James Maw presents a series on life-changing inheritances.


0101* My Wooden Headed Brother2007100220080407

Ventriloquist Peter Brough's dummy Archie Andrews was a radio and TV star of the 1950s and 60s.

When his owner died, he was inherited by his daughter and sold for 38,000 pounds.

Archie has not spoken a word for 40 years, but he has a new owner who is helping him to break his silence.

0102Byron's Gondolier2007100920080408

When Claudia inherited a ring she had no knowledge of its origins.

She discovered that it belonged to a distant ancestor who was a formerly a gondolier and later Lord Byron's manservant.

Her curiosity took her on a journey to Venice and back to the home of Benjamin Disraeli.

0103Matthew's Tank2007101620080409

When Matthew Kiln, a 48-year-old doctor in Bromley, inherited some money from his father, he decided to buy a Second World War British army tank and spend thousands of pounds restoring it.

Finally he took his tank to Normandy, where it still remains in a square named after his father.

0104Nana Quajo The First2007102320080410

TV producer Humphrey Barclay was deeply shocked by the death of Christopher Asante, his close friend and business partner.

But the shock was compounded when he discovered that he had inherited a remote village in Ghana and become their first white chief.

0105 LASTA Case Of Pickled Penguins2007103020080411

Judy Skelton could only remember her grandfather as a kindly, white-haired old man.

When she inherited his book, written and given to him by the famous explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott, she had no idea it would lead to her going to the Antarctic to visit descendents of the penguins he brought home in a jar one hundred years ago.

08052015111020160401 (R4)

From the sounds of the womb to fading memories - Josie Long hears stories of what we inherit from past generations.

Series Producer: Eleanor McDowall

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

The items feature in the programme are:

George Bernard Shaw

A Conversation

Feat. Walter Murch

Produced by Niccolò Castelli

The Waves

Feat. Sian Phillips

Interview recorded for the Empathy Museum

Every Heart has a Limited Number of Heartbeats

Produced by Martin Johnson and Ann Heppermann

Originally featured in the Serendipity Podcast