While at university, my radio station of choice was Radio Scotland, which switched over after midnight to the BBC World Service.
A couple of years later, it decided to switch instead to Radio Five Live, with the midnight slot being occupied during the week by Fi Glover and at the weekend by Edwina Currie. Fi Glover’s show was always good, taking a sideways look at the day’s headlines and always worth a laugh.
Soon, I got to like the incisive but laid back style of Five Live as a whole, and I quickly ditched Radio Scotland and changed to Five Live permanently. News on demand (great for a news junkie like me) and good sports coverage that always blended a light and irreverent tone with the good old professionalism of the BBC. The 10pm to 1am slot was no exception.
But just as I was getting used to Fi Glover, she was replaced by Matthew Bannister, whose dry humour made for an excellent show. In time, he was replaced by Anita Anand, who was ridiculously funny and engaging, and when she was replaced by Richard Bacon it was disappointing. Could he ever be as good as those who came before?
Of course he could.
In fact, the Richard Bacon show became a staple of my midweek listening, and I would often struggle to keep myself awake until 1am, especially when the terrific and slightly cultish Special Half Hour came into being, delivering a half-hour of radio that was never promoted or mentioned outside those thirty minutes. The SHH contained wonderful in-jokes, frivolous debates and a magnificent celebration of the mundane that was great fun to listen to and seemed to be quite defining of today’s modern Britain.
Alas, all good things come to and end, and last night was the final edition of it, with Richard Bacon moving to the afternoon slot. It’s probably a good thing, frankly – now that I am married and can’t be up half the night listening to the radio, I have listened less and less, and it’s quite fitting that as one era (married life) begins, another (the Richard Bacon show) ends. There’s a fitting tribute to the show in the Guardian.
Goodnight Richard Bacon, wherever you are.