Vintage Woman's Hour

Oct 03, 2011, 07:26 PM

I recall a family who lived at the bottom of our garden as I grew up. Well, their garden backed onto ours. A frighteningly intelligent, musically-gifted bunch who drove a dark green Renault 4 and who were eco-friendly long before it was trendy; folding those old brown Sainsbury carrier bags neatly for re-use. The mother would always have 'Woman's Hour' blasting loudly from a large grey Hacker radio.

It was that sort of programme, for that sort of people - and British life would now not be quite the same without it. The BBC Light Programme was its first home in October 1946, moving to Radio 4 in 1973. It began as an afternoon programme, moving controversially to mornings in 1991. Mind you, even to suggest a Radio 4 programme might ever move without controversy probably amounts to wasted effort on my part.

Woman's Hour was originally presented by a bloke - Alan Ivimey. Just imagine the fun the Guardian would now have with that now. Jenni Murray's voice is now synonymous with the programme; it was also hosted by Marjorie Anderson, Jean Metcalfe and Martha Kearney.

Here, another early presenter, the great Olive Shapley, shares her early tales; and enjoy a young Sue MacGregor.