303 episodes

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

Last Word BBC Radio 4

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.6 • 27 Ratings

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

    Shireen Abu Akleh, Robert Gillmor, Leonid Kravchuk (pictured), Carrie White

    Shireen Abu Akleh, Robert Gillmor, Leonid Kravchuk (pictured), Carrie White

    Matthew Bannister on

    Shireen Abu Akleh, the respected Al Jazeera reporter who was shot dead while covering an Israeli military raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank.

    Robert Gillmor, the wildlife artist best known for his striking paintings of birds.

    Leonid Kravchuk who oversaw Ukraine’s transition to independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union and became its President.

    Carrie White, the hairdresser who styled some of Hollywood’s biggest stars and became addicted to drink and drugs.


    Producer: Neil George

    Interviewed guest: Dalia Hatuqa
    Interviewed guest: Stephen Moss
    Interviewed guest: Dr Taras Kuzio
    Interviewed guest: Helena de Bertodano
    Interviewed guest: Pitita Alcala White

    Archive clips used: BBC News 24, Newsday 12/05/2022; BBC News,14/05/2022; Al Jazeera English, 74 years of Nakba 2022; xeno-canto.org, Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta); BBC One, Animal Magic 23/11/1971; YouTube/Behind Nhu, Eurasian collared dove call 17/05/2020; BBC Radio 4, The World Tonight 28/04/1986; BBC News, Ukranian Referendum Results 02/12/1991; AP Archive, Ukraine - Preparations for Presidential Elections 25/06/1994; BBC One, six o'clock news - Ukraine Nuclear Weapons 14/01/1994; Connie Martinson YouTube channel, Upper Cut - Carrie White interview 31/10/2011.

    • 28 min
    Kathy Boudin, Dennis Waterman (pictured), Sidney Altman, Régine Zylberberg

    Kathy Boudin, Dennis Waterman (pictured), Sidney Altman, Régine Zylberberg

    Matthew Bannister on

    Kathy Boudin, the American radical activist who was sent to prison for her part in the killing of a security guard and two police officers during a robbery. While serving her sentence she became a campaigner for penal reform.

    Dennis Waterman, the actor best known for his roles in TV series 'The Sweeney', 'Minder' and 'New Tricks'.

    Sidney Altman, the American biologist who won the Nobel prize for his work on the function of RNA...

    And Régine Zylberberg, the French nightclub owner who claimed to have invented the discotheque.


    Producer: Neil George


    Interviewed guest: Baroness Helena Kennedy QC.
    Interviewed guest: Dr Thomas R. Cech, Ph.D.
    Interviewed guest: Hugh Schofield

    Archive clips used: CBS Sunday Morning, Weather Underground's accidental bombing 06/03/1970; Center for Justice at Columbia University, Interview with Kathy Boudin 09/05/2022; BBC One, Life and Times of Dennis Waterman 06/12/2000; Danziger Productions Ltd, Night Train To Inverness (1960); Cy Howard Productions / Desilu Productions, Fair Exchange (1962); Minder.org / YouTube clip, Dennis Waterman - Very Early Clip 07/10/2016; BHE Films / Crasto, Up The Junction (1968); Euston Films / Thames TV, The Sweeney (TV series) 1974; Euston Films / Thames TV, Minder 1979; BBC / Wall To Wall, New Tricks 01/04/2004; UC Berkeley Events, Unravelling the Mystery of Ribonucleic Acid 2010; i24NEWS Francais, Histoires Et Decouvertes Régine se raconte 4/04/2021.

    • 28 min
    Colonel Alan Jenkins, Mary Monson, Elspeth Barker, Art Rupe (pictured)

    Colonel Alan Jenkins, Mary Monson, Elspeth Barker, Art Rupe (pictured)

    Matthew Bannister on

    Colonel Alan Jenkins, the Gurhka officer who was the last living Westerner to have travelled to independent Tibet.

    Mary Monson, the solicitor who devoted her career to helping the poor and disadvantaged.

    Elspeth Barker, the novelist and critic who lived a colourful life surrounded by animals in a Norfolk farmhouse.

    Art Rupe, the American record producer who helped to launch the careers of Little Richard and Sam Cooke.


    Producer: Neil George

    Interviewed guest: Nigel Warren
    Interviewed guest: Roger Croston
    Interviewed guest: Joseph Kotrie Monson
    Interviewed guest: Raffaella Barker
    Interviewed guest: Geoff Barker

    Archive clips used: BBC TV Archive, Jungle Green - Borneo 24/12/1964; BBC Radio Manchester, Trump's tour bus 13/07/2018; Mary Monson Solicitors - YouTube channel, client care philosophy 18/02/2014; BBC Radio 4, O Caledonia by Elspeth Barker 14/10/1992; BBC Radio 3, The Verb - Life, Nature & Literature 10/04/2004; CBS, Alan Freed Rock & Roll Dance Party 1957.

    • 28 min
    Yvonne Blenkinsop (pictured), Dr Margaret Carswell, Mikhail Vasenkov, Denise Coffey

    Yvonne Blenkinsop (pictured), Dr Margaret Carswell, Mikhail Vasenkov, Denise Coffey

    Matthew Bannister on

    Yvonne Blenkinsop, one of the four so-called 'Headscarf Revolutionaries' from Hull who campaigned for better safety regulations on fishing trawlers after three were lost at sea in 1968.

    Margaret Carswell, the doctor and ornithologist who treated survivors of the Ugandan civil war and in her spare time compiled the definitive guide to the country’s bird population.

    Mikhail Vasenkov, the Russian spy who assumed a South American identity and lived undercover in the United States for decades.

    Denise Coffey, the talented comic actor who made her name in the TV show 'Do Not Adjust Your Set'.


    Producer: Emily Finch

    Interviewed guest: Nell Carswell
    Interviewed guest: Grace Carswell
    Interviewed guest: Gordon Corera
    Interviewed guest: Dr. Brian W. Lavery
    Interviewed guest: Humphry Barclay
    Interviewed guest: Michael Coveney
    Interviewed guest: Miriam Margolyes

    Archive clips used: British Pathé, Hull - Trawlers Lost At Sea - Wives Demand Stricter Safety Measures 1968; BBC World Service, Witness - Hull's Headscarf Revolutionaries 12/02/2018; BBC TV, Look North - Yvonne Blenkinsop gets freedom of the city of Hull 20/12/2018; YouTube, Triple Trawler Disaster - Hull 1968; xeno-canto, XC292779 Speckled Tinkerbird / XC291649 Woodland Warbler; BBC World Service, Witness - The Fall of Idi Amin 29/04/2014; BBC News 24, Russia/US Spy Swap 09/07/2010; Rediffusion, Do Not Adjust Your Set Ep 05 25/01/1968; BBC Radio 4 Extra, Alison and Maud 20/05/2009.

    • 27 min
    Mimi Reinhard, Sir Harrison Birtwistle (pictured), Sylvia Lancaster OBE, Letizia Battaglia

    Mimi Reinhard, Sir Harrison Birtwistle (pictured), Sylvia Lancaster OBE, Letizia Battaglia

    John Wilson on

    Mimi Reinhard, the Holocaust survivor who typed Oskar Schindler’s famous list and later turned down an offer from Steven Spielberg.

    Sir Harrison Birtwistle, the uncompromising British composer of contemporary classical music who once caused panic at the Proms.

    Sylvia Lancaster, the mother of Sophie Lancaster who was brutally murdered in 2007. Sylvia set up a foundation with the aim of promoting tolerance and inclusivity among young people...

    And Letizia Battaglia, who defied the Mafia with her graphic photographs of their crimes.

    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips used: BBC News 24, Mimi Reinhard 07/12/2007; Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment, Schindler's List - Trailer 1993; Oscars, Schindler's List wins Best Picture 1994; The Royal Opera - YouTube Channel, The Minotaur - Labyrinth Scene 1991; BBC Radio 4, Desert Island Discs - Sir Harrison Birtwistle 16/01/1994; BBC Radio 3/English National Opera, The Mask Of Orpheus 01/04/1987; BBC News 24, Greater Manchester Police records offences against members of subcultures 04/04/2013; BBC TWO, Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster 12/03/2015; BBC Radio 4 Extra, Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster 11/10/2015; Granada TV, Coronation Street 07/05/2021.

    • 28 min
    Jordan Mooney (pictured), Jack Higgins, Robert Ashe, David McKee

    Jordan Mooney (pictured), Jack Higgins, Robert Ashe, David McKee

    John Wilson remembers the lives of those who have recently died including Jordan Mooney the punk icon known as ‘the original Sex Pistol’ who ended up as a veterinary nurse.

    Jack Higgins, the thriller writer who hit the jackpot with The Eagle Has Landed, and sold more than 250 million books.

    Robert Ashe, an aid worker who spent most of his working life supporting refugees all over the world.

    And David McKee - author and illustrator who created timeless childhood favourites including Mr Benn and Elmer the multi-coloured elephant.


    Producer: Neil George

    Archive Clips Used: BBC 6Music, Three Minute Epiphany - The Essence of Punk and Defiance 05/06/2019; BBC TWO, The Culture Show - Jordan Mooney interview 01/07/2014; Megalovision/ Whaley-Malin Productions, Jubilee - trailer (1978); BBC Radio 2, The John Dunn Show 01/07/1992; Audible Audiobook/Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, The Savage Day by Jack Higgins 2019; BBC Radio 4, Desert Island Discs - Jack Higgins 12/12/1981; Associated General Films/ ITC Entertainment, The Eagle Has Landed - trailer (1976); BBC Radio 4, Profile - Jack Higgins 27/04/1984; ThamesTV/ Freemantle, The Killing Fields - Cambodia VT50536 18/01/1990; BBC News, 29/06/1980; BBC News, 23/10/1999; BBC Breakfast News, interview with David McKee 25/05/2019; BookTrust, David McKee reads Elmer 25/05/2022; Books Alive! YouTube Channel, Not Now Bernard by David McKee 08/11/2017; BBC TWO, Mr Benn - Pirate 31/03/1972; Made in Me - YouTube Channel, Me Books - David McKee interview 10/01/2013.

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
27 Ratings

27 Ratings

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