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Image for Children's author Lauren Child, Astronomy Photographer Damian Peach and former US cop Frank Serpico

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Children's author Lauren Child, Astronomy Photographer Damian Peach and former US cop Frank Serpico

Duration:
1 hour
First broadcast:
Saturday 29 October 2011

Richard Coles with author and illustrator Lauren Child, poet Matt Harvey & Inheritance Tracks from Sue Johnston.

Producer: Simon Clancy.

  • STUDIO GUEST :: LAUREN CHILD

    STUDIO GUEST :: LAUREN CHILD

    Lauren Child MBE is an author and illustrator, best known for her books about Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean.

    Lauren's website
  • POLICE CORRUPTION :: FRANK SERPICO

    POLICE CORRUPTION :: FRANK SERPICO

    Frank Serpico was a New York cop who exposed corruption in the force in the early 1970s. His story was made into a movie starring Al Pacino.

  • PLANETARY PHOTOGRAPHER :: DAMIAN PEACH

    PLANETARY PHOTOGRAPHER :: DAMIAN PEACH

    Amateur astronomer Damian Peach has taken stunning photos of our solar system from his back garden.

    Damian's website
  • CROWDSCAPE :: SOUTH MIMMS SERVICES

    CROWDSCAPE :: SOUTH MIMMS SERVICES

    As the M25 celebrates its 25th birthday we visit South Mimms Services.

  • INHERITANCE TRACKS :: SUE JOHNSTON

    INHERITANCE TRACKS :: SUE JOHNSTON

    Actress Sue Johnston chooses 'The Continental' by Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire from the movie 'The Gay Divorcee' and 'You'll Never Walk Alone' by Gerry and the Pacemakers.

  • POET :: MATT HARVEY

    POET :: MATT HARVEY

    Matt Harvey is a veteran of the UK’s festival circuit.

    Matt's website
  • POEM :: HALLOWEEN

    All Hallow’s Eve approaches
    when the netherworld encroaches

    kids’ costumes though are nondescript
    not dressed as something from the crypt

    and nothing quite as fancy as
    dead spectres from beyond the veil

    they’re bankers and financiers
    dread creatures from beyond the pale

    their cry’s the same, it’s ‘Trick or Treat’

    best pay the price
    the trick’s not nice
    they’ll repossess your street

  • POEM :: IN PRAISE OF AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS

    and some are called to watch the stars
    to stay up late and scan the skies
    on moonless nights with fleece and flask
    to train self-educated eyes

    with night-adjusted irises
    they know what an aurora is
    and how to plot each bright dot’s orbit
    participate in heaven’s audit

    perched on tripods pointing skyward
    super strength zoom lenses lend
    affordable home-hubble views
    and they peruse

    Io, Ganymede, the Jovian moons
    the rings of Saturn ,Venus’ phases
    they rest techno-augmented gazes
    on their distant perfect curves

    austere voyeurs

    while here on earth

    the pinpoint pricks of light observed
    are living rooms with flickering screens
    sat soft and vaguely comatose
    before the soaps and talent shows

    settee-bound households who reserve
    the accolade of oohs and ahs
    for different kinds of flickering stars
    and viewing opportunities

    a quiet step away from these
    in voluntary darkness
    with the patience of the ancients
    in their small suburban fastness

    anonymous astronomers
    keep vigil with the vastness
    and gaze through see-through skies
    at free view stars

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