MEDIA: RADIO TIMES - AN EXPERT'S VIEW. Charlotte Loynes takes a look through a redesigned version of the Radio Times magazine

With its Times font throughout, the Radio Times was once upon a

time (up until last week, actually) bravely classy in a market awash

with magazines furnished with red typography, primary colours and

mandatory soap celebs wearing expressions appropriate for their

storylines on the front page. While the What's on TV's of this world

were the equivalent of the tabloids, the Radio Times was endearingly as

close as you'd get to a television magazine broadsheet.

But now the Radio Times has a new look, and securing my vote depended on

whether it was out there to play with the contemporaries while

maintaining its integrity, or merely dumbing down to cater for us, the

'dumb masses'.

The italic on the cover has gone and in its place is a contemporary feel

with minimalist graphics and a clean striking image, albeit of a

meditating Alan Titchmarsh. Inside, the same enduring attention to

detail is evident, however the look is different - more Time Out than TV


There are still articles that cover enough of a brilliant documentary so

that it is not the end of the world if you miss it, interviews with

heavyweight luvvies, and it is still the thickest of all magazines

solely dedicated to the viewing of telly.

It's a hefty volume of the thinnest sheets and programmes are listed

comprehensively. The digital and satellite channels are covered with

much more detail than before and each day's viewing graces no less than

eight full pages, and that's without films and radio. All this is done

in a new, but less than exciting, linear layout, which includes no

patronizing colour strips to separate either the channels or the times

of day. I was exhausted wading through it all.

Yes, the Radio Times has maintained its classier-than-the-rest image and

clearly this degree of minutiae is invaluable for some, as no other

listings publication gets close. It hasn't dumbed down, but it hasn't

got to the point either.

Of the five TV magazines I pored over, which would I buy? None of them,

actually. To be frank, I want a TV listings magazine to do just one

thing - tell me what's on the box. So, thanks to the three newspapers I

bought over the weekend, I have three marvellously free mags to do just


But even they, in their glorious simplicity and altogether freeness,

can't solve the fact that after too many evenings out and a hectic work

week, when I'm settling down with my spinach and vitamin pill salad on a

Saturday night to recoup in front of the telly, there's never anything

on except Blind Date.

Publisher BBC Worldwide

Price 85p

Frequency Weekly

Circulation 1,264,315

Full-page ad rate pounds 18,700

Advertisers include World Books, Dyson, Suzuki, Thorntons, Flora, WH

Smith, Sainsbury's, Magnet.


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