"Meticulous, professional, serious and educational".
This described the visual aesthetic of Radio Times as laid down by John Reith, Eric Gill and Eric Fraser back in the 1920's.
In 2011, I wrote a celebratory piece on the golden days of Radio Times. I also attack the disintegration of the magazine's intelligence, wit, creativity, beauty and educational stance since the departure in 1981 of its most outstanding Art Director, David Driver.
From that point, the magazine went into a slow decline to be transformed into a dumbed-down, 'me-too' version of the trashiest listing magazines it accompanies on the newsstands.
Long gone is the unique gem that was Radio Times. My piece was praised and attacked by all quarters, including former staff of the RT and the whole jolly thread is faithfully recorded in the comments section below the original post. (Link at the foot of this post).
I am reviving the topic because I stumbled on a BBC radio player archived programme The Art of Radio Times. It was made in 2013 to coincided with the magazine's 90th anniversary. Enthusiastically and intelligently presented by broadcaster Peter Day he explored the remarkable graphic heritage left behind that began in 1923. Day talks to David Driver, Illustrator/political cartoonist Peter Brookes, early RT contributor Val Biro and Chris Beetles, illustration collector and gallerist along with some terrific archive recordings of many contributors.
Day also asked RT's current editor, Ben Preston, if RT's artistic legacy is still alive? I leave you to decide if you agree with his response.
Spot the difference.
Asked why I am so upset by RT's presentation since David Driver's departure back in 1981? I'll answer that by quoting Peter Brookes from the above programme, "There was nothing else like it". That is what I and many others still lament the passing of.
Listen to The Art of Radio Times here.
View the original Graphic Journey post Sign of the times here.