BBC Radio 4 Invitation

I’ve been invited to appear on the BBC Radio 4 Midweek show this Wednesday the 7th of November. The show takes the form of a round table discussion hosted by Libby Purvis. My fellow guests on Wednesday will be Dame Stephanie Shirley, an entrepreneur, who as a child escaped from Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. American Tenor Bryan Hymel who is currently appearing at Covent Garden and entertainer Tom Balmont.

The show starts at just after 9am and lasts around fifty minutes. For those who can’t tune in live but would like to listen, the show is repeated at 9.30 pm Wednesday evening, again on Radio 4, and is also available as a BBC Podcast.

From there I’m spending the rest of the day doing local radio broadcasts around the country; I can’t believe there is so much interest in my book. If anyone wants to listen to the podcast you can find it here: BBC Radio 4 Podcast

14 Responses to “BBC Radio 4 Invitation”

  1. Listening to you on Radio 4. Beautiful effecting reading of your poem. I’m so glad I turned the radio on this morning.

    • Hi Lisa (I hope that Lisa is your first name, if not I apologise), I’m sorry for the late reply, but they kept me working all day with local radio interviews and broadcasts, and I only returned home last night, no rest for the wicked. Thank you for the wonderful things you said about the broadcast and especially the poem. It was hard to write as it brought back so many memories, but it was so much harder to read out loud surrounded by strangers. You take care, and thank you again.

      • Yes, I’ve done poetry readings too and sometimes felt as you clearly did when reading them out. I thought they did perhaps push you a little too hard to read it, but having said that, the emotion in your voice was not a bad thing for the listener to hear. I felt for you and thought your poem was a beautiful tribute, I was incredibly moved by it. All good wishes to you.

  2. siobhan coogan Says:

    I have just listened to you on radio 4 midweek programme. The poem you read out was very moving. I was interested in the fact that as a child you were seen as “unmanageable” when really you were a very bright “star child” my own son was labelled difficult he wasn’t one for being a clone sheep like .Diagnosed with all kinds of labels …has more letters after his name than most professors ….ADHD ASD etc he is 20yrs old now and a competing boxer at amateur level ……..when I hear a story like yours how just because you were very bright as a child you were sent off to be controlled …you probably learned more by listening to the man in covent garden who told you stories of his travels than any teacher could teach! Thank you for all your dedication in the SAS and for sharing your stories…..anyone that gets killed in warfare is all our responsibilities not for you to take more than your share of hurt or guilt each person soldier or civilian is our brother and sister.

    • Hi Siobhan, I’m sorry for the late reply, but they kept me working all day with local radio interviews and broadcasts, and I only returned home last night, no rest for the wicked. Thank you for the wonderful things you said about the broadcast and especially the poem. It was hard to write as it brought back so many memories, but it was so much harder to read out loud surrounded by strangers. You take care, and thank you again.

      I’m glad to hear your son is learning how to overcome his labels; it’s not easy and takes a huge amount of strength and patience to change some people’s perception of us. I hope he’s enjoying his boxing, I boxed as an amateur for the Repton in Bethnal Green and then for the Army and England, it taught me self-control. And you’re right we are all brothers and sisters, and as soldiers I feel we forgive more readily that most, even our enemies.

      Give my regards to your son, and both of you take care.

  3. Thank-you very much, Theo. As a Christian minister, I struggle each year to deal with Remembrance as it is officially presented and pushed, as well as an insistence on focussing on past conflicts, rather than those with current casualties, though ignoring the witness of, for instance, the WW1 poets. You speak with authority that none can impugn, when you said ‘ there is no such thing as an unwounded soldier’. The questions I have for the congregation are: does the way we do Remembrance help with healing? Does it help with love of the enemy(i.e. appreciating them as a human being, as we also are) and with the long hard, complicated job of forgiveness?

    I don’t know at this stage whether we would agree on how best to bring an end to warfare and the use of young men for foreign policy objectives. We don’t need to agree. But I do want to thank you for the work you have done.

    • Hi David, I’m sorry for the late reply, but they kept me working all day with local radio interviews and broadcasts, and I only returned home last night, no rest for the wicked. Thank you for the wonderful things you said about the broadcast and especially the poem. It was hard to write as it brought back so many memories, but it was so much harder to read out loud surrounded by strangers.

      I feel for you this Sunday, in the book I mention an army Padre, I called him JC. I took him through Para Selection (P Company). The poor guy was ten years older than most of the others on the course and because of the enormous physical effort required to pass the course was totally out of his depth most of the time, but he persevered, passed and turned into a first rate airborne Padre who was well accepted and respected by everybody in the brigade, I saw him a number of years later on the Falklands standing over a pit containing the bodies of those who fell at the battle of Goose Green, a broken man. As soldiers we learn to forgive, especially our enemies, as most like us are used as a means to end by our politicians.

      I think remembering our war dead for most is a once a year event, and one that should be continued. However, as a Padre it might help to bring it home to your congregation that for some of us most days and a lot of nights is an eleventh day of the eleventh month, a “Ground Hog Day” event.

      I wish you all the best for Sunday, you haven’t got an easy task, me, I will be saying hello and goodbye to a lot of old friends. Take care.

  4. A great show but also very moving – particularly the poetry. Loved your quick wit and easy humour.

    I (a Civvie) worked with the UK military for over three decades, and have a mate (ex Army, N.I) who’s gone through an intensive course with the Combat Stress. This year he’s at the Cenotaph and says he’ll be saying goodbye to a few ghosts… I wish you and him all that you would yourselves.

    PS A question… has anyone thought about taking the help that Combat Stress offers to UK service personnel to those of other nations – even those the UK has fought against. I’m thinking of those of Argentina.

    It could be a way of not only helping individuals overthere and perhaps in the UK but (hopefully in the long run) change Argentine attitude to the UK.

    But perhaps this is just a pipedream, and anyway perhaps it is to soon for the powers that be – but almost too late for many Falklands vets on both sides.

    • Hi Richard, I’m sorry for the late reply, but they kept me working all day with local radio interviews and broadcasts, and I only returned home last night, no rest for the wicked. Thank you for the wonderful things you said about the broadcast. As soldiers we learn to forgive each other including our one time enemies after a while, because like us, most have been used as a means to an end by poloticians. However, as your friend has probably already told you the cost of treating one soldier with PTSD is extremly high, and I think its only right that we treat our own first, but ideas cost nothing so I see no reason why we shouldn’t pass on our hard earned expertise to other nations, including our former enemies.

      With regards to your mate, I wish him all the best for Sunday, some ghosts are more persistant than others so it make take him more than one visit.

  5. I listened to you on R4 this morning and found what you said very moving. It was brave of you to read out your poem. I think that you were pushed harder than you should’ve been to go through with that when you were obviously going to find it very difficult.

    • Hi, I’m sorry but I don’t know what your first name is otherwise I would use it. I’m sorry for the late reply, but they kept me working all day with local radio interviews and broadcasts, and I only returned home last night, no rest for the wicked. Thank you for the wonderful things you said about the broadcast and especially the poem. You’re right it was hard to write as it brought back so many memories, but I never imagined it would be so much harder to read out loud surrounded by strangers, that said it appears to have had an effect on all those that heard it. You take care, and thank you again.

  6. Thank you for a wonderful show. I had to stop the car while i wept. I think it is fair to say you connected with a lot of new admirers today.

    • Hi Kate, I’m sorry for the late reply, but they kept me working all day with local radio interviews and broadcasts, and I only returned home last night, no rest for the wicked. Thank you for the wonderful things you said about the broadcast and especially the poem. It was hard to write as it brought back so many memories, but it was so much harder to read out loud surrounded by strangers. You take care, and thank you again.

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