Media watch

Our pick of age-related stories in the news

Betty Smith, 90, and her pal Beryl Renwick, 86, stole the headlines at the Sony Radio Awards when they walked off with gold in the entertainment category for their spot on Radio Humberside.

The media promptly fell over itself in shock that the pair’s “joyous, entertaining double act”, broadcast from Hull, could have eclipsed the likes of comedian/presenter Frank Skinner. It was also the first time many in the media had heard of Hull.

We happily join in the celebrations for the “recycled teenagers” (Betty’s words). But spare a thought for Brian Matthew, 83. In the same week as B&B’s success, Matthew’s Radio 2 show, Sounds of the 60s, achieved its highest listening figures ever in its 22-year run. At any other time, it would have made him the media’s star pensioner.
Meanwhile, for those who don’t want to go on and on and on past 65, Hinton St George in Somerset was named the best place in Britain to enjoy a long retirement. Men in the village live to almost 89 and women to 91, according to research by actuaries Towers Watson. This Shangri-La of the South- West boasts a cider sampling tradition and “a stress-free environment”, say locals. One, presumably, related to the other.

We assume that Hinton does not share the problems of another favourite retiree bolthole, Christchurch in Dorset, where a wave of dodgy driving has prompted police to set up training sessions for pensioners with mobility scooters. In keeping with incredibly sexist, age-old stereotypes, “people who tend to speed are the men, who traditionally go for bigger scooters,” according to one local shop owner. Presumably, these are the same men who, in their youth, would compensate for other, er, deficiencies by driving verybig cars.
 

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