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Radio: Night Waves

January 7, 2009

If you’ve not listened to it before, Night Waves might possibly not be your cup of tea.

Some might consider it the driest of speech radio. Studio bound, round table discussions nestled away late on weekday nights on Radio 3.

I’ve not listened for a long time, not since I made a smallish video about a Radio 3 drama I sat in on rehearsals for during the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival last year. It was then I saw Night Waves presenter Philip Dodd host one or two discussions recorded for broadcast later on in the week.

Dodd is a brilliant radio host, the kind of intelligent, well-researched, provocative host I appreciate listening to every time I want to hear something a little out of the ordinary and simple all at the same time.

What appeals to me about Night Waves is it’s relatively simplicity in radio terms. There are no bells and whistles. There’s no pre-requisite in terms of knowledge or experience on the listener. Just run a bath, ensuring you get in it with an open mind. Let the sound of voices engaging in discussion wash over and – because its brilliantly executed – soon you will enter that discussion like you’re right there.

Clearly I’m gushing. Shameful, isn’t it?

This evening’s programme was unexpectedly well-timed. One or two developments at work presented a few challenges during my day. This combined with my own stupidity rushing down the stairs at White City tube resulting in a painful accident meant my journey home was prolonged, very painful. I didn’t get home to see the third episode of Anne Frank go out.

When I got home, I laid in the bath rehearsing all the things I’d say at a meeting tomorrow. Clearly the fall at the tube station had brought out a little anger in me. I got in the bath, switched on the radio to hear Philip Dodd interviewing playwright David Hare.

Hare talked about institutions, specifically the BBC, the way institutions had lost their way in terms of the way they’re perceived by the public and by him as well as explaining how he feels about television drama today (it makes for interesting listening) compared to the work he did as a TV playwright in the late 80s. When he moves on to talking about those individuals who make videos or write blogs and such like I was cheering.

When you listen to the interview you’d think I wouldn’t agree, but something in the way the discussion played out left me cheering at the end of it.

Listen to it.  You’ll need to listen to a short poem and then you’re into the interview with David Hare.

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One Comment
  1. Thanks for pointing that show out Jon. I haven’t listened before, but as a fan of David Hare’s early works when I was a student of dramatic writing, it was great to hear his comments and how he still cares about the world. I’d love John Humphreys to learn from Philip Dodd how you can interview in a challenging and incisive way without being offensive and abrasive!!

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