Recently I went to stay with friends who have a home in North Cornwall. Now, I have to confess that I am not a TV addict and when I am in our house in the Suffolk countryside I hardly ever switch on the television.
However, one afternoon I was taken for a walk to the delightful Cornish seaside village of Port Isaac. We leaned on a wall by the old school house and my friend pointed across to the other bank. ‘That’s Doc Martin’s House’ she said. ‘Who’s he’, I replied, ‘and how do you know him?’
Well, my ignorance was soon corrected and later that night we found on YouTube one of the first episodes of what I now know to be a really popular television series set in this little Cornish port. I learned that it had been running for about five years and was immensely popular even though some of the stereotypes portrayed annoyed some of the Cornish people.
What I liked about the programme was that Martin Clunes played a brilliant
part as the local GP renowned for his extremely brusque manner and if one appreciated the fact that the characters were extreme stereotypes, then it was all very enjoyable.
As I can’t stand the constant diet of violence that comes across our screens, Doc Martin was a delight but as TV and radio go, I have to say that we still have one of the best outputs of any country in the world. I am worried, however, about some of the recent changes proposed for BBC radio. I heard the Chairman of the BBC say recently that nothing would be changed until there had been a full public consultation, so let me start the ball rolling in this column.
My two favourite stations are Radio Four and Radio Three with an occasional dip into Radio Four Extra once called Radio Five. I assume that many listeners tune into Radio Four because they appreciate a thoughtful station largely devoted to speech, with occasional forays into music via Desert Island Discs and the like.
On Radio Four one can get all the news and commentary that any individual would require and for respite one turns to Radio Three. Now can the BBC please tell me why, oh why, do they consider it necessary to inflict short bursts of news and items from the newspapers on us on what I thought was mainly a music channel?
Many of us turn to Radio Three to get away from the news but the BBC seem insistent that we will listen and we will like it. If I was the Director of Programming I would have one fifteen minute news programme on Radio Three in the morning and that would be it! As for the Radio Three phone-ins! We all know that phone-ins are a cheap form of broadcasting but are they necessary on Radio Three? We can hear all the opinions from the public we want on Four and Five and on countless commercial stations. Why invade Radio Three?
It is often said that stations must attract younger people but does no one in the BBC recognizes that young people grow older! There was a time when my own children would not consider listening to Radio Four. Today, now they are much older, it’s a different story. I believe that in the past years the BBC has spread too widely, excellent though it is. It ought to concentrate on quality programming and stop worrying about ratings.
Perhaps some of the Doc Martin grumpiness has rubbed off on me in this column but I would be interested to know what readers think. Am I being too old fashioned in my views? I certainly would like to know and I guess the BBC might be interested also.
Man's inhumanity to animals - 10 February 2012
Campaigns & Issues
Pension Trends, Chapter 5: State Pensions, 2013 Edition
A larger proportion of men than of women receive the full Basic State Pension (BSP): in September 2012, 80% of male pensioners received full BSP compared with only 46% of female pensioners.
Surge in population
Britain's population could surge to 132 million over the next century thanks to growing life expectancy and high immigration, officials said this week.
People born in 25 years’ time are likely to live five years longer than those born today, according to the forecast by the Office for National Statistics.
The ONS said UK life expectancy for 2012 is 78.7 years for men and 82.4 for women – but in 25 years time this will have climbed to 84 for men and 87.3 for women.
Competitions & Fun
Win a copy of Michael Ball's new DVD - Both Sides Now Tour
Michael Ball’s first live DVD in 2 years - filmed live in concert at the Hammersmith Apollo
Includes Exclusive Bonus CD – 8-track CD Featuring hit songs from Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera… plus all his latest hits.
Both Sides Now the album has sold over 100,000 copies since launch
Michael Ball is one the UK's most loved performers. From leading the cast of Les Misérable, to singing his heart out to adoring audiences around the world, fans can treasure their favourite singer live in concert.
Win one of 31 fabulous travel treats from Silver Travel Advisor this December
Enter now and you could win one of the 31 travel treats from our Christmas Stocking.
Silver Travel Advisor is a friendly website packed with advice, tips, information and honest reviews written by and for silver travellers (aged over 50). A team of advisors are on hand to answer queries (for free), and you can share your own experiences too.
Health & Wellbeing
Tackling the challenges of dementia
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is pleased to announce that, along with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) it's awarding £20 million to six research projects which will significantly add to our understanding of dementia.
Amongst other things, the research will look at how we can better prevent dementia, and improve the quality of life of those with dementia and their carers.
Property & Finance
Retirement income needs to come from a variety of sources
After a year-long study into the consumer experience of buying an annuity, the Financial Services Consumer Panel concluded that the market does not work well for the majority of consumers and urged a review. Andy Zanelli, head of retirement planning, AXA Wealth, comments on the need to look at a variety of sources for securing income in retirement.
Leisure and Lifestyle
Robert Tanitch reviews Drawing the Line at Hampstead Theatre, London, NW3.
Pundit Nehru, Muhammad Jinnah, Mahatma Gandhi, Clement Atlee and Louis Mountbatten are the key players, but it is the lesser known Judge Cyril John Radcliffe who holds centre stage in Howard Brenton’s new and absorbing play about the partitioning of India in 1947.
India is a financial burden Britain can no longer afford. Prime Minister Atlee dispatches Radcliffe to divide the sub-continent into two new sovereign dominions. Five weeks to dismantle an empire clearly isn’t long enough. The haste is indecent. But that’s all Radcliffe has.
"I'm a pensioner, get me out of here!"
Today's pensioners may not have to endure daily Bush Tucker trials to top up their shopping baskets but for almost 70% of people surveyed by the deVere Group, cost of living is the primary concern about retiring in the UK.
According the results of a recent survey of 1,231 over 50's questioned by the international financial consultancy, cost of living is the primary motivation for quitting Britain with almost half (49.5%) stating that they have 'seriously considered', 'are thinking about', or 'would be tempted' to live overseas during retirement.
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