Untold Stories

Alan Bennett reads five extracts from the extended essay that gives his new book its name.

The untold stories he tells us are about his family and, in particular, his mother, his father, and his two favourite aunts.

His mother and father were devoted to each other; a devotion sustained through the regular bouts of chronic depression from which his mother, Lilian, suffers and which leads to her spending much of her later life in and out of hospitals.

Though intensely shy - as is her husband - Lilian is also a woman of great generosity and fun, with modest, but deeply-held social ambitions.

She longs to go to coffee mornings and cocktail parties, even though she has no idea what a cocktail is, and thinks a sausage on a stick an emblem of extraordinary sophistication.

Her husband, Walter, is a gentle and caring man, whose dream of retiring to the country, and pottering away in his garden, is rudely shattered by his wife's ill-health.

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Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01Wanting To Go Unnoticed *2005101020090525 (BBC7)
20090526 (BBC7)
20100329 (BBC7)

Alan Bennett reads five extracts from the extended essay that gives his new book its name.

The untold stories he tells us are about his family and, in particular, his mother, his father, and his two favourite aunts.

His mother and father were devoted to each other; a devotion sustained through the regular bouts of chronic depression from which his mother, Lilian, suffers and which leads to her spending much of her later life in and out of hospitals.

Though intensely shy - as is her husband - Lilian is also a woman of great generosity and fun, with modest, but deeply-held social ambitions.

She longs to go to coffee mornings and cocktail parties, even though she has no idea what a cocktail is, and thinks a sausage on a stick an emblem of extraordinary sophistication.

Her husband, Walter, is a gentle and caring man, whose dream of retiring to the country, and pottering away in his garden, is rudely shattered by his wife's ill-health.Retiring to a village in the dales, his mam is hugely intimidated.

Alan Bennett recalls tales of his Yorkshire family.

Retiring to a village in the dales, his mam is hugely intimidated.

02Dad *2005101120090526 (BBC7)
20090527 (BBC7)
20100330 (BBC7)

The writer reflects on his Dad, who Mam says never pushes himself forward.

Alan Bennett recalls tales of his Yorkshire family.

03Aunty Myra *2005101220090527 (BBC7)
20090528 (BBC7)
20100331 (BBC7)

The writer recalls visiting his mother's sister, who would share military service memories

Alan Bennett recalls tales of his Yorkshire family.

Visiting his mother's sister, she always shared military service memories.

04Aunty Kathleen *2005101320090528 BT=1445 (BBC7)
20090529 BT=0445 (BBC7)
20100401 (BBC7)

The writer reflects on his Mam's sister's brisk marriage.

Alan Bennett recalls tales of his Yorkshire family.

05 LASTMam2005101420090529 BT=1445 (BBC7)
20090530 BT=0445 (BBC7)
20100402 (BBC7)

The writer tells how his mother's memory is beginning to fail.

Alan Bennett recalls tales of his Yorkshire family.