End of an Era

peter-allenIt’s funny how you can feel that you know someone really well even though you never met them, and yet they’ve entered your home on what feels like a daily basis for as long as you can remember.

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.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

3 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 15th September 2016

    I have often listened to him. I liked his style but never knew what he looked like until now.

  • Trevor Rowley 17th September 2016

    I seem to recall that publicity photo of Peter Allen being used several years ago by the Beeb but he still looks remarkably young for a seventy year old. I always found his programme something of a sanity haven in a sea of broadcasting junk (think of the inane offerings on stations like Key 103). Radio Five seemed to be at its best when Victoria Derbyshire was involved, and Peter Allen would be teased by Asma Mir because he belonged to an older generation (nowt he could do about that) but he took it in good part. I rarely get chance to listen to radio these days (long story) but I do enjoy rolling news on Sky and BBC when I get chance.

    • Mr Parrot 19th September 2016

      For me, Peter Allen was at his best when paired with Jane Garvey before she swanned off to Woman’s Hour and it will be interesting to see how it works out on their new Sunday evening show. Victoria Derbyshire was okay until she began to take herself too seriously and went all tabloid in her broadcasting style. But that’s just my opinion!


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