280 episodes

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

Last Word BBC

    • Personal Journals
    • 4.7 • 21 Ratings

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

    Des O’Connor CBE, Richard Trim OBE, Dr Ataullah Siddiqui, Edith Raymond Locke

    Des O’Connor CBE, Richard Trim OBE, Dr Ataullah Siddiqui, Edith Raymond Locke

    Pictured: Des O'Connor

    Matthew Bannister on

    The comedian Des O’Connor, an all-round entertainer equally at home telling jokes, hosting a chat show or recording an album.

    Richard Trim, the radar engineer who developed the technology that supports modern air traffic control systems.

    Dr Ataullah Siddiqui, the leading Muslim scholar who played a major role in creating inter-faith dialogue.

    Edith Raymond Locke, the editor of Mademoiselle Magazine who supported the early careers of fashion designers like Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan.

    Interviewed guest: David Steadman
    Interviewed guest: Fergus Trim
    Interviewed guest: Sughra Ahmed
    Interviewed guest: Canon Andrew Wingate OBE
    Interviewed guest: Ali MacGraw
    Interviewed guest: Rosemary Feitelberg
    Interviewed guest: Andrea Robinson

    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips from: Desert Island Discs, Radio 4 01/09/1969; Jimmy Tarbuck, The Daily Mail 17/11/2020; One Minute With Des O’Connor, Radio 1 01/01/2000; The Morecambe & Wise Show, BBC Two 25/12/1975; Front Row, Radio 4 06/10/2011; Jimmy Tarbuck, ITV News 16/11/2020; This Morning, ITV 16/11/2020; Countdown, Channel 4 29/09/2008; Good Morning Britain, ITV 16/11/2020; Tomorrow's World, BBC One 15/01/1997; Ataullah Siddiqui, Cardiff University/Islam UK 21/01/2019.

    • 28 min
    Lord Sacks, John Sessions, Joanna Harcourt-Smith, Jim Radford

    Lord Sacks, John Sessions, Joanna Harcourt-Smith, Jim Radford

    Pictured: Lord Sacks

    Matthew Bannister on

    The former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, a respected scholar and broadcaster who reached out to other faiths, but had trouble reconciling the different strains of opinion in his own.

    John Sessions, the actor and comedian who used his gift for improvisation and mimicry in TV shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway, Spitting Image and Stella Street. Clive Anderson and Sir Kenneth Branagh pay tribute.

    Joanna Harcourt-Smith, the socialite who was friends with the Rolling Stones, campaigned to get Timothy Leary released from prison and struggled with addiction. Once she entered recovery she hosted an early podcast called Future Primitive.

    Jim Radford, the singer-songwriter and peace campaigner who took part in the D-Day landings aged 15 – and later performed his song based on the experiences at the Royal Albert Hall to mark the 70th Anniversary.

    Interviewed guest: Dr Rowan Williams
    Interviewed guest: Jenni Frazer
    Interviewed guest: Clive Anderson
    Interviewed guest: Sir Kenneth Branagh
    Interviewed guest: Lara Tambacopoulou

    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips from: Desert Island Discs, Radio 4 26/041991; Sunday, Radio 4 25/08/2013; Today, Radio 4 28/11/2019; Whose Line Is It Anyway, Channel 4 1988; Whose Line Is It Anyway, Radio 4 February 1988; Desert Island Discs, Radio 4 25/02/1990; Finding Your Feet, directed by Richard Loncraine, Eclipse Films 2017; Napoleon by John Sessions, directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh 1989; Margaret, directed by James Kent, Great Meadow Productions 2009; Future Primitive: Heartmending, 23/08/2020; My Psychedelic Love Story, directed by Errol Morris, Fourth Floor Productions 22/10/2020; Good Morning Britain, ITV 31/05/2019; D-Day Veteran Goes Back to the Beaches, BBC Three Counties Radio 06/06/2019; Jim Radford Goes Back to Normandy, Legasee Educational Trust 01/08/2017; BBC News 05/06/2019.

    • 28 min
    Sir Sean Connery, Eavan Boland, Nobby Stiles MBE, Bobby Ball

    Sir Sean Connery, Eavan Boland, Nobby Stiles MBE, Bobby Ball

    Pictured: Sir Sean Connery

    Matthew Bannister on

    Sir Sean Connery, seen by many as the definitive James Bond, he won an Oscar for The Untouchables and was a supporter of the Scottish National Party.

    Eavan Boland, who changed the course of Irish poetry by making women’s experiences central to her work.

    The footballer Nobby Stiles, one of only two Englishmen to have won both the World Cup and the European Cup.

    Bobby Ball, the comedian whose double act with Tommy Cannon was hugely popular on TV during the 1980s. His catchphrase was “Rock On Tommy”.

    Interviewed guest: Christopher Bray
    Interviewed guest: Professor Peggy Reynolds
    Interviewed guest: Mary Robinson
    Interviewed guest: Alex Stepney
    Interviewed guest: Gary Richardson
    Interviewed guest: Rob Harper
    Interviewed guest: Darren Harper
    Interviewed guest: Lee Mack


    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips from: Sean Connery In His Own Words, BBC 2 Scotland 18/08/2015; Dr No, directed by Terence Young, Eon Productions 1962; With Great Pleasure, Radio 4 09/11/2000; ‘Our Future Will Become The Past of Other Women’ by Eavan Boland, read by Fiona Shaw, The Royal Irish Academy 09/12/2018; Archive on 4: Four Women Poets Today, Radio 4 18/07/2020; My Top Ten: Bobby Ball, Radio 1 15/09/1985; Not Going Out, BBC One 30/12/2009.

    • 28 min
    David Toole OBE, Professor Valerie Curtis, Frank Bough, Jill Paton Walsh CBE

    David Toole OBE, Professor Valerie Curtis, Frank Bough, Jill Paton Walsh CBE

    Pictured: David Toole

    Matthew Bannister on

    David Toole, the disabled dancer who starred in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics.

    Professor Val Curtis, who was known as the Queen of Hygiene for her expertise on sanitation and research in how to communicate public health messages.

    Frank Bough, the popular presenter of TV shows like 'Grandstand' and 'Nationwide' whose BBC career ended in disgrace after he was caught taking drugs with prostitutes.

    Jill Paton Walsh, the award winning children’s author who also wrote the first self-published novel to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize and completed an unfinished work by Dorothy L. Sayers.

    Interviewed guest: Jenny Sealey
    Interviewed guest: Oliver Cumming
    Interviewed guest: John Stapleton
    Interviewed guest: Sally Magnussen
    Interviewed guest: Julia Eccleshare
    Interviewed guest: Oliver Soden
    Reader: Emma Handy

    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips from: Midweek, Radio 4 01/03/2017; The Cost of Living, directed by Lloyd Newson, DV8 Physical Theatre 2005; In Business, Radio 4 29/07/2010; Science Stories, Radio 4 28/08/2019; Off The Page, Radio 4 Extra 13/07/2016; Grandstand, BBC One 1960; Woman’s Hour, Radio 4 09/07/1975; Nationwide, BBC One 05/08/1983; Desert Island Discs, Radio 4 26/04/1987; PM, Radio 4 26/10/2020; BBC Breakfast Time, BBC One 17/01/1983; The John Dunn Show, Radio 2 17/10/1984; News 92, Radio 1 01/09/1992; Treasure Islands: Jill Paton-Walsh, Radio 4 20/11/1991; The Dolphin Crossing by Jill Paton Walsh, Faber & Faber 15/11/2012, read by Emma Handy; Private Passions, Radio 3 07/12/2014; Knowledge of Angels by Jill Paton Walsh, Black Swan 01/01/1995, read by Natasha Pyne, Radio 4 10/10/1994.

    • 28 min
    Herbert Kretzmer, James Nash, Tom Maschler, Sister Chiara Hatton Hall

    Herbert Kretzmer, James Nash, Tom Maschler, Sister Chiara Hatton Hall

    Pictured: Herbert Kretzmer

    Matthew Bannister on

    Herbert Kretzmer, the journalist turned lyricist, best known for writing the lyrics for the musical Les Misérables.

    James Nash, the flamboyant adventurer who came under fire as a Colonial Officer in the Middle East during the last days of the British Empire.

    Tom Maschler, the influential publisher who promoted the careers of many leading novelists and founded the Booker Prize.

    Sister Chiara Hatton Hall, known as 'The Galloping Nun'. She taught Princess Anne and many other students to ride before taking holy orders as a forty-two year old widow.

    Interviewed guest: Don Black
    Interviewed guest: Russell Davies
    Interviewed guest: John Harding
    Interviewed guest: Peter Straus
    Interviewed guest: Sister Jane Bertelsen
    Interviewed guest: Ginny Elliott MBE
    Interviewed guest: Steve Axon

    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips from: The Reunion, Radio 4 17/10/2003; Desert Island Discs, Radio 4 17/10/2003; Gamal Abdel Nasser’s speech on Yemen 1962, IEPlus 27/03/2015; Everything You Need To Know About The Permissive Society, Radio 4 22/07/1971; Kaleidoscope: First Among Equals, Radio 4 22/10/1986; Burghley Horse Trials, AP / British Movietone 21/07/2015; Nuns’ Vows at Ladywell Convent 1962, British Pathe 13/04/2014.

    • 28 min
    Derek Mahon, Professor Gerta Vrbová, Ang Rita Sherpa, Helena Shenel

    Derek Mahon, Professor Gerta Vrbová, Ang Rita Sherpa, Helena Shenel

    Pictured: Derek Mahon

    Matthew Bannister on

    Derek Mahon, one of Ireland’s greatest poets of recent times, whose work 'Everything’s Going To Be Alright' was read on Irish TV and radio at the start of the Covid lockdown.

    Professor Gerta Vrbová, who spent her youth fleeing Nazi persecution, then carried out pioneering work on the interaction between muscles and nerves.

    Ang Rita Sherpa, the only person to have climbed Mount Everest ten times without using supplemental oxygen.

    Helena Shenel, the voice coach who helped many celebrated performers – including Shirley Bassey, Annie Lennox and Peter Gabriel – to overcome problems with their singing.

    Interviewed guest: Sean O’Brien
    Interviewed guest: Peter Hilton
    Interviewed guest: Uma Shahani
    Interviewed guest: Ang Tshering Sherpa
    Interviewed guest: Bhadra Sharma
    Interviewed guest: Nikki Slade

    Producer: Neil George

    Archive clips from: Derek Mahon, Radio Ulster 15/01/1984; Arts Extra Special - Derek Mahon: A Celebration, Radio Ulster 16/12/2008; Poetry Please, Radio 4 28/01/2007; New Poems, Radio 3 19/08/1974; Gerta Vrbová: Oral History, Imperial War Museum 15/04/2003; 60 Minutes Australia, Nine Network 05/10/2018; Last Rites of Ang Rita Sherpa, Nepal Tourism TV 23/09/2020; Slate: Shirley Bassey, BBC One Wales 16/09/1993; Saturday Live, Radio 1 06/04/1985.

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

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