Video may have killed the radio star but in times of crisis such as now we’re harking back to simpler methods of entertainment. YouTubers and Tiktokers, move over, we’re all about the wireless while we’re working from home and no one does radio better than the Brits. We are spoilt for choice when it comes to radio shows, from energy-packed morning shows to get you going to old favourites and some of the most intelligent musically curated shows around.
Sit back, tune in and revel in a rare hour or so of no-screentime with our top picks.
With one of the most in-depth, rich music knowledges in the business, you’d be hard pushed to find a host with more diverse music taste than Lauren Laverne.
Starting bright and early at 7.30am every weekday morning, the show has music at its core and is the best way to ease yourself into the day if you’re working from home.
Lauren chats to guests and listeners about moments in their life that were changed by music – a song that reminds them of an old flame or their last day at school. Perhaps in a few years she’ll be asking people which songs remind them of lockdown, and if you tune in to her show now, your list is going to be pretty good.
Plus, we just love Lauren’s soft Geordie accent – it’s rather soothing on the old lugs.
Mondays – Fridays at 7.30am
If you like your radio in time with your breakfast but your music taste errs more on the side of Top 40 (does that still exist?), tune into Greg James on Radio 1.
This guy has worked at the Beeb for over a decade but bagged the much coveted breakfast slot after Nick Grimshaw couldn’t hack the 3am wake up calls any longer.
Greg has managed to charm the nation with the bizarre tasks and tricks he gets himself into – you might remember that he was held hostage in The Shard after this year’s Brit’s party and wasn’t released or let back to work until listeners guessed which two celebrities had ‘kidnapped’ him. His own wife didn’t even know where he was and the radio show team were all in on it – now that’s dedication to the job.
God knows how he finds the energy for all this in the morning, but if he could bottle it, he probably wouldn’t need to be on the radio anymore.
Mondays – Fridays at 7.30am
If film is more your thing, check out Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review. Mark Kermode is the bloke off the telly with that impeccably-coiffed quiff and also happens to be one of the UK’s best film critics. While radio husband, Simon Mayo, has been at the BBC for almost two decades, winning a slew of radio and broadcasting awards.
The duo geek out on the latest releases, talk to actors and directors (expect some seriously big, Hollywood names) and generally share their pearls of big screen wisdom.
If you don’t know your Tarantino from your Bong Joon-ho, best give it a miss, this is some nerdy film fodder.
Fridays at 2pm
We love Iggie Pop’s Radio 6 show as much as he hates wearing shirts. Whether he presents Iggy Confidential topless, we’re not sure, but what you can expect from the rock icon is a collection of banging tunes.
His honey and gravy voice will lull you into a dreamy, chilled disposition like sinking into a worn, brown leather chair. What better way to spend a Friday night in?
Fridays at 7pm
Offbeat comic, Tim Key, who you might recognise from the likes of Peep Show, Alpha Papa and many a comedy panel show, takes to the waves late at night to recite poetry whilst tormenting his musician friend, Tom Basden.
It’s one of those rare gems that you have to listen to to really get, but we can promise it’s laugh-out-loud funny, intelligent and at times, totally bonkers.
Wednesdays at 11pm
When a radio show has been around since people were calling it a wireless, you know it’s good. The BBC’s Woman’s Hour dedicates 60 minutes every weekday to important and inspiring issues around women, from interviews to current affairs, health to politics.
So influential is Woman’s Hour, it seems a little insulting to just call it “a radio show”, it’s a stalwart of British broadcasting.
Currently presented by journalist and broadcaster Jenni Murray and BBC broadcaster Jane Garvey, they are currently, as you’d expect, delving deep into cultural, social and political discussions centred around Covid-19, from interviews with Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries to debate on homeschooling, homelessness amidst the crisis and much more.
Mondays – Fridays at 10am
From David Beckham to John Cooper Clarke, Tom Hanks to Yoko Ono, everyone who’s anyone has been on this show. In each episode they take you through a personal playlist of songs that mean something to them. In some ways it feels as insightful than reading their diaries and it’s often a surprisingly cathartic experience for the interviewees.
Once hosted by Kirsty Young and her warm, Scottish tones, it’s now headed up by radio regular Lauren Laverne – we love them both equally – and you can delve into the back catalogue of all the Desert Island Disc over the years online.
Recent guests include actors Brian Cox and Daniel Radcliffe and popstar Melanie C.
One way to kill your quarantine time.
Sundays at 11am
Another one from 6 Music (it’s just SO good) comes in the shape of Elbow frontman Guy Garvey and his Finest Hour Sunday slot.
Guy may be a frontman and multi-award winning musician himself, but he’s also just a regular music fan like the rest of us mere mortals. He loves getting listeners involved with their music suggestion with his Song for Guy segment, in which listeners can suggest a tune like the good old days of radio.
Tune in on Sunday afternoons while you’re making a roast. Pure bliss.
Sundays at 3pm
This used to be the perfect hangover cure on a Saturday morning but seeing as we’re all staying in for the foreseeable, we’re sticking it on to ease ourself into another weekend on the sofa.
The show takes a look at interesting stories that you wouldn’t usually hear from regular people to insightful interviews with celebrities.
Saturdays at 9am
Music and film buffs can unite on Saturday nights as Andew Collins leads the discussion on original film soundtracks. Talking through the powerful effect music has on the big screen, the show takes listeners on a journey through the finest film scores and their iconic scenes.
For a radio show, it’s beautifully filmic and one that will certainly inspire your must-watch list of films to watch and re-watch.
Saturdays at 5pm
OK, it might not be the most highbrow of radio shows, but Roman Kemp sure is charming. Since making the final of the last I’m a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here, Roman has become the poster child for ‘genuinely nice lad.’
Tune in for LOLs, pop hits and celeb gossip while you get ready.
Mondays – Fridays from 6am
How many times have you rolled off a stat without really knowing where it’s come from or if it even means anything? Well, this clever show shines the light on those statistic that might have the shock factor, but do they really mean jack s?
Presenter Tim Harford explains – and often debunks – the numbers and statistics used in political debates, news and everyday life and never has it been more fascinating than in the time of Corona.
Wednesdays at 9am