PM (BBC Radio 4)

PM, sometimes referred to as the PM programme to avoid ambiguity, is BBC Radio 4's long-running early evening news and current affairs programme. It is currently presented by Evan Davis and Carolyn Quinn.

GenreCurrent affairs
Running timeWeekdays: 60 minutes
Saturday: 30 minutes
Country of originUK
Home stationBBC Radio 4
Hosted byEvan Davis
Carolyn Quinn
Edited byOwenna Griffiths
Recording studioBBC Television Centre (until Dec 2012)
Broadcasting House (Dec 2012 onwards)
Original release6 April 1970 – present
Opening themePM Theme

Broadcast times

PM is broadcast from 5pm to 6pm from Monday to Friday and from 5pm to 5:30pm on Saturdays. On weekdays it is followed by another news programme, the Six O'Clock News.


PM launched on 6 April 1970, with its first presenters, William Hardcastle and Derek Cooper, promising a programme that "sums up the day, and your evening starts here".[1] It made history for being the first radio news programme to feature its own theme tune.[2][3] Three have been used, with the last ending in 1997 in the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana.[2][3]

The First PM theme tune was by John Baker and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

The second was produced by Dudley Simpson, with the final used between 1993 and 1997 was by George Fenton.

Notable presenters after William Hardcastle included Steve Race, Brian Widlake, Robert Williams, Chris Lowe, Joan Bakewell, Susannah Simons, Rachael Heyhoe Flint and Valerie Singleton (a former Blue Peter presenter — in pre-interview chats, junior ministers "inevitably" claimed that they still had their Blue Peter badge[1]).

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the programme's main presenter was Gordon Clough, who would typically prepare for the programme by completing the Times, Guardian and FT crosswords.

Valerie Singleton and Hugh Sykes co-presented the show during the 1980s but had a difficult relationship, with Singleton admitting she threw a cup of water in his face while live on air.[4] Singleton made a one-off return to PM on 29 February 2016 to co-present a special 'Leap Day' programme, alongside Eddie Mair, and proposed marriage to him at the end of the programme.[5][6]



YearsPresenterCurrent role
2018-presentEvan DavisLead Presenter
2000–presentCarolyn QuinnPresenter
2018-presentLuke JonesPresenter, iPM



On 12 October 2007, the programme started an additional blog for a spin-off programme called iPM,[10] broadcast on Saturdays at 5:30pm (immediately after the Saturday edition of PM) until 22 December and available as a podcast.[11] 'Through the blog, iPM listeners could discuss ideas with the production team and comment on the stories being lined up for the following show – so what ended up on air was shaped by the listeners.[12]

Quirky features

Though predominantly consisting of serious news, the programme is known for occasional satirical commentary, both from the presenters and in letters from listeners.

In 2008 the programme renamed its financial news slot "Upshares, Downshares" and used the title music of the television drama Upstairs, Downstairs, composed by Alexander Faris. In 2009, variations on the tune performed by PM listeners in a variety of styles from bossa nova to heavy metal[13] became a regular feature. This ended when the UK statistically left recession early in 2010. In October 2010, a compilation was released in aid of the Children in Need charity appeal, for which it raised over £70,000.[14]


PM is currently edited by Owenna Griffiths. The production team also works on Radio 4's The World at One, The World This Weekend and Broadcasting House.

A Radio Times poll in 2005 named Mair as the fifth most powerful person in radio.[15]


The programme won two accolades in the 2007 Sony Radio Academy Awards: Gold in the Interactive Programme Award, and Silver for Speech Programme.

See also

Analogous programmes include PM on ABC Radio National in Australia and All Things Considered on NPR in the United States.


  1. BBC Radio 4, 2007. "PM History." Accessed 2007-09-10.
  2. BBC Radio 4, 2007. "PM theme tune." Accessed 2007-09-10.
  3. "Audio Identities: Radio news themes", Accessed 2010-09-03.
  5. Valerie Singleton's wedding proposal to Eddie, BBC Radio 4, 29 February 2016
  6. Val Singleton returns to the PM Programme on Radio 4, Radio Moments, 1 March 2016
  7. Singleton, Valerie (28 June 2008). "My holiday with Princess Anne and how I had a nose job to look like Audrey Hepburn by Valerie Singleton". Daily Mail.
  8. BBC Radio 4, 2007. "iPM Blog Introduction." Accessed 2008-08-01.
  9. BBC Radio 4, 2007 "iPM Show Notes, 22nd December 2007." Accessed 2008-01-08.
  10. BBC Radio 4, 2007 "What's iPM? 12 October 2007." Accessed 2008-01-08.
  11. "Up Shares, Down Shares theme tune". BBC Online. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  12. "Upshares Downshares: More than £70,000 raised. And you can help raise more". BBC Online. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  13. BBC News, 2005. "RT Poll." Accessed 2007-09-10.

Video clips

Audio clips

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