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Leicestershire Legends

You are in: Leicester > Features > Leicestershire Legends > Leicestershire Legends!

Lord Richard Attenborough

Leicestershire Legends!

Some of the country's most influential people were born and grew up in Leicestershire. They've made a huge contribution to society and taken the name of the city round the world. John has spoken to five of them!

As part of its 40th birthday celebrations BBC Radio Leicester asked me to carry out a series of half hour interviews with five of the country's most influential and famous people who hail from the city.

After a lot of thought we decided to approach the following:

  • Sue Townsend author of the Adrian Mole books.
  • Lord Attenborough who as Richard Attenborough has appeared in and directed some of the best films of the last 50 years.
  • Bill Maynard whose contribution to British comedy is widely recognised.
  • Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys whose technique of DNA finger-printing has revolutionised forensic science.
  • Manish Bhasin who is the new face of sport for the BBC.
Alec Jeffreys

Modest

Luckily, I knew all of them apart from Sir Alec who for some mysterious reason has avoided being grilled by me in the past.

Meeting him in his modest laboratory at the University of Leicester was a real privilege. He is a smiling, enthusiastic man clearly happy with his life.

In spite of offers to work in some of the most important universities in the world he remains loyal to Leicester, content to continue working in the place where he made his revolutionary contribution to the science of detection.

Listen to John Florance's exclusive interview with Sir Alec Jeffreys...

Talents

I spoke to Lord Attenborough in his own private cinema in the garden of his house at Richmond-upon-Thames.

Still spry at 84, Lord Attenborough spoke movingly about growing up in the city and how much this meant to him.

"He can't stop talking! Language gushes from him in an unstoppable flow of reminiscence, anecdote and opinion."

John Florance on Bill Maynard

A less active man would be thinking of taking it easy. Lord Attenborough is planning to make one last film. This will be about a hero of his, the 18th century radical, Tom Paine.

Listen to Lord Attenborough in conversation with BBC Leicester's John Florance...

Adrian Mole

I've known Sue Townsend since before the very first Adrian Mole book was published. She remains much the same as she was then.

She still waxes indignant about the injustices of the world and still bursts into guffaws of laughter at its absurdity.

Sue, like Lord Attenborough, retains vivid memories of her upbringing though her memories, as we will hear, are rather different.

TV Presenter: Manish Bhasin

Listen to BBC Leicester's John Florance speaking to Sue Townsend...

Bill Maynard is one of the country's great stayers. He's worked with them all and seen it all.

He can't stop talking! Language gushes from him in an unstoppable flow of reminiscence, anecdote and opinion. As with Lord Attenborough there is no prospect of his retiring.

Listen to comic legend Bill Maynard as he talks to BBC Leicester's John Florance...

The Future

Our youngest legend is Manish Bhasin. I remember him as a very young new boy in the Radio Leicester production office. Look where he is now!

Manish is enthusiastic, knowledgeable and telegenic. I spoke to him at he the BBC's studios at White City and its clear that he loves his work and that he has a great future as the face of BBC sport.

Listen to BBC Leicester's John Florance speaking to Manish Bhasin...

It couldn't happen to a nicer chap.

Leicestershire Legends will be broadcast across BBC Radio Leicester's 40th birthday week at midday starting  November 03 2007.

last updated: 07/11/07

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