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20/11/2017
BBC Radio 4

    Download Saturday Live's Inheritance Tracks

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    Editor's note: Inheritance Tracks is a feature in Saturday Live where a guest chooses a song that they inherited from their parents and one that they would pass on to the next generation. Over 200 Inheritance Tracks are now available to download - from guests such as Heston Blumenthal, Simon Callow and Tamsin Greig. The new Saturday Live programme with the Rev. Richard Coles and Sian Williams starts on Saturday 5 May. PMcD.

    Heston Blumenthal is one of over 200 guests who have shared their Inheritance Tracks with Saturday Live, and now you can download them.

    I sometimes feel like the Ken Barlow of Saturday Live, not because I've slept with thousands of women but more to do with the fact that I'm the only remaining member of the original team that launched the programme way back in 2006.

    As we spent that summer trying to come up with new ideas for a new programme which had the unenviable task of replacing John Peel's Home Truths, many odd suggestions came to the fore, most ending up in the bin.

    Not quite Monkey Tennis or Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank but I think an air despondency filled the office when the only item on the white board at one point was 'What's In My Pocket?' - a revealing insight into the lives of the famous gleaned from the contents of their bell bottoms, duffle coats, gilets and mackintoshes - I still think this is a great idea by the way.

    As we sat staring out of the window at the summer skyline seeking inspiration from daubs of cirrus a thought suddenly struck my colleague Becky Vincent; what about getting people to pick two pieces of music, one that has been passed down to them and one that they in turn would like to pass on? I shouted; 'brilliant, and let's call it inheritance tracks!'.

    Initially my suggestion for the name was turned down by the bosses, I don't know why, maybe because they didn't want to attract riff-raff from Money Box Live. Anyway in the end they went for it and the rest is history.

    Good on Becky though, what a wonderfully simple idea yet one which says so much. It's my favourite part of the programme and I've had a fantastic time recording them over the years.

    I've even built up a photo album of myself with my arms wrapped around various celebrity torsos from Errol Brown (what a dude) to Jerry Springer (who didn't mind me shouting 'Jerry! Jerry!') to Roger Moore (what a dude) to Twiggy (yes she is beautiful) to Barry Humphries (resplendent in cherry red corduroys) to Gordon Ramsey (not as scary as I thought he would be) to Rolf Harris (who brought his wobble board) to Harry Connick Junior (who had the biggest entourage ever) and my favourite, Ronnie Corbett who was just Ronnie Corbett - and he's one of the few people who make me look tall. I expect my album to make a tidy valuation on Antiques Roadshow in about fifty years time.

    I often think of it as a bit like a mini Desert Island Discs but in many ways Inheritance Tracks can be much more revealing. I've brought all sorts of people into our little office here in Broadcasting House to record them, put a microphone in front of them and they've left an hour later sometimes laughing, sometimes in tears and sometimes swearing such is the emotion that picking these two simple tracks can arouse. And I know from your emails, letters, texts and tweets that you've often been touched by them too.

    That's the great thing about Inheritance Tracks, sometimes we recognise something about ourselves in the stories or the choice of music.

    And now we're going to share the back catalogue of Inheritance Tracks for you to explore and enjoy. As from this Friday, 4 May you will be able to find them on the Radio 4 website where you can download the choices of the likes of Rob Brydon, Jenny Agutter, Julian Lennon, Emmylou Harris, Paul Daniels, Vera Lynn, Val Doonican, Ozzy Osbourne, Lindsay Wagner, Chaka Khan... and dozens more. There is some great stuff in there so do give them a listen.

    Will 'What's in My Pocket?' appear on the new extended Saturday Live? Well you'll just have to wait and see...

    JP Devlin

    JP Devlin is producer of Saturday Live

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