“Welcome to the mad house,” says Justin Dealey. It’s a remarkable one-off show in which Justin plays the worst music – even he will admit it. The innovative game, celebrating the 100th release of Now That’s What I Call Music, allows listeners to choose the tracks at random, making their Saturday night as interactive as ‘interactive’ gets.
The host invites his parents into the studio for the whole thing (on their wedding anniversary!) and they duly entertain. The rules: two listeners pick a CD number and a ‘side’ before Justin’s Dad has the final say on what we hear.
Joyce chooses her birthday – and ends up with Naughty Boy. We’re also teased with Lionel Richie, but don’t get to hear him. Carol-Ann messages the team to say “what rubbish!”
Justin replies: “You’ve upset all my listeners, Dad!”
There are beautiful moments; there are weird moments; and there are the moments in-between Dad’s decision and the start of the track (when Justin has to put the disk in the CD player and find the right song). It’s often these few minutes that spark the most amusing conversations.
Ultimately, the challenge now for BBC Local Radio ‘across the East’ is to find something just as entertaining next week, next month and next year. This worked very well as a stand-alone feature, separate from the consistent and reliable (if a little uninspiring) playlists we hear day-to-day on BBC radio. It’s done its job, because we’ll make sure we’re with Justin to see exactly what happens next.
Justin Dealey is on BBC Local Radio every Saturday night: bbc.co.uk
Rating: Madness and moorish.