Thrills and spills of the coming year

Let's hope 2007 brings more Dylan and less Nolan

Quite a lot happened in the world of radio over the holiday, so let me begin with a bit of belated mopping up. The big story in our house was the announcement of the Radio 3 schedule which, though impressively serious in most respects (the afternoons have been "extended" to include more complete live broadcasts), has resulted in the loss of Penny Gore from the breakfast show; she is to be replaced by Rob Cowan. I tried to break this to my husband in as kind a way as possible, but he was - and is - inconsolable: Gore's voice is literally the only sound he can bear of a weekday morning. I will let you know what he makes of Cowan in due course, but my hunch is that Roger Wright, the station's controller, has made a big mistake here. Gore's gentleness is universally adored by poor souls seeking refuge from the shouting on Radio 4. (In the case of Margaret Beckett, of course, this should read "plaintive sighing". Honestly, what is that woman on?)

The other exciting news (OK, moderately exciting news) is that Blake's 7 is to make a comeback in a series of hour-long audio episodes, to be aired initially as five-minute podcasts over the internet. This Blake's 7 has new scripts and a cast that includes Daniela Nardini, and is the work of B7 Productions, set up by a former BBC executive producer, Andrew Mark Sewell - so I expect that in the fullness of time it will be sold to BBC7, where Doctor Who stories also do great business. I can't really explain why this idea fills me with such a plump sense of expectation. Ten million people watched the series when it was screened on BBC1 between 1978 and 1981, but when I try to remember it, all I can see is people in BacoFoil running through abandoned chalk pits. Still, expectant I am. I just hope that Nardini, aka Anna from This Life, has been cast as Avon, the baddie - and yes, before you all write in, I do know that Avon is a man.

My radio New Year's resolution is to do everything I can to make the controller of BBC 5 Live, Bob Shennan, aware of how unnecessary Stephen Nolan's weekend phone-in is. Gillian Reynolds, radio critic of The Daily Telegraph, regards Nolan's show (10pm, Fridays to Sundays) as her radio low point of 2006. I agree. His technique is vile, by which I mean that he would not sound out of place on TalkSport. Playing to his callers' prejudices, Nolan often manages to sound both less liberal and less sophisticated than the borderline lunatics and insomniacs who bother to ring in. Believe me, that is some achievement.

Oh, well. By way of balm, there's always Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. On 23 December, as I crawled up the M1, I heard Stuart Maconie on Radio 2 joking about the station's superstar new staff member. Bob, he told us, was already on the coffee rota. If only. Anyway, thanks to the demands - sorry, I mean delights - of my family, I missed the six shows on Radio 2 over Christmas, but did catch the BBC6 Music show on New Year's Day. It was great - like listening to an old-fashioned and yet strangely cool jukebox.

BBC6 Music will now broadcast a further 29 shows every Friday until March, when Bob returns to Radio 2. Hooray. Once you've got over the way Dylan as a DJ sounds like Roland Rat reciting poetry - yes, I really am committing sacrilege here - you just find yourself falling madly in love with him all over again.

Pick of the week

On Your Farm
From 7 January, 6.35am, Radio 4
He lives in a house, a very big house, in the country – presented by Alex James of Blur.

Inspirational Bowie
6 January, 8pm, Radio 2
Mark Radcliffe celebrates Bowie's 60th birthday, with Debbie Harry, Ricky Gervais and Jarvis Cocker.

London International Mime Festival

The 29th London International Mime Festival promises to challenge our perceptions of live theatre. The joint director, Joseph Seelig, describes it as "the best in innovative contemporary visual art - with brains. It is visual impact theatre, with minimal text input, and appropriate for our technological age."

Seelig recommends Rainpan 43, an American group that blends ventriloquism with vaudeville, the illusionist Philippe Genty (right) and Ockham's Razor, the new British physical theatre artists.

Runs 13-28 January at venues across central London.

Rachel Cooke trained as a reporter on The Sunday Times. She is now a writer at The Observer. In the 2006 British Press Awards, she was named Interviewer of the Year.