Readers vent their anger about changes to Simon Mayo’s Drivetime
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There are a lot of unhappy people out there, writes Sheen Grant.
I’ve been stunned by the reaction to last week’s column about changes to Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 Drivetime Show, which unleashed a torrent of anger and raw emotion from hundreds of readers, all of whom were keen to vent their anger, hurt and annoyance, writes Thrifty Living’s Sheena Grant.
More than 100 people emailed in one day alone to say they too find the new format, with Jo Whiley as Simon’s co-presenter, dull, disastrous and a waste of licence fee payers’ money.
One of them, Alison Westbrook, summed up the mood. “There are thousands of not just disappointed, but distraught listeners who feel that they have no voice,” she wrote. “We are complaining in our droves and it appears to be falling on deaf ears. The sheer joy of listening to the old show has been taken away. In its place is a programme that, at best, is passable but, at worst, is uncomfortable listening; comparable to watching someone forget their lines at the theatre in front of an audience of millions.”
I asked the BBC for a comment but got only the standard response that many people who wrote to me complained of. “Every new show needs time to settle down and so we hope listeners will continue to listen and give it a chance,” the BBC said.
Meanwhile, I’ve had a letter from Barry Emms, of Stowmarket, in response to the saga of my ageing washing machine, 22 years old and getting a little noisy on the spin cycle. Barry says his father, a policeman by profession, was mechanically-minded and in the early 1950s actually made a top-loading washing machine for the family.
“Mum used it for many years,” says Barry. “It was interlocked for safety so that the machine stopped when the lid was lifted. It was quite elegant and at that time most people would not have been able to buy a machine even if they could find one in the shops. Dad also made a food mixer, radio-gram, a power-assisted cycle, and a wood-turning lathe. Those were the days; if you couldn’t afford it or make it, you went without.”
Which, in a way, brings me back to Simon Mayo’s original drivetime, something, I fear, we’ll also have to continue going without.