Find out why famous newsreader "lost it" with the giggles

They should have been at last year’s Petworth Festival. They are thrilled to be able to make it for 2021 instead with a celebration of the mystique and magic of radio.

Radio Live
Radio Live

The Today programme’s Garry Richardson (“and here’s Garry with the sport”) will be your host as Alistair McGowan, the Rev Richard Coles, Charlotte Green (“and here’s Charlotte with the news”) and special guest Joe Stilgoe reminisce in a show packed with hilarious anecdotes, sketches and music.

You can catch them at Midhurst Rother College, Midhurst on Tuesday, July 27 from 7.30-9.30pm.

Together they have been broadcasting on our airwaves for over two centuries, as Garry points out – and they are delighted to be back on the road after eight or nine dates fell through last year.

“We first did the show in Chichester which was fantastic.

“I think it was January 2019, and it came about because I got to know Sir Richard Stilgoe quite well. We did a Friday Night Is Music Night together which I presented, and I got him to do a couple of songs for the 60th anniversary of the Today programme.

“He had first appeared on the programme in the early 70s and we got him to come back.”

The two started talking about doing a stage show together, the team emerged and they made their debut in Chichester.

“We also did Chester and Nottingham and Eastbourne and one other and then Covid kicked in last year.

“We had eight or nine shows pencilled in, including Petworth.

“The show is called Radio Live! and it is just really us talking about our radio experiences.

“We have all been in radio around 40 years or so, well Joe not quite, but he has done a bit of radio. Alistair will be doing a range of people from Alan Bennett to the entire cast of Dad’s Army, and he will probably be doing Harry Kane and Andy Murray given what is happening at the moment.

“The Rev Richard Coles will be doing a duet with Joe. They are going to play the accordion together.

“But basically it all hinges on radio. Charlotte will be talking about being a newsreader and she will explain what happened when she had that very famous giggle a few years ago when she completely lost it.

“Listeners just absolutely loved it. Prince Charles sent her a hand-written letter saying that it absolutely made his day. So really we have got the dream team. It will be fun.”

Obviously Richard and Alistair will be recognisable from their TV work, and Garry has done a bit of TV work too: “But people will still say to me ‘Oh, so that’s what you look like!’”

And maybe that’s all part of the magic of radio: “It is a fantastic medium.

“For me it has been so special from as early as I can remember when the radio was a big feature in our house. We would be listening to The Clitheroe Kid and I would listen to lots of plays.

“I was brought up listening to dance music, and by the time I was 11 I knew the lyrics to every Frank Sinatra song.

“When I was 11 or 12 or 13 I would be listening to Radio 2 and John Dunn. And then amazingly 30 years later I did a spot on the John Dunn show.

“I remember listening to Ed Stewart and Diddy David Hamilton and then years later, incredibly, I was working with them.”