The House I Grew Up In

Wendy Robbins presents a series revisiting the childhood neighbourhoods of influential Britons.

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0101Peter Hennessy2007080620101206 (BBC7)
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Wendy Robbins presents a series revisiting the childhood neighbourhoods of influential Britons.

Historian and journalist Peter Hennessy returns to London. In the 1950s, Finchley was dirty, poor and full of displaced people. But for Hennessy it was a place full of optimism and confidence as a proud Britain recovered from World War II. The youngest in a large Irish Catholic family living in council-requisitioned houses, Peter discovers that these same properties are now selling for more than two million pounds.

The influential history professor returns to Finchley in North London to reminisce about his 1950s childhood, with Wendy Robbins.

The influential history professor returns to Finchley in North London.

Historian and journalist Peter Hennessy returns to London.

In the 1950s, Finchley was dirty, poor and full of displaced people.

But for Hennessy it was a place full of optimism and confidence as a proud Britain recovered from World War II.

The youngest in a large Irish Catholic family living in council-requisitioned houses, Peter discovers that these same properties are now selling for more than two million pounds.

0102Jacqueline Gold2007081320101207 (BBC7)
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The Ann Summers chief recalls harrowing childhood memories driving through Biggin Hill.

The chief executive of Ann Summers recalls harrowing childhood memories driving through Biggin Hill in Kent, with Wendy Robbins.

Jacqueline Gold, Chief Executive of the Ann Summers retail chain, takes Wendy to the nouveau riche suburbs of Kent and the house where she grew up.

She reveals a dark story of abuse and depression that has haunted her since her childhood.

0103Ian Paisley Jr2007082020070820 (BBC7)
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Wendy Robbins presents a series revisiting the childhood neighbourhoods of influential Britons.

Ian Paisley Jr takes Wendy on a tour of his family home in the traditional loyalist heartland of East Belfast, now regenerating itself in the new political climate.

Dr Ian Paisley's son takes Wendy Robbins round his childhood home in East Belfast.

Dr Ian Paisley's equally-outspoken son takes Wendy Robbins round his childhood home in East Belfast's loyalist heartland.

The son of stentorian-voiced Dr Ian Paisley takes Wendy Robbins round his childhood home in east Belfast's loyalist heartland.

The son of stentorian-voiced Dr Ian Paisley takes Wendy Robbins round his childhood home.

0104 LASTJackie Kay2007082720070827 (BBC7)
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Wendy Robbins presents a series revisiting the childhood neighbourhoods of influential Britons.

Poet and writer Jackie Kay takes Wendy back to the family home where, having been adopted at birth, she was raised with her brother. They were the only black children in the neighbourhood. Meeting friends, relatives and neighbours, Jackie reveals how her childhood experiences inspired her to start writing.

The poet takes Wendy Robbins to meet her mum and dad.

The poet takes Wendy Robbins to meet her mum and dad as she recalls the childhood in Glasgow which inspired her to write.

Poet and writer Jackie Kay takes Wendy back to the family home where, having been adopted at birth, she was raised with her brother.

They were the only black children in the neighbourhood.

Meeting friends, relatives and neighbours, Jackie reveals how her childhood experiences inspired her to start writing.

0201Tom Farmer2008080620110110 (BBC7)
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She meets Sir Tom Farmer, Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist, on his boyhood stamping ground of Leith.

Starting in Edinburgh - Wendy Robbins takes the Kwik Fit car repair firm founder back to his Leith childhood home.

From 2008.

Wendy Robbins takes the Kwik Fit car repair firm founder back to his Leith childhood home.

Wendy Robbins presents a series revisiting the childhood neighbourhoods of influential Britons.

0202Mona Siddiqui2008081320080813 (BBC7)
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Wendy Robbins presents a series revisiting the childhood neighbourhoods of influential Britons.

Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic Studies at Glasgow University, takes Wendy back to her childhood home in Huddersfield. She recalls growing up in a literary family and her mother's insistence on living separately from the wider Muslim community.

Professor of Islamic Studies at Glasgow University, returns to Huddersfield

Wendy Robbins takes Glasgow University's Professor of Islamic Studies back to her childhood home in Huddersfield.

From 2008.

Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic Studies at Glasgow University, returns to Huddersfield

Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic Studies at Glasgow University, takes Wendy back to her childhood home in Huddersfield.

She recalls growing up in a literary family and her mother's insistence on living separately from the wider Muslim community.

0203David Blunkett2008082020080820 (BBC7)
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The politician takes Wendy Robbins to the boarding schools for the blind that he attended as a child. From August 2008.

returns to his childhood home in Sheffield and the schools where he boarded

The politician takes Wendy Robbins to the boarding schools for the blind that he went to as a child.

From 2008.

David Blunkett returns to his childhood home in Sheffield and the schools where he boarded

Wendy Robbins presents a series revisiting the childhood neighbourhoods of influential Britons.

David Blunkett returns to his childhood home in Sheffield and the schools where he boarded between the ages of four and 19.

0204Joanna Briscoe2008082720080827 (BBC7)
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Wendy Robbins takes the novelist back to her isolated childhood home in Dartmoor, and an unconventional upbringing. From August 2008.

Wendy Robbins takes the novelist back to her isolated childhood home in Dartmoor, and an unconventional upbringing.

From 2008.

Wendy Robbins takes the novelist back to her isolated childhood home in Dartmoor.

Wendy Robbins presents a series revisiting the childhood neighbourhoods of influential Britons.

Novelist Joanna Briscoe returns to her isolated childhood home on Dartmoor.

0205Shaun Bailey2008090320080903 (BBC7)
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, founder of youth charity My Generation, returns to west London.

Wendy Robbins presents a series revisiting the childhood neighbourhoods of influential Britons.

Shaun Bailey, prospective parliamentary candidate and founder of youth charity My Generation, was raised by his extended Jamaican family on a tough west London housing estate. He takes Wendy back to the place where he grew up, remembering how his mother's discipline and becoming an army cadet at 12 saved him from a life of crime and violence.

Wendy Robbins takes the youth worker back to his deprived West London estate.

Wendy Robbins takes the youth worker and failed Conservative MP candidate back to his deprived West London estate.

From 2008.

Shaun Bailey, prospective parliamentary candidate and founder of youth charity My Generation, was raised by his extended Jamaican family on a tough west London housing estate.

He takes Wendy back to the place where he grew up, remembering how his mother's discipline and becoming an army cadet at 12 saved him from a life of crime and violence.

0206 LASTBaroness Mary Warnock2008091720110118 (BBC7)
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Wendy Robbins presents a series revisiting the childhood neighbourhoods of influential Britons.

Baroness Mary Warnock has been a moral referee for 30 years. Her judgement has often been relied upon to steer a path through a tangle of controversies from human embryo research to euthanasia. She takes Wendy back to her idyllic childhood in Winchester, where she was brought up by her beloved nanny and an eccentric mother.

Wendy Robbins takes the philosopher back to her Winchester birthplace.

Robbins takes the philosopher back to her Winchester birthplace - home to her single mother of five and devoted nanny.

Baroness Mary Warnock has been a moral referee for 30 years.

Her judgement has often been relied upon to steer a path through a tangle of controversies from human embryo research to euthanasia.

She takes Wendy back to her idyllic childhood in Winchester, where she was brought up by her beloved nanny and an eccentric mother.

0301Baroness Jane Campbell20090901

Disability campaigner Baroness Jane Campbell revisits her childhood home in Surrey.

Disability campaigner Baroness Jane Campbell takes Wendy back to her childhood home in New Malden, Surrey, where she remembers being dressed up as a Barbie doll and wanting to be no different from her able-bodied friends.

0302Professor Steve Jones20090908

Biologist Steve Jones takes Wendy Robbins back to his childhood in west Wales in the 1950s

Biologist and author Professor Steve Jones takes Wendy back to his childhood in west Wales in the 1950s to uncover the passions that led to his life of scientific discovery.

0303Erin Pizzey *20090915

Campaigner, author and founder of the women's refuge movement, Erin Pizzey, explores her troubled childhood in post-war Dorset.

0304Kwame Kwei-armah2009092220091024 (BBC7)
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Playwright and actor Kwame Kwei-armah takes Wendy to Southall, west London, to remember his West Indian childhood there in the 1970s.

recalls his childhood in Southall, west London, in the 1970s.

The actor and award-winning playwright recalls his London childhood growing up in Southall in the 1970s.

Kwame Kwei-Armah recalls his childhood in Southall, west London, in the 1970s.

0305 LASTJonathan Aitken20090929

Former Conservative cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, convicted of perjury in 1999, takes Wendy to Dublin to talk about his childhood there, where he remembers his unconventional early home - a hospital ward run by Catholic nuns for children with TB.

They also visit his second home in Halesworth in Suffolk, where Jonathan learned to walk again, as did his father, who had been severely injured during the Second World War.

0401Peter Hitchens20100719

Writer Peter Hitchens returns to Portsmouth with Wendy Robbins.

Writer and journalist Peter Hitchens was born in 1951 and moved to Portsmouth as the sixties began and the navy (in which his father was a commander during World War 2) declined.

He grew up with heroic tales - from Admiral Nelson onwards - of great men who had kept this island safe.

His life-long squabble with his older brother, Christopher Hitchens, took root here as did his teenage rebellions - against God, against suburbia - both of which he still deeply regrets and may have played a part he believes in the fracturing of his childhood idyll when his parents divorced and his mother died.

He takes Wendy Robbins back to the homes and haunts of his post-war childhood.

Producer : Rosamund Jones.

0402Colin Blakemore20100726

Neurobiologist Prof Colin Blakemore takes Wendy Robbins to his childhood home in Coventry.

Neurobiologist Professor Colin Blakemore was a war baby brought up in devastated Coventry.

His two-up two-down home had the first TV in the street on which he lived next door to relatives and a family of ten.

As an only child, his parents were able to cash in an insurance policy of £14 which enabled him to go to the local grammar school where he proved himself to be more of an artist and actor than a scientist.

Producer: Smita Patel.

0403Julia Hobsbawm20100802

Businesswoman Julia Hobsbawm takes Wendy Robbins to Hampstead and rural north Wales.

PR supremo, professional networker & businesswoman, Julia Hobsbawm, takes Wendy Robbins to London's Hampstead & rural Wales.

Julia was born in 1964 and grew up among the country's leading intellectuals and communists in London's Hampstead.

Her father is the Marxist historian, Eric Hobsbawm, who fled Germany in the 1930s as Hitler came to power.

Life at home in North West London was a whirl of dinner parties, "German" lunches, and mittel-European salons - hosted expertly by Marlene Hobsbawm whose parents had fled anti-semitism in Vienna.

Despite this family history Julia says that she learned about the Holocaust from TV.

Meanwhile, at her grandmother's appartment nearby she revelled in big Jewish family get-togethers and a different sort of politics altogether - here, people voted Tory and followed entrepreneurial paths.

This is where the very unacademic Julia - with terrible A levels & no degree - would forge strong bonds with her grandmother's niece, Gretl, who ran a manufacturing business making dresses for Marks & Spencer.

Julia also travels to the Croesor Valley near Portmeirion in rural north Wales.

This is where the family spent all their holidays throughout Julia's childhood in a house rented from the architect & local landowner Clough Williams Ellis.

He delighted in renting out the cottages on his estate to intellectuals, writers, radicals and artists.

Here, as well as London, Julia mixed with many of the great & good - of great benefit, as she admits, to the networking career she would establish as an adult.

Producer: Rosamund Jones.

0404Kay Mellor2010080920120807

TV screenwriter Kay Mellor takes Wendy Robbins to her childhood home and haunts in Leeds.

Television screenwriter Kay Mellor was born into a working class Leeds household in the 1950s and brought up single-handedly by her mother from the age of three.

Her mother re-married when Kay was 10.

She remembers a secure childhood.

But money was tight, she did badly at school and was married, with a child, at just sixteen.

The marriage has endured the intervening decades and the success she eventually found.

She talks to Wendy Robbins about the loneliness of teenage motherhood, her uphill struggle to educate herself and her writing life which has always been inspired by the Yorkshire people she still lives amongst.

Producer: Smita Patel.

Television screenwriter Kay Mellor was born into a working class Leeds household in the 1950s and brought up single-handedly by her mother from the age of three. Her mother re-married when Kay was 10. She remembers a secure childhood. But money was tight, she did badly at school and was married, with a child, at just sixteen. The marriage has endured the intervening decades and the success she eventually found. She talks to Wendy Robbins about the loneliness of teenage motherhood, her uphill struggle to educate herself and her writing life which has always been inspired by the Yorkshire people she still lives amongst.

0405Sir William Atkinson20100816

Super-head Sir William Atkinson shows Wendy Robbins the London haunts of his childhood.

Sir William Atkinson, one of the country's best-known super-heads, first came to this country from Jamaica aged 7.

His father met him, his mother and two brothers at Heathrow.

This is the first memory Sir William has of his father who had worked abroad for a number of years.

The other oddity of that day was seeing white people doing manual work on the drive from the airport.

The only white people he'd seen as a young child, growing up in a small village, had been plantation owners.

The family settled in Battersea, South London.

In the 1950s this was a white working-class neighbourhood and racism was endemic with room-to-let signs proclaiming: no blacks, no Irish.

Despite a difficult educational start - Sir William must be the only person to have failed the 11+ twice - school became his saviour.

Teachers, fired with a 1960s social conscience, put faith in him.

He went into education to return the favour.

Producer: Rosamund Jones.

0406 LASTEmma Harrison20100823

Entrepreneur Emma Harrison shows Wendy Robbins the Sheffield of her childhood.

Entrepreneur and one of the country's wealthiest businesswomen, Emma Harrison, was born in Sheffield in 1964.

Her parents embraced the sixties with gusto.

She was brought up mainly by her father in a creative and chaotic house as her mother spent extended periods away from home seeking adventure.

Emma took on the running of the household from the age of 10 - helpful, she admits, when setting up in business later but a lonely enterprise for a child nonetheless.

She attended the local comprehensive where she was a regular truant but ran the tuck shop at a profit.

On a school visit to Thornbridge Hall in Derbyshire she vowed to buy the stately home one day.

Five years ago she did just that.

Producer: Rosamund Jones.

0501Shirley Williams2011080420120717

, now Baroness Williams, returns to her childhood homes in London's Chelsea and the New Forest. Her mother was the writer, Vera Brittain, whose most famous novel - Testament of Youth - was a best-seller when Shirley was a child in the 1930s. Her father, George Catlin, was an academic and and an instinctive feminist whose own mother had been an early suffragette, ostracised by Victorian society. He was a frustrated politician who stood for parliament a number of times but was never elected. But these were not the only nurturing adults in her young life. Also hugely significant was her mother's best friend, Winifred Holtby, and the housekeeper and her husband, Amy & Charlie Burnett - a bright, under-educated working class couple whom Shirley adored.

The conversations in her childhood home centred on world events - the Spanish civil war and the rise of Hitler. Vera Brittain was a pacifist and, as such, found herself and her husband on the Nazis' blacklist. Had the Germans invaded in 1940, Shirley's parents would likely have been eliminated. Fearful of this, soon after war broke out and with the battle of the Atlantic raging, they put Shirley and her brother on a ship and evacuated them to the USA.

The programme focuses on the relationships she forged with the adults in her early life and what she learned from them all. She credits her father with giving her the confidence to pursue a life in politics, Amy with imbuing in her a practical understanding of the constraints of a class-bound society, her mother with a vision of nobility and Winifred? Winifred was simply fun.

Wendy Robbins accompanies Shirley Williams as she revisits the homes and haunts of her childhood.

Producer : Rosamund Jones.

Baroness Shirley Williams returns to her childhood homes.

Shirley Williams, now Baroness Williams, returns to her childhood homes in London's Chelsea and the New Forest.

Her mother was the writer, Vera Brittain, whose most famous novel - Testament of Youth - was a best-seller when Shirley was a child in the 1930s.

Her father, George Catlin, was an academic and and an instinctive feminist whose own mother had been an early suffragette, ostracised by Victorian society.

He was a frustrated politician who stood for parliament a number of times but was never elected.

But these were not the only nurturing adults in her young life.

Also hugely significant was her mother's best friend, Winifred Holtby, and the housekeeper and her husband, Amy & Charlie Burnett - a bright, under-educated working class couple whom Shirley adored.

The conversations in her childhood home centred on world events - the Spanish civil war and the rise of Hitler.

Vera Brittain was a pacifist and, as such, found herself and her husband on the Nazis' blacklist.

Had the Germans invaded in 1940, Shirley's parents would likely have been eliminated.

Fearful of this, soon after war broke out and with the battle of the Atlantic raging, they put Shirley and her brother on a ship and evacuated them to the USA.

The programme focuses on the relationships she forged with the adults in her early life and what she learned from them all.

She credits her father with giving her the confidence to pursue a life in politics, Amy with embuing in her a practical understanding of the constraints of a class-bound society, her mother with a vision of nobility and Winifred? Winifred was simply fun.

0502Terry Waite2011081120120724

, who was held hostage in Beirut for nearly five years in the late 1980s, returns to his childhood in the small Cheshire hamlet of Styal. Born in 1939, he remembers the constraints of being the son of the local policeman, where any misdemeanour from a young Terry came under scrutiny. His father Thomas, a highly principled man, was also a disciplinarian, leading to an ambivalent relationship between father and son. His mother Lena worked hard to keep the the family fed, especially at a time of post war rationing. Terry's parents used their large garden to sustain meal times and even sold fruit and vegetables to supplement a policeman's wage.

As a child, Terry failed his 11 plus and left school at 16. Being a loner and finding village life too confined, Terry was eager to see more of the world and applied to join the navy, but he was persuaded by his father to stay at home and continue his education through evening classes and college. The Church of England played a big role in his life. As a boy he sang in the church choir and and even learnt large parts of the prayer book by heart and it was the rituals, language and music of his faith which he says nourished and sustained him while in captivity.

In the House I Grew Up In, Terry Waite takes Wendy Robbins back to the home and haunts of his childhood.

Terry Waite returns to his childhood home in the small Cheshire hamlet of Styal.

0503Jasvinder Sanghera2011081820120731

, campaigner against forced marriages, returns to her Sikh childhood.

Jasvinder Sanghera is the founder of the charity, Karma Nirvana, which campaigns against forced marriage. She was also one of the influential voices behind the 2008 Forced Marriages Act.

Jasvinder was born into a Sikh community in Derby, part of a family of seven daughters and one son. Her mother married off each of her girls one by one. But when it was Jasvinder's turn, she refused. So she was dragged to her bedroom and a lock was put on the door. She was told that she had brought huge shame onto her family and that she would not be allowed out until she promised to go ahead with the wedding. She finally agreed but, once free, hatched a plan to run away with her secret boyfriend. She was just 15. This caused a family rift which, in the 30 years since, has never fully healed. The relationship which Jasvinder mourned the most was with her father, to whom she was very close. After his death he made Jasvinder executor of his estate - proof, for her, that despite everything he had always loved her.

She takes Wendy Robbins back to her childhood homes and haunts and tells her about her recent trip to India's Punjab, to meet the one sister she had never met before. Bachanu had decided not to make the journey with the rest of her family when they came to England in the late 1950s. This was a cathartic meeting. Bachanu told her sister she should carry no shame. Their father had travelled to this country in order to live by western values, and Jasvinder, she thought, should not have been punished when that is what she tried to do.

0504 LASTToby Young20110825

Writer and journalist Toby Young revisits his childhood home and education in North London

Writer and journalist Toby Young returns to his childhood in North London.

The son of Lord Young of Dartington, a towering figure in post-war social policy making and the originator of many of this country's institutions, Toby remembers his father being a formidable over-achiever and workaholic.

His mother, the artist and writer, Sasha Mooram gave up a career at the BBC to look after Toby and his sister full time, something the children remember as being very difficult for their mother.

Toby's father, who believed in comprehensive education, sent his son to two comprehensive schools.

After leaving school at 16 with only one O level and on the insistence of his mother that he get a trade, he attended a work experience programme where he trained as a car mechanic, washer upper and a lavatory cleaner.

But he decided the work of a manual worker was not for him.

He was persuaded by his parents to go back to school and attended the sixth form at William Ellis Grammar school in London gaining 3 A levels.

And it is the traditional education he experienced here, its discipline and high expectations, that Toby wants to provide in the new free school he is opening next month in West London.

It is something he believes his father would be proud of.

In the House I Grew Up In, Toby Young takes Wendy Robbins back to the home and haunts of his childhood.