Best of the weekend radio: the Royal Wedding, Hugh Grant, British Podcast Awards

Simon O'Hagan on another big day for Clare Balding, and where the stars of podcasting will be flocking to (not Windsor)

Have you got your tea towel ready?

Stuck for something to listen to this weekend? Radio Times expert Simon O’Hagan lists an eclectic mix of the best radio programmes to tune into on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th May… 


When Prince William married Kate Middleton back in 2011, Radio 4 handed presiding duties to James Naughtie and Edward Stourton. It’s a measure of how much the world has changed — and of the different feel to the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — that for Saturday’s big occasion (The Royal Wedding, 11.30am Radio 4), the main voice of the network will be Clare Balding’s, with prominent roles for Eleanor Oldroyd, Gemma Cairney and Rachel Burden.

Radio 1 has a royal correspondent for the day in Scarlett Moffatt, while Radio 2’s coverage will be led by Chris Evans (8.00am Radio 2). And the wedding has prompted the reunion of Alan Carr and Mel Sykes (11.30am Radio 2), such a great double act when they stood in for Graham Norton last summer. Radios 1, 3 and 5 Live also feature the wedding in some form or other, and an extensive line-up of presenters includes – among others – Zoë Ball, Sara Cox, Jane Garvey, Aasmah Mir, Nihal Arthanayake, Paul Gambaccini, Jonny Dymond and Paddy O’Connell.

Looking for antidotes to what’s going on in Windsor? How about a twisted tale of adultery and murder? That would be the Opera on 3 (Saturday 6.30pm Radio 3) which is Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, in a recent production at the Royal Opera House.

Sara Cox keeps busy by co-presenting Loose Ends (Saturday 7.15pm Radio 4) on which guests include Hugh Grant, doubtless keen to talk about his upcoming TV role playing disgraced politician Jeremy Thorpe in A Very English Scandal.

Other guests that catch the eye: US folk/pop legend Don McLean on Sounds of the 70s (Sunday 3.00pm Radio 2), adventurer Benedict Allen on Saturday Live (Saturday 9.00am Radio 4), author Anthony Horowitz on Open Book (Sunday 4.00pm Radio 4) discussing his latest James Bond novel, computer scientist and social entrepreneur Sue Black on Desert Island Discs (Sunday 11.15pm Radio 4), and the great French chanteuse Françoise Hardy on Amy Lamé’s 6 Music show (Sunday 4.00pm 6 Music).

A comedy voice that will be new to many is Geoff Norcott, one of the few Conservative-leaning stand-ups, who is given his own show in Geoff Norcott: Right Leaning but Well Meaning (Sunday 7.15pm Radio 4). And wit is guaranteed in Matthew Sweet’s history of commuting in Archive on 4: Commuterville (Saturday 8.00pm Radio 4). Both 5 Live and Talksport have live commentary on the FA Cup final (kick-off Satuday 5.15pm).


This is also the weekend of the second ever British Podcast Awards, with some starry audio names heading to a venue in north London on Saturday night — among them Fearne Cotton, Simon Mayo, Mark Kermode, Josh Widdicombe and  Matt Forde. Shortlists at Look out for a report on