AFTER 250 episodes - 529, if you also include his first stint between 2006 and 2013 - 4,878 questions, and 304 panellists, Colin Murray finally drew a close to his time presenting 5 Live’s sporting banterama Fighting Talk last Saturday morning. 

He did his thank yous at the top of the hour - to the backroom staff, the panellists - “Well, the 47 I like” - and “most importantly” to the listeners, before declaring, “There, that’s done. No more fuss please.” 

There was a bit anyway.

Earlier in the morning he had given his reasons to Patrick Kielty also on 5 Live. “I don’t want to do an Arsene Wenger, you know,” Murray said. “You’ve got to go when you’ve got to go.”

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It should be said that statement came somewhere in the middle of a typically discursive link which also took in Mariah Carey, Kielty’s new job as presenter of RTE’s The Late Late Show (a big deal in Ireland, not so much here perhaps), barbs about their respective football teams (Liverpool and Man U; predictably Northern Irish choices there - some of us from the province were more imaginative and, as a result, have been subject to more misery over the years) and even a callout for Crazy Prices and Wellworths; Northern Ireland’s “supermarkets” before mainland outfits like Tesco came over and took over. 

“You do realise that the whole of England thinks you have just mispronounced Woolworths,” Kielty pointed out to Murray. 

Murray has always been Fighting Talk’s greatest asset. A host as quick-witted and amusing as his guests. But there’s no denying the programme has always been a prime example of Bloke Radio, even if, as on last Saturday’s Champion of Champions show, it included Eleanor Oldroyd as one of the panellists. 

In some ways, then, it was almost appropriate that one of Murray’s last contributions was to scatalogically mispronounce Coventry City (add an H into the second word and you get the gist). Such is the joy of live radio. 

He will be missed.

Sometimes quick wit and humour - Northern Irish accent or not - aren’t enough though. Comedian Jayde Adams has a newish Radio 4 comedy show entitled Welcome to the Neighbourhood, the second episode of which aired yesterday (all episodes are available on BBC Sounds) in which she read threads from community apps and message boards. That feels a bit like a back of a fag packet pitch and even at 15 minutes the result felt overstretched despite the best efforts of Adams and her guest Kiell Smith-Bynoe

(though you did have to agree with both that a £3 mark-up on a block of cheese in a local shop in the Highlands was taking the proverbial).

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By contrast, listening to Radio 4’s One to One on Tuesday morning, in which Channel 4’s Great Pottery Throwdown judge Keith Brymer Jones chatted with psychotherapist Susie Orbach, was a reminder of how much you could actually cram into 15 minutes. And also, sticking to this week’s theme, how there’s more to blokiness than banter.

The discussion between the two of them was pegged to Brymer-Jones’s rather sweet propensity to be moved to tears by the efforts of the Throwdown contestants.

“I see no shame in that,” he told Orbach. “I don’t see why there should be shame involved in outwardly pouring your emotions.”

It’s a form of communication, he suggested. “Absolutely, it’s another form of speech for you,” Orbach agreed. “I think there is something lovely about the fact that you are a blokey bloke and you’re very full on. It's unexpected.”

Brymer-Jones and Orbach also managed to squeeze into their allotted quarter of an hour a discussion about prison workshops, bereavement counselling, and more on why crying is not a sign of weakness.

“The capacity to cry often goes along with strength,” Orbach suggested. “It isn’t about being wimpish at all. It’s about connection. It’s about feeling understood. It’s about being seen.”

Even on the radio, it seems.


Listen Out For: New Music Fix Daily, 6 Music, Monday to Thursday, 7pm

6 Music’s refresh of its evening output kicks off tonight despite a very cool reception by listeners for the plans. Tom Ravenscroft and Deb Grant host this new 7pm show, with Marc Riley now on from 10pm. Unless it’s Tuesday or Wednesday when Riley co-presents with Gideon Coe. Are you following all that?