2008 BBC Productions


BBC Radio 2Judy Garland

"The Judy Garland Trail" - October & November - 6x30mins

Presented by Michael Freedland / Produced by Neil Rosser

Michael Freedland takes to the trail once again in search of Judy Garland, on the fortieth aniversary of her death in June 1969.



BBC Radio 3Joss Ackland

"Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" - March - 1x120mins

Starring Joss Ackland / Directed by Andy Jordan

Hypocrisy, greed and secret passions threaten to tear apart a wealthy but dysfunctional Mississippi family in Tennessee Williams' explosive American masterpiece set in the plantations of the Deep South. The play, produced here in its original version, portrays the larger-than-life characters of Maggie "the Cat," her alcoholic husband, Brick, and the dominating family patriarch, Big Daddy. A hot-house of corruption and lies, the drama is played out against a backdrop of rampant 1950’s Cold War anti-communism, white domination, racial segregation, and intense homophobia.




Debussy at the piano

"Debussy's Summer of 1912" - June - 1x44mins

Presented by Lowri Blake / Produced by Richard Bannerman

It was a very hot summer and Debussy had no time to take his wife and 7 year old daughter Chouchou on their annual trip to the seaside, much to her displeasure. He had a new Diaghilev commission to compose, his last completed orchestral work, the ballet Jeux,  he was trying to finish the second book of the Preludes for piano, was working on numerous other projects, and tussling with the dancer Maud Allen who wanted changes to the ballet Khamma. He also had a visit from Stravinsky and together they played through, as a piano duet, the score of The Rite of Spring. It made a ‘terrifying impression’ on him. Lowri Blake talks to pianists Roy Howat, Peter Hill and Alasdair Beatson and musicologist Robert Orledge, and introduces music from that summer.




DH Lawrence & Frieda in Cornwall

"Paradise Or Nightmare - Lawrence In Cornwall" - May - 1x44mins

Presented by John Worthen / Produced by Richard Bannerman

‘He was rather odd. To begin with he had a red beard, and Frieda wore bright red stockings, which was unusual in those days.’ Stanley Hocking, a teenager when D. H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda moved in up the road, recorded vivid memories of the Lawrences’ arrival in Cornwall in March 1916.  Lawrence, suffering from the destruction of his novel The Rainbow on grounds of obscenity and wanting to get away from a war he hated,  chose the ‘peacock’ sea and primitive landscape near St. Ives as a refuge. Lawrence biographer John Worthen follows in his footsteps, and talks to fellow Lawrence scholars Fiona Becket, Mark Kinkead-Weekes, and Christopher Pollnitz about the impact of this period on Lawrence’s life and work. He may have loved the place, and completed one of his greatest novels Women In Love, but the violence of the war caught up with him, he and Frieda were expelled on suspicion of spying in October 1917, and that experience surfaced in the angry chapter which he called ‘The Nightmare’ in his later novel Kangaroo.


Maths visualised

"The Essay - Symmetry & The Monster" - April - 4x15mins

Presented by Mark Ronan / Produced by Richard Bannerman

These four essays under the title ‘Symmetry and the Monster’ open up the world of mathematics, and describe one of the journeys which have preoccupied some of the greatest mathematical brains from the early 19th century to now. It’s a chronological journey, presented by Mark Ronan, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and Hon. Professor of Mathematics at University College London.




BBC Radio 4Northwest Passage

"The Great Game In A Cold Climate" - January - 1x30mins

Presented & Produced by Adam Fowler

Adam Fowler travels to the town of Churchill in Northern Canada to discover the potential benefits of global warming for this tiny community on the Hudson Bay.  As the Arctic ice cap melts, northern sea routes will open up and mineral deposits will become accessible, turning Churchill into the new Klondike. And while nation states begin staking their claim to sovereignty in and around the North West Passage, Adam finds out just how important Churchill could become in the scramble for the Arctic. 




The Miracle Berry

"The Miracle Berry" - April - 1x30mins

Presented by Tom Mangold / Produced by Adam Fowler

Tom Mangold encounters a fruit which turns sour tastes to sweet, and the entrepreneurs who planned to market it in the United States in the 1970s. Their dreams of producing a sweetener enabling diabetics to eat what they want, and the rest of us to consume as much confectionary as we can without gaining weight were shattered when the US Food and Drug Administration suddenly banned their product.  Mangold investigates a tale of dirty tricks and industrial espionage in the far from sweet world of sugar and its artificial alternatives.





Paul Brickhill

"The Best Years Of His Life" - April - 1x30mins

Presented by Patrick Humphries / Produced by Neil Rosser

Patrick Humphries explores the life and career of an author whose works are household names but about whom little is known. Paul Brickhill wrote three of the most famous novels centred on the Second World War  - "The Great Escape", "Reach for the Sky" and "The Dambusters", all of which were made into iconic films. Shot down over North Africa, Brickhill was imprisoned in the notorious Stalag Luft III - scene of the the great escape itself - but claustrophobia prevented his own escape. A journalist and writer, Brickhill stopped writing in 1962 and never published anything again – the programme asks why? 




Tom Mangold

"The Divine Detective" - January - 1x30mins

Presented by Tom Mangold / Produced by Adam Fowler

Tom Mangold shadows private investigator and un-ordained Presbyterian minister, Jim McCloskey on his quest to free innocent people from United States’ jails.



Eric Coates

"The King of Light Music" - February - 1x30mins

Presented by Alasdair Malloy / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Eric Coates is best known for his signature tune to Desert Island Discs and The Dambusters March, but his orchestral music is coming back to the concert hall. Alasdair Malloy talks to those who knew him, revealing a man who had to wear shirt, tie and tweed jacket and light up a cigarette before he could sit down and compose, as well as a man keen on photography, fast cars and the Charleston. And he explores the music, from those famous signature tunes to the lesser known songs and suites.




Yasmeen Khan

"A Failure To Provide?" - June - 1x30mins

Presented by Yasmeen Khan / Produced by Yasmeen Khan & Neil Gardner

2nd & 3rd generation British Asians are facing a new problem...how to care for their elderly parents now that the extended family has split up and become more Anglicised and less traditional.  Yasmeen Khan travels around the UK to learn first-hand if culturally-specific care services are provided for elderly Asians, and asks whether there is a failure to provide for those whose language, nutritional and religious needs are varied and complex?  If there is a failure, then who is doing the failing...the families, the communities, the local councils or national government?





"Under Investigation - The FBI at 100" - March - 10x15mins + 2x60mins

Presented by Tom Mangold / Produced by Adam Fowler

Tom Mangold tells the story of the FBI, America’s main law enforcement agency, from its creation in 1908 when its powers were strictly limited, through the controversial Hoover period and the rise of the G-man, through to the disaster of 9/11 and the 21st century’s ‘war on terror’.


Trevor Peacock & Paola Dionisotti

"Grace" - April - 1x45mins

Starring Paola Dionisotti & Trevor Peacock / Written by Mick Gordon & AC Grayling / Directed by Mick Gordon & Andy Jordan

Issues of faith, love, and humanity are at the core of this intimate family drama in which Grace, a scientist and champion of atheism, is faced with the decision of her son Tom to become a priest. A collaboration between philosopher  A.C.Grayling and theatre writer and director Mick Gordon, the characters offer solutions to their deeply opposed ways of looking at the world even as they rage.


Lowri Blake

"Page To Performance" - July - 3x30mins

Presented by Lowri Blake / Produced by Richard Bannerman

A 20th century musical blockbuster, a miniature masterpiece, and a concerto full of Latin-American passion are the three pieces of music that make up the new series of Page to Performance. Lowri Blake opens the series with that gift to advertisers, as well as performers and audiences, Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’. Following that are Delius’s ‘On Hearing The First Cuckoo in Spring’, and Astor Piazzolla’s Concerto for Bandoneon and orchestra.




Comedian Paul Sinha

"That's No Job For An Asian!" - November - 1x30mins

Presented by Yasmeen Khan / Produced by Yasmeen Khan & Neil Gardner

Yasmeen Khan explores the current state of British Asian comedy and asks whether the job of being a comedian has become an acceptable alternative to the more traditional professions of doctor, lawyer and accountant?  Along the way she meets up with comedians who are new to the scene, those who have been doing the rounds for many years, and those at the top of their game, including Sanjeev Bhaskar, Paul Sinha, Sajeela Kershi and Ahir Shah.


Hardeep SIngh Kohli

"The Loneliness of the Goalkeeper" - October - 1x30mins

Presented by Hardeep Singh Kohli / Produced by Adam Fowler

Hardeep Singh Kohli, brushes the grass from his knees,  trudges to the back of his net,  picks up the ball, and watches the backs of his team mates disappear towards the centre circle in a tragi-comic look at just how isolated the job of a goalie can be.  




Dr Phil Hammond

"To Err Is Human" - August - 1x30mins

Presented by Dr Phil Hammond / Produced by Jane Feinmann & Richard Bannerman

There are claims that many patients die each year because doctors and nurses, although technically skilled, are not alert to the risk of a potentially life-threatening error. This happened to the wife of airline pilot Martin Bromiley, who talks to Phil Hammond, writer on medical matters and a practising GP, about his experiences. Also in the programme and at the forefront of the campaign to understand and prevent human error, are the Health Minister Lord Darzi, Chief Medical Officer Liam Donaldson, and American surgeon and leading authority Dr Atul Gawande.




Hardeep at the Scotland/England Border

"Where Scoland Meets England" - July - 2x30mins

Presented by Hardeep Singh Kohli / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Hardeep Singh Kohli traces the story of border country, beginning at the easternmost point just north of Berwick-upon-Tweed  in the first of two programmes. Scottish devolution and the promise of an Independence referendum has brought renewed attention to the Borderline, and Hardeep, who was brought up in Glasgow and whose heart is in Scotland,  meets those who live and work on both sides - walkers, politicians, cooks and football supporters – to explore the history, the countryside, the cooking and the different points of view.


BBC Radio 7 & BBC AudiobooksDavid Warner, Andy Serkis & Rupert Degas

"The Brightonomicon" - September to November - 13x30mins

Starring David Warner & Andy Serkis / Written by Elliott Stein & Neil Gardner / Music by Jeremy Paul Carroll / Produced & Directed by Neil Gardner

BUY IT NOW via The Brightonomicon (Unabridged) 

Brighton, 1960, and a young man suffering amnesia is resuced from the sea by the enigmatic and overwhelming Hugo Rune, Guru's Guru and Logos of the Aeons! They embark on 12 surreal, bizarre and far-fetched adventures in order to recover the Chronovision device and stop the evil Count Otto Black from taking over the world! Featuring magic and mayhem, naked witches and dead rock stars, backseat zombies and spaniel involvement. Starring David Warner, Rupert Degas, Andy Serkis, Jason Isaacs, Martin Jarvis, Sarah Douglas, Katherine Parkinson, Kevin Eldon, Michael Fenton-Stevens, Mark Wing-Davey and a host of acting and comedy legends. Adapted from the best-selling novel by Robert Rankin, the father of far-fetched fiction!