Please, Mr Postman

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
Comments
0120140915

In July 1969, while the Rolling Stones played a free concert in Hyde Park, future Cabinet Minister Alan Johnson and his young family left West London to start a new life. The Britwell Estate in Slough, notorious among the locals, came as a blessed relief after the tensions of London's troubled Notting Hill, and the local community welcomed them with open arms.

Alan Johnson had become a postman the previous year and, in order to support his growing family, took on every bit of overtime he could, often working twelve-hour shifts six days a week. It was hard work, but not without its compensations - the crafty fag snatched in a country lane, the farmer's wife offering a hearty breakfast and even the mysterious lady on Glebe Road who appeared daily, topless, at her window as the postman passed by.

Please, Mister Postman paints a vivid picture of England in the 1970s, where no celebration was complete without a Party Seven of Watney's Red Barrel, smoking was the norm rather than the exception, and Sunday lunchtime was about beer and bingo. But as Alan Johnson's life appears to be settling down and his career in the Union of Postal Workers begins to take off, his close-knit family is struck once again by tragedy.

Episode 1:

Christmas 1967 and a teenage Alan Johnson is a shelf stacker at Anthony Jackson's supermarket in East Sheen. He dreams of pop stardom, but the need for money and a chance meeting at his sister's Christmas party change his life in unexpected ways.

Read by Alan Johnson

Producer: David Roper

A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.

1967 and a teenage Alan Johnson, wannabe pop star, needs a steady job to fund his dreams.

0220140916

At 19, Alan is a married father of two and about to become politicised.

0220140916

In July 1969, while the Rolling Stones played a free concert in Hyde Park, future Cabinet Minister Alan Johnson and his young family left West London to start a new life. The Britwell Estate in Slough, notorious among the locals, came as a blessed relief after the tensions of London's troubled Notting Hill, and the local community welcomed them with open arms.

Alan Johnson had become a postman the previous year and, in order to support his growing family, took on every bit of overtime he could, often working twelve-hour shifts six days a week. It was hard work, but not without its compensations - the crafty fag snatched in a country lane, the farmer's wife offering a hearty breakfast and even the mysterious lady on Glebe Road who appeared daily, topless, at her window as the postman passed by.

Please, Mister Postman paints a vivid picture of England in the 1970s, where no celebration was complete without a Party Seven of Watney's Red Barrel, smoking was the norm rather than the exception, and Sunday lunchtime was about beer and bingo. But as Alan Johnson's life appears to be settling down and his career in the Union of Postal Workers begins to take off, his close-knit family is struck once again by tragedy.

Episode 2:

Alan Johnson participates in his first strike, and takes his first steps on a union career that would eventually lead to higher office.

Read by Alan Johnson

Producer: David Roper

A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.

0320140917

1974 and Alan, now a union activist, joins the Labour Party.

In July 1969, while the Rolling Stones played a free concert in Hyde Park, future Cabinet Minister Alan Johnson and his young family left West London to start a new life. The Britwell Estate in Slough, notorious among the locals, came as a blessed relief after the tensions of London's troubled Notting Hill, and the local community welcomed them with open arms.

Alan Johnson had become a postman the previous year and, in order to support his growing family, took on every bit of overtime he could, often working twelve-hour shifts six days a week. It was hard work, but not without its compensations - the crafty fag snatched in a country lane, the farmer's wife offering a hearty breakfast and even the mysterious lady on Glebe Road who appeared daily, topless, at her window as the postman passed by.

Please, Mister Postman paints a vivid picture of England in the 1970s, where no celebration was complete without a Party Seven of Watney's Red Barrel, smoking was the norm rather than the exception, and Sunday lunchtime was about beer and bingo. But as Alan Johnson's life appears to be settling down and his career in the Union of Postal Workers begins to take off, his close-knit family is struck once again by tragedy.

Episode 3:

Alan Johnson becomes more active in his union and joins the Labour Party. But his political inspiration comes from unlikely sources - Glasgow communist Jimmy Reid and his Tory-supporting brother-in-law Mike.

Read by Alan Johnson

Producer: David Roper

A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.

0420140918

In July 1969, while the Rolling Stones played a free concert in Hyde Park, future Cabinet Minister Alan Johnson and his young family left West London to start a new life. The Britwell Estate in Slough, notorious among the locals, came as a blessed relief after the tensions of London's troubled Notting Hill, and the local community welcomed them with open arms.

Alan Johnson had become a postman the previous year and, in order to support his growing family, took on every bit of overtime he could, often working twelve-hour shifts six days a week. It was hard work, but not without its compensations - the crafty fag snatched in a country lane, the farmer's wife offering a hearty breakfast and even the mysterious lady on Glebe Road who appeared daily, topless, at her window as the postman passed by.

Please, Mister Postman paints a vivid picture of England in the 1970s, where no celebration was complete without a Party Seven of Watney's Red Barrel, smoking was the norm rather than the exception, and Sunday lunchtime was about beer and bingo. But as Alan Johnson's life appears to be settling down and his career in the Union of Postal Workers begins to take off, his close-knit family is struck once again by tragedy.

Episode 4:

Juggling a rural post-round - where he gets his first view of the Home Secretary's country retreat, Dorneywood - and with a growing role in the trade union, Alan finds himself at an inevitable crossroads between the family life he had worked so hard to build and the exciting demands of political office.

Read by Alan Johnson

Producer: David Roper

A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.

05 LAST20140919

Alan's career is in the ascendancy, but there are clouds on the horizon.

In July 1969, while the Rolling Stones played a free concert in Hyde Park, future Cabinet Minister Alan Johnson and his young family left West London to start a new life. The Britwell Estate in Slough, notorious among the locals, came as a blessed relief after the tensions of London's troubled Notting Hill, and the local community welcomed them with open arms.

Alan Johnson had become a postman the previous year and, in order to support his growing family, took on every bit of overtime he could, often working twelve-hour shifts six days a week. It was hard work, but not without its compensations - the crafty fag snatched in a country lane, the farmer's wife offering a hearty breakfast and even the mysterious lady on Glebe Road who appeared daily, topless, at her window as the postman passed by.

Please, Mister Postman paints a vivid picture of England in the 1970s, where no celebration was complete without a Party Seven of Watney's Red Barrel, smoking was the norm rather than the exception, and Sunday lunchtime was about beer and bingo. But as Alan Johnson's life appears to be settling down and his career in the Union of Postal Workers begins to take off, his close-knit family is struck once again by tragedy.

Episode 5:

By 1982 Alan Johnson's union career is going from strength to strength with a position on the Executive beckoning. Work keeps him away from home and the Thatcher government at its height ensures life is tough for the union. But the biggest storm clouds transpire to be personal rather than political.

Read by Alan Johnson

Producer: David Roper

A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.