Belfast Telegraph

The Radio Times, they are a-changing

Nothing ever stays the same - not even the Radio Times which has been a national institution since I was a boy.

It was the magazine I graduated to after comics like the Rover and the Champion - although I was reading the Belfast Telegraph from a very early age!

I loved gleaning information about stars like Tommy Handley from popular comedy It's That Man Again; crooner Jimmy Young around the time of his hit, The Man from Laramie; Jimmy Edwards and Joy Nicholls of Take It From Here. I listened to them all and others during the Light Programme on our crackling wireless - long before TV came along.

Now the BBC in its wisdom has sold off the Radio Times to a company called Exponent. I wonder if it will ever be the same again.

The magazine was launched in 1923 and so is nearly as old as the Beeb itself. Its editorial team refused to change its name in the 50s when television was about to make an impact, and Radio Times it remains to this day. Of course, telly fills much of its pages today.

I love the story of how this magazine came about in the first place. Daily newspapers of the day saw radio as a rival and refused to publish listings of programmes unless the BBC paid them.

So the decision was taken to go it alone and Radio Times was born with the first Director General, Lord Reith, giving the go ahead.

It's true when they say some memories stay with you forever. I'll never forget tuning into Children's Hour when I was at primary school and listening to the gentle voice of its host, Cicely Mathews.

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