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Summer Over England

Between the two halves of tonight's concert, poet Nigel Forde presents a seasonal reflection. Summer more than any other time of year is richly represented in the recordings held in the BBC Archive. 'Summer Over the British Isles' was a famous 1937 feature programme evoking the moment when the country could perhaps relax a little, ease its braces and its stays, and stretch out in the long grass ...and hope it wouldn't rain.

It was also a vaguely patriotic and - with hindsight - prophetic programme capturing an era that was about to be blown apart by the off-stage murmurs of war from Europe. But there's much more - Laurie Lee recalling the 'Hill Cricket' played on summer days in the Cotswold villages of his youth, Alistair Cooke describing a day at Lords and that other immortal voice of cricket, John Arlott, recalling long shadows and steepling catches. Vita Sackville-West describes the joys of great summer gardens; Henry Williamson forsakes otters to hymn the beauty of Devon and we catch the sound of conflict in 1964 when Britain's seaside became a battleground for disaffected youngsters...

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Release date:

20 minutes

Last on

Mon 20 Jun 2011 20:15