Lyrical Journey

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Episodes

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0102Day Trip To Bangor20110929

Eminently singable, 'Day Trip to Bangor', which sold more than half million copies in 1979, has entered popular culture in an astonishing way.

Covered by no end of bands, parodied in rugby songs, by comedians (e.g.Jasper Carrot's 'Daytrip to Blackpool') - it even got mashed up 2010 style by Paul Dakeyne at the Chris Moyles' Weekender in Bangor.

Presenter Jonathan Maitland takes the writer of the song - Debbie Cook - and Cathy Lesurf, the original singer from Fiddler's Dram (who recorded the song) back to Bangor in Wales to find out why so many people find it hard to believe it is indeed a song about that city.

Why did people claim at the time (and still do) that Debbie must have based it on a day-trip to Rhyl instead? And do the lyrics of song (the fairground, the pier etc) have any basis in reality? What happened to the woman in the song who had a 'cuddle with Jack' and delighted in getting the whole day-trip for 'under a pound'?

Cathy is asked to perform the song on the pier alongside real day-trippers, and finds out how much it has meant to some of the residents to have their home celebrated in this way.

0103 LASTRaintown20111006

Deacon Blue's 'Raintown' (from the album of the same name) has a special place in the hearts of many Glaswegians.

Released in 1987at the start of a great period of change for the city, it has come to symbolise home, and a particular attitude.

Ricky Ross is the the band's lyricist and singer - he explains to presenter Jonathan Maitland that his association of Glasgow with rain was inspired partly by shock - shock at how wet the weather was in the city when he moved there from Dundee, and that it is something of a surprise that the name 'Raintown' has come to mean so much to him and others.

To find out why this should be the case, Jonathan looks at other representations of rain in Glasgow and discovers that there have been surprisingly few artists and writers who have wanted to dwell on the damp.

Many Glaswegians think that carrying an umbrella means you are paying the weather too much attention.

As a finale - Ricky performs a special acoustic version of the song at a piano bar in the city centre; he's joined in the audience by a new Glasgow band who have named themselves after the song, and a music journalist who feels that the song literally changed her life.

Why did Deacon Blue's song Raintown become such a loved Glasgow anthem?

0201Sunshine On Leith20130210

On a hill overlooking the Firth of Forth, The Proclaimers perform their song 'Sunshine on Leith', which has become a source of great pride for this Edinburgh district, even becoming the beloved anthem of Hibernian FC.

Leading up to the performance, presenter Jonathan Maitland meets Proclaimers twins Charlie and Craig Reid and discovers the inspiration behind the lyrics and their links to the area. As Maitland reflects on the changes in Leith in the 24 years since the record's release, he also discusses the impact of the song around Edinburgh and beyond.

The journey takes Maitland to Leith Docks to meet Scottish and maritime historian Eric Graham and local expert Susan Morrison, who explain how the docks, once the entry point to the wider world, have now become a symbol of redevelopment and social change in the area.

Jonathan also hears from Hibs FC fans for which the song holds a special meaning, and witnesses the great emotion the song provokes.

0202Patience Of Angels20130217

Twenty years ago, on a busy road in an otherwise leafy district of Cambridge, songwriter Boo Hewerdine was looking out of his top floor flat and saw a woman on a bus travel by - and from these rather inauspicious beginnings the song Patience of Angels took shape. It later became a hit in 1994 for singer Eddi Reader who'd had previous chart success with the group Fairground Attraction.

In this episode of Lyrical Journey, Jonathan Maitland visits Cambridge to meet Boo and Eddi and, as they prepare for a charity concert, a stone's throw from Boo's old flat, they discuss the origin of the song and what it means to each of them.

As Maitland explores places in Cambridge which influenced the song, he also examines the University town's association with Angels.

The line from 'Patience of Angels': 'there's a door in a wall in a house in a street' could easily have fallen out of the pages of a CS Lewis story; and Lewis expert Dr Michael Ward explains to Maitland the author's fascination with angels inherent in his work.

The journey concludes in the apt surroundings of St Luke's Church in Cambridge, where a packed crowd watch Eddi and Boo perform a unique version of the song especially recorded for the programme.

0203 LASTA13, Trunk Road To The Sea20130224

Inspired by the jazz and rock standard Route 66, proud Essex boy Billy Bragg used his poetic licence to fashion a version much closer to home - A13, Trunk Road to the Sea, a paean to the tarmacked beauty of A13, which heads east from Whitechapel in the heart of the East End alongside the Thames for forty miles until it hits the wide sands of Shoeburyness.

As presenter Jonathan Maitland and Billy travel along the busy arterial, the songwriter explains how when he wrote the song some thirty years ago the A13 was a potent symbol of escape to the big city one way and nostalgia for the seaside idyll of his childhood the other. Billy recounts the sights along the way, such as where the old Beckton Gasworks once stood, and gives his own personal perspective on how the landscape and people have changed.

In Stanford-Le-Hope, they meet Thurrock historian Jonathan Catton to discuss the place the author Joseph Conrad once made his home; and, overlooking windswept Hadleigh Castle, historian Judith Williams tells of the area's royal lineage back to medieval times.

As the journey concludes in Shoeburyness, Billy performs the song overlooking the atmospheric spot where the Thames Estuary hits the ocean.

Presenter/Jonathan Maitland

Producer/Stephen Garner.