247 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

    Albert Uderzo, Valerie Pettit OBE, Reverend Joseph Lowery, Julie Felix

    Albert Uderzo, Valerie Pettit OBE, Reverend Joseph Lowery, Julie Felix

    Pictured: Albert Uderzo

    Matthew Bannister on

    Valerie Pettit OBE, the senior MI6 officer in charge of the daring operation to get Soviet double agent Oleg Gordievsky out of Russia after his cover was blown.

    Albert Uderzo – the French cartoonist who created Asterix the Gaul.

    Reverend Joseph Lowery – the leading American civil rights activist who worked alongside Martin Luther King in the campaign for black equality.

    Julie Felix – the American-born singer who became known as the first lady of British folk.

    Interviewed guest: Ben Macintyre
    Interviewed guest: Agnes Poirier
    Interviewed guest: Dr Paul Smith
    Interviewed guest: Henrietta Giles
    Interviewed guest: Fran Collier

    Producer: Neil George

    • 28 min
    Betty Williams, Dr Fuad Nahdi, Sol Kerzner, Kenny Rogers

    Betty Williams, Dr Fuad Nahdi, Sol Kerzner, Kenny Rogers

    Picture Betty Williams

    Matthew Bannister on:
    Fuad Nahdi, the journalist, commentator and campaigner named as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims.
    Sol Kerzner, the South African businessman who made a fortune from hotels and casinos and built the controversial Sun City resort under apartheid.
    Betty Williams, the office receptionist from Belfast who teamed up with Mairead Corrigan to campaign for peace and won the Nobel Peace Prize.
    Kenny Rogers, one of America’s greatest country singers known for hits like “Lucille” and “Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town.”

    Interviewed guest: Abdul-Rehman Malik
    Interviewed guest: Bishop Toby Howarth
    Interviewed guest: Paul Martin
    Interviewed guest: Chris Ryder
    Interviewed guest: Garth Cartwright
    Interviewed guest: Bob Harris

    Producer: Neil George

    • 27 min
    Michel Roux, Sammy McCarthy, Lilian Mohin, Roy Hudd

    Michel Roux, Sammy McCarthy, Lilian Mohin, Roy Hudd

    Pictured: Michel Roux

    Matthew Bannister on

    Michel Roux, the French chef who, with his brother Albert, transformed the British restaurant scene in the 1970s

    Sammy McCarthy, the British featherweight champion boxer who became an armed robber.

    Lilian Mohin, the lesbian feminist activist who co founded the OnlyWomen Press.

    Roy Hudd, the versatile entertainer whose career took him from the music hall stage to TV and radio stardom.


    Interviewed guest: William Sitwell
    Interviewed guest: John McDonald
    Interviewed guest: Anna Marslen -Wilson
    Interviewed guest: Tim Mohin
    Producer: Neil George

    • 28 min
    Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Max von Sydow, Professor Hannah Steinberg, Charles Portis

    Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Max von Sydow, Professor Hannah Steinberg, Charles Portis

    Pictured: Javier Pérez de Cuéllar

    Matthew Bannister on

    The United Nations Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. The Peruvian diplomat faced major challenges including the Iran-Iraq war and the Falklands War.

    Max von Sydow the Swedish-born actor whose film roles ranged from Ingmar Bergman to James Bond and, more recently, Game of Thrones.

    Professor Hannah Steinberg - a pioneer of psychopharmacology - the study of the effects of drugs on the human mind.

    Charles Portis, the American writer best known for his novel "True Grit" which was twice adapted for the big screen.

    Interviewed guest: Richard Gowan
    Interviewed guest: Angela Errigo
    Interviewed guest: Sandra Fraser
    Interviewed guest: Professor Clare Stanford
    Interviewed guest: Michael Carlson
    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips from: Witness, BBC World Service 12/01/2012; Interview with Cuellar, The Classic Sports 17/11/1991; Iran/Iraq War, TV Eye 1980; Meeting Of The U.N. Security Council (Falklands Conflict), BBC Sound Archive 23/05/1982; Perez De Cuellar Admits Defeat, BBC Sound Archive 31/05/1984; UN 40th Anniversary: J. Perez De Cuellar, BBC Sound Archive 31/05/1984; Virendra Dayal on Cuellar, UN News 05/03/2020; The Seventh Seal, directed by Ingmar Bergman, Svensk Filmindustri 1957; The Film Programme, Radio 4 19/02/2012; The Greatest Story Ever Told, directed by George Stevens, George Stevens Productions 1965; Never Say Never Again, directed by Irvin Kershner, TaliaFilm II Productions/Woodcote/Producers Sales Organization (PSO) 1983; The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin, Warner Bros/Hoya Productions 1973; Liv Ullmann on Working with Max von Sydow, Criterion Collection 11/02/2019; The Simpsons: The War of Art, Fox Broadcasting Company 23/03/2014; Games of Thrones Season 6, HBO 24/04/2016; True Grit, directed by Henry Hathaway, Wallis-Hazen 1969; True Grit, Radio 4 Extra 26/09/2016; True Grit, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, Paramount Pictures/Skydance Media/Scott Rudin Productions/Mike Zoss Productions 2010.

    • 28 min
    Katherine Johnson, Nexhmije Hoxha, Sir Michael Berridge, Diana Serra Cary (Baby Peggy)

    Katherine Johnson, Nexhmije Hoxha, Sir Michael Berridge, Diana Serra Cary (Baby Peggy)

    Pictured: Katherine Johnson

    Matthew Bannister on

    Nexhmije Hoxha, the wife of the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha. The couple ran a repressive Stalinist regime and she was known in the West as the Lady Macbeth of Albania.

    Katherine Johnson, the best known of a small group of African American mathematicians who carried out crucial calculations for the American space programme. Their story was told in the 2017 film "Hidden Figures".

    Sir Michael Berridge, whose pioneering research into the saliva of blowflies revealed the process of cell signalling, with major implications for humans.

    And Diana Serra Cary, who, under the screen name "Baby Peggy" Montgomery, was a celebrated child star of silent cinema.

    Interviewed guest: Professor James Pettifer
    Interviewed guest: Albana Kasapi
    Interviewed guest: Dr Martin Bootman
    Interviewed guest: Tom Lamont
    Interviewed guest: Pamela Hutchinson

    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips from: Invasion Of Albania 1939, British Pathé 13/04/2014; Bugajksi Hour, Rezart Taci 23/03/2012; The World Tonight, Radio 4 11/04/1985; Newsnight, BBC Two 11/04/1985; President Obama Awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom, The Obama White House 24/11/2015; Hidden Figures, directed by Theodore Melfi, Fox 2000 Pictures/Chernin Entertainment/Levantine Films/TSG Entertainment 2016; Katherine Johnson: Math Interest, visionaryproject 08/03/2010; 5 Live Breakfast, Radio 5 Live 25/02/2020; What Matters - Katherine Johnson: NASA Pioneer and "Computer", WHRO Public Media 25/02/2011; John Glenn's Historic Space Flight 1962, CNN 08/12/2016; Lewis Wolpert Conversations, Radio 3 01/04/1993; Front Row, Radio 4 18/01/2006; Summer of Silents, Oscars 21/03/2014.

    • 28 min
    Hosni Mubarak, Andrew Weatherall, Mary Higgins Clark, John Bevan

    Hosni Mubarak, Andrew Weatherall, Mary Higgins Clark, John Bevan

    Matthew Bannister on

    Andrew Weatherall, a hugely influential figure in the dance music scene of the 1990s, who revolutionised what a DJ could be and produced many hit albums and remixes. Radio 1's Annie Nightingale explains how he changed her life.

    President Hosni Mubarak who ruled Egypt for thirty years before being ousted by mass protests.

    The best selling mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark. Her fellow writers Harlan Coben and Alafair S. Burke pay tribute.

    John Bevan, the record breaking deep sea diver who was a respected expert on the history of diving.

    Interviewed Guest: Annie Nightingale CBE
    Interviewed Guest: Dina Rezk
    Interviewed Guest: Paul Martin
    Interviewed Guest: Harlan Coben
    Interviewed Guest: Alafair Burke
    Interviewed Guest: Rosemary E Lunn
    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips from: The First Time With..., 6 Music, 22/11/2017; Panorama, BBC One, 06/10/1981; BBC News, BBC One, 28/01/2011; BBC News, BBC One,03/08/2011; Woman's Hour, Radio 4, 14/06/2000; Woman's Hour, Radio 4, 31/05/2006;

    • 27 min

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