicates what programming you’d expect to find on each station.

Good rant Jjimm, was the announcing done by people who were rejected from Monty Python? :smiley:

Two questions, though…
“Long wave” is that similar to AM radio? Since FM is occasionally refered to as “short wave radio” I’m betting AM and long wave are the same thing.

In the context of your subject line, what does “jolly” mean? I’ve never seen it used that way and you sound more pissed off than jolly. OTOH, “wicked” rarely has anything to do with evil when I use it(it’s used in same context that I’ve seen “dead” used in UK books)…

In Europe, we’ve got AM, FM, SW and LW. Long Wave certainly is another animal than AM.

I’ve got one of them 1940’s tube radios in my living that still has all the cities displayed with the frequencies. You know, for the old national channels. Amazing stuff, and the thing still plays wonderfully as well.

Great rant, BTW. In addition to yojimbo’s suggestion, there might be an internet feed.

God, I love that show ….

jjimm – Nice rant. I was hoping to help you out by suggesting to you what I’ll be buying as soon as I find somewhere local to buy one – that’s a digital radio.

But it seems that, looking at this map, you won’t be able to receive the signal:
FWIW, I’m also a Radio Four nut but I’m also liking Jazz FM more and more, especially the late night Friday and Saturday stuff (which I try to tape and play when convenient). Actually, I like Jazz FM all the time its just the stuff at those times is unlike anything else on the air – excellent quality stuff.

The Test Match Special radio team (who do all the cricket commentaries) were invented by P.G. Wodehouse and brought to life in a secret Oxfordshire laboratory by Q from the James Bond films.

When many of our local stations began broadcasting on FM in the late '70s they promoted the switchover as “from AM to FM”, so I always assumed that Long Wave and Medium Wave were portions of the frequencies on AM radio? You’d need more technical information than I have to know whether Long Wave is an amplitude-modulated signal or not, and if it is, why that makes it different from AM. For the record, Radio 4 LW broadcasts on 198 KHz in the UK and Radio 4 FM varies between 92-105 MHz depending on your local transmitter. If you’ve got RealPlayer and a good enough connection you can listen online from the site I linked to earlier.

By the way, the Radio 4 FAQ page attempts a response to jjimm’s rant. Best read with a nice mug of Horlicks to hand and tartan slippers on…

Thanks, everton. Two more questions. What show is the line about Mrs. Trellis from. And what the hell is going on with the Archers? Is it supposed to be funny? I can’t tell from the website.

I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue.