Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

PM (BBC Radio 4)

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Covid-19
Genre  Current affairs
Language(s)  English
Country  UK
Home station  BBC Radio 4
Running time  Weekdays: 60 minutes Saturday: 30 minutes
Hosted by  Eddie Mair Carolyn Quinn

PM, sometimes referred to as the PM programme to avoid ambiguity, is BBC Radio 4's long-running early evening news and current affairs programme.

Contents

Broadcast times

PM is broadcast from 5pm to 6pm from Monday to Friday and from 5pm to 5:30pm on Saturdays. On weekdays it is followed by another news programme, the Six O'Clock News. The weekday editions are usually presented by Eddie Mair.

History

PM launched on 6 April 1970, with its first presenters, William Hardcastle and Derek Cooper, promising a programme that "sums up the day, and your evening starts here". It made history for being the first radio news programme to feature its own theme tune. Three have been used, with the last ending in 1997 in the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana.

The First two PM theme tunes were by John Baker and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Notable presenters after William Hardcastle included Steve Race, Brian Widlake, Robert Williams, Chris Lowe, Joan Bakewell, Susannah Simons, Rachael Heyhoe Flint and Valerie Singleton (a former Blue Peter presenter — in pre-interview chats, junior ministers "inevitably" claimed that they still had their Blue Peter badge).

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the programme's main presenter was Gordon Clough, who would typically prepare for the programme by completing the Times, Guardian and FT crosswords.

Valerie Singleton and Hugh Sykes co-presented the show during the 1980s but had a difficult relationship, with Singleton admitting she threw a cup of water in his face while live on air. Singleton made a one-off return to PM on 29 February 2016 to co-present a special 'Leap Day' programme, alongside Eddie Mair, and proposed marriage to him at the end of the programme.

Former

  • Steve Race (1970-1972)
  • Brian Widlake (1970s/1980s)
  • Valerie Singleton (1981-1992)
  • Hugh Sykes (1987-1993)
  • Chris Lowe (1992-?)
  • Dan Damon (1996-2003)
  • Clare English (1997-2003)
  • Nigel Wrench (2003-2008)
  • Paddy O'Connell (??-2008)
  • iPM

    On 12 October 2007, the programme started an additional blog for a spin-off programme called iPM, broadcast on Saturdays at 5:30pm (immediately after the Saturday edition of PM) until 22 December and available as a podcast. 'Through the blog, iPM listeners could discuss ideas with the production team and comment on the stories being lined up for the following show - so what ended up on air was shaped by the listeners.

    Quirky features

    Though predominantly consisting of serious news, the programme is known for occasional satirical commentary, both from the presenters and in letters from listeners.

    In 2008 the programme renamed its financial news slot "Upshares, Downshares" and used the title music of the television drama Upstairs, Downstairs, composed by Alexander Faris. In 2009, variations on the tune performed by PM listeners in a variety of styles from bossa nova to heavy metal became a regular feature. This ended when the UK statistically left recession early in 2010. In October 2010, a compilation was released in aid of the Children in Need charity appeal, for which it raised over £70,000.

    Production

    PM is currently edited by Roger Sawyer. The production team also works on Radio 4's The World at One, The World This Weekend and Broadcasting House.

    A Radio Times poll in 2005 named Mair as the fifth most powerful person in radio.

    Awards

    The programme won two accolades in the 2007 Sony Radio Academy Awards: Gold in the Interactive Programme Award, and Silver for Speech Programme.

    References

    PM (BBC Radio 4) Wikipedia


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