Radio listener by Jim Gilchrist

Jingle all the way ... no, it’s not that jolly old buffer in the red outift, not just yet, but the men – and women – in outlandish garb of another kind, sporting bells and waving hankies.

Morris dancing has had a bad press over the years, occasionally justified by some of its stuffier practitioners, but many of today’s emerging young English folk stars are championing this venerable dance form, as comedian Stewart Lee discovers in it’s got bells on, part of Radio 2’s Dance Season.

A convert to the arcanaries of morris dance, Lee went so far as to book the Forest of Dean Morris side for his wedding reception.

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Not so long ago, the dance form’s national organisation, the Morris Ring, was gloomily predicting that the tradition would be defunct within a couple of decades because of the lack of young blood, but things appear to be changing for the better, with the help of new-wave jinglers such as The Bedlams or the Belles of London City.

However, whether or not morris can be, as is suggested, “as sexy as salsa and as fearsome as flamenco” perhaps remains to be seen.

Whatever your view of morris as a pursuit, it does keep people off the street – unless, of course, they’re actually dancing on it. In the first of a new series of bringing up britain, Mariella Frostrup asks whether parents are increasingly losing control of their children. August’s rioting in parts of England suggested that many youngsters appeared to be utterly without restraint, parental or otherwise.

When MPs and council leaders warned adults in the stricken areas that they should know where their offspring were and, if need be, keep them indoors to avoid trouble, parents responded by claiming that they felt unable to discipline their children, either because they feared repercussions by the authorities or because their children were just too big and belligerent.

Frostrup is joined by the obligatory (but well-behaved) panel of experts, to discuss whether children are accorded too many rights, and what parents can do, including what restraining measures can be legally used, if they feel their child is becoming uncontrollable. Enrol them in an urban morris team, perhaps?

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