2009 BBC Productions

BBC Radio 2Gene Vincent

"Race With The Devil - The Gene Vincent Story" - February - 1x60mins

Presented by Roger Daltry / Produced by Neil Rosser

Roger Daltrey assesses the influence of leatherclad rocker, Gene Vincent.  The series touches on the later recordings but focus on the late 50s, early 60s period and his influence on the British pop scene then and now. 


Berry Gordy

"The King Of Motown - Berry Gordy" - January - 1x60mins

Presented by Marshall Chess / Produced by Neil Rosser

The founder of Motown Records, Berry Gordy Jnr is one of Black America's most iconic figures, with a stature similar to that of Martin Luther King, Mohammed Ali and precious few others. Marshall Chess explores and celebrates the man behind Motown Records.


Nat King Cole

"Nat King Cole - From Jazz To Rock n Roll" - March - 4x30mins

Presented by Clarke Peters / Produced by Neil Rosser

Clarke Peters presents a thorough-going exploration of the piano style of Nat King Cole, on the 90th anniversary of his birth in 1919. He also examines Nat Cole's continuing legacy for later generations of rock 'n' roll, blues and soul performers.



Mariella Frostrup

"Blonde On Blonde: Marilyn Monroe" - April - 1x60mins

Presented by Mariella Frostrup / Produced by Neil Rosser

Mariella Frostrup examines the life and legacy of Marilyn Monroe.





Michael York

"Hollywood Charmers" - March & April - 4x30mins

Presented by Michael York / Produced by Neil Rosser

Actor Michael York narrates four profiles of Errol Flynn; Roger Moore, Omar Sharif and David Niven, whose centenary falls in March 2010.  





Sir Roger Moore in studio

"My Word Is My Bond" - April & May - 6x15mins

Read by Sir Roger Moore / Abridged by Paul Kent / Music by Jon Nicholls / Directed by Neil Gardner

Sir Roger Moore reads a new six part abridgement of his autobiogrpahy, exclusively for BBC Radio 2.





Donna Summer

"Feelin' Love - The Donna Summer Story" - July - 1x60mins

Produced by Neil Rosser

The story of disco legend, Donna Summer, currently touring with a new album in her 60th year. 



BBC Radio 3Hardeep on location in Ukraine

"Sorochintsy Fair" - March - 1x45mins

Presented by Hardeep Singh Kohli / Produced by Richard Bannerman

In his short writing career Nikolai Gogol made an indelible mark on the nascent Russian literary scene. His first stories, led by his tale ‘Sorochintsy Fair’, were inspired by the folklore of his native Ukraine. Published in 1832, they brought him the friendship of Pushkin and instant fame. He followed these with plays, stories and his novel ‘Dead Souls’, all of which combined fear and laughter, brilliant observation and comedy rubbing shoulders with the fantastic and grotesque. Marking the 200th anniversary of Gogol’s birth, Hardeep Singh Kohli begins his journey through the Gogolian world at the bustling Sorochintsy Fair in the Ukraine, and follows the trail into the darker, madder worlds that followed, ending with the burning of Gogol’s final work and his painful, desperate death.




King Henry VIII

"Henry: King of Kings" - April - 5x15mins

Produced by Neil Rosser

April 2009 is the five hundredth anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne and is marked by this series of five individual essays on key areas of his thirty eight year reign. 









Lowri Blake

"The Hidden Composers" - November - 1x44mins

Presented by Lowri Blake / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Hidden behind their domestic lives, two French women composers challenged the masculine world of French music and are now being discovered. Louise Hiritte-Viardot (1841-1918) and Mel Bonis (1858-1937) were highly creative composers, but their work was largely hidden behind the prejudice against women composers that existed in France at that time, and the demanding nature of their domestic and private lives. They are virtually unknown today, but Lowri Blake talks to members of their families, and to musicians who are enthusiasts for their work, and makes a case for their music. With over six hundred works between them, Hiritte-Viardot and Mel Bonis were prolific, though only a handful of pieces were performed in their lifetime, and the cd catalogue is only just beginning to represent them.



Debussy at the piano

"Debussy's Summer of 1912" - Repeat - 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" - Repeat - 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.




BBC Radio 4Frank Gardner

"Birds & The Battlefield" - January - 1x30mins

Presented by Frank Gardner / Produced by Merilyn Harris

BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner, himself a bird watcher, looks at the sometimes surprising links between soldiers and birds and the comfort soldiers get from such an interest in times of extreme stress.  It’s a thread that can be traced from those who served in the trenches of the Western Front in the First World War, through other twentieth century engagements, to those now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Interviews with today’s servicemen and women are combined with letters from the Front, poetry, music and birdsong.


Cancer Tales by Nell Dunn

"Cancer Tales" - January - 1x45mins

Starring Dona Kroll / Written by Nell Dunn / Directed by Merilyn Harris

Nell Dunn’s powerful play based on real-life experiences of cancer patients and those close to them.  By talking to those involved and through the act of writing this play, she says ’I began to fathom out what it is people can do for one another.’  Three separate stories unfold through the play, authentic voices of people learning ‘how to be’ with someone with a life-threatening illness.


Cry Babies Cast

"Cry Babies" - March - 1x45mins

Starring Alex Jennings & Natasha Little / Written by Kim Newman / Music by Jeremy Paul Carroll / Directed by Neil Gardner

Angela & Barty Flitcroft are busy, successful people.  They want a child but don’t have the time to look after it.  The solution is a genetically enhanced daughter, Joy, birthed by a surrogate mother and reared to adulthood in a cryogenic chamber.  Joy experiences brief moments ‘out of the machine’, and as time passes each opening brings shocks and surprises as her parents and their society undergo incredible changes.  And for Joy, stuffed with education by the machine but denied everyday experiences, life is not just a strange new country, but a frightening, confusing and often funny one too.




Derek Jacobi & Danny Webb in Mayflies

"Mayflies" - March - 1x45mins

Starring Sir Derek Jacobi, Catherine McCormack & Jason Isaacs / Written by Mike Maddox / Music by Jeremy Paul Carroll / Directed by Neil Gardner

Douglas Scofield has retired from the world of astronomy and, following the death of his wife, now runs a fish farm with his daughter, who is expecting her first child.  All Douglas wants is peace and quiet and a chance to write his book about fishing.  However, a visit from an old colleague, Stephen Mole, brings news of a message from a distant world, the very sign of life Douglas spent his career searching for. Is it safe to reply? Indeed, should they reply at all - and to what purpose?


Twin Sisters Two Faiths

"Twin Sisters, Two Faiths" - April - 1x40mins

Presented by Anna Scott-Brown / Music by Matthew Ferraro / Produced by Adam Fowler & Anna Scott-Brown

Identical twins, Elizabeth and Caroline, chose to follow two very different faiths – Islam and Christianity. They talk frankly to Anna Scott-Brown about their strongly-held but separate beliefs, and how this affects their relationship within the family. As their own lives unfold, during the course of the programme they also have to confront their mother’s terminal illness and come to terms with what her death will mean to them




Who's My Half-Brother? Where's My Half-Sister?

"Who's My Half-Brother? Where's My Half-Sister?" - April - 1x30mins

Presented & Produced by Kati Whitaker

Children conceived through a sperm donor are aware that they may have a number of half-brothers and sisters with whom they can make a new family bond. Kati Whitaker talks to those in the UK and the USA about the ways in which these contacts can be made, and the difficult choice for both parents and children. For some there is the reward of discovery of a half-sibling, but for others the search is a journey into the unknown.


Len Deighton

"The Deighton File" - May - 1x30mins

Presented by Patrick Humphries / Produced by Neil Rosser

For nearly half a century, Len Deighton has been entertaining and enthralling readers with his spy novels, cookery books and World War II histories. Deighton, who turned 80 in February 2009, is a notoriously reclusive figure, who long ago turned his back on the publicity process. But in an exclusive for Radio 4, Deighton talks about his life and a writing career which stretches back to 1962, when ‘The Ipcress File’ was first published. 


Dr Phil Hammond

"To Err Is Human" - May (Repeat) - 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.




Mick Gordon

"On Ego" - June - 1x45mins

Written by Mick Gordon & Paul Broks / Music by Jon Frankel / Directed by Mick Gordon

On Ego is a co-operation between a non-playwright, in this case the neuropsychologist Paul Broks, and the theatre director and writer, Mick Gordon. Mick has taken the argument about the existence of the ego from the book Into The Silent Land by Paul Broks, and fashioned a dramatic scenario through which the arguments are explored. The play is a contemplation on love, identity and what it is to be human, and the narrative grapples with, and is driven by, questions about self, ego and consciousness. The play peers into the human mind and suggests that, no matter how science is able to analyse existence, the construction of feelings of love and pain remain unfathomable.


Hardeep Singh Kohli

"Three Rivers" - June - 3x30mins

Presented by Hardeep Singh Kohli / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Hardeep explores three rivers from their source to their past, and meets the people who love them, know their story and look to their regeneration in the 21st century.


John Waite

"Protected By Faith" - September 24th - 1x30mins

Presented by John Waite / Produced by Neil Gardner

John Waite visits the Vatican Secret Archives to learn that, far from hiding the treasures of history, the Church is leading the way in preserving and conserving priceless artefacts.


Frank Gardner

"Scott Of Slimbridge" - September 12th - 1x60mins

Presented by Frank Gardner / Produced by Merilyn Harris

To mark the centenary of the birth of Sir Peter Scott, ornithologist, conservationist, painter, sportsman and broadcaster, on September 14th 2009, Frank Gardner, fellow birdman, delves into the voluminous Scott archives and discovers the great influence he has had on the movement for wildlife conservation.




Hardeep Singh Kohli

"Tea & Biscuits" - August 17-21st - 5x15mins

Presented Hardeep Singh Kohli / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Tea and biscuits underpin British culture. Hardeep visits people and places where a cup of tea - and a biscuit - smooth the way, offer a welcome, soothe the upset, lead to a conversation, make the peace.




Yasmeen Khan

"Home Grown" - 1x30mins

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

Yasmeen Khan investigates the growing trend amongst British Asian men to marry women from their native countries...forget arranged/forced marriages, this is something completely different!




Dr Phil Hammond

"Metaphor For Healing" - 1x30mins

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

The transformative power of the right metaphor, long exploited in poetry, politics and marketing, is increasingly recognised in health care, coaching and therapy  - engaging the unconscious to activate self-healing, reclaiming optimism and fuelling the imagination  with the energy necessary to attain goals.  Dr Phil Hammond investigates.


Tom Mangold

"Inside The Bermuda Triangle - The Mysteries Solved" - September - 10x15mins + 2x60mins

Presented by Tom Mangold / Produced by Adam Fowler

Tom Mangold takes one of the most iconic legends in the world and debunks the myths that have given the Bermuda Triangle such endurance.



Hardeep Singh Kohli

"Blondin of Niagra Falls & Ealing" - June 26th - 1x30mins

Presented by Hardeep Singh Kohli / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Hardeep demonstrates the art of presenting while on a tightrope, even if only a foot above the ground, in honour of Blondin, the man who first crossed Niagara Falls, on the 150th anniversary of the crossing.


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

"The Brightonomicon" - March & April - 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!


BBC World Service

Twin Sisters Two Faiths

"Twin Sisters, Two Faiths" - July- 1x26mins

Presented by Anna Scott-Brown / Music by Matthew Ferraro / Produced by Adam Fowler & Anna Scott-Brown

Identical twins, Elizabeth and Caroline, chose to follow two very different faiths – Islam and Christianity. They talk frankly to Anna Scott-Brown about their strongly-held but separate beliefs, and how this affects their relationship within the family. As their own lives unfold, during the course of the programme they also have to confront their mother’s terminal illness and come to terms with what her death will mean to them