The decision by BBC Radio 2 to bring to an end Russell Davies’ Sunday night show has been very actively covered by the Telegraph. First to flag up the story was Gillian Reynolds in her round-up of changes at Radio 2, in which she described him as “a first-rate broadcaster of unusual intellectual range who talks to us intimately but with well-mannered humour.” “Can Radio 2 afford to lose a presenter who understands his audience so well?”, she asked.
Mick Brown has also raised the issue in a substantial comment piece arguing that the axeing of the show “robs us to a vital link with the past.”
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In a third piece, Russell Davies himself was interviewed about the decision: “If there is no one on Radio 2 who knows about the standard [.] songs, it is a great shame. There are some people who are being increasingly poorly served by the BBC. People like me, in the BBC local radio firmament as well, are disappearing. I don’t think age has a lot to do with it. I think it is the kind of song. The well written song that was pioneered by the likes of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and the Gershwin duo. It is more [to do with] that catalogue: I don’t know what [Radio 2] have got against that. I think there’s a risk that the longer memory of music is being lost from the station … It’s a complete waste.”
This is shocking and infuriating. Russell Davies' show is my favourite program on Radio 2. I find it unbelievable that anyone would want to put an end to it. It's a superb piece of work. Do they even listen to it? I hope there's some way to reverse this ridiculous, wrong-headed decision.
The BBC has a very bad record of dumping Radio 2 presenters unceremoniously for no apparent good reason. I still remember the shock when Malcolm Laycock's show was dropped in 2009 and it happened again with Mike Harding and his folk music show last year. Neither presenter went willingly and their departure greatly upset and angered their regular listeners. It takes years to build a loyal and devoted fan-base but these two certainly had one, what is more they were both eminently respected for their presenting skills and knowledge of their chosen music genres. It seems very short-sighted to discard such qualities while presenters are still pleasing their listeners. It would be a completely different matter if they had lost their touch. Even David Jacobs, whose show ended last week, was perfectly able to present up to the last minute though his age was obviously showing somewhat. It was time for him to hang up his broadcasting hat, he knew it and so did his regular listeners so that's fine. He has given many hours of musical enjoyment and may he have a long retirement. No such consideration applies to Russell Davies who is in excellent health and should have another 20 years ahead of him, so why not let his show continue as it is? If it ain't broke, don't fix it, say I. The only vague reason given by the head of Radio 2 for the change is the prohibitive cost, 'we have to make savings in our budget' or some such platitude. When I read of the ludicrous salaries dished out to other radio presenters I shall not name, most of whom have flashier and to my mind shallower styles, I am angered. The BBC should look at its books more closely; another recent revelation is the excessive severance pay doled out to departing bosses, now admitted to be a mistake. And we are talking of millions here, not just a couple of thousands. I doubt very much that the budget of the Russell Davies show runs into such huge figures. So a loud message to Radio 2 decision-makers, leave his show as it is and keep your listeners sweet. We do after all pay the licence fee to hear the music of our choice so kindly bear that in mind.
Russell Davies and his Sunday night show has become alas far to entertaining and informative for the “youth” fixated BBC.
The BBC Radio 2 is now run and presented by ex Radio 1 staff and presenters who know nothing about popular music prior the Beatles.
Alan Dell, Hubert Gregg, Benny Green, all gone.
With the passing of David Jacobs it has become obvious that both Russell Davies and Desmond Carrington are likely to have to walk a very short plank.
Share the reactions of the three earlier commentators. Came back from holiday this week and was astounded to see the Word “antepenultimate” with regard to this week's show. The Art, Craft and Inspiration of the Popular Song describes the programme admirably and it is unfailingly both informative and entertaining. It is the only show on Radio 2 that I listen to regularly. Hope Russell Davies will continue broadcasating on some other station that I can receive.
Russell Davies is a 'must hear' on Sundays and the BBC are taking away from the older generation anything that they enjoy. If they do put on this type of programme it is usually so late that we cannot stay up to hear it. The short sighted programme planners are losing a huge audience, they should leave us alone, after all many of us are over 70 and once we have gone the younger generation can have all the rubbish they want!! Russell's knowledge, humour and information of departures from this world will be sadly missed and I hope a station we can receive via computer takes up his programme.
I agree with all that has been said above. Sunday evening just won't be same without Russell Davies crafted and intellectual musical show. Radio 2 has lost another Sunday evening listener.
Bring back the programme . Sunday nights will not be the same without Russell Davies
Forget the iconic Buggles song, it's surely a case of
'BBC killed the Radio Star'.
Bring back Russell Davies on a Sunday night. If you want to save money get rid of Graham Norton and Elaine Paige!
it is indeed such a shame. Having written to the Controller BBC Radio 2 the disingenuous answer I received was that he had to make a 20% budget saving. I therefore assume that to save money this will mean that between 2100 and 2200 this Sunday night there will be silence as only that is free.
Bring back Russell Davis, quality is a rare commodity, the mindless public prefer people like Chris Evans & the rest of the screamers, the mandate of the BBC was to bring quality to the masses
I can't understand at all why Radio Two have ditched the Russell Davies show. Have they no appreciation of the golden age of song writing. Please think again.
Please please bring back Russell Davis . Who makes these decisions anyway. He had the best programme on Radio 2
All that said – I'm getting quite a few positive comments about Clare Teal's Sunday night show last night.
I think it's about time the anonymous manager/producers responsible for turning Radio 2 into just another soft pop station were named, their pictures and profiles published and made to justify their stupidity.
Absolutely agree with all the previous comments. I have complained direct to the BBC and signed an online petition. No-one can touch Russell Davies in terms of content and presentation.