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Vaclav Havel, Kim Jong-il, Chris Athey, Cesaria Evora and Russell Hoban

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 23 December 2011

Matthew Bannister on

The mysterious life of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. We hear from the former British Charge D'Affaires in Pyongyang and the film actress who says she was kidnapped by "The Dear Leader".

Also Chris Athey - the educational psychologist who championed the Teletubbies

Russell Hoban, author of both children's and adult fiction, including his vision of a post apocalyptic world "Riddley Walker"

Cesaria Evora - the singer from Cape Verde known as the Barefoot Diva

and the Czech playwright and President Vaclav Havel remembered by his friend Ivan Klima and Sir John Tusa.

  • Kim Jong-il

    North Korean leader who has died aged 69.

    In North Korea Kim Jong-il was known as the Dear Leader. This distinguished him from his father The Great Leader Kim il Sung. Even though he presided over a military regime which isolated the population from the outside world, forcing them to endure terrible shortages of food and fuel, there was great public mourning on news of his death.

    Last Word hears from Jim Hoare former British Charge D’Affaires; from Simon Cockerell who runs a travel company; and from the Korean actress Choi Eun Lee.

    Born 16 February 1942 and died 17 December 2011

  • Chris Athey

    Educational psychologist who has died aged 87.

    Chris Athey was an educational psychologist who devoted herself to the study of how young children learn. Her in-depth analysis led to the publication of her most influential work: “Extending Thought In Young Children”.

    Last Word hears from children’s TV producer Anne Wood, and from her former colleague Dr Margy Whalley.

    Born 27 January 1924 and died 27 November 2011.

  • Russell Hoban

    American writer who has died aged 86.

    Russell Hoban was a writer of both adult and children’s fiction. His extraordinary imagination created magical fantasies and surreal plots that brought him a cult following around the world. Russell was born in Philadelphia and served in the US army during the war. He lived in New York and started a career as a commercial illustrator, before publishing a successful series of children’s books. Then he moved to London, where he began to write books for adults.

    Matthew spoke to his publisher Liz Calder, and to the writer Patrick Ness.

    B4 February 1925 and died 13 December 2011.

  • Cesaria Evora

    Cape Verdean singer who has died aged 70.

    The singer Cesaria Evora came from a very poor background on the Cape Verde islands off the coast of West Africa. But her songs of longing and exile brought her an international following. She was known as the Barefoot Diva, because she never wore shoes on stage.

    Last Word hears from BBC Radio 3’s world music presenter Lucy Duran and from singer and composer Teofilo Chantre.

    Born 27 August 1941; died 17 December 2011.

  • Vaclav Havel

    Czech politician and playwright who has died aged 75.

    The playwright and former Czech President Vaclav Havel was imprisoned a number of times for his opposition to the Communist regime and eventually led its overthrow in 1989.

    Last Word hears from Czech born broadcaster and journalist Sir John Tusa
    and from Havel’s friend of 50 years, the distinguished writer Ivan Klima.

    Born 5 October 1936 and died 18 December 2011.

Broadcasts

Podcast

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    Last Word

    Radio 4’s obituary programme, marking the lives of significant figures who have died recently,…

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