Monday, 6 September 2010


Posted by Tania Kindersley.

The wasps have mysteriously gone. It is as if they all got a call from head office, packed their bags, and took the first train to Pitlochry. This is tremendous news, as it means I can get my first good night's sleep for days, uninterrupted by diving insects and panic dreams.

There are gales outside and the first of the leaves are starting to turn. Meanwhile, I muse happily on the loveliness of the BBC. It is very fashionable just now to bash the BBC. Those on the left shout at it for dumbing down and not towing the old government's line and employing people like Andrew Neil, who surely must be free market libertarians. Those on the right accuse it of ghastly leftist statism of the most egregious kind. I've never really understood the enduring Tory hatred for the BBC. Conservatives adore old, revered institutions; they are all about conserving what is good and beloved. They should adore dear old Auntie. I also don't quite understand why politicos cannot see how peevish and horrid and unreconstructed they sound when they attack the Beeb.

I know that there is a thing about salaries and taxi receipts and idiotic moves to Salford and other sillinesses. I know there is the absurdity of BBC3 and all those awful cooking shows. But I cannot think of any other corporation in the world which produces so many marvels for so little money. For 39p a day I get Radio Four, The World Service, BBC2 and BBC4. I could perfectly happily leave the rest, but that is the point. There are other people out there who love Radio Five Live, or Six Music, or BBC1, because all they long for is Casualty on a Saturday night. That is what the critics do not understand. The BBC must provide something for everyone, and so of course there will be snarling and sneering, because my idea of heaven is Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight and yours is watching people try to cover up their naked greed with a thin veneer of politeness on Antiques Roadshow. I am perfectly certain that there are Britons who genuinely love Moneybox Live with Paul Lewis. I rather adore the shipping forecast; it makes me feel safe.

There is also the quiet miracle that is the iPlayer. I do apologise to my foreign readers, because I know you cannot get the iPlayer, and I know I do bang on about it, but it is a cornucopia of delights, and I don't really understand why such an innovation is not front page news. In the last week, I have, for my 39 daily pence, listened to an excellent John Buchan adaptation, watched an absolutely storming series about the British novel since 1920 (sounds dry, but it was so interesting I practically fell off my chair), indulged myself in an orgy of nostalgia with a triple bill of Yes, Minister, Round the Horne and I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, just as naughty and satirical and fresh as they were thirty and forty years ago, and continued my sad addiction to The Archers. I heard lovely constitutional historians waxing lyrical about Clem Atlee and a charming man from Brooklyn explaining how bluegrass has its roots in traditional Jewish music and the actual sound of Virginia Woolf's actual voice, which was so thrilling I almost sent a thank you letter to the BBC archivists.

As if all that were not enough, I think I also heard the funniest programme in the world. I may be wrong, but it made me laugh so much the dogs started barking. It is written by a man called John Finnemore, and he also acts in it, and he is so bloody brilliant I do not quite understand why he is not a national treasure, with comely ladies beating a path to his door. Or comely gentlemen, for that matter. It also features Roger Allam, on whom I have a slightly embarrassing crush. (He's got one of those doleful basset hound faces and he's so damn good, but all the same, I feel I should have grown out of crushes by now.) Anyway, if you can, and if you want to feel purely happy for thirty of your earth minutes, click here:

So, I go on saluting dear old Auntie, and all who sail in her, because she adds to the sum total of human happiness, and each week, she tells me something I did not know before. She enlightens and entertains. Not many of those grumpy people who like to slag her off can say the same about themselves. So there.

Quick picture of the burn, because I don't think I ever saw the water so clear:



I know it's not a very artful photograph, but I wanted you to see that singing underwater moss.



  1. I think we're all a little guilty of Beeb-bashing sometimes. We forget how nice it is to watch TV and listen to radio without constant adverts. One flick of my switch to local commercial radio is usually enough to remind me that the BBC is pretty good value for money afterall. Not to mention ITV3.

    Although I think I'll still give the shipping forecast a miss.......

  2. Oh, and I meant to say, thank goodness the wasps have left!

  3. Cabin Pressure - isn't it WONDERFUL and hilarious! I've just this weekend downloaded both series and have been listening to it constantly. Mr Allam has the best and most fabulously sarcastic voice as Douglas I have ever heard :)x
    "Mark me well, soon you will rue the day you dared to cross Russell Crowe..."

  4. Hear hear...and you should have a union jack emblazoned on your blog for the sheer Jane-Austen-patriotism your writing inspires! LB x

  5. Completely agree about Cabin Pressure - fabulous!

  6. Well I hope this doesn't invite scorn but I love 5 Live. Life would not be the same without Kermode & Mayo's review show. I have the radio on almost all day at work and I'd love it to be Radio 4 but constant interruptions don't fit well with trying to concentrate on the radio. 5 Live and the shorter features it will have to be! I catch up with 4 via podcasts - such a handy feature.

    *off to investigate Cabin Pressure now*

  7. I am so glad the wasps have left you in peace. Sleep is a truly wonderful thing and I am glad you will get some again soon.

    I love the beeb. I am a fan of six music which gets me through the days when I am alone in my office at work. The music is usually a pace I can handle at work and the chat is never gratingly attempting to be funny or cool. I like that.

    I find it hard to bash the beeb as I have loved it my whole life for the imaginative children's shows they made when I was younger to great documentaries on channel 4. And now I need to go check our Cabin Pressure.

  8. Lovely, lovely comments; thank you. So glad I am not alone in my Cabin Pressure obsession.


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