Day three, a day of national treasures. I thought I would record some of the sights along my journey from the front door on Portland place to my desk. Today I came in through the old broadcasting house entrance, a fine example of 1930s power architecture. Two floors up and along a corridor I pass photo portraits of key characters in UK broadcasting history. Alec Guinness, John Peel, and Oliver Read are among them. But, in view of Wimbledon, one stood out today … Cliff Richards adorns the stairwell just before you reach the Radio 3 desks. Both Cliff and Radio 3 are national treasures, of course. So their inclusion here.
On reaching the Science Radio floor I discovered, as expected, that I was a desk refugee, with no-where to park myself for the day. Eventually I found a home. Soon after another visitor for the day came in to occupy the place opposite me .. Joan Bakewell, preparing for an upcoming broadcast. So, a holy trinity of national treasures to make my day complete.
Illuminated by their shining light, I set to work on my task for today: to help come up with guests and a conversation to form part of the final episode of Material World, going out live tomorrow at 4:30pm. At this point I discovered, with annoyance, the problem of getting appropriate academics to (i) answer their phone, (ii) answer their e-mails or (iii) agree to subject themselves to live discussion on the steam radio. When two excellent candidates eventually agreed to accede to my request I felt a small degree of elation. Message learnt – do try and be helpful when the beeb come knocking at your door.
I dropped by the folk on the news online section a little later, just after George Osborne had announced his comprehensive spending review. Science spending will be held level for recurrent spending but boosted for capital spending over the next couple of years. The result is probably as good as one might expect, but still represents a real terms contraction on the operating budget. The report mentioned some specific items of capital spend, including the UK space plane and its SABRE (synergistic air breathing rocket engine): a fact I managed to spot before the news desk did, to my competitive satisfaction (;-))
The afternoon was spent trying to decide how tomorrow’s Materials World piece, a conversation slot, might pan out. It involves writing a script with possible questions and potential answers, so that Gareth Mitchell, tomorrow’s presenter, will be prepared for whatever may occur. The whole process seems highly uncertain to me. Fingers crossed etc.