Dan Maskell. Never met him, never spoken to him and absolutely no idea what he looked like. No idea what his circumstances were, I know nothing about his family, his background, his lifestyle, his opinions or quite frankly anything at all about him. There is a huge Dan Maskell sized void in me.

But his name is etched somewhere deep within my subconscious.

Say those three syllables, Dan Mas Kel and I’m instantly catapulted into a familiar and comforting world. I grew up with Dan Maskell. I grew up with the BBC.

The BBC was in some ways as much a part of my family as Rover the dog. Only we didn’t have a dog, so it was actually more. (I just invented Rover to make the point).

It’s a cliche to say that you don’t really appreciate things until they disappear but I had cause to pause for reflection this week on how integral and how huge a role that institution has played in my life.

I can’t imagine growing up without Blue Peter or Doctor Who. A world without Morecambe and Wise at Christmas. Without Tony Hancock’s half hour on the radio. Dad’s Army. John Peel for goodness sake. The tiniest tip of a colossal iceberg of culture.

The reason I’ve been thinking about the BBC is I’ve just finished listening to the final part of a radio podcast entitled 13 Minutes to the Moon. This is public broadcasting at its finest. Taking the audio loop of the final descent to the moon, Kevin Fong and his team unpick these final 13 minutes in forensic detail, to tell the whole Apollo story with captivating intensity.

The whole 12 episodes are under written by a score from the composer Hans Zimmer (OK I’ve never heard of him either) But he’s some huge big cheese, and we’re talking gorgonzola sized here, in the film business. But never mind that, what he’s written, is absolutely, completely compelling and beautiful.

The BBC at its best. John Peel once said: “We’re not here to give people what they want, we are here to give people what they didn’t know they wanted.” I didn’t know I wanted a series about the lunar landing. But boy I certainly know I wanted that radio series now.

If Dan Maskell were commentating, and the radio series was a tennis stroke, he’d be exclaiming in great excitement, “That’s an absolute peach of a forehand”. I can hear him now.