Great LivesAuthor: BBC Radio 4
13 Nov 2018

Great Lives

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Biographical series in which guests choose someone who has inspired their lives.

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    Christina Lamb on Benazir Bhutto

    Benazir Bhutto made history when, aged 35, she became the first democratically elected female Prime Minister of a Muslim majority country. Her family are one of world’s most famous political dynasties, but also one blighted by tragedy – murder, feud and assassinations. Bhutto has been nominated by Christina Lamb, author and chief foreign correspondent with the Sunday Times. Bhutto was her friend and a huge influence on her life. She also expelled Christina Lamb from Pakistan. Christina has a picture of Benazir Bhutto on her desk attending the rally in Pakistan before she was killed by a suicide bomber on the 27th December 2007. Christina was on a bus with her during a previous assassination attempt, and she recounts the horror of that day. Also joining her in the studio is Huma Yusuf, a journalist and columnist with Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper and a Global Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Centre. The presenter is Matthew Parris and the producer in Bristol is Perminder Khatkar.

  • Posted on 25 Sep 2018

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    Helen Glover on Alison Hargreaves

    The Olympic rower Helen Glover is Matthew Parris' guest this week, choosing the life of the mountaineer Alison Hargreaves to discuss with the help of her biographer Ed Douglas. Alison Hargreaves' short life was defined by her love of the mountains. She became interested in climbing as a teenager and devoted her life to pursuing ever greater challenges. She was the first woman to climb Mount Everest without oxygen and unsupported before losing her life on the infamous K2 mountain in Pakistan in 1995. Producer: Maggie Ayre.

  • Posted on 20 Sep 2018

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    Mark Carwardine on Douglas Adams

    "Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, this is an interesting world I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, don't you think?" Douglas Noel Adams wasn't even fifty when he died in 2001, but his imagination had already roamed far. He created The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Meaning of Liff and several episodes of Doctor Who, plus the Dirk Gently character and Last Chance to See. Nominating him is his co-writer on Last Chance to See, the zoologist Mark Carwardine. Mark's role, Adams said later, was to be the one who knew what he was talking about. "My role was to be an extremely ignorant non-zoologist to whom everything that happened would come as a complete surprise." Joining Mark Carwardine and Matthew Parris in the bar where this was recorded is Douglas Adam's biographer, Jem Roberts. With archive of Stephen Fry, John Lloyd, Naomi Alderman, Griff Rhys Jones and Geoffrey Perkins. The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.

  • Posted on 18 Sep 2018

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    Cherie Blair on Dame Rose Heilbron

    For Cherie Blair, leading barrister and QC, picking her great life was simple - her role model is Rose Heilbron, England's first woman judge. When Cherie was growing up in Liverpool, Rose Heilbron was always the name that excited her grandmother the most. Rose was a barrister and when she was arguing a case before a jury in her home city, Cherie Blair's grandmother would follow her cases avidly, sometimes from the public gallery. Then she would come back and tell young Cherie all about what had gone on. And so Heilbron became a great example of what a Liverpool girl could achieve in the law. And she had a remarkable career - first woman in silk, first to lead in a murder case, first woman treasurer of Gray's Inn. Cherie is joined in the studio by Hilary Heilbron QC , daughter and the author of the biography: 'Rose Heilbron , Legal Pioneer of the 20th century'; plus Dr John Tribe - senior lecturer in law from the University of Liverpool. The presenter is Matthew Parris and the producer is Perminder Khatkar.

  • Posted on 11 Sep 2018

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    Greg Jenner on Gene Kelly

    Greg Jenner on the great song and dance man Gene Kelly, star of Singin' In The Rain. "He was so much better than he had any right to be." Born in Pittsburgh in 1912, Gene Kelly was a broad-shouldered Irish American whose first love was ice hockey. But according to his biographer, Ruth Leon, he revolutionised movie-making by making the camera dance. Matthew Parris is impressed. Kelly's great films also include On The Town and An American in Paris - with extracts and archive, this is a joyful celebration of the great age of Hollywood musicals. Nominator Greg Jenner is historical consultant on Horrible Histories and author of Dead Famous: A History of Celebrity. The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.

  • Posted on 05 Sep 2018

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