BBC Wireless 4 (not to be confused with Radio 4) is the last great bastion of Middle England. It represents all that makes Britain mediocre and has a loyal following of listeners from social demographics as diverse as AB1s all the way through to AB2s. It features a lively mix of news, social commentary, news, drama, news and comedy news programmes and is broadcast on both long wave and FM, although true devotees dismiss the latter as frightfully modern. For the optimum listening experience the station is best enjoyed on a steam powered wireless which can be purchased for 18 guineas from most reputable ironmongers. Users devoid of the requisite equipment can simulate the experience by placing their
radio wireless in a steel bucket, running it under a cold tap and rustling a packet of Werther's Originals for the duration of the broadcast. BBC Wireless 4 is the only BBC station still broadcast in black and white.
The History of BBC Wireless 4
Wireless was introduced into Mediocre Britain by pasta supremo Guglielmo Macaroni in 1922. Future Wireless 4 listeners initially dismissed this as a fad which would never replace traditional entertainments such as beating the servants, family gatherings around the old Joanna (the mad aunt in the attic), visiting lunatic asylums and fighting Johnny Foreigner. Despite their misgivings, the British Broadcasting Corporation was born and began transmitting to the few households with enough coal and large enough rooms to accommodate the receiving equipment. The first programme ever broadcast by the BBC was Alastair Cook's Letter from America where the veteran reporter fondly recalled his memories of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Wireless grew in acceptance during World War II because
- Advances in technology meant that a signal could be received by sticking a crystal up a cat's backside, which resulted in not only a smaller receiver but also a game that all the family could play.
- It featured the ever-popular entertainer Lord Haw Haw, the talking horse.
- We're at war, goddammit, if we don't all just jolly well stick together the whole country will be over-ridden with foreigners (many Brits maintain this still applies).
- That splendid Mister Churchill would broadcast regularly and everyone liked to practice their impressions of him.
Post War Wireless
After the war the BBC established a vast array of wireless stations and transmitted them to all homes who hadn't melted down their receivers to make Spitfires. Choosing between the Home Service, the Empire Service, the Light Programme, the Dark Programme, the Heavy Programme, If it Wasn't For Our Glorious Boys We'd All Be Speaking German Now and Strange Whistling Noise That Might Be Coming From Russian Spies was a source of many domestic arguments, so executives decided that the service should be simplified to provide just two stations: the glorious BBC Wireless 4 and BBC Stuff For Oiks. The impending schism resulted in a mad scramble for equipment in Broadcasting House - with Stuff For Oiks presenters grabbing most of the gramophone recordings and Wireless 4 staff keeping the dinner jackets and comedy sound effects. In all the brouhaha Sir Reginald Topping QC managed to seize a collection of wax cylinders which, to this day, he broadcasts from an abandoned broom cupboard known affectionately as BBC Wireless 3.
Wireless 4 Under Threat
In the years that followed the line up remained unchanged until a band of desperate pirates led by Blackburn Rovers and a hairy cornflake invaded Broadcasting House and established their own childish station known as Racket 1. Emergency measures were employed to prevent the established stations becoming contaminated by such brutish thuggery, and Wireless 4 was hermetically sealed in an air tight environment and prevented from changing. Ever.
The Wireless 4 schedule was handed to God by Lord Reith on tablets of stone that are now buried deep in the vaults of Broadcasting House. The BBC charter expressly forbids tampering with the running order except in times of national catastrophe (e.g. when England are playing cricket), hence it is guarded night and day by a crack troop of middle class nimbies  led by Major Seething of Chipping Norton. Anyone attempting to tamper with the schedule will be subjected to immediate attack by a precision-guided  letter writing campaign, will be expelled from the Women's Institute and the Boy Scouts and in extreme circumstances will be locked in a dark room with just Brian Perkins and a potato peeler.
5.20am The Slipping Forecast Daily reports, sponsored by RoSPA, detailing icy weather conditions, autumn leaves on the pavements, dropped banana skins, oil slicks and overturned lorry loads of ball-bearings etc. for those whose hips are too weak to stand another tumble.
5.30am UK Theme During the BBC schism, the Wireless 4 controller managed to snatch a few gramophone records of songs that typified parts of the British Isles. These were spliced together and played daily to annoy anyone with musical taste, foreigners and insomniacs. Despite this, there were may howls of protest when the fat controller suggested that the theme should be replaced by a news briefing. Some listeners even persuaded their grandchildren to write emails of complaint (although they insisted that these should be typeset in Times New Roman). Cowed by the protest, a new theme was devised. England is now represented by the sound of a student's mp3 player two seats down from you on the London Underground, Northern Ireland by Iain Paisley saying "Nooooooooo!" for 2 minutes 35 seconds, Wales by "The Land of My Father Has Been Sold to a Stockbroker" and Scotland by a version of "What Shall We Do With the Act of Union" sung by a drunken Glaswegian at 3am on Sochie Hall Street.
5.43am Prayer for the Day Daily plea generally along the lines of "Dear God, please don't let the next 15 minutes be all about EU subsidies". This is usually cited by Richard Dawkins as proof that either God doesn't exist, is deaf or is a bit of a sadist.
5.45am Foaming Today Nothing is funnier than a yokel seething and foaming at the mouth at the prospect of reduced EU subsidies, proposed bans on chicken strangling, orgasmic crops, lack of rain or increased EU subsidies. Broadcast at a time when only farmers, milkmen and parents with young children are awake, this 15 minute rant is guaranteed to put a smile on your face until you realise you could have had an extra quarter hour in bed.
6am The Toady Programme Presenters Barry Humphries, Sarah Capulet, The Mighty Quinn and Ed Certain suck up to politicians, world leaders and industrialists, reminding us all what a fine job they are making of running the country. Humour is provided by Naughty Jim, a sock puppet who regularly appears with his hilarious catchphrase "He's fallen in de water". To avoid accusations of bias and to make sure that listeners get out of bed, a totally balanced viewpoint is provided by every day at 7:50am by a religious leader who summarises both sides of a current news topic. At 8:59:30 the presenters cut off the current interviewee in their prime and race to the finish by mentioning everyone involved in the show before the dreaded Pips invade the studio and start singing Midnight Train to Georgia.
9am Do Something With the Week A group of people who have scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in just their underpants, know everything about the finer points of Wittgenstein and have dined with the President of Burundi - twice - get together to demonstrate that you have frittered your life away on such petty trivialities as paying the mortgage, getting the kids to school on time and not living off your Sherpa's liver for a fortnight.
9:45am Berk of the Week A weakly serialised account of the life of Giles Brandreth. Originally conceived as a TV programme, many viewers mistook his sweaters for a test card and either turned over or vomitted over the Chesterfield. On the wireless, Giles' slot has proved more popular, particularly with the deaf community.
10am Wimmin's Hour The show for wimmin by wimmin and about wimmin. Although the show is chiefly about breast cancer, cystitis and anorexia it also features articles as diverse as "Cricket in South Africa is dominated by men, but what about the wimmen's teams?", "Jesus' disciples were all men, but wimmin played an important role too" and "The truth about breast cancer." Hosted by Andrea Kershaw, this is a light-hearted look at the role played by wimmin in today and yesterday's society , and up to 98% of the regular listeners are actually men (or mysogenestic, cheating, lying, insensitive, uncaring bastards). At 10:45 the show features a drama, such as "My Life After Breast Cancer - or How I'm Glad I Felt a Right Tit."
12pm You and Whose Army? A daily consumer affairs programme demonstrating, beyond doubt, that the only major corporation you can trust is the BBC, who incidentally can provide cassette tapes of previous shows, funded by the license payers, for the knock-down price of £19.99. Featuring exposés including "Hand grenades - how those nasty pins can snag your tights!", "How to save 4 pence a month by recycling your own urine" and "The dangers of alternative medicine", this programme sets the standard for all shows that wish to be ignored and/or ridiculed.
1pm The World at One Magazine programme showing how the world is at one with itself, growing apple trees and honey bees and snow-white turtle doves. With regular contributions from famous promoters of world harmony including Tony Blair, The King Singers and Vlad the Impaler ("Let's all stick together guys"). Also includes advice on achieving inner harmony using the crystal from your wireless, Riki-Tiki Tavi, acupuncture, shitsu, rolfing (laughing uncontrollably at bad art and dying kittens) and other alternative therapies which the previous programme has spent half an hour debunking.
1:30pm The Smart Arse Quiz More proof that you know absolutely nothing about literature, music or life in general - but that you actually do have a life. It is a little known fact that the show's host, Robert Robinson, died in 1998, so that the producers have to rely on samples from earlier editions to produce a coherent show. Mr Brown (Ah, yes) has managed to win the coveted Smart Arse Trophy three times running by noticing this, and the resulting corollary that the answer to every ninth question is "Partick Thistle".
2:00pm The Archers Repeat They just do, all the time, mostly about mastitis in the cow herd or yet another disaster for the Grundy family.
2:15pm Afternoon Play Helpful suggestions on fun games to while away those long hours just before your afternoon nap. Popular suggestions include "Beggar Thy Neighbour", "Happy Families" and "Pin the Forked Tail on the Picture of the Pope". More lively games, such a Mornington Crescent are discouraged, as they are not conducive to digestion.
3pm All the Science You Need to Know Top boffins break down the mysteries of science into easily digestible chunks that the layman can understand. To demonstrate that a layman can actually understand them, the show is introduced by a presenter noted for his cheery voice, inquisitive mind and complete lack of scientific knowledge who cheerfully sums up each new finding in words of one syllable or fewer. He probably nods sagely too, although this is ineffective on the wireless. The show concludes by stating that the previous 30 minutes have proven that the ice caps are melting, but you can save them by changing your light bulbs for candles and recycling your cat litter.
3:30pm Book Club Mariella Fostrup hosts a lively discussion on literature, with guest writers offering their opinions on which novels are most effective for beating defenseless animals or people who split infinitives to death. Popular titles include Dickens' Barnaby Bludgeon and anything by Coshtoyevsky or Blackjack Kerouac, although particularly wayward souls are subjected to William Burrough's Naked Truncheon.
5:00pm PM Prime Minister Gordon Brown hosts a phone-in/e-mail-in/text-in show/podcast/message board where listeners provide their rambling opinions on current affairs. Roughly a third of the show is devoted to listener feedback/rantings and logically flawed arguments, whilst another third consists of requests for listeners to write, phone, fax, employ a carrier pigeon or wrap a note round a brick and throw it through the windows of Broadcasting House. The remaining third consists chiefly of that annoying clicking sound that Mr Brown makes when he lets his jaw drop like a dead salmon.
6:00pm Six O'Clock News A summary of daily events, requiring news-readers and audience alike to dress in formal attire and bemoan the state of the world today.
6:30pm Quote The I'm Sorry I've Just a Minute Quiz Unquote Former comedians attempt compete in a quiz to covertly smuggle as much sexual innuendo past the ears of the pre-watershed audience in 60 seconds without repetition, deviation, repetition or failing to demonstrate how funny they think they are. Masters such as Julian Clary slip a big one in every other line and pull off hundreds in a single episode.
7:00pm The Archers More goings-on from the village code-named Ambridge, yet another outbreak of mastitis, and some handy jam making tips from Home Farm.
7:15pm Front Row The daily arts programme giving listeners the chance to regret the fact that they do not live in London, hence cannot see Tracey Emin's latest exhibition of used condoms in batter at the Tate, or hear Stephen Poilakov swearing at a wall representing his estranged father at the Donmar.
8:00pm Closedown As all right minded individuals should be in bed with a mug or Horlicks by half eight, Wireless 4 helpfully assists them by playing God Save the Queen and reading extracts from a 19th century novel before turning off transmission and locking all the presenters into their own hermetically sealed bubbles.
The Future of Wireless 4
The future is a right-wing concept not endorsed by the BBC or its subsidiaries. Those wishing to embrace such absurd notions should seek satisfaction elsewhere. More enlightened patrons are welcome to indulge in a nice cup of tea and enjoy the predictable and safe realm envisioned by BBC Wireless 4 as they watch their stockmarket share prices tumble in the comfort of their own detached domicile. If you are affected by this policy please call our help line. 
- ↑ If you don't know what "devoid" means then you are in the wrong article - try this instead
- ↑ News Is Most Boring If Endlessly Scheduled
- ↑ that means written longhand using a proper pen with ink that you fill from a bottle
- ↑ Calls cost £1 per minute from a BT landline and may be recorded for our Christmas Party if you have a really funny voice or pronounce "bath" as rhyming with "hath". Calls from mobiles will be stupidly expensive, but that's your own fault, you flashy modernist.