One such is the doyen of Radio Five, Peter Allen, who retired today at the age of seventy. Well almost retired since he is returning in the autumn for a Sunday evening news review show.
I’ve stuck with Radio Five since it launched in 1994 and Allen and Jane Garvey were the first presenters of the morning news programme. Four years later he moved to the evening Drive show which he stuck at for sixteen years before ‘semi-retirement’ for a three-day-a-week mid-morning slot.
Throughout it all, he epitomised a style that the Times described as ‘friendly, informal, brisk, and mercifully, not terribly politically correct’, not that he ever let any politician off the hook when they tried to evade his questions. In fact, it was interesting that on this, his last day in the hot seat, the politicians he chose to mark the event were Ken Clarke, Shirley Williams and Alan Johnson on the basis that they were among the few who would always give him a straight answer.
Perhaps Allen had become a bit of an anachronism now that the trend is for broadcasters to adopt a more abrasive, confrontational style. The truth is, they could learn a lot from Allen and he will be most definitely missed in the Parrot household.