Friday, May 02, 2014

Remembering Ray Gosling

If you're near a radio tomorrow night you might listen to "Sum Total", a Radio Four Archive Hour programme about Ray Gosling. It's presented by Mark Hodkinson, who used to write things for The Word and also published some of Gosling's writing.

Gosling died in 2013 in rather reduced circumstances both materially and professionally but in the 70s and 80s he was one of the most distinctive voices in broadcasting.  He was, as Mark says, "a complicated man with his life divided into different compartments". Gay when the term was unknown. A lot of a drinker. Fiercely working class but sent for ballet and elocution lessons as a child. Maybe the latter took, maybe they didn't. He never lost his wheedling Midlands tone.

His personal touch made him a brilliant interviewer. Somebody in the programme calls it "deceptive diffidence". There's a clip from an interview with Barbara Castle which illustrates how his willingness to allow himself to look foolish often conjured tiny slivers of interpersonal gold.

Worth hearing.


  1. I hadn't heard that he'd died; the last I heard of him was that he'd got himself into trouble for some risible confession about euthanising a boyfriend with a pillow. Sad that he'd come to need attention so badly as to manufacture a claim like that. Certainly a distinctive voice in his time.

  2. S A F4:18 pm

    Having known Ray personally sometime ago I can't believe that he made the confession, mentioned in the previous comment, for attention
    That wasn't his style.
    Surely he was trying to make a piont and be a voice for people less articulate .
    Very sadly it seems the action was misunderstood

  3. Sadly James is right about Ray Gosling; his 'confession' was quite public.

    I remember him very well; idiosyncratic and with that distinctive voice of his. And then suddenly he wasn't there.