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And Now the Shipping Forecast Paperback – 19 May 2011
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For this daily dose of the beautiful to work, nothing is more important than the god who administers it. None has been more perfect in the last few years than Peter Jefferson, the voice of perfect modulation, the near-equal of the incomparable Charlotte Green, neither thin nor fruity, effortlessly clear, understanding that the beauty of the moment depends on restraint and the absence of any hint of doubt. --The Guardian
About the Author
Peter Jefferson joined the BBC in 1964. In 1969 he became an announcer and newsreader, first on the BBC World Service then across all the domestic BBC Radio networks, which included reading the Shipping Forecast for 40 years first on Radio 2 and later on Radio 4. He took early retirement in 2001 but continued working for Radio 4 in a freelance capcity until 2009 during which time he also appeared in several radio and TV programmes including plays on Radio 4 and vocally or as an actor on EastEnders, Panorama, My Family, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, The Mighty Boosh, The Bill, Peak Practice and Holby City. He currently reads the quotes on Radio 4's Quote... Unqote, and lives with his wife in Surrey.
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Well done Peter.
Written by Peter Jefferson, who read the Shipping Forecast for over forty years, this really is a book that contains everything you could possibly want to know about it and more. He tells us about its history and the key figures who contributed to it, the shipping areas and events that have happened within them, he explains the terms used and their relevance and he also tells us about how the forecast is produced and the BBC's involvement in this. To illustrate just how comprehensive the information the book contains I should point out that he even includes addresses of related websites and a section that explains where nautical based expressions, like `at loggerheads' or `down the hatch' come from.
This is an extremely informative book but if I have to be critical perhaps too much so at times. It is rather dry and occasionally little too technical for my taste and I found that it was best tackled by just reading small sections of it at a time. I would suggest that the casual Shipping Forecast listener may find Charlie Connolly's [[ASIN:0349116032 Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast]to be a much more entertaining read.
Some years ago I read Charlie Connolly's superb "Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast" which combines facts about the shipping forecast; it's history, it's transmission and the stories behind it, with a travelogue and a damned entertaining one at that. So, when "And Now The Shipping Forecast" landed on my doormat for review I couldn't believe my luck, wanting more of the same.
Sadly though, whilst the facts and figures are all there, and the credibility and knowledge of the author are beyond reproach, I found the book to be rather lacking in the fun factor. It's not that Peter Jefferson is a poor writer, not at all, it's just that with such a subject matter, if you stick rather rigidly to the bare facts without letting your pen stray, you ultimately fail to tap into the comfort and reassurance which is the reason the forecast is so popular in the first place.
There is quite simply no "emotional engagement" here and, whilst it falls short of being text-book-like thankfully (Peter does use personal experience and anecdotes about his time delivering the broadcast himself to lighten the mood where required), I found "And Now The Shipping Forecast" difficult to like. It's too cold, too fact-laden and there's simply not enough of that warm cocoa on a stormy night feeling seeping from the pages. Which is a shame.
This is an affectionate and interesting "behind the scenes" look at what goes into producing those short minutes - the science, the technology, the restrictions, the human element and is full of nuggets of fascinating information - as a trivia buff, I loved it. Sprinkled in amongst the weather lore are snippets about seafaring traditions and vocabulary.
My only criticism is that some of the content is a little "thin" and the page layout sometimes reflects that - lots of white space and fancy frames.
This would make a good companion to read with Charlie Connolly's "Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast".
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