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This article is taken from PN Review 39, Volume 11 Number 1, July - August 1984.

Sisson in the Studio Fraser Steel

It has not been (by the standards of the future Sir Terence Wogan) a conspicuous broadcasting career, or a particularly long one: moreover, some of its noblest moments have manifested themselves as silence - those long hours at the producer's elbow during the recording of The Song of Roland when only sacrificial forbearance can have restrained the urge to comment until the moment when comment was most welcome. But those who have listened consistently since 1976, when Charles Sisson made a rather late début on 'Poetry Now', will have enjoyed some memorable broadcasting occasions. It is not that anyone would apply the term 'voice beautiful' - but whether presenting his own work or acting as guide to the work of others (Virgil, Barnes, David Wright) Sisson speaks with an unassertive but forceful directness that is always impressive. The merit of his broadcasting is of a piece with the most remarkable achievement of his prose - it is the man himself talking. Anyone who has experienced the trammels of either medium will know how rare this is.

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