Comment – A Beautiful Voice

It was the beautiful voice and the soft laughter that drew me in and marked out not only a wonderful radio programme, but the start of a little crush.

I spend a lot of time listening to spoken word on the radio, mainly via podcasts which have become an addiction I find difficult to keep under control. Most of the shows are interesting and on occasion fun, very few causes me to listen in stunned silence.

Heel, toe, Step Together, won a Sony gold award, and if any exemplify what radio documentaries should be, this is it. Whilst the content is excellent – telling the story of Bob Hill, a pensioner who has been dancing since the age of 16 and Kate, a young women he met one day and agreed to teach – what kept me listening was the presenter’s voice.

Katie Burningham has a style that hints at intimacy and suits the subject matter perfectly. Here is an example, taken from the start of the programme.

Heel, Toe Step Together – clip 1

With those soft delicate tones she draws you in and, just when you think it cannot get any better, you hear her laugh.

Heel, Toe Step Together – clip 2

Spoken word radio relies on good description and scene setting, and Katie does this perfectly.

Heel, Toe Step Together – clip 3

The mix between narration and clips paints the picture of two friends, enjoying each other’s company, not simply a teacher and student or an interviewer and her interviewee. It is a credit to all involved that this truly feels like a window into a moment of their lives; a snapshot of a few hours on a relaxed Saturday afternoon.

Heel, Toe Step Together – clip 5

If there is one clip that sums up how wonderful this documentary is and demonstrates Katie’s skill as a broadcaster, it this, from the closing minutes of the programme. (Oh, and it has that delectable laugh threaded through it.)

Heel, Toe Step Together – clip 6