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Lives in a Landscape now available as a podcast

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Laurence Grissell Laurence Grissell 10:45, Monday, 7 November 2011


Siva Kandiah, a Hackney shopkeeper, whose life was turned upside down by the August riots.

Ever since I produced the first ever Lives in a Landscape back in 2005, our ambition has has remained the same: to travel to every corner of the country, chasing compelling stories you'd never find elsewhere and finding people who rarely make the news.

These aren't just documentaries, they're features - that great radio tradition - but they're features which are very much rooted in Britain today.

In this series presenter Alan Dein returned to Hackney after the riots - long after the TV trucks of the 24 hour news channels had moved out - following up on the story of shopkeeper Siva Kandiah whose local store was left in ruins by looters. It highlighted the strange demographics of an area in which greasy spoons sit alongside bourgeois coffee shops, an intriguingly subtle take on the riots from producer Sara Jane Hall - one you'd be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

For my own programme in this series, Alan and myself travelled to Boston in Lincolnshire where an influx of migrant workers attracted by agricultural work are causing tensions among the local population. We heard from jobless 17 year old Luke, who felt the future in Boston was so bleak he'd decided to join the army. On the flipside, we heard from migrant worker Renata, working to pay for an operation for her sick daughter back in Poland. It's a complex story there, very far from black and white, and we tried hard to faithfully render the complexity of the scene.

We believe our audience crave something more than the predictable - in Kate Bissell's programme on the Craigmillar Estate in Edinburgh, it's urban decay which provides the backdrop to a portrait of life among evangelical travellers, whilst in Neil George's programme on Woodhouses, it's urban sprawl which threatens a very English way of life in this Lancashire cricketing village.

Whether it's Lancashire or Hackney, Alan Dein never arrives anywhere with an agenda - his desire to listen without prejudice is what makes him such a remarkable presenter.

The entire team care passionately about this series and we craft the programmes with great care. We very much believe they'll stand the test of time - that's why we'll be making the archive available over the coming weeks when the programme is off air.

We hope you'll enjoy listening to them - it's certainly a great privilege to produce them.

Laurence Grissell is one of the producers of Lives in a Landscape


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