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RADIO HIGHS: Groundhog Day as Berlin returns; By Mark Brittain.

HOW very strange.We've only just completed one week-long series of programmes on the life and music of Irving Berlin,plus an additional helping via Easter Parade,and now here we have, Blue Skies: The Work of Irving Berlin (R2, 7pm) starting a six part series.

In part one today,Henry Goodman ``reveals'' how Berlin had an uncanny knack of writing songs that seemed simple but went right to the heart of the American experience and captured its spirit.

How did this kid from Siberia do it?

Well,I feel I know the answer to this because I could swear it was ``revealed'' just last week too.It's like Groundhog Day.

It's not that Berlin's stuff isn't worth hearing. Songs like Cheek to Cheek,Alexander's Ragtime Band and Blue Skies are welcome in my house most days,but not quite so soon after the last helping,guys,please.It's very confusing listening to the radio and thinking one is constantly experiencing deja vu. Can it be that on this occasion, the left hand didn't quite know what the right hand had been doing?

Talking of Siberia, the Afternoon Play (R4, 2.15pm)is based on an episode in the life of naturalist Georg Steller, who sailed on Bering's 1741 expedition from Siberia to Alaska across the straits which now bear his name.

It was a disaster as their ship was marooned for months and many of the sailors died from scurvy.

Finally Word of Mouth (R4, 4pm)looks at the language of flattery and how it is used in public life,politics and the media. Is it just harmless deception or can it be more dangerous?And how do you recognise it for what it is?Of course you,intelligent reader, probably don't need to listen to find out.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 2, 2003
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