Martin Dimartino Marriott

End of an era for 5Live nights

by Martin on Dec.23, 2009, under Fun Stuff

Yesterday was pretty amazing. I was lucky enough to be invited to the last ever Richard Bacon show on 5Live – possibly the best show on radio. Nobody seems to know about it though! Bacon invited 200 loyal members of the ‘SHH’ down to BBC Radio Theatre, London.

The Guardian wrote a nice article to offer some explanation for the uninitiated. Nobody seems to understand why I made such a pilgrimage from Nottingham for a radio show. It required meticulous planning and a night with no sleep, but it was such an experience. It was quite an odd, surreal experience spending the evening on oneself in London before driving back in the early hours.
We were each presented with the much-coveted ‘Special Half Hour’ badge as we entered the radio theatre and I was co-incidentally sat next to not only Olly Mann of ‘Answer Me This’ podcast fame, but a chap from the same area as me. Also sat nearby was Quentin Wilson and Ash Atalla, Producer of The Office.

We had a discussion about whether or not it’s ok to steal from supermarkets if you’re poor, and the night culminated in a funeral for the Special Half Hour (’SHH’ when mentioned outside of the time slot). We sang Jerusalem to mark the show’s passing. It was, as always, difficult to interpret the true tone of the show, the genuinity of the fans and the sincerity of the presenters. It’s a typically British phenomenon that we treat everything with an undertone of humour and slight wry sarcasm. We, the English can be serious, but never genuinely earnest — a quality that separates us from our fat cousins across the pond.
I did find that not only is Richard Bacon very Alan Partridge-esque in real life, but as some listeners have said before, very self-indulgent. He is apparently not modest about his radio empire at all – with millions of followers on Twitter and thousands in the Special Half Hour facebook group. He likes to cmmand us to cheer or clap and does tend to boast at any opportunity.

We’ve become something of a cult, now destined to be disbanded; the SHH consigned to fade from our collective memory.
At least we all now have our ‘SHH’ badges to remember the last 14 months or so of enjoying this short-lived, but brilliant show. 10pm-1am will never be the same again; I now have to listen to some guy I’ve never heard of. It has been a true honour and a privilege.

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