Saturday, 27 July 2013


This afternoon I'm on BBC Radio Leicester as a guest of Ed Stagg. Ed (photo above) hosts a weekly panel show, broadcast live from 1200-1400, discussing what he describes as “the Big Questions, from the scientific to the silly.” Ed hopes "to create the atmosphere of a relaxed and fun 'coffee-table' chat" on air.

The two other guests are Gordon Cooper (Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Leicester) and Elaine Pantling (comedienne, actress and writer who performs as the one-woman Laurie Lorry Theatre Company).

I know Elaine (indeed the last time I did this show she was on the panel too) but not Gordon. I’m surprised Elaine and I are back together so soon, as they normally mix the guests up a bit more. But Ed tells us that we worked together so well last time, that they thought they should have us back together.

In the studio: Elaine Pantling, Gordon Cooper, Ed Stagg
I've been on Radio Leicester's Saturday afternoon show three times before, when the show was hosted by Damien St John (see blog entries for 14 July 2012 and 3 November 2012) and once with Ed as host (see blog entry for 26 January 2013).

A couple of days before the show we each receive an email and phone call from Ed, briefing us on the forthcoming show. We each have a question to which he'd like us to respond, then encourage us all to discuss - and for listeners to email, text or tweet about
. Our questions are as follows:
  • "What’s a garden for?" (for Gordon)
  • "Are we funny?" (for Elaine)
  • "How do I keep the faith?" (for me)
  • "What’s in a name?" (for everyone)

Elaine has us indulge in a quarter of an hour of improvised comedy, which had to be heard to be believed. We were each issued with props for sound effects ( yes, the mind boggles, faithful reader!)

Gordon, Elaine & Ed - with props!
Each of us gets to choose a song. Ed asks us to keep it "radio-friendly" and preferably something that relates to our specialism, our question or something that fits the week. Mine is King for a Day by XTC for what I hope are obvious reasons.

Oh, and while I was writing this blog post, I made an unexpected find: XTC performing King for a Day on Late Night with David Letterman, 30 June 1989. Enjoy this lovely piece of serendipity, my friends.

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