When I was 12 or so at school, we were given the task of writing about our favourite TV or Radio programme. Most did "Coronation Street" or "Multicoloured Swap Shop"" or Grandstand. I did the "Today Programme" on Radio 4. You can imagine the stick I got about that from my classmates.
The Today Programme began in the 50's as a pretty dumb show - light-hearted twittering in the morning for people who didn't want music. In the 1970s, however, the presenters were John Timpson and Brian Redhead, who was something of a hero of mine. There was an incredible chemistry between the two - Timpson, the Southern Tory and Redhead the Northern Liberal.
Actually, their political affiliation was official unknown but their insightful questioning scared the juice out of politicians of all persuasions. e.g when Nigel Lawson (Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Chancellor) accused Redhead of political bias his response was :-
"Do you think we should have a one minute silence now in this interview, one for you to apologise for daring to suggest that you know how I vote and secondly perhaps in memory of monetarism which you have now discarded"
There is on TV and radio no shortage of light-hearted banter and celebrity banter. There is however an acute shortage of hard news and comment. Which is why this morning's segment worried me somewhat
Can 19 year old soprano Hayley Westenra sing notes so high that only animals can hear her?
The previous day we had had a 35 minute interview with Tony Blair - and it was a pleasure to hear our leader sweat under an intelligent onslaught from John Humphries. This is what the Today programme is all about.
Someone tell me I'm worried for no good reason, and that Today will be making politicians sweat well into the 21st century.