Where have all the Good Times gone?

As alluded to in this week’s Digi-Cream Times mailout, the Radio Times has undergone a revamp and accompanying price rise.

In her indulgently-extended introductory column, Gill Hudson justifies the extra two pence by contesting “we still, however, represent the best value for money in the premium listings market.”

This is akin to Tony Blair arguing that, regardless of everything he’s done, he can still be considered the best Prime Minister of Britain to have been named Tony Blair. Or Elaine Paige’s Radio 2 Sunday lunchtime showtunes programme calling itself “the nation’s most listened-to showtunes programme”. Something being unique (in a quantitive sense) can’t be used as a justification in and of itself! What on earth is Gill talking about?!

Fortunately, once you remove that adhesive doobrey from the contents page, the residual gum means that when you next come to open your copy of Radio Times, Gill’s introduction remains stuck to the inside cover and you are carried straight over into the magazine proper.

As for the revamps, it’s hard to see in what ways your average denizen of the radio pages will benefit from the inclusion of scheduling information detailing when they can hear the likes of G Child, Twin B, Semtex and Xzibit on 1Xtra, even if they do promise “party flavas”. At least one reader, meanwhile, thought he’d never live to see the day when Hawksbee and Jacobs got their own billing.

In the TV pages, meanwhile, Gill has retained the most useless element (Today’s Choices, more often than not Today’s Programmes We Don’t Really Like But Are The Only Ones We Can Think Of Anything To Write About) but expanded the digital pages to the extent of giving the same amount of space to both BBC4 and ITV4, thereby implying some kind of parity of importance and quality between them.

Ah well. In time it’s probable all this will start to feel like the norm. But there have been a hell of a lot of revamps of RT recently, none of them self-evidently necessary nor demonstrably an improvement on the last.

Oh, and Alison Graham’s photo seems to have been replaced with that of a spinster in a smock who’s just stood in a pheasant poacher’s trap.

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