The week in audio: The Exploding Library; Famous Firsts; Ry-Union; Bed of Lies | Radio

The Exploding Library: Flann O’Brien’s third cop (BBC Radio 4) | BBC sounds
Famous premieres with Jenni Falconer | Smooth radio
Ry Union | Sky bingo
Lie bed: blood | The telegraph

There was a nice, funny, weird show about Flann O’Briens The third cop on Radio 4 on Thursday morning the first episode of a three-part series, The exploding librarythat focuses on novels that are beautiful, funny and weird. (Maybe not exactly beautiful.) O’Brien’s wild nightmare of murder, bicycles, cops, and nuclear physics is heard from programs about Jean Rhys’ Good morning, midnight and Kurt Vonneguts Mother night.

Comedian Mark Watson hosted the O’Brien program and helped create a ravishing, poetic exploration of the book. Descriptions of its wild content, as well as a quick, detailed personal and historical context, were all provided without the auspices and clumsiness of an “educational” program (no In our timeStyle show-off). Extraordinary production accents from Steven Rajam and Benjamin from Overcoat Media “Beef and Dairy Network“Partridge included the ticking sound of a bicycle wheel spinning, an ominous chord on a church organ, some really banana tape noises, and at the time when the book’s infamous“ bike sex scene ”was being discussed, Don McLeans Vincent who made me laugh a lot. You don’t have to read the book to enjoy this program. It’s a treat; the kind of show that reminds us why we need the BBC.

A couple of other BBC audio gems, Reunification (Radio 4) and The first time With… (6 Music), were recently repurposed (copied) from commercial radio and converted into podcasts. I have nothing against the format rip-off; a lot of excellent art has arisen from someone trying to do an existing thing better or different. But the two new shows are unfortunately not the best. First up is Jenni Falconer’s new Smooth Radio podcast. Famous premieres. This is billed as chatting with celebrities about their first few times: the first single purchased, the first gig, the first time they realized they were famous, and so on. Fine. But what the podcast format hides is that these interviews are effectively just mini-chats.

There was a perfectly nice chat with Ed Sheeran in the launch episode. But the whole show only lasted 17 minutes, and much of it was music. In essence, poor Falconer made a program out of a 10-minute encounter with the singer. Last week’s show featured Michael Bolton, who is also on the press track (he also appeared on Radio 2). This suffered from the opposite problem of the Sheeran Show: Bolton rambled about too long in his boring monotonous tone. Falconer did very well on both, but this is less of a “first-time” interview show and more an addendum to various celebrities’ press campaigns. She deserves better.

Reunification was reinvented as Ry Union, in which Rylan Clark-Neal, whom I like very much, brings celebrities back together with important personalities from their careers. The opening episode featured the not very famous Cher Lloyd, who 10 years ago when she was just 16 years old the X factor and was quickly labeled bad. At almost an hour, the program was half an hour too long; We spent a good 10 minutes with “hello” s and “how are you”. And what about the goodbye, sorry Ry Union? Well, Lloyd said she’d like to “get all the members of One Direction together in one room … they were such really nice people,” but it wasn’t surprising they didn’t show up. Instead we heard from the X factor Choreographer Brian Friedman and competitor Mary Byrne. Hmm

Cher Lloyd, guest of Ry-Union.
Cher Lloyd, first guest at Ry-Union. Photo: David Levene / The Guardian

Somebody has to get a tougher producer for this show and they have to do it quickly. Podcasts rely more and more on celebrity encounters (I can’t bring myself to call them interviews) and broadcasters need to be aware that these can only work with ruthless production. Access is not enough. It has to be worked. This is our time that you are wasting.

I’m late for the new second series on the UK Investigative Podcast Bed of liesbut, hurray, that meant I could enjoy all seven episodes. Anyone who listened to the first series, about women seduced by undercover agents into long-term relationships, expects an excellently researched but disturbing hearing, and that’s what we get. Bed of lies affects British people who were given blood infected with HIV and hepatitis C in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Sounds like a less promising topic, but it does Bed of lies Team reporter Cara McGoogan and producer Sarah Peters ensure that time and dignity are given to the true, heartbreaking stories of those who suffer. These real life stories run alongside the tireless fact-finding through the podcast. There are moments on this show that I won’t forget; his dogged humanity reminds me of Nick Wallis’ audio exposure of the post-computer scandal. Highly recommended.

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