Bernard Shaw struggles with the motor car - and Michael Holroyd battles with his satnav.
Michael Holroyd confronts an army of automobiles in this charming memoir. Weaving together personal stories and historical anecdote, he traces his relationship with cars through a lifetime of biography.
Learning to drive was no easy matter for Michael. The lessons required military precision when practising how to get in and out of his car correctly. His biographical subjects also had their difficulties: Bernard Shaw drove with reckless gusto when overtaking his eightieth year; Vita Sackville-West's car became a chamber for sudden romantic assignations and getaways; Augustus John and his family careered through vulnerable villages as the poor vehicle, piled high with bohemian friends, stuttered and jerked along in first gear.
Wry, thoughtful and very funny, On Wheels is an elegy to the glamour of the car. Subtle and perceptive, Michael Holroyd finds surprising ways to understand the past and challenge our view of the future.
Episode 5 of 5
In the final episode, Michael Holroyd describes playwright Bernard Shaw's enthusiastic, if cavalier, approach to driving - only thwarted by the outbreak of world war. For Michael Holroyd, however, it was the satnav that did for him.
Producer: David Roper
A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.