237 episodes

Radio 4's weekly obituary programme, telling the life stories of those who have died recently

Last Word BBC

    • Personal Journals

Radio 4's weekly obituary programme, telling the life stories of those who have died recently

    Tony Garnett, Joy Rainey, Professor Cuchlaine King, Terry Jones

    Tony Garnett, Joy Rainey, Professor Cuchlaine King, Terry Jones

    Pictured: Terry Jones

    Matthew Bannister on Tony Garnett, the TV and film producer whose tragic childhood inspired him to make influential films like Up The Junction, Cathy Come Home and Kes.

    Joy Rainey, the racing driver whose restricted growth meant she needed specially adapted cars.

    Professor Cuchlaine King, the geomorphologist known for her studies of beaches, coasts and glaciers.

    Terry Jones, best known as a member of the Monty Python team, but also a medieval historian of distinction.

    Interviewed guest: Andreas Campomar
    Interviewed guest: Eddie Walder
    Interviewed guest: Professor Brian Whalley
    Interviewed guest: Betsey Everett
    Interviewed guest: Professor Alan Ereira

    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips from: Free Thinking, Radio 3 28/06/2020; Afternoon Edition, 5Live 11/07/2016; Front Row, Radio 4 27/05/2013; Kes, directed by Ken Loach, United Artists 1970; The Wednesday Play: Up The Junction, BBC One 03/11/1965; The Wednesday Play: Cathy Come Home, BBC One 16/11/1966; This Life Series 1, Episode 3, BBC Two 01/04/1996; Front Row, Radio 4 22/01/2020; Desert Island Discs, Radio 4 02/07/1983; Monty Python’s Flying Circus, ‘The Funniest Joke in The World’ Sketch, BBC Two 05/10/1969; Life of Brian, directed by Terry Jones, Cinema International Corporation, 1979; 5Live Drive, 5Live 22/01/2020.

    • 27 min
    Sir Roger Scruton FBA, FRSL, Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman, Bobby Neame CBE, Elizabeth Sellars

    Sir Roger Scruton FBA, FRSL, Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman, Bobby Neame CBE, Elizabeth Sellars

    Pictured: Sir Roger Scruton

    Matthew Bannister on Sir Roger Scruton, the leading conservative philosopher of his generation, known for his work on aesthetics. His outspoken views made him a controversial figure for some on the left.

    Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman who overthrew his father in a coup and transformed his country.

    Bobby Neame, the Chairman of Shepherd Neame - the country's oldest brewing company based in Kent.

    Elizabeth Sellars, the British actress who appeared alongside Humphrey Bogart in "The Barefoot Contessa" and Marlon Brando in "Desiree".

    Interviewed guest: Lord Maurice Glasman
    Interviewed guest: Douglas Murray
    Interviewed guest: Calvin Allen
    Interviewed guest: Jonathan Neame
    Interviewed guest: Dr Melanie Williams

    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips from: The English Fix, Radio 4 14/09/2017; On Your Farm, Radio 4 28/10/2001; Best of Today Podcast, Radio 4 26/04/2019; Profile: Sultan Qaboos Of Oman, Radio 4 11/01/1980; Sultan Of Muscat and Oman Interview, Radio 4 02/08/1970; Oman Civil War, Thames TV 22/03/2017; Slang: Spitfire Ale advert 27/06/2013; Newsroom South East, BBC One 21/01/1998; Forbidden Cargo, directed by Harold French, J. Arthur Rank Organisation/ London Independent Producers 1954; Hunted, directed by Charles Crichton, Independent Artists/ British Film Makers 1952; Desiree, directed by Henry Koster, Twentieth Century Fox 1954; The Barefoot Contessa, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Transoceanic Film /Figaro 1954; A Voyage Round My Father, directed by Alvin Rakoff, Thames Television 1982.

    • 28 min
    General Qasem Soleimani, M.C. Beaton, George Laurer, Dr Sidney Holt

    General Qasem Soleimani, M.C. Beaton, George Laurer, Dr Sidney Holt

    Pictured: General Qasem Soleimani

    Matthew Bannister on

    Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed by an American drone strike. We try to uncover the motivation of the man who spread Iran's military influence throughout the Middle East.

    M.C. Beaton who wrote more than 250 books which sold in their millions, including romantic fiction and murder mysteries featuring PC Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin.

    George Laurer, the American engineer who played a pivotal role in the invention of the barcode.

    Dr. Sidney Holt, the biologist credited with saving the blue whale from extinction.

    Interviewed guest: Kasra Naji
    Interviewed guest: Mike Ripley
    Interviewed guest: Chris Stokel-Walker
    Interviewed guest: Vassili Papastavrou

    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips from: Profile, Radio 4 08/03/2015; TV Eye, Thames TV 1979; September 11 Attacks, CNN 07/09/2011; President Trump on Soleimani, The Telegraph 05/01/2020; Soleimani on Trump, MEMRI TV 30/07/2018; Soleimani’s funeral, The Sun 06/01/2020; Front Row, Radio 4 16/08/2010; The Chocolate Debutante by MC Beaton, read by Patience Tomlinson, Hachette Audio UK 2019; Hamish Macbeth, BBC Four 23/03/2008; Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by MC Beaton, read by Penelope Keith, Chivers Audiobooks 05/07/2012; Woman’s Hour, Radio 4 10/12/2014; George Laurer: CSCMP Supply Chain Hall of Fame, CSCMPTube 02/10/2017; Sidney Holt: In His Own Words, Stephen Best May 2010; Britain's Whale Hunters: The Untold Story, BBC Four 27/10/2016; Newsnight, BBC Two 07/04/2000; Today, Radio 4 29/05/1995; Front Row, Radio 4 10/04/2006.

    • 28 min
    Neil Innes, Steve Sawyer, Sheila Mercier, Alasdair Gray

    Neil Innes, Steve Sawyer, Sheila Mercier, Alasdair Gray

    Pictured: Neil Innes

    Matthew Bannister on

    Neil Innes, the talented musician who was a member of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, worked with Monty Python and satirised the Beatles. Roger McGough and Michael Palin pay tribute.

    Steve Sawyer, the Greenpeace activist who helped to evacuate the Pacific Islanders of the Rongelap Atoll after they were affected by nuclear testing.

    Sheila Mercier, the actress best known for playing Annie Sugden in the TV soap Emmerdale.

    Alasdair Gray, the Scottish novelist and painter who created the acclaimed novel Lanark.

    Interviewed guest: Roger McGough
    Interviewed guest: Michael Palin
    Interviewed guest: Brian Fitzgerald
    Interviewed guest: Anthony Hayward
    Interviewed guest: Jean Rogers
    Interviewed guest: Frazer Hines
    Interviewed guest: Alan Riach

    Producer: Paula McGinley

    Archive clips from: Chain Reaction, Radio 4 20/04/2016; Innes Own World, Radio 4 Extra 29/06/2018; All You Need is Cash, directed by Eric Idle and Gary Weis, Broadway Video 22/03/1978; The Reunion, Radio 4 14/09/2003; Rainbow Warrior's Rongelap Voyage, 25/06/2015, Pacific Media Centre; Breakfast Time, Radio 4 10/07/1985; Open To Question, Radio 4 15/10/1985; 1800 News Bulletin, Radio 4 26/08/1997; Emmerdale, ITV 31/10/1972; Emmerdale, ITV 16/07/1973; Emmerdale, ITV 19/05/1988; The Late Show: Alasdair Gray, BBC Two 18/10/1993; Artworks Scotland: Alasdair Gray, BBC 2S 14/11/2004; Alasdair Gray at Eighty, BBC 2S 27/12/2014; Reporting Scotland 2018: Alasdair Gray, 05/04/2018.

    • 27 min
    Andrew Graham-Yooll OBE, Andrea Newman, Peter Davis, Olly Croft OBE

    Andrew Graham-Yooll OBE, Andrea Newman, Peter Davis, Olly Croft OBE

    Julian Worricker on:

    The journalist, Andrew Graham-Yooll OBE, who risked his life to tell the story of the so-called 'disappeared' in Argentina in the 1970s.

    The writer Andrea Newman, best known for 'Bouquet of Barbed Wire', the sexually charged family drama that pushed the boundaries of television.

    Ornithologist and conservationist, Peter Davis, who dedicated much of his working life to saving the red kite.

    And Olly Croft OBE who founded the British Darts Organisation, and is credited with making the sport more popular and more professional.

    Producer: Paula McGinley

    • 28 min
    Kenny Lynch OBE, Chris Moncrieff CBE, Kate Figes, Branko Lustig

    Kenny Lynch OBE, Chris Moncrieff CBE, Kate Figes, Branko Lustig

    Pictured: Kenny Lynch OBE

    Matthew Bannister on

    Chris Moncrieff, the journalist who covered parliament for the Press Association for more than 50 years. He even has a bar named after him in the House of Commons.

    Kate Figes, the writer who captured the nuances of human relationships in books like "Couples" and "Our Cheating Hearts".

    Branko Lustig, the holocaust survivor who won an Oscar as the producer of the film Schindler's List.

    Kenny Lynch, the singer from London's East End who described himself as a black cockney and had hits including "Up On The Roof".

    Interviewed guest: Pete Clifton
    Interviewed guest: Lennie Goodings
    Contributor: Michael Goldfarb
    Interviewed guest: Garth Cartwright

    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips from: Labour Party Conference, BBC Sound Archive 01/10/1993; Loose Ends, Radio 4 20/09/2008; Thatcher Resigns as Prime Minister, The Telegraph Archive 08/04/2013; Backstage In Parliament, Radio 4 10/11/1985; Woman’s Hour, Radio 4 22/01/2013; Woman’s Hour, Radio 4 11/05/2013; Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, Dreamworks/Universal Pictures/Scott Free Productions 2000; Branko Lustig: Drawing Against Oblivion, Final Frame 22/03/2019; Schindler’s List, directed by Steven Spielberg, Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment 1993; Branko: Return to Auschwitz, The New York Times 15/04/2013; Jools Holland, Radio 2 28/10/2013.

    • 28 min

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