Exclusive: The Future Of Radio Four

The BBC Trust has decided that Radio 4 is too London-centric and needs to broaden its appeal to gain younger, more Northern listeners. In a secret test broadcast, Money Box Live was one of the first programmes to leave Broadcasting House in search of its new target audience. Presenter Vincent Bumblebee and investment expert Tarquin Farquhar-Urquhart braved calls from a broad cross-section of ordinary Northern would-be listeners. SomethingBlonde has obtained the transcript.

VB: Hello, and welcome to this very special edition of Money Box Live. We’ll be taking your questions on a wide range of financial matters, so whether it’s Capital Gains Tax, overseas investments, or saving for your kids’ school fees, please give us a call. Here to help me is Tarquin Farquhar-Urquhart of City investment firm Swindells, Cheetham, Steel and Osborne.

TF-U: Hello, Vincent. It’s a pleasure to be here, I must say the North is much bigger than I’d imagined.

VB: Yes, and it’s lovely to see all the children wearing shoes. Anyway, without further ado, let’s go to the phones. Our first caller is Frank, and he wants to ask a question about investments. Hello, Frank.

Frank: Yes, hello. I want ter ask a question about investments.

VB: Yes, Frank, and what’s the question?

Frank: Yes. Erm. Well, it’s a bit complicated really. I were cleaning up after Arthur, that’s our lass’s dog, the other day, and I found an old-fashioned ten pound note down back of t’sofa. So I were wondering, like, is it still legal?

TF-U: Well, Frank, the bad news is that you won’t be able to spend it in a shop, but the rather better news is that the Bank of England, that’s down in London, will exchange it for a legal note for you if you take it to them. It should only cost you seventy or eighty pounds on the train. Did you want to ask something else?

Frank: Yes, well, see, thing is, I were wondering where to invest it to get best return?

TF-U: Well, there is a wide range of very good investment products on the market, but I’d recommend that you talk to a good financial adviser who can point you towards the best solution for your specific circumstances. There’d be a fee, of course, but it shouldn’t be more than about three hundred poun…

Frank: No, no, what I meant were: which is best? Horses or greyhounds?

TF-U: Well, to be honest with you, Frank, I don’t think the sort of sums you’re talking about would really be able to buy you any decent breeding stock…

VB: Actually, Tarquin, I think if it’s ok with Frank, we’ll leave that call there and move on to our next question. This one comes from Claire, and she’d like to know about student loans, isn’t that right Claire?

Claire: Yes, hi, I’m doing A levels this year? And I’ve heard all this stuff about student loans, and having to pay thousands of pounds, and I’m not sure I can get that kind of money, I mean I’ve got a part-time job in Starbucks, and my friend Melissa works in TK Maxx when she isn’t looking after her little brother, but…

VB: Sorry to interrupt you, Claire, but time’s pressing, so what is it that you want to ask?

Claire: Well, I’m just wondering, where’s the best place to get the loan from? Should I try to get a credit card or would it be better to go for one of those places that advertise on the telly?

TF-U: Hahaha, no, Claire. I don’t think you quite understand. You see, what happens is, the Government will pay your fees and then you’ll have to pay them back once you start working and earning a salary. In actual fact, you’re in quite a lucky position because you live in the North. That means that you’re likely to be earning, on average, 18% less than your less fortunate contemporaries in London, and so of course you won’t have to pay the loan back so quickly.

VB: Doesn’t that mean, though, that she’ll be paying more back in interest?

TF-U: Well, theoretically, yes, but I think what’s important to remember is that here in the North, it’s much less likely that she’ll actually get a job and so she won’t have to pay anything back at all, hahaha.

VB: Claire, I hope that answers your question. Next on the line, we’ve got Minnie. Are you there, Minnie?

Minnie: Hello?

VB: Hello, Minnie, can you hear me? You’re through to Money Box Live. What’s your question?

Minnie: Who’s that? Is that you, Vera? Why’s your voice all deep? Have you forgotten your tablets again?

VB: Oh dear, we seem to have a slight technical hitch there, so let’s move on to our next caller, who is… Jim. What’s your question for Tarquin, Jim?

Jim: Well, I’d just like to ask about benefits, really. I’ve been off work with a bad back for a couple of years, and I’ve spent most of it just sitting in the house. I always used to be quite an outdoorsy type, if you know what I mean, I’ve only got a little dinghy (Note: at this point there is a sound not unlike sniggering on the tape, but the transcriber has been unable to ascertain the source of it), but I used to love going out on the reservoir in it at the weekend, but since I’ve been housebound I’ve put a fair bit of weight on, and I can’t get in it any more. I was just wondering if I’m entitled to any kind of benefits to help me get a bigger one?

TF-U: Well, Jim, I’m quite glad you asked that question, as it’s a nice straightforward one to answer. All you need to do is to write to the Treasury, tell them – and it’s important you use these words – that you’re ‘too big to sail’, and I’m sure they’ll be happy to help you out. You’ll be buoyant again in no time, and let’s hope there’ll be no need for any more bailing out, hahahahahaha.

VB: Let’s not get carried away, Tarquin.

– transcript ends –

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~ by somethingblonde on February 9, 2011.

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