Each week, this BBC podcast eulogises a handful of significant lives, lost in recent days, and by so doing introduces us to a wild assortment of 20th century personalities and events. Though musicians and actors are scattered liberally throughout, recent episodes have featured a French spy, and a cancer scientist, and the man who designed the Batmobile, and the last Indian king. Their life stories – each covered, such as they can be, in 5 or 10 minutes – are told by Matthew Bannister, with the help of archive audio and interviews with those who knew them.
In listening to these episodes, we are reminded of just how extraordinary a life (or death) has to be in order for one person’s passing – among the 150,000 deaths that happen every day on Planet Earth – to warrant public contemplation. The overall effect is instructive, both in history and humility, and often very moving. An enormous archive of 300+ episodes lies at your disposal.
Gateway episodes: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Olwyn Hughes & Ed Stewart (16 Jan 2016) / Peter Dimmock, Alix d'Unienville, Yolanda Sonnabend, Maggie Eales and George Barris (28 Nov 2015) / Sir Chris Woodhead, Patrick Macnee, Dame Anne Warbuton, Vic Mayhew, James Horner (27 Jun 2015)