Alan Titchmarsh gets ready for Saturday

Something for the weekend?

By Sam Jackson

There’s never a dull moment here at Classic FM. In the space of just a few weeks, we’ve put together a wealth of Christmas programmes and counted down the Top 300 in the Ultimate Hall of Fame; and now, we’re but moments away from launching a brand new weekend schedule for 2012.

As I write this, we’re hanging out the bunting at Classic FM Towers ahead of welcoming Alan Titchmarsh to the station. In something of a coup for Classic FM, Alan will be here every Saturday morning from 9am, with three hours of his favourites – and yours. Alan is hugely excited about joining the team; he listens to the station every day, in the car, the house and, yes, the garden shed, and he’s looking forward to hearing about what you’d like to hear. Have you checked out the video interview between Alan and Margherita Taylor yet? If not, click here to find out what’s in store this Saturday.

Another new programme we’re hugely excited about is Saturday Night at the Movies, which promises to be a great teatime listen for the whole family. Composer and Classic FM presenter Howard Goodall, a man who’s no stranger to writing music for the big screen himself, will be your guide through film scores old and new, every Saturday evening from 5pm. For his first show, Howard will feature music from the new soundtracks to War Horse (John Williams) and The Iron Lady (Thomas Newman), as well as plenty from this week’s Movie Music Master, Ennio Morricone. But he begins with the astonishing Lord of the Rings Symphony, created by soundtrack composer Howard Shore – the man who you voted to No.1 in our annual poll of the Nation’s Favourite Soundtracks last summer.

The new sound to weekends continues with the introduction of a brand new series: Natalie Wheen’s Great Performers, every Sunday night at 9pm. If you’ve been listening to Classic FM for a while, you’ll know that Natalie can share stories about the composers and musicians of the past like no one else, and we’re all looking forward to welcoming her encyclopaedic musical knowledge and fine wit back to the airwaves. For her first programme, Natalie will begin with the most astonishing performance of Bizet’s Carmen Variations from pianist Vladimir Horowitz, before going on to profile all sorts of other legends from the 1930s and 1940s. Then, next week, it’s an hour of living legends like violinist Nigel Kennedy, bass-baritone Bryn Terfel and pianist Mitsuko Uchida. This really is an unmissable programme; if your new year’s resolution is to learn more about the music we play, Natalie’s new series is a very good place to start.

As well as the introduction of new programmes, our fresh weekend schedule also includes a little moving of the furniture when it comes to existing shows. David Mellor does a double move, with The New CD Show now running on Saturdays at 9pm while his Sunday show moves forward an hour to an earlier start time of 7pm. The Official Classic FM Chart, meanwhile, finds itself in the traditional chart countdown slot of Sunday teatime; join Mark Forrest as he counts down the weekly Top 30 between 5pm and 7pm. In addition, Anne-Marie Minhall’s weekend afternoon programmes now both start at 3pm.

We really hope you enjoy everything that Classic FM has to offer in 2012. We’re a broad church, encompassing all sorts of listeners, which is why we’ve done our best to ensure that there’s something for everyone on the station. As always, we’d love to know your thoughts – so do please leave your comments below and let us know what you think.

In the meantime, happy listening!


About the author

Sam Jackson

Sam is Classic FM's Managing Editor.…

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5 replies to 'Something for the weekend?'

  • Gill Newman

    Just heard about some correspondence on jam!
    Listeners might be interested to know that at Chopin Society concerts you not only get to hear some of the best pianists around – the next one on March 25th is Sofya Gulyak, winner of the last Leeds Piano Competition – but also can buy delicious homemade jam, jelly and marmalade. Is this a first?

  • Kevin Gallagher

    Dear Classic FM,
    I am currently basking in the Elysian tones of your program.
    I am 61 now, but as a small boy of 5, I was snuggled up to the ample ‘Bingo-Wings” of my Grandmother in the cinema, watching Deanna Durbin in “100 men and a Girl”.
    Her finale, singing “Traviata” caused my young heart to swell with wonder and thus began my lifelong love of the classics.
    Have you ever been to a hardware shop in search of something they haven’t got? Well; I seem to have a talent for it and here I must put you to the test;
    Please play her ‘Traviata’ -I don’t think it has ever been bettered.

    Much love,

    Kevin

  • Susan Woolcott

    Dear Alan,
    Brilliant that you have arrived at Classic FM – great music, a wealth of knowledge and infectious enthusiasm – loved this morning’s programme – congratulations – and I look forward to many more !
    Susan x

  • Caroline Waites

    Just listening to Alan Titchmarsh on a saturday morning. Love it!!! It’s what my saturday mornings have been waiting for. Love you Alan

  • Richard Jeffries

    I think your station is fantastic. I listen to it every day at some point, and it always makes driving to work a pleasure. I can’t believe it’s 20 years old this year – it makes me feel old, as it started when I was doing A-level music!
    Love the fact you’ve re-introduced the original Classic FM sound…the jingles are a blast from the past, and remind me of studying! Are they here to stay now…?