Merry Christmas and welcome to my annual Review of the Year. We tried doing it bi-annually but it just wasn’t the same. I’m Eddie. I can be heard presenting PM and co-presenting iPM on BBC Radio 4 but I’ve been writing on this page for several years: a forfeit after losing at arm wrestling to Vanessa Feltz.
I write in Radio Times weekly – or weakly, if the increasingly vociferous “improvement notes” from the Editor are any guide. But what does he know?
The fact is, this is the page many RT readers turn to first if:
A. all the other pages are stuck together….B. they need something for the budgie cage or…C. they have an aversion to listings.
The existence of this column may be news to you. It’s possible that for you, RT is like me at the office Christmas party: something that gets picked up and taken home only once a year. I hope that, unlike my Christmas party experiences, you at least don’t chuck out Radio Times after ten minutes without so much as a cab fare home.
But leaving aside the cause of my feud with Martha Kearney, let me tempt you to buy RT a little more often in 2016 by revisiting some of the amazing insights that regular readers have enjoyed throughout the past 12 months.
JANUARY Radio 4 airs War and Peace for ten hours on New Year’s Day. It’s the longest continuous broadcast since the infamous “James Naughtie and Robert Peston in Conversation”.
FEBRUARY David Tennant makes the most impressive debut in Just a Minute history, speaking without interruption for 60 seconds on his first attempt. Efforts to repeat the achievement on Radio 4’s Today are less successful.
MARCH A TV host carries out a physical assault on another man, landing blows on him for at least 30 seconds, shouting obscenities before, during and after. He is later punished with a multi-million-pound contract and a series on Amazon Prime.
APRIL General election fever grips the United Kingdom. I have a strong sense that the Liberal Democrats are going to do extremely well.
MAY Inflation falls below zero for the first time: as does the temperature in the room when Nick Clegg meets
David Cameron after the election result.
JUNE Robert Peston and I appear on the cover of RT to mark the start of our new interview series on Radio 4, sending sales figures plummeting. However, I’ve a strong sense the series will run for many years.
JULY After approval last month from the BBC Trust, BBC3 gets on with plans to become an online-only channel in early 2016. Viewers in rural areas will be able to finish downloading the first episode of Gavin & Stacey in April 2022.
AUGUST Inexplicably, Alan Yentob doesn’t call me or appear at the back of my studio.
SEPTEMBER ITV marks 60 years on air by setting fire to The Archers.
OCTOBER Robert Peston reveals he’s leaving the BBC to join ITV, insisting the move is about new horizons, not ego. His new show will be called Robert Peston’s Interview Show with Me, Robert Peston.
NOVEMBER Terry Wogan does not present Children in Need. Meanwhile, the Met Office announces the actual freezing over of Hell.
DECEMBER Very excited.
Getting strong hints that the RT editor has finally agreed to put me on the cover of the Christmas and New Year double issue.
Eddie Mair hosts Radio 4’s PM (Mon—Fri) and iPM (Sat). Read his column every week in Radio Times.