Thursday, 4 May 2017


 There is a blog post that I've been meaning to write for a long time.

Probably for almost as long as I've had this blog.

Every now and then, especially around Valentine's Day, the temptation has cropped up for me to write it. But I've never really gotten around to it.

For someone who, if you know me in real life, is a bit of a hopeless romantic, and for someone who, if you know me on social media, talks a hell of a lot about my life and things important to me on social media, then there's one thing that has remained largely absent from my posts...

And that's love.

Not love in a general sense. Familial love, or platonic love, features pretty heavily on my social media profiles and postings.

But anything relating to romantic love, certainly in relation to myself, then I've just not talked about it.

I suppose, there is an argument that says that the reason for that is that I've had nothing really to say.

And yet, by the same token, I've had quite a lot to say.

But, possessing the self-awareness that I do, then one of the things that always has stopped me writing such a blog post is the thought that, as a middle-class, straight, white man, with a wonderful, loving family, amazing friends, a good degree course, a nice part-time job, all that...

Well, I've often thought it might come across as a little ungrateful and self-indulgent to write a big post essentially saying "Woe is me, nobody loves me, I can't get a date..."

Okay, admittedly that's not strictly true. I have had relationships of sorts...just nothing really to write home about...

My "relationships" could be summed up as follows: Really sweet conversations, hugs, hanging out, first-dates-that-they-didn't-know-were-dates, nothing-really-happeneds, and Oh-this-might-actually-be-going-somewheres that then fizzled out within a week (made more embarassing by having excitedly told some friends about them).

Given that track record, it's probably unsurprising that I was starting to think it was physically impossible for anyone to really 'love' me in that way. People getting cold feet a week or two in isn't exactly an encouraging sign, even if they did maintain it was an issue more with them than me (which, clich├ęd though that is, I've had no reason to disbelieve in those circumstances). But still, a combination of that and just being flat-out turned down while asking people out did wonders for my self-confidence in the dating department throughout my teenage years, let me tell you...  

What I never predicted, and it's daft in a way that I didn't, is ending up in a relationship with my best friend.

 I first met Mollie-Ann Star in my first year of university. Here was a loud personality who was somewhat intimidating, but clearly knew her own mind, knew who she was, and, without her being vain or self-centred, you were always aware of it when she entered a room...!

I think the first proper conversation I had with Mollie was when I bounded up to her after one of our lectures to compliment her on her impeccable taste in British sitcoms. One of our possible essay topics was to compare Blackadder or Fawlty Towers to commedia del'arte, and in the lecture on the subject, when this was announced as an essay question, Mollie audibly went "YES!".

We didn't particularly talk much after that, but various circumstances ended up coming together to the point that she joined me, Gemma, Stu and Dave (along with my friend Josh), in looking for a 6 bedroom house for us to live together in Second Year. Once it was established that we would be living together, Mollie and Josh started hanging out with us a lot more in their capacity as our future housemates, and indeed as our friends. I went to see Mollie do her stand-up set, as she did mine, and particularly as second year rumbled on, she was a joy to be around, and a right laugh.

Towards the end of second year though, Mollie was noticeably having more trouble with her mental health problems - during her time at university, Mollie was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and this made things incredibly tough for her. There were definitely moments, particularly as second year rolled into third year, where Mollie was really struggling, and she spent a good few nights crying into my shoulders - simply because she needed a friend, and I was there for her.

Stu and I - We're very close...
When Stu moved out of our student house in Hales Place, to embark on a year abroad in Canada which he then didn't go on (long story), I was at something of a loss. Stu, as pretty much the first person I properly met at uni halls was probably the person that I spent many late nights chatting away with, even after everyone else had gone to bed or retired to their rooms.

I am, and always have been, a bit of the ambivert in our house. I'd spend a few hours each evening up in my room, on my laptop, on social media, reading, watching TV, reading a book...and then I'd come downstairs and spend a bit of time with the housemates - usually Stu, Mollie and Dave.

When Stu moved out, the dynamic shifted. I was chatting to Mollie a lot more of an evening. We had Stand-Up Comedy together twice a week, and were working very closely together on it. We worked on many a presentation together, left the house together in the morning, went home together. And at times, when I've been struggling myself this year with looking after other friends who've struggled with their mental health, Mollie has been there for me - solid as a rock. My crutch and my support.

When New Year's Eve came around, who was one of the first people I called on the phone, as the clock struck midnight? Mollie. It says something about the closeness of our friendship and how I felt, and feel about her, that I rang her then.

It's hard really to work out why this all didn't happen a bit sooner. Knowing each other nearly three years, and living together for two, you'd think it would have. But no.

I suppose there are various reasons. The classic adage that you shouldn't "shit where you eat", if you'll pardon the language, probably was there in the backs of our minds. And yet, somehow, especially since the start of this year, we just kept getting closer and closer.

On the 3rd March, 2017, in the early hours of the morning, Mollie-Ann Star asked me to be her boyfriend.

I could not have been more thrilled to say yes.

Two months later, where do we stand?

Well, Mollie just came home with me to London for the weekend, and met Mum, Dad, George and Ruby. We went to Madame Tussauds together, and had a wax mould of our hands holding together (pictured at the top of this blog post). We went to a gig by one of her favourite bands - The Red Paintings. I got to show the woman I love around the place where I grew up.

And as I type this, on the eve of two months having elapsed, then Mollie is on her way back from an Ed Sheeran gig at the O2 (I know, I'm really jealous). But as Ed sang "How Would You Feel", she rang me, and sang along down the phone. I don't think I have ever felt so loved and appreciated, or had such a romantic gesture directed at me, and I sat bawling my eyes out because of how touched and moved I was. Two months in, she still know how to set me off...

I don't know what's going to happen in the future. This is still early days - and yet it's already the longest relationship I've ever been in, and right now I feel I have every cause to be optimistic. I'm having fun, I'm enjoying myself, I'm loving being in her company, and in a personal sense, I am truly, deeply, happy - and God knows, Mollie still keeps me sane.

And I can honestly say that, two months in, I have fallen even deeper in love with Mollie than I was at the start of our relationship. 

After so many years of being rejected, of short-lived relationships that went nowhere, and wondering whether anyone could ever feel that way about me at all, I feel I've finally found a woman who loves and appreciates me for who I am. Who cares for me. Who I feel comfortable with. 

You know when you're 16? And you have a crush on someone? And your stomach just turns and you go weak at the knees every time you talk to them? 

I don't feel that way with Mollie. Yes, she sometimes still gives me butterflies, with that cute smile and her big, gorgeous eyes. But as I've said, the foundation of this relationship was that we were the best of friends, first and foremost. And so there's no awkwardness. No long pauses in conversation where we aren't sure what to say. 

This is Mollie-Ann Star. My best friend, turned girlfriend. She's lovely, and down to earth, and hilarious, and amazing - and after years looking for someone, I found her right under my nose.

Yesterday was two months to the day since we got together.

I hope you get to meet her soon.

I love her.

And I hope you will, too.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Everbody's Talking About Jamie - Review

A New Musical by Dan Gillespie Sells & Tom MacRae
14th February 2017, The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

 Jamie New is sixteen. He’s from Sheffield. And he has a secret; he wants to be a drag queen. Such is the setting for this most unusual of musicals...
The opening number, ‘Don’t Even Know It’, appears to owe something to Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin’s Matilda: school kids in blazer and tie, dancing on old-fashioned desks as we briefly leave the mundanity of the classroom for the fantasy world of the children. Except these aren’t naughty young urchins; they’re Year 11’s, about to take their GCSE’s, being advised on a future career path. This isn’t so much Roald Dahl, as Russell T Davies - appropriate, given writer Tom MacRae’s history of writing for the Davies-era of Doctor Who. Jamie (John Mcrea) is an out and proud sixteen year old, and, as with Davies’ dramas, it’s refreshing to see a gay character so comfortable in his own skin. Largely accepted and embraced by his multi-ethnic cohort, in a day and age where RuPaul’s Drag Race is one of the top shows on Netflix, this musical feels firmly placed in the 21st Century. 

Like the Minchin musical that seemingly inspired some of the staging, the composer's voice shines through in every song; fans of Gillespie Sells’ band The Feeling will recognise his ear for a catchy pop tune, and just as easily imagine him singing each song as ‘Fill My Little World’ or ‘Sewn. But even for those who don’t follow Gillespie Sells’ career religiously, the score is enjoyable and tugs at the heartstrings at the right moments.

Talented newcomer Mcrea plays the titular Jamie with an irresistible charm worthy of the boy himself (the musical is based on the story of Jamie Campbell, featured in the BBC documentary Drag Queen at 16.) Jamie’s loving mother Margaret (Josie Walker), tries desperately to juggle being a single mother enthusiastically encouraging and carefully raising her boy, while trying to maintain the charade that his erstwhile father (Spencer Stafford) still loves and cares for him. Margaret covers for his absence from events in Jamie’s life; after all, no-one wants to grow up resenting their parents. The picture she paints of the distant but ultimately caring father is so tragic that we wish it to be true, despite seeing with our own eyes that it isn’t. 

But Jamie is about more than that. As Director Jonathan Butterell said at the Q&A afterwards, the show is not actually a niche musical about a 16 year old wannabe-drag queen; but a universal story about a boy and his Mum. There are many ‘Jamies’ out there, he said, and in the current political climate, a story like this encourages those Jamies to be open, proud, and say ‘we’re here, we’re real, and we’re not going away’. In an age of a more socially conservative backlash (exemplified by Brexit and Trump) to, in the grand scheme of things, a barely established liberal order, Jamie is a loud proclamation that we should be who we want to be; and, like all good drag queens, it does it in six-inch heels.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Gene Wilder

Excuse the inaccurate trousers and trainers, but given the comparison I'll make between Wilder's Wonka and a certain other character, then perhaps, some red converse trainers were rather appropriate....

R.I.P, Gene Wilder.

Blimey. Quite a thing, to think that he's gone.

Willy Wonka. Always the best.

The Johnny Depp film may have stuck slightly closer to the original book, but nothing compares to this wonderful man's interpretation.

I remember reading an article, several years ago, in an issue of Doctor Who Magazine, which described, in descending order, a dozen or so instances of actors in films or TV shows, who, while not *actually* playing the Doctor, might as well have been, for their interpretation of the given character. Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka topped that list.

Not only was it his wonderful eccentricity, unpredictability and general sense of other-wordly-ness, but his costume, with the bow tie and velvet jacket, is vaguely reminiscent of the Doctor of the time, Jon Pertwee, and his costume in general is very Doctor-ish. Plus, as the article pointed out, all that that scene in the tunnel needed, where he's reciting creepy rhymes, and lights are going off all over the place and with the tension and music building, is that familiar Doctor Who theme sting that came with the cliffhanger at the end of an episode.

I was lucky enough to be able to play a version of Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka at an event in Newham earlier this year, supervising a game where visiting children would look for and find a Golden Ticket. As well as the odd look of wonder and amazement from some kids, I was approached for a few photos and selfies. Much like has often been said about the Doctor, it wasn't so much me they wanted a photo with or had such excitement for, but the affection they had for the *character*, which they would project onto me in portraying it.

It was an immense pleasure sort-of playing a part that really, I feel I could have made more effort to fill the shoes of. I hope that I get the opportunity to do so again at some point, so that I can put even more effort into channeling the indomitable Gene Wilder.

What a thrill.

Sad to see him pass, although he will always live on, for many of us, ' a world of Pure Imagination...'

Friday, 20 May 2016

A response to Sadiq Khan's endorsement of Hillary Clinton:

I love Sadiq Khan. I've been immensely proud of the job he's done as my MP over the last 10 years and of the fact that he's been chosen by over a million Londoners to be the Mayor of London.

And if he wants to support Hillary Clinton, that's his business. But his explanation for why he supports Hillary over Bernie is disappointingly simplistic.

It is a fantastic thing that Greater London has elected its first ever Muslim Mayor, and I do think that it is a tremendous show of the kind of city we are that we had the confidence to do so, especially in the face of such a vile campaign. But Sadiq's religion wasn't an issue until the Tories made it an issue.

Every time I, or my parents, have voted for Sadiq, it hasn't been because he's a Muslim, it's been because of the job he's done as a constituency MP, and because of his politics. The fact that he happened to be of an ethnic minority and thus was a good symbol of the multicultural city that London, and in particular, Tooting, is, is just a bonus - not a reason to vote for him in and of itself. You won't catch me voting for Sajid Javid if the opportunity comes up, for example, because I don't share his politics - at all.
Yes, it does send a nice message if Hillary is elected as the first ever female President of the United States, and that would be inspiring. But I'm sure that felt inspiring for lots of little girls in 1979 with the election of a certain Margaret Thatcher...I suspect the reality of what Mrs Thatcher then did to their communities didn't make her such a great role model to them. See the point I was making about Javid?

Now look, obviously Hillary is to the left of Thatcher and Reagan, and she does have an impressive CV. I respect that. I respect also that in many ways she might have her heart in the right place, and if, as is still fairly likely, she clinches the Democratic nomination, she will have my full support to defeat Trump.
But Bernie WOULD be better. And I'm not just saying that because I agree more with his politics. Its because I've been spending a lot of time studying for myself how American politics has been going for the last year, and things aren't looking good for Hillary. Where once she was leading Trump in every national poll but simply smaller margins than Bernie, now she is in a statistical tie with him in every recent poll released. We're talking broad bases of support? Hillary has Democrats, BAME voters and the over 50s, but she doesn't have young voters (who make up nearly a third of the American electorate in total), white voters (who still make up a substantial amount of the American electorate) and political Independents - what we might call 'swing voters' over here - who vastly outnumber those who call themselves either Republicans or Democrats. 
Bernie, on the other hand, has much higher support among all of the demographics that Hillary fails in, is still largely liked by the Democrats who *aren't* voting for him in the primaries, and, by nature of being the Democratic nominee and being up against Trump, will very likely have the support of the demographics Hillary currently is more favourable among.

The most telling thing Sadiq says in this interview is “I don’t know enough about American politics, but from what I’ve read about the selection, my concern about any candidate where he or she wins their selection, the question is ‘can you then win the election?’

This isn't just an internal party election, Sadiq. In fact it's in the closed primaries, where *only* Democrats can vote, that Hillary's fared better while Bernie has fared worse. In the open primaries, however, where *anyone* can vote, Bernie has been winning by landslides.

Bernie is the only candidate left in the presidential reace with net positive approval ratings. Trump's are climbing, and Hillary's are falling.

Bernie is the only candidate left in the Democratic race that still maintains a consistent and large lead over Donald Trump.

And Bernie is much, much more progressive, and in line with Labour Party values, than Hillary is. It ought to be raising alarm bells that in Westminster, the chair of the Hillary Clinton fan club is a Conservative MP.

Although it appears to have happened on a much smaller scale in British politics than in Britain and America, something big has been happening in Western democracies. The old two-party systems have been falling apart at the seams. Labour's sister party in Greece, PASOK, was annihilated in the 2015 general election and comprehensively replaced with a new party, Syriza.
Similarly, PSOE, Labour's sister party in Spain, has had it's two party hegemony with the PP (Spain's Conservative Party) broken by the arrival of Ciudadanos, the Citizens Party, on the Right, and Podemos on the Left.

The Irish Labour Party has been utterly destroyed, with the worst result it had in its 100+ year history, at the recent election, after having gone into coalition with the right-wing governing party.

There is still a place for candidates of the old politics, but they have to come to terms with the fact that there is a really potent anti-establishment feeling that has reared its head in Western democracies, and increasingly, older left/right-wing or left/right-of-centre parties are being (excuse the pun) 'Trumped' by more polarised, radical alternatives.

The truth is, Sadiq, if you knew a bit more about American politics, you would know that, despite the various advantages the Democratic Party has provided her with, Hillary Clinton is the one whose appeal is too narrow in this election.

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is the one with the 'Big Tent'.

Friday, 19 February 2016

R.I.P. Harper Lee - Author of 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

When I was 14 years old, we read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time. When we read it in class then, we didn't fully appreciate the book as a whole - only the final few chapters that covered the trial, and the result.

Then in Year 10, we read the book again, at GCSE level. And we gained a new understanding. That long first half of the book, which at one point we had considered dry, was in fact Atticus Finch preparing his children, Jem and Scout, for what was to come. For the inevitable result of the trial. Raising them to be mature enough to want to fight so hard for justice and yet be prepared for when it wasn't served.

I owe a lot of that understanding of the book to my English teacher, Miss Hildyard, but equally, what she instilled in us was a new, more well-rounded appreciation for this story, and for Harper Lee's writing. To this day, I don't think any of us that were studying it at the time don't still hold a similar affection for it.

My GCSE English Class
Sometimes, you can study a book for English Literature, and have lots of the enjoyment of it sucked out through the endless analysis.

Not To Kill A Mockingbird.

Harper Lee's first, and best-known, novel, remains to this day, one of the most fascinating and brilliant books I've read. In many ways, it is just the story of two children, and yet it also teaches, fundamentally, that we should always stand up for what is right.

There are so many brilliant quotes from it that I could name. Lee's evocative and language-rich spin on the well-known phrase "put yourself in their shoes" springs to mind.

But one that I think has had a big impact on me, and indeed my phliosophy, is this:

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” - Atticus Finch.

That is something that I often think about. That just because the odds seem impossibly stacked against you, that is not a reason not to try to stand up for what's right. Atticus Finch may be a work of fiction, but that by no means makes him any the less of an inspiring figure. Someone who stood up for Tom Robinson when no-one else would. My friend John (dead-centre, arms folded, in the picture above) once referred to Atticus as his 'hero'.

Mockingbird was published in 1960. 3 years later was the march on Washington. Another 2 and the Voting Rights Act was passed into law, after decades of campaigning and struggle by countless civil rights activists.

Nelle Harper Lee lived a long, and really, a relatively private life. When asked, a few years ago, why she never wrote another book (Go Set A Watchman was an earlier draft of Mockingbird), she responded "I have said what I wanted to say, and I will not say it again." That's quite something.

Though at 89, she is hardly as young as the many British stars who we've parted company with since the start of the year, it still feels sad to know that she is no longer with us.

R.I.P. Harper Lee.

And thank you - for standing up for what's right.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

"Lower Than Vermin"...?

If I wanted to privatise a much-loved public institution, knowing that doing so would be politically toxic, what would I do?
Well, demoralising and overworking the very people who work for that institution would be a good start.
Because then, if I did that, those people might be overworked. They might start underperforming. Lots of them might begin leaving the profession.
Public satisfaction with this public service would hit all time lows. "It's not what it used to be...", people would lament, they endure pain and people die around them due to the service's inefficiency...
Then one day, I'd make an announcement. "This service has been a loved and treasured institution for many years. But it is clear that, however brilliant an idea, in these difficult times, and with record dissatisfaction despite our continued investment, that the service is simply not able to cope with the demands of the 21st Century."
"We have therefore taken the difficult decision to move to a private, insurance-based system. We believe this is the best way to ensure everyone receives the standard of service they deserve."
Of course, there may still be some outcry. "What if we can't afford insurance?", some may say. "Don't worry,", I'll reply. "The very poorest will have their insurance covered by benefits".
Most of the upper classes won't care. They've rarely used the service anyway. Many of them will in fact benefit from this initiative - they have shares in the insurance companies ready to provide the service.
The middle classes will lament the loss, but acknowledge the difficult times we're living in. It'll be difficult, but they can afford the insurance. And hey, if the poorest still have their benefits, they'll still get what they need, right?
But soon envy will start to set in. "Why should I have to work my arse off to get the money to pay insurance for me and my family, while that lot still get it for free?"
So the benefits are cut. No longer a provision, but a subsidy. "It's a question of fairness", I would say.
Soon people are starting to give up more and more to afford the insurance. Missing that holiday here, or if you're poorer, skipping that meal there.
Insurance costs start going up. Those who have been skipping meals, or putting off having to use the private service in an attempt to save money, end up needing it even more when they finally go. A few more people die, or end up in chronic pain, because they don't want to spend money on expensive insurance unnecessarily. A few people decide they don't need insurance anyway. They'll be fine - they're young, they're healthy, they keep fit..
Some charities are set up, but those working for them are volunteers, and not fully qualified. They can't meet the demand. They can't provide all that's needed.
And one day, if they've lived that long, grandparents will be telling their grandchildren: You know, when I was little, we got all this for free. It was considered a right..."
Oh look, Jeremy Hunt has just imposed that new contract on the junior doctors without negotiation. The aim is to create a truly 7-day NHS.
Ah, good old Mr Hunt. Isn't it great we've got a Health Secretary so committed to the NATIONAL Health Service...?

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Sir Terry Wogan...

Goodnight, Terry.

I'm afraid, while I could sympathise with and feel the collective sense of loss that people felt when it came to David Bowie and Alan Rickman, neither of them had an especially deep, personal connection to my own life. Although they were always sort of there, and I was aware of them, and enjoyed their music (in Bowie's case) or performances (with both of them), I didn't exactly grow up with them.

Sir Terry Wogan was different.

When I think of Terry Wogan, I'm back in my Mum and Dad's old kitchen at home. I'm ten years old, sat at the kitchen table, eating my cereal, in my Sellincourt Primary School uniform, getting ready for the day ahead. I'm listening to this gentle Irishman's voice. Warm, good-humoured, witty, helping us all  (all 8 million of his listeners) to wake up in the morning.

I'm hearing him read Janet and John, and while not really understanding why him, everyone else in the studio, and Mum and Dad, are laughing so much, being amused and bemused by their enjoyment and laughter.

I'm sat watching the Eurovision song contest as he gently pokes fun at all of the acts on show.

I'm watching him host the Children In Need telethon, having a laugh and a joke, struggling to cope with and understand some of the newer elements such as texting, tweeting, using Facebook, etc., but carrying on like a trooper.

I'm sitting at the computer, watching old clips of him hosting Children In Need in his heyday, or doing his chat show - his segments interviewing the stars of Doctor Who, past and present (as well as that one brilliant clip of him interviewing Baldrick while Blackadder supervises).

I don't think that it would be unfair to say that Terry Wogan was a bit past his prime by the end. While there was something so lovely about his commitment to Children In Need, which I think said a lot about him, in the last few years I could see him struggling a bit with the trials and tribulations of such live broadcasting, and I didn't consider it to be a great loss last year when he had to give it a miss on that occasion because of ill health (though naturally I didn't wish him to be in ill health). I remember thinking that, despite being a few years his junior, Terry seemed a fair bit more frail and less able to cope with presenting demands towards the end than his peer, Sir Bruce Forsyth, is currently.

But I, as I'm sure so many others will, will remember Sir Terry Wogan in his prime. Whenever they consider that to be, and in whatever medium. Blankety Blank, The Wogan talk show, Children In Need, Eurovision, Radio 2. Everyone has their own special little memories of Terry Wogan.

When I woke up this morning and saw people paying tributes to Wogan, I couldn't believe it. I was in shock. Terry Wogan, gone?

I remember distinctly listening to the last breakfast show link, as it went out. Of course, Wogan would go on to host a live show on Sunday mornings a few months later, but it was never quite as good, or had the same charm, of Wake Up To Wogan.

At the time, watching interviews with people as they heaped praise on Wogan as his time on the breakfast show was coming to an end, and listening to the final show, I got a sense of the enormous love and affection for this man, and I knew I was going to miss his morning show, but I couldn't fully grasp it all, even knowing that he'd been such a big figure in broadcasting for so many decades before. And I wasn't that worried, as I knew I'd still see him on Children In Need.
But now, looking back, thinking about him today, I get it.

When I sat and listened to this last breakfast show link again, I felt this great sense of nostalgia, and loss, knowing that Terry Wogan has passed away, and I burst into tears. I find if difficult to stop crying for very long even now. Every time I listen to the clip, I well up.
If you can bear to, I recommend you listen to this. Over half a decade later, it now feels like an even more fitting goodbye from the man himself, who we all felt we knew in some way, all considered like a friend, an uncle or Granddad, even if we'd never met him face-to-face.

The moment that really gets to me is when Terry says "you, my listener". Doesn't that just sum him up? This man had over 40 years of experience, he had an audience on Wake Up To Wogan of over 8 million people...and yet his last, parting remark, as hiis show always was, was not to address it as if he was talking to millions, not as if he was in front of some huge crowd...

But to one person. An intimate style of speaking just to one person - and yet, he spoke to everyone.

Farewell Terry. Goodnight, Mr Wogan.

“Hang on: there’s 60 million people in the country – what are the other 52 million listening to?” – Terry Wogan, on hearing his radio show audience had passed 8 million....