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Last on

Sat 30 Jul 2011 10:30 BBC Radio 4

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 30 July 2011

Sound designer Jim Carey celebrates the colourful history of one of our great national treasures - the British ice cream van.

For over a hundred years extravagantly painted wagons have been delivering extravagant looking ice creams to the streets of Britain. What are the origins of these curvacious and pastel skinned creatures? Why are there so many people of Italian origin involved? What has Margaret Thatcher got to do with it? And, providing the acoustic backdrop for generations of British summers, where do those evocative chimes come from?

Carey's quest leads us headlong into the rich whippy world of all things ice cream van; a story of art, science, music, cuisine, royalty, turf war and childhood. Francis Rossi (co-founder of Status Quo and ex-ice cream van man), Johnny Vegas (entertainer and ice cream enthusiast) and Banksy (graffiti artist and ice cream van owner) join historians, engineers, and ice cream people to help piece together the story of how ice cream vans have charmed and chimed their way into our subconsciousness as icons of British cultural life.

Written and presented by Jim Carey

Produced by Jim Carey
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

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