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Last Updated: Monday, 7 February, 2005, 11:12 GMT
Damazer to target Radio 4 drama
Mark Damazer
Damazer has said Radio 4 should offer more diverse programming
BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer has targeted the station's drama output as one of the major areas for development.

Speaking to The Guardian, Damazer said he had plans to extend its range by restaging classic plays and bringing in established writers.

"I'd like to present plays in a different way, then seduce the writers into agreeing to write special pieces for Radio 4," he said.

Damazer's interview was his first since taking up the post in September 2004.

He also emphasised the need for further diversity within programming, in order to appeal more to ethnic minority audiences.


"I think it would be desirable to find a voice that was British and Asian or British and black," he told the paper.

"Radio 4 needs to feel to anybody that experiences it as a light listener that it is open to anybody with an interest in intelligent speech. I would certainly like people all over the UK to feel that it was for them."

Damazer said his other goals included increasing the audience figures, which currently stand at around 9.4m. Under the previous controller Helen Boaden, figures topped the 11m mark.

He suggested that one way of doing this was to broaden the station's appeal with new presenters, both well-known and less so.

"If I can find people who have the traditional Radio 4 pre-requisite which is intelligence and something to say, those factors are more important than being a star name," Damazer said. "But of course if I can find those emblematic figures than it's terrific."

He also pledged to introduce new programming, including a 15-minute piece of topical fiction every week based on a current news event and a weekly profile of someone who has figured prominently in the news.

However, Damazer stressed that there were currently no plans to make changes to any of the station's best known programmes, including Today, The World At One or The Archers.

"In the longer term there will be change because there is always change but not because I've come in with a masterplan," he said.

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