Thursday, August 14, 2008

White Van Man is her creation

Clair and RoMo mentioned Sarah Kennedy on the Wogan thread. She does polarize people, doesn't she?

I remember her on Game For A Laugh, and always thought she was a bit of a blue stocking. I was unaware she was on Radio 2 until I started listening to it, and when I went to find the face behind the voice, I was quite shocked at how she'd aged. Rumours of a love of the sauce may well be true.

Some say she's a racist. Some say she's right-wing. These things might be true, judging by some of her comments. I hear a bit of her every other day when it's my turn to get up and feed the cat, which is around 6.50am. I find her pleasantly irritating, and I'm shocked at how she gets away with her startlingly strong opinions. She's possibly the only person on national radio to really say what she thinks - now that may be good or it may be bad. You decide.

However, 'Bunty', as she styles herself, does have a huge following, much like Wogan, with her love of cats, her 'much beloved', her time on forces radio in the far east, the showtime showtune section, etc. (I had to go on Wikipedia to find out the meaning of SWs, which stand for Steve Wrights - as in, people writing into him telling they love the show, so shorthand for those saying they're loving her show is SWs). But I think she might talk about the very same things every day and doesn't realise it, while the audience is too tired to care. It's just a voice, and quite a soothing sing song one at that, which at that hour washes over you. She's probably too pickled to care.

So do I like her? Not really - some of the things she's said have been BNP-worthy - but as far as radio shows go, it's quite compulsive, even for the 15 or so mintues I hear it. Don't make me sit through a whole one though.

But I just wonder how she's lasted so long. Does she know where the bodies are buried?


Matthew Rudd said...

She's lasted so long simply because her audience is massive. 6am to 9am are the biggest radio timeslots for public attention anywhere on the dial, and she and Wogan have, despite being very different individuals, mopped up the excess very impressively. For all the changes that have happened at Radio 2 in the last decade - Vine, Wright, Evans, Maconie, Long, Ross, O'Leary - you'll notice that the weekday mornings are the same as they ever were. This is simply because they work too well to risk changing.

For what it's worth, I suspect Kennedy will resign when Wogan retires. They have a collective whimsy which, even though it is politically poles apart, connects into one another well as a smart contrast to the "SHOUTY SHOUTY SHOUTY!" element you find on most breakfast shows in the commercial sector. Whoever replaces Wogan will be so unlike Wogan, as the man himself has no equal, that Kennedy will be too much of a fish out of water. Her slot may disappear entirely into a longer Wogan replacement, as no other breakfast show starts as late as Wogan's and his only does because he says it should.

Five-Centres said...

You're right of course, Matt. I wonder who could replace Wogan?

Ross? Maconie? Evans? Wright?

Roman Empress said...

Ah, so I must have heard 'white van man' from her early one morning in bed listening to the radio. My brother recently had a Saturday job driving boxes of organic vegetables in a white van and I jostled him about it. He still to this day thinks I made the concept up as due to an injection of paranoia caused by me, he sought reassurance from his friends, who confessed to never having heard the term and its paedophile connotations. All is now explained.

Matthew Rudd said...

Evans is the only obvious candidate from the current set-up, but I suspect something has already been arranged with a Mr Tarrant.

Five-Centres said...

Oh I do hope not - I can't bear him.

Stuart Maconie should replace Chris Evans. He's ace.

Matthew Rudd said...

Chris Evans is the most natural broadcaster of the candidates you list and the only one who has a successful breakfast history. As Radio 2's audience becomes the 'next generation', he is easily the best option if they appoint from within.

Bright Ambassador said...

It'll be a poison chalice for any relative 'unknown'. Look at what happened to my mate Ken Bruce in 1985.

If it's Tarrant then my tradition of NOT listening to the Radio2 breakfast show will continue.

Ishouldbeworking said...

Bloody hell, doesn't Sarah Kennedy look like ET?

Matthew Rudd said...

Tarrant is the obvious outside choice after 20 years waking up more than half of London and, generally, a very good national image, despite not being a national radio personality.

It's Evans or Tarrant. I can't think of anyone else with enough credentials and national profile. Even though Radio 2 have a penchant for arrowing in celebs who can't do radio, I doubt they would risk doing that when Wogan walks away.