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Last Word


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

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




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




Last Word: Julia Farron OBE, Nuon Chea, June Fraser, Marcel Berlins

Julian Worricker on a politician, a dancer, a designer and a lawyer.


Julia Farron OBE, Nuon Chea, June Fraser, Marcel Berlins

Pictured: Julia Farron Julian Worricker on: The Cambodian political leader, Nuon Chea, who was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity during his time as a member of the Khmer Rouge.... Julia Farron, a dancer with the Royal Ballet, who's been described as a great performer of virtuoso roles.... The pioneering graphic designer, June Fraser, whose work has influenced so many of the logos and packaging we're familiar with today.... And Marcel Berlins, lawyer, broadcaster and...


Toni Morrison, Hal Prince, Dr Elizabeth Killick, Li Peng, Barrington Pheloung

Pictured: Toni Morrison Matthew Bannister on The Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, acclaimed for her novels which put the experience of black women centre stage. Hal Prince, the successful theatre producer and director behind West Side Story, Phantom of the Opera and Evita. The pioneering radar and sonar engineer, Dr Elizabeth Killick. Li Peng, the Chinese Premier who ordered troops to fire on unarmed students in Tiananmen Square. Barrington Pheloung, the TV and film composer who...


Russi Taylor, Beji Caid Essebsi, Jane Hubert, Iván Erőd

Pictured: Russi Taylor Matthew Bannister on Beji Caid Essebsi who became the first democratically elected President of Tunisia in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Russi Taylor the versatile voice artist best known for playing Minnie Mouse. She married the man who did the voice for Mickey Mouse. Jane Hubert, the anthropologist and psychologist who studied young people with severe learning disabilities and transformed the academic study of archaeology. Ivan Erod who fled persecution and, in...


Andrea Camilleri, Johnny Clegg OBE, OIS, Christopher Kraft, Paul Krassner, Professor Rolf Gehlhaar

Pictured: Andrea Camilleri Matthew Bannister on Andrea Camilleri, the Sicilian writer who created the Inspector Montalbano novels. His literary success began in his late sixties. Johnny Clegg, the white South African singer and guitarist who confronted the apartheid government by embracing Zulu music and culture. Christopher Kraft, the founder of mission control for the NASA space programme. Paul Krassner, the controversial American satirist who coined the word "Yippie". Professor Rolf...


Audrey Eyton, Arthur Ryan, Jack Bond, Rip Torn

Pictured: Audrey Eyton Matthew Bannister on Arthur Ryan, the Irish retailer who created Primark - known for selling fast fashion at low prices. Audrey Eyton, who devised the F-Plan diet, which encouraged people to eat fibre to lose weight. Jack Bond, the Lancashire cricket captain who led his team to success in the one-day game. Rip Torn, the film and stage actor known for his violent temper who appeared in DodgeBall, Men In Black and latterly The Larry Sanders Show. His daughter Angelica...


Eva Kor, Christopher Booker, João Gilberto, John McCririck

Pictured: Eva Kor Matthew Bannister on Eva Kor who, with her twin sister, was the subject of experiments by the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele in Auschwitz. She later publicly forgave her tormentors. Christopher Booker, the founding editor of Private Eye and Telegraph columnist. João Gilberto, the Brazilian pioneer of bossa nova music whose hits included The Girl From Ipanema. And John McCririck, the eccentric TV racing pundit who was criticised for his sexist views. Interviewed guest: Alex Kor...


Brenda Maddox, Ivan Cooper, Min Hogg, John Gunther Dean, Dave Bartholomew

Pictured: Brenda Maddox Matthew Bannister on Ivan Cooper, the human rights campaigner and politician from Northern Ireland who played a key role in the protests on Bloody Sunday. Min Hogg, the colourful founding editor of World of Interiors magazine. Her friend Nicky Haslam pays tribute. John Gunther Dean, the last US diplomat to be evacuated from Cambodia as war loomed. Brenda Maddox, author of many books including The Half Parent and a biography of James Joyce's wife Nora Barnacle. Dave...


Dr Henry Lynch, Judith Krantz, Lord Patel of Blackburn, Anthony Hedges

Pictured: Judith Krantz Matthew Bannister on Dr. Henry Lynch whose painstaking medical research revealed the causes of hereditary cancers. Judith Krantz, the American author who made a huge commercial success from her sex and shopping novels. Lord Patel, the Indian-born businessman who became a key figure in community relations in his adopted town of Blackburn. Anthony Hedges, the British composer whose prolific output ranged from light music to symphonies and choral works. Interviewed...


Franco Zeffirelli, Gloria Vanderbilt, Mohamed Morsi, Philomena Lynott

Pictured: Franco Zeffirelli Matthew Bannister on Franco Zeffirelli, the stage and film director known for his opulent designs and flamboyant personality. Gloria Vanderbilt, the heiress who overcame personal tragedy and was the first to market designer jeans. Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected President, who was ousted from office after only a year. Philomena Lynott, who ran a hotel frequented by rock stars and footballers and was the proud Mum of Thin Lizzy lead singer...


John Tidmarsh OBE, Sylvia Denman, Paul Darrow, Sheila Turner, Leon Redbone

Pictured: John Tidmarsh Matthew Bannister on John Tidmarsh, who presented Outlook on the BBC World Service for thirty years and brought comfort to the Beirut hostages. John McCarthy pays tribute. Sylvia Denman, the Barbados-born lawyer who campaigned for better race relations in the UK and fought to improve educational outcomes for young black people. Paul Darrow, the actor best known as Avon, the anti-hero of the cult sci-fi TV show Blake's 7. Sheila Turner, who campaigned for better...


Edward Seaga, Binyavanga Wainaina, Mary Stopes-Roe, Gloria Schiff, Dr John

Pictured: Edward Seaga Julian Worricker on: The Jamaican politician, Edward Seaga, who led his country as prime minister throughout the 1980s Binyavanga Wainaina, one of Kenya's most prominent writers and LGBTQ activists The Vogue fashion editor and Manhattan socialite, Gloria Schiff Archivist, Mary Stopes-Roe, daughter of the bouncing bomb developer Barnes Wallis And the Grammy Award-winning, New Orleans born singer, Dr John. Interviewed guest: David Katz Interviewed guest: Ellah Wakatama...


Professor Murray Gell-Mann, Nan Winton, James McCord, Gregory Gray

Pictured: Nan Winton Matthew Bannister on Murray Gell-Mann, the American physicist who won the Nobel Prize for his work on the theory of elementary particles. He coined the name "quarks" for the fundamental building blocks of matter. Nan Winton, the first woman to read the TV news on the BBC. She faced discrimination in the male-dominated BBC newsroom. James McCord, the CIA agent who was involved in the Bay of Pigs and the Watergate break in. Gregory Gray, the Irish singer who went from...


Niki Lauda, Judith Kerr, IM Pei, Herman Wouk

Pictured: Judith Kerr Matthew Bannister on Niki Lauda, the fearless racing driver who survived a terrible crash to make a dramatic comeback on the track. Judith Kerr, the author of much-loved children's books including the Mog series and The Tiger Who Came to Tea. I.M. Pei, the architect best known for the glass pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris. Herman Wouk, the American novelist and screenwriter who won the Pulitzer Prize for The Caine Mutiny. Interviewed guest: Simon Taylor...


Doris Day, Brian Walden, Dorothy Rowe, Lorraine Warren

Pictured: Doris Day Julian Worricker on: One of Hollywood's top box-office stars of the 50s and 60s, actress and singer Doris Day. The Labour MP who became one of television's most exhaustive political interviewers, Brian Walden. Dorothy Rowe, one of the earliest figures in psychology to build a bridge between clinical practice and the general public. And the paranormal investigator, Lorraine Warren, whose best-known case focused on the house at the centre of the film, The Amityville...


Winnie Jordan, Richard Green, Karol Modzelewski, Liz Howe, John Singleton

Pictured: John Singleton Andrea Catherwood on: British Athlete Winnie Jordan who won a silver medal in the Empire Games in 1938 and became a celebrated British Champion after the war. American psychiatrist and lawyer, Richard Green, who advanced acceptance and understanding of gay and trans people. Founder of Poland's Solidarity movement, Karol Modzelewski. Liz Howe, the ecologist who spearheaded a modern environmental Domesday book for Wales. And John Singleton, US film director of the LA...


Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, Terry Rawlings, Neus Català, Heather Harper CBE, Peter Mayhew

Pictured: Peter Mayhew Matthew Bannister on Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, who served with the Irish Guards during the war, liberated his own country and then presided over its prosperity. Terry Rawlings, the film editor who worked on Alien, Chariots of Fire and the Bond film Goldeneye. Neus Català, the Spanish communist who fought Franco, joined the French resistance and survived a Nazi death camp. Heather Harper, the operatic soprano who was called up at the last minute to perform in the...


Lyra McKee, Una-Mary Parker, Mira Markovic, Doreen Spooner, Edward Kelsey

Pictured: Lyra McKee Matthew Bannister on Lyra McKee, the 29 year old Northern Irish journalist who was shot dead by the New IRA. Una-Mary Parker who was the social editor of Tatler, a commentator on the Royal family and the author of best-selling novels. Mira Markovic, the wife of the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who denied her husband's responsibility for atrocities during the Bosnian war. Doreen Spooner, the first woman to work as a staff photographer on a Fleet Street newspaper....


David Thouless, Nadja Poderegin, Ian Cognito, Dr Michael O’Donnell, Les Reed

Pictured: Nadja Poderegin Julian Worricker on: David Thouless, whose work in the world of quantum mechanics earned him a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics. The Serbian actress, Nadja Poderegin, who went from 'Bond girl' on screen to be a publisher and novelist. Stand-up comedian, Ian Cognito, whose act was much loved on the comedy circuit but never allowed on TV. Michael O'Donnell, who combined a medical background with a career in journalism and broadcasting, notably on Radio 4. And the...


Sydney Brenner, Dan Robbins, Edda Tasiemka, Ian McDonald

Pictured: Sydney Brenner Matthew Bannister on Sydney Brenner, the Nobel Prize-winning biologist who worked with Francis Crick to map DNA. Dan Robbins, the artist who invented painting by numbers. Edda Tasiemka, the archivist who kept a comprehensive newspaper and magazine cuttings collection in her North London home. Ian McDonald, the Ministry of Defence spokesman during the Falklands War who became a familiar face on TV and was known for his sonorous delivery. Interviewed guest: Professor...