At the end of his 6Music show this morning, Jon Richardson announced that when he leaves these shores for the Melbourne Comedy Festival in a few weeks’ time, he will have broadcast his final show on 6Music and will not be returning. This was a bit of a shock – he’d mentioned the festival in passing before, but I’d presumed (or at least hoped) that there would be a stand-in for a few shows, and then he’d be back.
Richardson’s show, and before it the show he co-presented with Russell Howard, has been appointment radio for me since soon after it started. Howard was brought into 6Music as a replacement for Russell Brand, who had just moved to Radio 2 (the rest of that story, you know), and initially had two co-presenters: Jon, and Sam Thomas (curious they all had first names as, or in, their surnames), but soon they settled down into a duo. Their arrival coincided almost to the week with me moving into my own flat for the first time, and also buying my first digital radio. The show was the first I really latched on to, particularly for Jon: as a pedantic, sarcastic man from the North West of England he inexplicably struck some sort of chord with me. I must have listened to the show on the majority of Sunday mornings since.
It’s often said that the trick of presenting radio is to speak as if you’re talking to one person, not many; Jon seems to be able to do that fairly instinctively, and whenever he would get into an argument with Russell, it always felt as though he and the listeners were – in the nicest way possible – ganging up on Mr Howard. As well as a fairly reasonable pedantry, Jon also showcased his other traits to good effect: a love of cooking, delight in small pleasures such as Dyson Airblades, and significant but endearing social awkwardness.
He also comes across as a man who in many respects is pretty sorted and comfortable with himself, and has a good perspective on the world: his “good deeds” feature sprung out of his own propensity for doing small but helpful deeds, and he can regularly be heard giving gifts to guests and colleagues on the show. I still have one of his dictums as a favourite quote on my Facebook profile: “When the lights go off and you’re on your own, that’s who you are.” Far from being the pedantic misanthrope Russell Howard would occasionally – jokingly – paint him as, he seems like a genuinely nice bloke who would be deeply embarrassed to read or hear anything of the sort being said about him.
Jon’s now been presenting the show on his own for well over 18 months, since Russell moved on, albeit with support each week from Matt Forde. So after three and a half years in total, it’s understandable that he has decided to move on and do other things – much as I’d have liked to have a few more years of shows to look forward to, I can certainly understand the decision. Perhaps the sitcom he was writing has been picked up – certainly his career trajectory has been going the right way, with appearances on Buzzcocks and Have I Got News For You last year, a regular slot as a team captain on Radio 4 quiz Act Your Age, plus a nomination for the used-to-be-the-Perrier award in Edinburgh.
Whatever he does, I hope he has some channel available for us to keep in touch with him. It’s always a pleasure to spend a few hours in his company on a Sunday morning, and I’ll miss hearing what’s been going on in his world. Moreover, if he’s looking at things from a career perspective, I hope he’ll see value in maintaining a line of communication with his existing fan-base, rather than allowing the support he’s deservedly gathered on 6Music to wither and fade. He has resisted having a website or blog up to now, and left both MySpace and Twitter after short spells on each.
So I wish him well in whatever he does next, look forward to the remaining shows he has on 6Music, and hope that in some form or other he’ll stay in touch.