Radio Review: 30 June

Ed Miliband should stick to bacon sandwiches
When the lower-grade news- papers were having a pop at Ed Miliband for being unable to eat a bacon sandwich in a natural- looking manner while numerous photographers pointed cameras at him, it would have been hard to imagine him as a Radio 2 disc jockey. And even having heard him doing the job last week, sitting in for Jeremy Vine Louis-Barfe-colour-176(weekdays, noon-2pm), I’m afraid it’s still hard to imagine him as a Radio 2 disc jockey.

To use a Bob Monkhouse phrase, he took to it like a cat to water. He managed to make Northumberland into two words. In a discussion about whether it was appropriate for children to attend the funeral of a parent, he referred at least twice to the young Prince Harry ‘walking behind his mother’s grave’ rather than behind her coffin.

Perhaps worst of all, he failed to challenge even the most rancid and bilious callers, who, as usual, had me swearing at the wireless. A discussion on students picking fruit as a holiday job turned into a litany of unpleasantness towards the young. I really should have switched off or over for the sake of my blood pressure.

The producers were having fun, at least, making Miliband learn how to bellow extremely heavy metal by the lead singer of Napalm Death, and getting the poor blighter to host a phone-in on toilet cistern preferences. A high level discussion, as it were. Miliband, a fair and decent man, was obviously happiest when talking about politics, and seemed to relish conversations with BBC correspondents who weren’t trying to pin him down or catch him out as they had when he was Labour leader. However, the poacher did not otherwise make for a convincing gamekeeper. As I listened, I wished that Radio 2 had drafted in the excellent Paddy O’Connell to deputise for vine as usual.

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