I SUSPECT I am not the target audience for Fortunately (Radio 4), where Fi Glover and Jane Garvey talk to each other in a very podcasty way. But I can see why people would like it.

Glover and Garvey are friends and that comes across. They talk about everyday stuff – pets, the bins, the mashed potato blandness of the recent Covid-coloured festive season – in an amused and amusing way. At one point in the first episode of their new series on Tuesday night Garvey had to disappear. “Just excuse me one minute, the decorator is shouting,” she told listeners.

At another Glover started telling us about her frozen shoulder. “If you say to a group of female friends, ‘I’ve got a frozen shoulder’ … I was going to say half of them will put their hand up, but they can’t.”

They even have a go at being agony aunts during which they talk menstruation, grief and homesickness.

But the reason I turned in on Tuesday was their guest was Liza Tarbuck. Jimmy’s daughter (and Pauline’s, as Tarbuck Jr would be the first to remind you), best known as a radio DJ on Radio 2.

And she’s very good at it. Glover and Garvey are big fans. “It’s rarer and rarer for people who really understand radio to get on air …” they tell her at one point, “but you just know radio and you make it special.”

There is a lot in that. Tarbuck’s Saturday evening show on Radio 2 is a mad thing. Her music choices are entertainingly eccentric (mostly) - last Saturday’s choices started with The Du Droppers and then took in Dexys, “Peculiar” Clarke, Kae Tempest, Department S, Sports Team and Julia Lee & Her Boy Friends amongst others – but it’s the monologues in between that mark her out.

Helped out by listener’s contributions (including on Saturday one listener’s erotic dream about Robbie Coltrane), Tarbuck creates a little sonic world of nonsense, fuelled by various accents, her distinctive wordplay and a filthy laugh. In this respect she’s in the radio tradition of Wogan and Everett. She doesn’t intrude into your world. You have to enter her’s.

(Shaun Keaveny’s show on 6 Music that ended last year did something similar. Keaveny has now moved onto podcasts).

“Steve is having spag bol tonight. Isle of Wight recipe. I don’t know what the secret ingredient might be. Resentment?” Tarbuck asks, laughing.

“Is anyone in charge of what you do and say" Garvey and Glover asked Tarbuck on Fortunately. You can probably guess the answer.


On Monday Elvis Costello talked to Nihal Arthanayake on 5 Live about his passion for the Welsh broadcaster Mavis Nicholson, working with Burt Bacharach and mortality, his own and others.

Talking about the death of his mother last year, the emotion in his voice was palpable.

What he took from that experience, he told Arthanayake, “was the will to live, the desire to live, even when things are compromised.”

We can’t go on, we go on, to slightly misquote Samuel Beckett. He’d have been great on Radio 2.

Listen Out For: Archive on 4: Bloody Sunday – 50 Years On, Radio 4, 8pm, tonight. Peter Taylor has done more than most to explain Northern Ireland’s Troubles. Here, he revisits what happened in Derry on that awful day 50 years ago.

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