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Lives in a Landscape
28 minutes | Nov 27, 2015
Alan Dein travels to Nottingham to meet with the 4th & 5th generations of a family firm of Funeral Directors (with a 6th generation already on the horizon). When furniture maker and dealer Arthur William Lymn started 'undertaking' funerals with his son Harold Percy in 1907, their first premises were on Goosegate - next door to a man selling potions and lotions. Although Arthur and Harold could not match the subsequent success of their next-door-neighbours, the Boots Pure Drug Company Ltd, AW Lymn did have to move to larger premises in 1915. And in the hundred years since they have continued to grow, now operating out of 25 offices, employing 110 staff and conducting 3,500 funeral every year. Last year a brain tumour forced Harold's grandson, Nigel Lymn Rose to hand over the reins of the company to his son Matthew while he underwent brain surgery and recuperated. This summer, fully recovered and back at work, this temporary arrangement was made permanent. As Matthew and Nigel work out the parameters of their new roles within the company (alongside Matthew's aunt, Jackie, and sister Chloe - all also involved in the family firm), Alan Dein goes behind the scenes with them to discover what goes on beyond the formal funeral attire of top hats and tails and Roll Royce hearses. With them he visits the hospital morgue to pick up recently deceased 'patients', enters the world of the firm's embalmers and observes them in the chapels of rest - to find out what it's like to deal with death on a daily basis. Producer: Paul Kobrak.
28 minutes | Nov 20, 2015
Goodbye to Boleyn
The Boleyn Ground, Upton Park. Home to West Ham since 1904. No one would call the stadium, or indeed the streets that closely bind it in the borough of Newham, beautiful but it has echoed to one of football's oldest anthems 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles' since the 1920's. Now that song and the stones & grass that have been an arena for legends like Hurst, Moore & Peters will not just fade and die but be demolished. Very soon the club will move from E13 to E20 & the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, no longer owners but tenants in a very different space. Match days around Green Street and the other roads that bind the stadium to the area will be like every other day. But for these last few months the pavements still reverberate to the returning tribes of Essex, their family ties strong in a place that has greatly changed since Bobby Moore and his other '66 immortals made West Ham a global name. Amidst the throng on match day, Alan Dein weaves his way through the streets to chronicle lives enfolded by the stadium. On the corner of the ground stands Our Lady of Compassion, in fact it was the church that originally sold the ground to the club. Now their Saturday services are shaped by the footfall of match day. Directly opposite the stadium live two nuns with a new found affinity for the Claret & Blue. Standing on a step ladder, shouting to the arriving crowds a scary looking skinhead offers wise insight into the passing of time and place. Inside Queen's Market, flogging his apples and pears, Bradley is waiting until the clock hits 2.30 before he pulls on his replica shirt and dives out into the thickening crowds making their way towards the big match. Producer: Mark Burman.
28 minutes | Nov 13, 2015
When pensioners Viv and Fred Morgan read about a teenager committing suicide clutching her teddy, they decided to act - turning their home into a school to help other bullied kids. They took their Bed and Breakfast in Hatton, Warwickshire and turned rooms into classrooms and built recreation and therapy facilities in the grounds. Now they have 17 pupils attending, more than half of whom have tried to take their own lives in the past. Children aged between 11 and 16 can be referred by their local authorities and most stay for about a year. At first they often struggle with the curriculum but gradually they join classes - with 22 full and part time teachers covering everything from Science and English through to Photography GCSE. Fred was 90 when they founded Northleigh House School but even now, four years on, he has no interest in retiring and Viv agrees: "We're not people who sit back and do nothing. When we heard of the situation facing youngsters we just knew we should try and help." Alan Dein meets pupils and also those who have successfully taken their GCSEs and moved back into mainstream for 6th form. Ruth was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when she was 12 and struggled so desperately with school that she wanted her life to end. When she eventually arrived at Northleigh it took her weeks to develop the trust and build up the energy needed to attend lessons. Now she has her sights set on applying to study law at University: "When I first walked in here it was like being at a friend's house. I didn't know what to expect but I saw the fire in the grate and the welcoming feel of the place. It has been the best thing that has happened to me coming here and I wish others knew it existed and could help them as well." Producer Susan Mitchell.
28 minutes | Nov 6, 2015
Care for Claire
Lives in a Landscape reports from Penistone, where Claire Throssell is being helped by her community after her sons were killed by their father in a house fire exactly a year ago. As well as killing his sons and himself, Darren Sykes also destroyed much of the house, lighting fires throughout the terraced home and luring his boys into the loft with the promise of a new train set. He had cancelled the home insurance before the blaze and Claire faced both the devastating loss of her sons and also the terrible reminder in a home she couldn't sell because of such extensive fire damage. Local people wanted to stand firm against such 'evil', according to a local singer and archivist, Dave Cherry, who has helped raise money. Teams of volunteers organised by Reverend David Hopkins at St John's Church and both the Rotary and 41 Clubs, have overseen the rebuilding of the home. Whilst nothing will replace her loss, Claire tells Alan Dein that such community support has helped her focus on creating a legacy for her sons. Jack, who was 12 when he died, was a promising trumpet player and his younger brother, Paul, was only nine and already showing considerable athletic talent. She has set up awards in their name and wants to ensure that their lives are remembered. The volunteer project manager is Ged Brearley, who has coordinated 480 plus volunteer hours and manages a core team of 40 through house clearance, stripping back the walls to complete rewiring, re-plastering and re-plumbing. Dave Cherry was one of the first to offer to help: "That man destroyed everything. Her house, her kids and her life. If we don't do anything then he wins. If we can help this lass then we can stop him from winning." Producer Susan Mitchell.
28 minutes | Sep 7, 2015
The Life of Reilly
For every stand-up comedian that's a household name, there are dozens of hard-working, funny, committed comedians who haven't quite broken through into the national consciousness. Christian Reilly is a musical stand-up, a wandering minstrel, whose comedy material is delivered through song. He's a popular and successful act who's in great demand on the comedy-club circuit. His diary is packed: Some weeks he'll do two gigs in one night, in two different cities. It's an exhausting schedule. His year, along with so many others, reaches its peak at the Edinburgh festival in August. In this week's Lives in a Landscape Alan Dein hears Christian's story and travels with him to gigs in Manchester, Liverpool and, ultimately, Edinburgh. From behind-the-scenes at comedy venues, to the share-house Christian rents for a month in Edinburgh with fellow comedians, Alan discovers what motivates Christian, what his ambitions are, and whether he believes he can achieve them. Producer: Karen Gregor.
28 minutes | Aug 31, 2015
The Glastonbury Tales
Alan Dein joins African and Afro Caribbean Catholics from Bristol as they take part in the annual pilgrimage to the ancient abbey at Glastonbury. On board the pilgrim bus, parishioners share their life stories, and explain why they are all drawn to worship in the church of St Nicholas of Tolentino. Producer: Chris Ledgard
28 minutes | Aug 24, 2015
The River Cam
Alan Dein tackles the picturesque but crowded stretch of the River Cam that winds in and out of Cambridge. Here, house-boats, punts, rowing boats and cruisers fight for space on what is, the river manager says, the most crowded stretch of river in Britain. Producer: Chris Ledgard.
27 minutes | Aug 17, 2015
The Adoption Party
In the last few years, 'adoption activity days' have gathered momentum in the UK, where children waiting to be adopted meet prospective adoptive parents at a party. The children are often 'hard to place,' either because of medical issues, their age, or behavioural problems. The hope is that once the families meet them face to face, they will get a much better idea of the children, rather than from paper and photo alone. For these children, the party day is often their last chance to find a family, before they are put into long-term foster care. Alan Dein joins couples Rob and Sarah, and Emma and John, and single adopter Rachael, as they look for a child. Producer in Bristol: Sara Conkey.
28 minutes | Apr 29, 2015
Herd under the Hammer
Alan Dein meets farmer Steve Graham as he sells his herd of 1000 dairy cows - the largest UK sale this year. Having woken at dawn for 35 years to milk the cows, he has decided to sell - but how will he adjust to life without them? Steve's life has been governed by the relentless pattern of milking twice a day, and the pressures of rearing the cows from birth and caring for them throughout their lives. On his farm in Devon, he says "There are a lot easier ways of making money than milking cows. But if you don't look after them, they won't look after you." Alan joins Steve on the farm on the final days with his herd and travels with him to the market. When the cows hit the ring, it is not just them being judged, but Steve's reputation on the line. At auction, Alan hears from fellow farmers about the state of the dairy industry and the pressures put upon them by a falling milk price. But Steve reveals that his reasons for leaving the industry are more personal. Producer: Clare Walker.
28 minutes | Apr 22, 2015
My Class My World
Ms Pope runs a tight ship in her class of 27 at Bowling Park Primary School: she has little option given her pupils come from 18 different countries, speak 31 languages between them and have to all pitch in on the frequent occasions when classmates leave and new ones arrive Maja tells me that teaching her Mum English is one of the hardest things she has ever attempted: she's given up now! She learnt from class-mate Casper, who has taught others in the class. Maja is now teaching L'Annee, who arrived from the Congo and speaks no English at all. This system of catch-up operated by the pupils and ensures that all new arrivals can quickly integrate into Bradford life. Producer: Sue Mitchell.
28 minutes | Apr 15, 2015
Holy Island: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
Alan Dein meets the modern residents of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. While the recorded history of of the place can be traced back to the 6th century and includes the followers of St. Aiden and St Cuthbert, the current residents try to maintain a way of life that has existed for hundreds of years. Where the monks of Lindisfarne had contend with the Vikings and the Reformation, today's residents face an annual invasion of half a million tourists. With the help of residents - both young and old - Alan Dein explores their options... whether they should stay on island and keep the old industries going, or leave and discover what the wider world has to offer. Fishermen Andrew and Stuart Johnson, farmer Alison Brigham and retiree Brian Paterson have always lived on the island... recent school-leavers Molly Luke and Joel Rain are planning to leave in the autumn... and island shop keeper Gary Watson left only to come back. But what is the draw of the place? When the tide is out coachloads of tourists and pilgrims flood onto the island. But when the tide comes in and the island is cut off from the mainland, the visitors disappear and silence descends. Producer: Paul Kobrak.
28 minutes | Apr 8, 2015
In the start of the new series of Lives in a Landscape Alan Dein discovers that instead of prescribing tablets local GPs are writing out prescriptions for a few weeks of Titan therapy: watching rugby games, attending weekly lunches and fitness classes. The pensioners are sitting alongside the players as they train and even as they strip down for next year's fund-raising calendar. Titan therapy, at Rotherham Titans rugby club, has been so successful that many of those initially given funding for six weeks are still attending. Those like 82 year old Grace couldn't be happier: "Tuesday morning and the weekend games are the highlight of my week - I was close to taking my own life when the doctor arranged for me to come here. But now it's changed my life completely." For Match Day Captain, Tom Holmes, the idea has its roots in the club's long history of encouraging community involvement: "We need this more than ever in this area now and we all look forward to Grace and the others being here. I haven't told them this, but they are sort of like my own grand-parents. We've christened them the Conservatory Choir - on match days they sit there in our VIP section and you can hear them chant through the game." Val is 70 and when her husband died just over a year ago she was hit by loneliness and ill health as she adapted to her new life. Coming to the Titans every week gives some structure to her week: "The players look out for me and they're the first to notice if I'm looking ill or down. The loneliness of the four walls is really hard. I loved my husband very much and it's so hard being without him. We get treated so well here - I love the lads and they sit with us for hours chatting and eating. I don't know how I'd have managed without this." Producer Susan Mitchell.
28 minutes | Dec 15, 2014
Sails and Oars Only - Oyster Fishing on the Fal
In 1602 Sir Richard Carew saw fishermen catching oysters with 'a thick strong net fastened to three spills of iron, and drawn to the boat's stern, gathering whatsoever it meeteth lying in the bottom of the water, out of which... they cull the oyster'. When Les Angel and Timmy Heard show Alan Dein how they catch oysters in the Fal today he finds that, in four centuries, nothing's changed. The last wild native oyster beds lie in this beautiful Cornish estuary. In 1876, in an early example of conservation legislation, Truro Corporation passed byelaws forbidding the mechanised harvesting of oysters. The Fal oystermen use gaff-rigged cutters, some over a century old, the last in Europe to fish commercially under sail. Upstream they dredge with punts; not what see boys in blazers and girls in muslin poling along the Cam in, but hefty rowing boats. Twenty years ago mussel farming was introduced. Ropes are suspended from rafts, obliging molluscs attach themselves and grow, and grow. The methods are simple, the times, complicated. Carol Thorogood and David Robertson of Cornwall Port Health Authority take Alan up the Fal, explaining how they have to test shellfish. This summer some readings showed E coli present in concentrations above the limit; sections of the fishery were closed for a time, threatening fishermen's livelihoods. Out on the water Alan Dein meets Les Angel and Timmy Heard. The oysters have grown well; they're optimistic. But mussel-farmer Gary Rawle has abandoned the Fal, moving his rafts out to sea. The Fal has always flowed through farmland and towns. Is the water quality deteriorating, or being tested more rigorously? Alan ponders the future of the oystermen's precarious, wonderful way of life. Producer: Julian May.
28 minutes | Dec 15, 2014
Jam, Jerusalem and an Awful Lot of Glitter
Jam, Jerusalem and an Awful Lot of Glitter When Jeannie joined her local branch of the Women's Institute in Liverpool, she hoped for a bit of distraction from an ongoing, long term illness. But what she found there was a whole lot more than jam and Jerusalem. Before you could say Victoria sponge cake, she was sashaying down a catwalk dressed as a space alien, complete with ray gun, 8 inch heels and 3 inch red eyelashes, in front of a screaming audience. Welcome to the Vogue Ball - Liverpool's 21st century version of a phenomenon that swept the streets, and then the underground clubs of New York back in the 1980's. You might remember the Madonna song "Vogue" which spread the word - but this dance movement originated in the world of excluded black, gay street kids. Vogueing was an escape from a world which was set up to exclude them. It was all about fantasy, taking on a role for one night only of your dream persona; a Wall Street Banker; a glamorous diva; a film star, or even a creature from another galaxy. In "Lives In A Landscape", Julie Gatenby follows two teams competing in the Vogue Ball - the House of Lisbon, represented by Stephen the bartender, and The House of Twisted Stiches - made up of the entrire committee of the the Iron Maidens WI, while compere of the ball, Rikki Beadle-Blair fills in the history. Producer Sara Jane Hall.
28 minutes | Dec 12, 2014
Last Port of Call
Alan Dein visits an old mariners' home on the banks of the River Mersey. Mariners' Park in Wallasey is home to over 150 former Merchant Navy seamen and their wives or widows. Many of them set off on their maiden voyage as young sailors from Liverpool, passing the home on their port side as they embarked on a life of discovery, adventure and hard work at sea. Now, having "swallowed the anchor", they settled here in retirement and watch the occasional vessel pass up and down the river. But, as Alan discovers, life on dry land has given many of these sailors a new lease of life. They track ships on the internet, take the ferry across the Mersey and throw themselves into a sports day. But he also finds a reflective side to the Park and a very strong attachment to its own history. The Merchant Navy is often overlooked in Remembrance services, but not at Mariners' Park. Producer Neil McCarthy.
28 minutes | Dec 12, 2014
The Horses of Holme Wood
Bradford Council regularly monitors horse numbers on its Holme Wood estate, with workers and police carrying out late night raids to round them up. Alan Dein meets the animal owners and explores their bitter battle with the council as they tether horses in parks, alleys and even their own gardens. Gaz has tried dogs, cats and guinea pigs. Last week when his seven kids wanted a new pet he picked up a £50 horse form a mate on the street. The horse is now in his back garden and during the day he risks the council's wrath by moving it into the park outside his home. It is a huge council estate but his home is let by a private landlord and although he has no income he's asking that landlord if he can build a stables for Sausage in his garden! The estate is literally teeming with horses and no one bats an eyelid at one more joining their ranks. Across the road Pip is engaged in a game of cat and mouse with council officials as he tries to hide his horses. Eviction notices have been served on his parents and he's received an anti-social behaviour order for having horses loose on the estate. His Mum won't have him back home after a bitter argument which ended with the police being called. He's now homeless and out of school. And then there's nine year old Holly Leigh who has long dreamed of owning a horse. That dream has just come true and Billy is now in the garden of her small council home. The Holme Wood estate is home to about 10,000 people and pets of all variety, from horses to pigs, snakes, lizards and monkeys. But it's the horses that are causing the problems... Producer: Sue Mitchell.
28 minutes | Sep 18, 2014
Branscombe Chalet Owners
In February 2014, the worst storms in a generation hit the south Devon coast. Among those affected were the owners of five beach chalets at Branscombe. The sea took away much of the beach and eroded the earth banks on which the chalets stood, exposing the foundations and making some of them uninhabitable. Before the storm, the chalets were worth up to £250,000 each but now they are virtually unsaleable. The owners would like to rebuild them, and move shingle back up the beach to protect them from future storms. But there's a problem: Branscombe beach is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and falls under the control of Natural England. Natural England won't let the owners move shingle, partly because the upper shoreline is home to the very rare scaly cricket. They also adhere to a "Shoreline Management Plan", which says that there should be "no active intervention" to protect the beach from erosion. There is a stand-off between the owners and Natural England, but the clock's ticking: without urgent action, the chalets could fall into the sea in the next big storm. Some of the chalet owners are not wealthy - they have mortgages on their chalets and depend on the income from letting them out in the summer. Now, with an entire season's income gone, some of them are staring at financial ruin. One man in particular, Philip Trenchard, was brought to the chalets by his father when he was a child, and now brings his own family every year. This continuity is a key part of his identity, and he'd expected to be able to continue using the chalets for many more years. But the coastal erosion, which is more severe than anyone predicted, has thrown all his assumptions about time scales into doubt. Presenter: Alan Dein Producer: Jolyon Jenkins.
28 minutes | Aug 29, 2014
The Death Doulas
Alan Dein meets doulas in Lewes in Sussex - people working in palliative care from all walks of life who have learned how to be companions for people who are dying. They also are involved in consciousness-raising about the end of life and run Death Cafes in Lewes. We follow doulas Polly and Jane as they reveal their motivation for being involved in this work, talk to people about end of life directives, and describe what a doula does in the room of a dying person. Producer: Sara Conkey.
27 minutes | Aug 22, 2014
The Roman Way
Alan Dein follows the fast-moving story of a squatter who takes over a pub in Luton - he says for the benefit of the local community. The Roman Way is a sprawling 1960s pub at the centre of the Lewsey Farm housing estate. The landlord of fourteen years, Declan, made the decision earlier this year to give up the business and return to Ireland to start a new life. But, just as Declan is leaving, on his very last morning in the pub, Biggs turns up; a larger-than-life local character determined to take over the pub on behalf of the newly formed Lewsey Farm Community Action Group. Dressed in a hoodie and bandana and carrying a heavy chain, he negotiates his way past police and a representative from the pub's owners, and - in his terminology - 'legally occupies' the building. Over the next few weeks the story takes many unexpected twists and turns, and draws in bailiffs, security guards, police and the local community. Alan Dein watches as the story comes to a conclusive end. Producer: Karen Gregor.
28 minutes | Apr 28, 2014
Getting the House Ready
74 year old Myf Barker is turning her enormous home into a wedding venue in the hope that it will make money. Kate Lamble meets the family and uncovers memories amid the chaos. Purton House has been lived in by Myf, her late husband and her children for decades. It's a rambling family mansion with grounds, and an organic farm attached. But Myf has an eye to the future and wants to leave the house to her children as a viable business. So she's working to turn the property into a venue where weddings can be held and bridal families can stay the night. Her main job is to convert the upstairs rooms so that they meet the standards of the most exacting couples. Old furniture has to be renovated, walls have to be painted and new bathrooms are being put in. Myf will even have to move out of her own bedroom which is being turned into a sitting room. It's a daunting workload. Will it be ready on time? Kate Lamble meets Myf, some of her grown up children including daughters Rowie and Talia and also Glenn, the son she fostered. She hears about the renovations and finds out what the house and its landscape symbolises for all of them, especially since the death of Rowie's husband Alex several years ago. Producer; Emma Kingsley.
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