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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 01 January 2010

John Wilson presents the obituary series, analysing and celebrating the life stories of people who have recently died. The programme reflects on people of distinction and interest from many walks of life, some famous and some less well known.


    Leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland who has died aged 92

    Cardinal Cahal Daly was the former Primate of All Ireland, the leader of the Catholic Church and a tireless campaigner for peace in his native Ulster. Born in County Antrim in 1917, he witnessed the violence of the Irish War of Independence at first hand as a child. Ordained in 1941, he gained a reputation as an intellectual and a bridge builder between communities. Throughout the Troubles he railed against IRA violence, and spoke passionately of the need for a political process that could enable peace in the Province.

    John speaks to Seamus Mallon, former deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and to religious commentator Joe Little.

    Cardinal Cahal Daly was born 1 October 1917 and died 31 December 2009


    British boxing manager who has died aged 76

    Over a 45 year career Terry Lawless nurtured the careers of over fifty boxers, including two of the biggest names of British boxing, Frank Bruno and Joe Calzaghe. He set up his gym in 1957 above the Royal Oak pub in Canning Town in London; it remained his base for 45 years. Lawless had a reputation as a gentleman, indeed a gentle man, amidst a brutal sport. After his retirement he said that he wanted to be regarded as manager who tried to stop his fighters getting hurt.

    John speaks to former world lightweight champion Jim Watt, trainer and former boxer Jimmy Tibbs and to BBC boxing correspondent Mike Costello.

    Terry Lawless was born 29 March 1933 and died 24 December 2009


    Saxophonist and co founder of Ronnie Scott’s who has died aged 76

    For 50 years, Ronnie Scott’s has been the best known club in London’s Soho and one of the best known jazz clubs in the world. The man whose name is above the door in Frith St, was an irrepressible performer, a wisecracking host, but working quietly alongside Ronnie Scott from 1959 until Ronnie’s death in 1996, was his friend and partner Pete King. Together they succeeded in attracting many of jazz's greatest legends, from Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie to Ornette Coleman.

    John talks to Simon Cook, manager of Ronnie Scott’s and to trumpeter Guy Barker

    Pete King was born 23 August 1929 and died 20 December 2009


    Senior Iranian cleric and prominent critic of the Iranian government who has died aged 87

    Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri was one of the founding fathers of the Islamic Republic, who went on to become Iran’s most powerful dissident voice from within the clerical system. After the revolution in 1979, Montazeri held the highest spiritual office and would have succeeded the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomenei, had he not started to speak out against human rights abuses by the regime. He was marginalised and was later held under house arrest for over five years for criticising Khomeini’s successor, Ali Khamenei. After the recent Iranian elections, which he declared as fraudulent, he became known as the spiritual father of the opposition movement whose most recent protests were sparked by his death.

    John speaks to Nobel Prize winning human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, to his former pupil and dissident cleric in exile Prof. Mohsen Kadivar, to Iran analyst Baqer Moin, and to head of the BBC Persian service Sadeq Saba.

    Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri was born in 1922 and died 19 December 2009


    Gardeners Question Time panellist who has died aged 66

    John Cushnie served as a panellist on Gardener’s Question Time for the last 15 years. He also broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster for nearly four decades and was a landscape gardener who ran his own business.

    John speaks to Question Time chairman Eric Robson

    John Cushnie was born in 1943 and died 1 January 2010



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    Last Word

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