Before They Were Famous

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
0104 LAST2012090520140716
20151028 (BBC7)
20170618 (BBC7)

Ian Leslie presents a new Radio 4 comedy show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of some of the world's best known writers. A project of literary archaeology, Leslie has found evidence in the most unlikely of places - within the archives of newspapers, periodicals, corporations and universities-showcasing the early writing examples of writers such as Jilly Cooper-during her brief and unfortunately unsuccessful foray into the world of war reporting, and Hunter S Thompson - in his sadly short-lived phase working in the customer relations department for a major American Airline.

These are the newspaper articles, advertising copy, company correspondence and gardening manuals, that allow us a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best loved literary voices - people whom we know today for their novels or poems but who, at the time, were just people with a dream...and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Produced by: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick Production for BBC Radio 4.

Ian Leslie reveals surprising first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers.

Ian Leslie presents a new Radio 4 comedy show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of some of the world's best known writers. A project of literary archaeology, Leslie has found evidence in the most unlikely of places - within the archives of newspapers, periodicals, corporations and universities-showcasing the early writing examples of writers such as Jilly Cooper-during her brief and unfortunately unsuccessful foray into the world of war reporting, and Hunter S Thompson - in his sadly short-lived phase working in the customer relations department for a major American Airline.

These are the newspaper articles, advertising copy, company correspondence and gardening manuals, that allow us a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best loved literary voices - people whom we know today for their novels or poems but who, at the time, were just people with a dream...and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Produced by: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick Production for BBC Radio 4.

02012013101620151202 (R4)

Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

We may know them today for their novels, plays or poems but, once upon a time, they were just people with a dream - and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

02022013102320151209 (R4)

Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

We may know them today for their novels, plays or poems but, once upon a time, they were just people with a dream - and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

02032013103020151216 (R4)

Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

We may know them today for their novels, plays or poems but, once upon a time, they were just people with a dream - and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

02042013110620151223 (R4)

Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

We may know them today for their novels, plays or poems but, once upon a time, they were just people with a dream - and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick Production for BBC Radio 4.

02052013111320160106 (R4)

Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

We may know them today for their novels, plays or poems but, once upon a time, they were just people with a dream - and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

0206 LAST2013112020160113 (R4)

Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

We may know them today for their novels, plays or poems but, once upon a time, they were just people with a dream - and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

030220150527

Ian Leslie presents the show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

In this episode we get a valuable insight into the origins of Henry Longfellow's poetic success - in the guise of a letter of complaint to a boiler repair company.

We also hear the troubled, adolescent Mary Shelley craft disturbing notes to accompany floral tributes, marvel at the deliciously spooky auction catalogue copy written by M.R. James, and hear a slightly disturbing Christmas cracker joke by Fredrik Ibsen.

Producer: Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

030320150603

Ian Leslie presents the show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

In this episode, we gain some understanding of the force that was to be reckoned with in the case of William Blake, and how his spiritual leanings came to bear on his copy for public signs in London parks.

We also hear the beginnings of Will Self's ascerbic style in his submission as a child, re-working a classic fairy tale for an adolescent magazine.

There's also the much loved poet Pam Ayres and her sadly unused submission for a reworking of the 3 minute warning in the event of a nuclear bomb.

Finally, we hear another of the questionable offerings from Henrik Ibsen to the joke department of a Christmas cracker manufacturer.

Producer: Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

030420150610

Ian Leslie presents the show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

In this episode, the author of Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk is found to have started out doling out questionable advice as editor of the letters page of a US newspaper's children's supplement.

Next up, we hear Marcel Proust's unexpected ornithological leanings and previously undiscovered entries from Raymond Chandler's adolescent diaries.

To finish, there's another of Henrik Ibsen's uncomfortable Christmas cracker jokes.

Producer: Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

030520150617

Ian Leslie presents the show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

The episode begins with Jane Austen's first employ as a bailiff's clerk penning exceptionally sweet letters to unfortunately late paying debtors.

To follow, we hear Edward Lear's indecipherable missives on behalf of the British Intelligence services and a Radio 4 stalwart, the Shipping Forecast, is re-imagined in a submission found in the archives from a young Martin Amis suggesting how to update the format.

To end, there's another of Henrik Ibsen's unexpected offerings of jokes for a Christmas cracker company.

Producer: Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

0306 LAST20150624

Ian Leslie presents the show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

To start off this episode, we hear Fay Weldon's illuminating quiz for Cosmopolitan Magazine - 'Are you too obsessed with your ex?'.

Next, it's Friedrich Nietzsche's lesser known work for a toy company catalogue - giving possibly more in depth descriptions than were initially required.

Then we hear from beloved poet Pam Ayres again, in a piece submitted to the Office of Information as a draft for a public safety announcement.

Finally, there's another of Henrik Ibsen's joke submissions for a Christmas cracker manufacturer.

Producer: Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.