Last Word
Last Word
BBC Radio 4
Radio 4's weekly obituary programme, telling the life stories of those who have died recently
Sir Tony O'Reilly, President Ebrahim Raisi, Penny Simkin, Professor Alasdair Geddes
Matthew Bannister onThe Irish rugby star and businessman Sir Tony O’Reilly. He made billions but ended up bankrupt.The hardline President of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi.Penny Simkin, who championed the role of birth doulas to help mothers during and after labour.Professor Alasdair Geddes, the infectious diseases expert who diagnosed the world’s last ever case of smallpox – in Birmingham.Producer: Ed PrendevilleArchive used: Penny Simkin, YouTube upload, PSfromPenny, 27/10/2009; Penny Simkin, YouTube upload, PSfromPenny, 22/03/2011; Today Programme, Radio 4, BBC, 20/05/2024; Newshour, BBC World Service, 20/05/2024; News report by Philip Hayton, Sound Archive, BBC Radio 4, 11/02/1979; Ebrahim Raisi interviewed by Lesley Stahl, CBS Interactive Inc., YouTube upload, 60 Minutes, 19/05/2024; BBC profile on Tony O’Reilly, 24/01/1975; Conversation Piece, Radio 4, 02/12/1985; People in profile, Radio Ulster, 06/09/1980; The Last Case of Smallpox in the UK, BBC News, 31/08/2016
May 24
27 min
Dame Shirley Conran, Doreen Massey, Beverley LaHaye, Steve Albini
Matthew Bannister onDame Shirley Conran, the journalist and author best known for her books “Superwoman” and “Lace”.Baroness Doreen Massey, the educator and former director of the Family Planning AssociationBeverly LaHaye the founder of Concerned Women of America who campaigned to stop the Equal Rights Amendment.Steve Albini, the controversial musician who worked many influential albums including Nirvava’s “In Utero”.Producer: Ed PrendevilleArchive used: National Women’s Coalition for Life, National Cable Satellite Corporation, C-Span, 03/04/1992; Former President Trump Speaks at Concerned Women for America Summit, National Cable Satellite Corporation, C-Span, 15/09/2023; Beverly LaHaye,, 23/02/2017; President Reagan's Remarks at Convention of Concerned Women for America, Reagan Library, YouTube upload, 28/11/2017; The PTL Club, The PTL Club – Heritage USA, YouTube upload, 12/08/2022; Woman's Hour, 07/11/2014; Woman's Hour, 02/08/2012; Graham Norton, BBC Radio 2, 14/07/2012; The Stephen McCauley Show, BBC Radio Ulster, 29/08/2022; House of Lords,, 24/04/2019; Baroness Massey Stories of Democracy, House of Lords, YouTube upload, 22/11/2012
May 17
27 min
Anne Dagg, Ross Anderson, Cecil Murray, Kris Hallenga
Matthew Bannister on Anne Dagg, the Canadian biologist known as The Woman Who Loves Giraffes for her lifelong study of the animals.Professor Ross Anderson, the computer scientist who was a leading expert on data protection and online security.Reverend Cecil Murray, the pastor of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles who played a pivotal role during the riots of 1992.Kris Hellenga, who was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 23 and set up the charity Coppafeel to encourage other young women to check their breasts.Producer: Ed PrendevilleArchive used: Archive of Anne Dagg, The Woman who loves Giraffes, Pursuing Giraffe Adventures Inc, 2018; Newsnight, BBC Two, 01/07/1992; Newsnight, BBC Two, 11/02/2010; Ross Anderson Interviewed by Elisabetta Mori, Archives of IT, YouTube Upload, 20/03/2024; Digitalize in Stockholm ’22, DigitalFuturesHub, YouTube Upload, 28/10/22; USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, YouTube Upload 22/02/2021; BBC Radio Cornwall, 12/10/2021;
May 10
27 min
C.J.Sansom, Olga Fikotová-Connolly, Dr Jenny Vaughan OBE, Sir Andrew Davies
Matthew Bannister on an author, a campaigner, an Olympic medallist, a conductor
May 3
27 min
Terry Anderson, Trina Robbins, Lord Field, Ann Trevenen Jenkin
Matthew Bannister onThe American journalist Terry Anderson who was held captive in Lebanon for almost seven years. In an emotional interview, his daughter Sulome tells us how she followed in his footsteps as she tried to connect with a father she met for the first time when she was seven years old. Lord Field who, the Labour MP Frank Field who campaigned tirelessly for welfare reform.Trina Robbins the feminist cartoonist and writer who was the first woman to illustrate the Wonder Woman comics.Ann Trevenen Jenkin the first woman Grand Bard of Cornwall and a founding member of the Cornish nationalist party Mebyon Kernow.Interviewee: Sulome Anderson Interviewee: Ellin Stein Interviewee: Liam Halligan Interviewee: Loveday Jenkin Producer: Gareth Nelson-DaviesArchive Used:Sulome Anderson writes a letter to her father on his birthday, BBC News, 07/10/1991; Terry Anderson release, Live press conference, BBC News, 04/12/1991; Terry Anderson interview, BBC Radio 1, 01/01/2000; Terry Anderson on What It’s Like to Live as a Hezbollah Hostage, Slate. YouTube Channel uploaded, 17/11/2014; Trina Robbins, Meet Trina Robbins, the first woman to draw Wonder Woman for D.C. Comics, KTVU FOX 2 San Francisco, YouTube uploaded 30/03/2023; Frank Field MP interview, Straight Talk, BBC News, 19/06/2010; Frank Field, Profile, BBC Radio 4, 13/12/2014; Frank Field, Lent Talks, BBC Radio 4, 01/04/2009; Ann Trevenen Jenkin interviewed by Carmen Talbot for Dreadnought South West’s Rebellious Sounds Archive, 2019; Ann Trevenen Jenkin interview, Cornish March, BBC News, 21/06/1997;
Apr 26
27 min
“I was born while my father was a hostage”
Sulome Anderson first met her father – journalist Terry Anderson – at the American Embassy in Damascus. She was seven years old and he had just been released from nearly seven years as a hostage in Lebanon. She desperately wanted to build a relationship with him, even going so far as to become a war correspondent herself and tracking down and meeting one of his captors. But Terry’s traumatic experiences made the task very challenging. When she was nearly kidnapped in the Middle East herself, she became determined to break out of the “cycle of fascination with war” that had bedevilled the family. In this moving interview recorded shortly after Terry’s death she speaks candidly about the pressures they faced. Presented by Matthew Banister Produced by Gareth Nelson-Davies and Eirian Jones
Apr 26
23 min
Sir Paul Fox, Lynne Reid Banks, Joan Hills, Amnon Weinstein
Matthew Bannister on:Sir Paul Fox, the respected TV executive who commissioned some of the best loved programmes of the 1960s and 70s. We have a tribute from his former colleague Sir David Attenborough. Lynne Reid Banks, the author best known for her novel “The L Shaped Room.”Joan Hills, the artist who played a key role in the art world of the 1960s and, with her husband and two children, was part of the Boyle Family quartet.Amnon Weinstein, the luthier who collected and restored violins which had been played in concentration camps during the Second World War.Interviewee: Sir David Attenborough Interviewee: Gillon Stephenson Interviewee: Georgia Boyle Interviewee: Avshalom Weinstein Interviewee: Jaap HamburgerProducer: Gareth Nelson-DaviesArchive Used: Sportsview, BBC Television, 27/01/1955; Roger Bannister 4 minute mile news report, BBC Archive Newsreel, 07/05/1954; Interview with Paul Fox, The Oral History of the BBC,, 30/11/1984; Lynne Reid Banks interview with Rita Hayworth1956, On This Day, ITN Archive Facebook channel, uploaded 13/07/2022; L-Shaped Room, Official Trailer, 20th Century Fox, 1962, Dir: Bryan Forbes; Lynne Reid Banks interview, With Great Pleasure, BBC Radio 4, 24/09/1999; Reading extract, The Indian in the Cupboard, Episode 1, BBC Radio 4, 02/10/1986; Official Film Promo, Paramount Pictures, Dir: Frank Oz, 1995; Lynne Reid Banks talks about how her life would be different if she couldn't write, gconversations YouTube Channel, uploaded 25/10/2012; Joan Hills interview, The Boyle Family, BBC Four, 27/08/2003; Amnon Weinstein 2018, Alabama Holocaust Education Center, YouTube uploaded 02/06/2022; Violins of Hope, CBS Sunday Morning, YouTube uploaded 22/03/2024;
Apr 19
27 min
Peter Higgs, Trevor Griffiths,  Hella Pick, Margaret Tynes
Matthew Bannister on Professor Peter Higgs, the physicist who won the Nobel prize for explaining why the building blocks of the universe have mass. Trevor Griffiths, the playwright whose stage and TV dramas focused on left wing politics and social issues. We have a tribute from the actor Jack Shepherd. Hella Pick, the long serving Guardian foreign correspondent who enjoyed the company of many world leaders. Margaret Tynes, the African-American soprano who sang leading operatic roles and worked with Duke Ellington.Interviewee: Roland Pease Interviewee: Dr Alan Walker Interviewee: Jack Shepherd Interviewee: Paul Allen Interviewee: Linda Christmas Interviewee: Michael HarperProducer: Catherine PowellArchive used: BBC News at Six : 04/07/2012; BBC The Life Scientific 18/02/2014; Nobel Prize Announcement in Physics 2013, Youtube, 08/10/2013; All Good Men, Play for Today, BBC 1, 31/01/1974; Trevor Griffiths, BFI, YouTube Upload, 02/06/2017; Through the Night, Play for Today, BBC 1, 04/08/1977; Trevor Griffiths interviewed by Sir Tony Robinson, Showreel 88, BBC2, 26/12/1988; Hardtalk, BBC, 1997; Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, 16/11/2018; Aida - 'Ritorna vincitor' az I. felvonásból, 08/09/1962; Macbeth - 'Una macchia e qui tuttora' a IV. felvonásból (Gran Scena del Sonnambulismo / Alvajáró jelenet) 08/09/1962; A Drum Is a Woman, Pt. 1 by Duke Ellington, Margaret Tynes, Duke Ellington & His Orchestra; "Salome" excerpt, Spoleto, 1961
Apr 12
27 min
Joe Lieberman, Diana Baring, Lynn Kinnear, Kay Benbow
Matthew Bannister on Joe Lieberman, the US Democrat politician who fell out with his party over the Iraq War. Diana Baring, the respected literary agent. We have a tribute from her client Frederick Forsyth. Lynn Kinnear, who was one of the most influential landscape architects of her generation. Kay Benbow, who commissioned and made many acclaimed TV shows for children. Interviewee: Matt Lieberman Interviewee: Frederick Forsyth Interviewee: Caroline Dawnay Interviewee: Sean Griffiths Interviewee: Kim TserkezieProducer: Catherine Powell Archive used: Joe Lieberman addresses the Senate floor, 04/09/1998, AP Archive, YouTube upload, 21/07/2015; Joe Lieberman interview, The Mehdi Hasan Show, MSNBC, YouTube Upload, 27/10/2021; Joe Lieberman interview, HardTalk, BBC News, 29/06/2017; Joe Lieberman interview, All things considered, NPR, 12/10/2015; Late Night with Conan O'Brien 15/01/2003 Show Executive Producers Lorne Michaels Jeff Ross; The Day of the Jackal trailer, Universal City Studios LLC, IMDb, 1973; Walthamstow Wetlands, London Wildlife Trust, YouTube upload 04/2021; Lynn Kinnear interviewed by Hattie Hartman, 01/07/2022; Balamory Theme Song – BBC Foster Paterson; Woman's Hour : Children's Television; 12/09/2014; Nina and the Neurons BBC Series 2 “Nina’s Cake Bakes” 02/04/2008; The Clangers, Smallfilms for the BBC, 31/10/08
Apr 5
27 min
Richard Taylor, Lisa Lane, Rose Dugdale, Ian Green
John Wilson onRichard Taylor, who became a tireless campaigner against knife crime and supported disadvantaged young people. Lisa Lane, the chess champion who was the first player to feature on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Rose Dugdale, the English heiress and debutante who went onto join the IRA. Ian Green, the Scottish folk music champion who started the record label Greentrax. Producer: Ed PrendevilleArchive used: Rose Dugdale – Mná an IRA, Sé Merry Doyle Loopline Film, 2012; Rose Dugdale charges, BBC News, 06/05/1974; Anti-war march 1967,BBC,26/03/1967; Alfred Beit – Russborough House interview, Midweek, BBC, 03/07/1974; What’s my Line, Freemantle – May 1961, YouTube upload 26/04/2014; BBC Archive – News report Rose sentencing, BBC, 27/11/1974; BBC News – report on murder of Damilola; BBC News – Hardtalk; BBC News interview with Richard Taylor; Ian McCalman – Farewell to the haven; Shian Road sung by Isla St Clair. Written by Ian McCalman; The Pearl Aly Bain, Phil Cunningham and Violet Tulloch; Take the Floor – 19/02/11 Programme number: 10L33047/01; Dateline East Asia Presented By Kathryn Davies;
Mar 29
27 min
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