The actor George Baker, best known for his TV portrayal of Inspector Wexford. The character's creator Baroness Ruth Rendell pays tribute.
The former Albanian President Ramiz Alia who oversaw the country's transition from isolated Stalinism to democracy.
Madeleine Simms who campaigned for the reform of abortion law in the 1960s. Lord Steel pays tribute.
George Hinchcliffe the railway enthusiast who toured America with the Flying Scotsman.
The "Ghazal King" - Indian singer and composer Jagjit Singh.
British actor best known as Chief Inspector Wexford in the TV detective stories who has died aged 80.
In a career which lasted for fifty years, the actor George Baker played many roles on both stage and screen. Early on he appeared in the Dambusters – and was later considered for the part of James Bond. But for millions of fans, he will always be associated with his television portrayal of Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford.
Matthew spoke to Baroness Ruth Rendell, to the actress Sian Philips and to broadcaster and film historian Matthew Sweet.
George Baker was born 1 April 1931 and died 7 October 2011.
Albanian politician who has died aged 85.
Ramiz Alia was Albania’s last Communist leader. He presided over the country’s transition from Stalinist isolation to democracy. Alia took power in 1985 on the death of his boss – the notorious dictator Enver Hoxha who had been in office since the second world war.
Matthew spoke to the journalist Mirela Shtembari who worked for the BBC’s Albanian Service and to the independent political analyst Remzi Lani.
Ramiz Ali was born 18 October 1925 and died 7 October 2011.
Women’s rights campaigner who has died aged 81.
Madeleine Sims campaigned on many issues – from consumers’ rights, to voluntary euthanasia and even against piped music in public. But her greatest campaign was for the reform of Britain’s abortion law. Madeleine was born in Vienna, the daughter of a Jewish couple who later moved to England. She was educated at St Paul’s Girls School and Aberdeen University, where she first began to work for women’s rights. In the 1960s she joined the Abortion Law Reform Association.
Last Word hears from her fellow campaigner and former secretary of ALRA Dilys Cossey, from Lord Steel who steered though the legislation, and from the feminist historian, Professor Sheila Rowbotham.
Madeleine Simms was born 6 September 1930 and died 3 October 2011.
Rail enthusiast who died aged 89.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that railways were George Hinchcliffe’s life. Although he worked for a time as a teacher, his real passion was trains. When he could, he earned his living from them – and in his spare time he made ambitious models of them. He was best known for two things: as the man who brought the famous Flying Scotsman locomotive back from America in 1973 – and as the co founder of the Gainsborough Model Railway Society which created what’s believed to be the third largest ‘O’ gauge model railway in the world.
Matthew spoke to his son Richard Hinchcliffe.
George Hinchcliffe was born 17 February 1922 and died 20 September 2011.
Indian singer and composer who has died aged 70.
The Indian singer and composer Jagjit Singh was known as the ‘Ghazal King’, because of his skill at interpreting the traditional poetic form. In more than 50 albums he popularised the music, bringing in western instruments like saxophones and guitars alongside Indian classical instruments.
Jagjit Singh was born 8 February 1941 and died 10 October 2011.
Radio 4’s obituary programme, marking the lives of significant figures who have died recently,…