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Sea Shanties, Social Climbing and Birth Control

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 22 July 2011

Presented by Jenni Murray. Sea shanties sung by traditional folk duo Hissyfit; Dr Clare Debenham talks about the forgotten early birth control pioneers; The trial of Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko; Why is social climbing good for your health?


5 items
  • Yulia Tymoshenko

    Dr Kataryna Wolczuk joins Jenni to discuss the trial of the Ukrainian politician.

  • Social Climbing

    Wendy Holden and Jean Broke-Smith on whether social climbing is good for you.

  • Birth Control Pioneers

    Dr Clare Debenham and Rebecca Findlay look at the history of birth control clinics in the UK.

  • Women's Football

    Your views on last week's Women's Football item.

  • Sea Shanties

    Folk singer Sue Van Gaalen on sea shanties, and live performance from duo Hissyfit.

  • Sea Shanties

    Most of us can recall a rousing sea shanty like “What shall we do with the drunken sailor?” and "Blow the Man Down". But in the heyday of sailing, when tall ships were powered only by sheer brute force, shanties were used as work songs by sailors on board. They helped relieve the boredom of hard physical work and set the rhythm of the movements needed for pulling heavy ropes and lifting the sails. They were only ever sung at sea but today shanties are performed on shore at a growing number of Shanty Festivals. Jenni is joined by close harmony duo Hissyfit; Linda Kelly & Hazel Riching, who’ll be performing one of their shanties live, and by folk singer Sue Van Gaalen who has a particular interest in songs about the sea.

    Hissyfit will be performing at Hull Shanty Festival which takes place from 22nd-24th July 2011.

    Hull Shanty Festival
  • Yulia Tymoshenko

    Yulia Tymoshenko

    Colourful Ukrainian politician, Yulia Tymoshenko, is currently fighting for her political life in a Kiev courtroom. She is charged with exceeding her authority as Prime Minister in 2009 when she brokered a gas deal with Russia that lost Ukraine £118 million. Western commentators, however, believe that her trial is politically motivated and that President Yanukovich wants her out of the way before parliamentary elections next year. With her blonde braids and expensive clothes, Tymoshenko has been the very public face of Ukrainian politics since the break-up of the Soviet Union twenty years ago. But is she now on her way out? And what will her possible demise mean for the future of her country? Jenni is joined by Dr Kataryna Wolczuk, from the European Research Institute.

    BBC News: Ukraine profile
  • The Forgotten Birth Control Pioneers

    Before 1930, dying in childbirth was second only to tuberculosis as the cause of death for married women. This meant that giving birth was more dangerous than working down a mine. To combat these terrible statistics, in 1926 a group of redoubtable women set up the Society for the Provision of Birth Control Clinics. The services they provided were often ridiculed – especially by the Catholic church and even by the Labour Party which didn’t want to alienate its Catholic voters. Dr Clare Debenham has just finished research into these early birth control pioneers whose work has been largely overshadowed by the publicity hungry Marie Stopes. She joins Jenni in Manchester - along with Rebecca Findlay from the Family Planning Association - to look at the history of birth control clinics in the UK.

    Woman's Hour Feature: The Early Days of the Manchester and Salford Mother’s Clinic
  • Social Climbing

    Hyacinth Bucket, the tireless social climber in the television show “Keeping Up Appearances”, was endlessly mocked for trying to elevate her social standing. But a recent study claims that social climbing might be good for you. Researchers found that those who had improved their status in life had lower blood pressure than their parents. So what are the essential requirements for social advancement? Jenni is joined by Wendy Holden, author of "Marrying Up" and by grooming & etiquette teacher Jean Broke-Smith to discuss the issues.

    “Marrying Up” by Wendy Holden is published by Headline Review on 21 July, price £12.99.

    Wendy Holden


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