London Calling

Episodes

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Broadcast
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20141120

Jack London created the mould for a particular kind of hard living writer; long before Hemingway picked up his first whiskey bottle, London was off out on dangerous adventures to the Klondike Gold Rush, the front lines of the Sino-Russian war, and round the world on a boat that cost him millions and nearly cost him his life; his chronic alcoholism finally proved his undoing. Before he did finally die at the age of 40, London managed to write some of the most popular stories ever to emerge from America, including 'White Fang' and 'Call of the Wild'. It was these books that Aminatta Forna first immersed herself in as a child growing up in Sierra Leone, feeling the chill of snow covered landscapes London described so vividly as she lay reading in the intense West African heat. Now a writer herself, she shares many of London's passions, including wild animals and the natural landscape; it's no co-incidence that her new novel has at its heart a man who tracks wild dogs, and in 'London Calling' we accompany her to the forests of New England where she tracks coyotes and unpicks the influence London's writing has had on her. Along the way she'll find out about his extra-ordinary life and the great success of his work; author Tobias Wolff tells us that London's influence on him was so powerful that in his teens he chose to be re-christened as Jack before his father forced him to change back to Tobias. We also hear from George Monbiot about the appeal London has for him as a writer who so vividly depicts the rawness of the wilderness in contrast to the drudgery of civilisation. London said that he'd, 'rather be ashes than dust,' that he,'would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.' As Aminatta Forna will explain, very few writers could claim to have burned so brightly.

5 Live Sport20120510

Kath Merry and Steve Parry join Eleanor Oldroyd to look ahead to the London 2012 Olympics, including interviews and features from competitors in preparation for the games.

01In The Beginning2012051720150325 (BBC7)
20150326 (BBC7)

Back to the wireless days of 1922 and BBC's new DG John Brown takes charge.

Back to the BBC's early wireless days of 1922.

The microphone jammed if a speaker talked too loudly, the letters of praise and complaint flooded in, and then a new Director-General, John Brown, came to take over the British Broadcasting Company.

Written by Jimmy Perry, the man behind Dad's Army and Hi-De-Hi.

Starring Graham Crowden as John Brown, Jimmy Perry as Colonel Beecham, Roy Hudd as Fred "Keep 'em Laughing" Hicks, Bill Pertwee as Sergeant Lucas, Jeffrey Holland as Roger Eccles and Joann Munro as Miss Nightingale

Producer: Jo Clegg.

First broadcast nightly on BBC Radio 2 in September 1994.

02It Pays To Advertise2012052420150401 (BBC7)
20150402 (BBC7)

Back to the wireless days of 1922, and Children's Hour's Uncle Rex needs money.

Back to the BBC's early wireless days of 1922.

Colonel Beecham and Admiral Carpenter are concerned that all their hard work producing the BBC's wireless output is beginning to affect their golf swing. Meanwhile, hard-up Children's Hour's Uncle Rex is made an offer he really ought to refuse.

Written by Jimmy Perry, the man behind Dad's Army and Hi-De-Hi.

Starring Graham Crowden as John Brown, Jimmy Perry as Colonel Beecham, Bill Pertwee as Sergeant Lucas and Jeffrey Holland as Roger Eccles.

Producer: Jo Clegg.

First broadcast nightly on BBC Radio 2 in September 1994.

03Little Willie Saves The Day2012053120150408 (BBC7)
20150409 (BBC7)

The Daily Sketch slams boring Auntie. Will John Brown agree to light entertainment shows?

Back to the BBC's early wireless days of 1922.

The Daily Sketch says the BBC's programmes are boring. Will DG John Brown finally agree to broadcast some light entertainment, or will his peccadillo with Auntie Phyllis force him over the edge? Either way, Fred "Keep 'Em Laughing" Hicks has got an unusual new act for radio.

Written by Jimmy Perry, the man behind Dad's Army and Hi-De-Hi.

Starring Graham Crowden as John Brown, Jimmy Perry as Colonel Beecham, Bill Pertwee as Sergeant Lucas, Jeffrey Holland as Roger Eccles and Roy Hudd as Fred "Keep 'Em Laughing" Hicks.

Producer: Jo Clegg.

First broadcast nightly on BBC Radio 2 in September 1994.

04The Great Race2012060720150415 (BBC7)
20150416 (BBC7)

The Oxford versus Cambridge boat race proves to be a technical challenge.

DG John Brown has decided that the BBC will broadcast the 1923 Boat Race. So the rest of the staff must rally round to find a way to bring off the transmission.

Written by Jimmy Perry, the man behind Dad's Army and Hi-De-Hi.

Starring Graham Crowden as John Brown, Jimmy Perry as Colonel Beecham, Bill Pertwee as Sergeant Lucas, Jeffrey Holland as Roger Eccles and Roy Hudd as Fred "Keep 'Em Laughing" Hicks.

Producer: Jo Clegg.

First broadcast nightly on BBC Radio 2 in September 1994.