BBC Radio’s flagship station BBC Radio 4 will broadcast a day of uninterrupted weeping in June. The station’s best loved presenters will take to the air as normal, but instead of bringing listeners their signature blend of intelligent conversation, news, culture and entertainment they will weep continuously.
Where possible, programmes will not stray too far from their normal subject matter. Ambridge devotees, for example, won’t hear much difference from their usual weekday fare. But Radio 4 fans have been warned to expect uncontrolled sobbing from Edward Stourton and ‘a kind of hysterical wailing’ from Libby Purves, leading the celebrity guests on Midweek, each bringing their own topical snivelling to the studio.
‘The station has never been scared of experiment’ said Controller Gwen Smythe. ‘But perhaps we do need to engage more emotionally with our audience.’ Listeners will be told to expect sobs of physical pain from brave Jenni Murray, agonised incoherent blubbing from Eddie Mair and unashamed bawling from the Money Box team. In the evening, the network has promised to venture into the extremes of hysteria, followed by the first live clinical face-slap on network radio, probably for Steve Punt. This will be sanctioned by Dr Mark Porter who will then burst into tears and run away. Next week, says the press release, he will be discussing feet.
Ms Smythe promises an interactive feel to the day: ‘We’ll be inviting listeners to weep with us onto plastic surfaces, then photograph their tears and send the pictures to our website.’