You've probably all figured out by now that I'm pretty heavily obsessed with British radio game shows. Well, a fairly big piece of news about them has broken: Robert Robinson is retiring as host of Brain Of Britain, which he has hosted since original host Franklin Engelmann died in 1972.
This is at once inevitable and hard to believe. It's inevitable because Robert is 83 years old and in such bad health that - this is the kicker - he rarely actually appeared on the show in the past few years. He was still listed as the official host, but had handed over several full seasons to substitutes. Naturally, this is also what makes it hard to believe. I'm fairly certain that the same announcement was made at the start of the 2007 season, with Peter Snow being named the new host - but guess what? Robert returned for the 2008 season! I sort of get the feeling that Robert won't be hosting the 2010 season, but if he wanted to come back in 2011, the BBC would let him.
Who will be hosting the 2010 season? Thankfully, we're not going to have to wait over a year while a host search takes place - the BBC has already announced that the new host will be Robert's most frequent substitute, Russell Davies (no, not the the producer who developed the revival of Doctor Who - that's Russell T. Davies). Again, I'm not really sure I believe any of it.
So is this a good thing? Frankly, I've always found Brain Of Britain dull as dishwater with anyone hosting, and even if Robert actually doesn't return to the regular Brain Of Britain series, I'm guessing he'll come back for the Brain Of Brains and Top Brain specials held every few years. I won't really believe Robert is gone from this show until the day he dies.
Brain Of Britain is one of four shows that rotate in BBC Radio 4's Monday afternoon game show slot. Round Britain Quiz is currently filling that slot - by my estimate (based on the season length for each show) Brain Of Britain will return on October 25.
If you're wondering what I think you're wondering - I've found most of the start dates, but I want to wait to post about them until I have all nine shows.