Jo And Simon – A Farewell Note

So tonight sees the final radio outing for a duo that
to put it mildly have turned a few heads.


Earning a mention every week on the Radio Times letters page,
and even gaining an appearance on the magazine’s front cover.

Not even the uproar of Matthew Bannister’s changes at Radio 1 in the 90s
managed to achieve the latter.

On a personal level, the two have provided entertainment and company
during another big change, a house move during the summer
made a lot easier under the knowledge that features such
as “End Of Days” and the “Sundowners” will lighten up
the not so good of days.

I may have even put one or two of the much-maligned “Life Hacks”
to practical use.

But on a wider perspective, the decision as to how the show
came about was rushed and half-arsed to a point,
made more the case in a revealing Radio Times article
in October by Mark Lawson.

Also noted by radio critic Gillian Reynolds on Radio 4’s
Feedback, assuming that the old show was hosted solo,
and Jo interrupted the one-to-one listener relationship with Simon.

Only it wasn’t just Simon.

In an attempt to recreate his Radio 1 Breakfast heyday,
Mayo was surrounded by travel reporter Sally, (later Bobbi),
business reporter Rebecca, and most intrusive of all,
high-volumed sports reporter Matt.

Four’s company, but two’s a crowd?…

It may have been down to Whiley being thrown
in to the show, and Mayo being given a new format
altogether, retaining just the long-running
Confessions feature from the old show.

Irate listeners were repeatedly persuaded to give the duo a chance
to find their feet, yet when Liza Tarbuck stood in for Whiley
for a day in October, the chemistry between herself and Mayo
was there in seconds.

Almost identical to the current predicament of Doctor Who,
Jodie Whittaker after a whole series, still struggling to
define herself as the time lord, yet Paul McGann
managed to do so almost immediately despite appearing
in in a one off special (if not counting the internet specials
and audio books).

All the more ironic that Whiley happens to hosting a special
interview with the 13th Doctor as part of Radio 2’s festive schedule,
so they’ll have a bit of common ground at least.

But to steer the Tardis back into the present…

Whilst Simon Mayo was a popular presenter at Radio 2,
it felt like he was falling into the same trap as fellow Radio 1
alumni Steve Wright, and Johnnie Walker.

Not sounding as good as in their Radio 1 heyday.

As the second line of his old theme tune by the Specials states
You can only be young, but for once“.

But that may be the nub of it.

As outside Wogan House, Mayo continues to excel on
his 5 Live film review show with Mark Kermode
which thankfully will continue.

Jo likewise, returns to her early evening slot, moved forward an hour
and taking the Taxi Service with her, making way for the promising
new host Sara Cox with the teatime slot back to two hours.

(And hopefully bringing back the 7 o’clock pips at the end, not just
on Fridays)

A pity the specialist shows including Jamie Cullum, Bob Harris, Cerys,
have all been sidelined another hour because of the debacle,
not to mention documentaries getting dumped at the weekend.

All down to Radio 2’s upper echelons assuming that
listeners want to hear soul music four nights a week.
(Or maybe another desperate diversity stunt,
but that’s best left for another blog post)

On a personal note, the departure of Jo and Simon may be a blessing,
as save for Eddie Mair on Radio 4 (listened to for almost all of
Mayo’s “solo” tenure), I don’t think I’ve ever stuck
with a daily radio show for more than six months.

It’s had it’s moments, but I won’t be mournful of the demise.

And to those who have been whingeing about the pairing
of Jo and Simon (some of it on the verge of abuse)
be very thankful that it’s not been Kermode, Blamires, and Mayo.

That’s a radio combination that would cause even greater outrage.

About Robin Blamires

I live in Margate and am interested in radio and music. Bipolar and ASD.
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