iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Robin Gibb, Eric James, Alan Oakley, David Ellis and Eugene Polley

Listen now 28 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Robin Gibb, Eric James, Alan Oakley, David Ellis and Eugene Polley

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 25 May 2012

Matthew Bannister on

Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees who, with his brothers Barry and Maurice, created scores of hit records. We hear about his rivalry with Barry for the lead vocal spot and his obsession with the Titanic.

Also: the left wing Anglican Canon Eric James, a regular on Radio 4's Thought For The Day,

Alan Oakley who invented the Chopper bicycle, much coveted by schoolboys of the seventies,

David Ellis - the dancer and doctor who married into the Ballet Rambert and played a leading role in the company's development.

And Eugene Polley who launched a million couch potatoes by pioneering the TV remote control. Elvis McGonagall pays tribute in verse from his sofa.

  • Robin Gibb

    Matthew spoke to Vince Melouney, a guitarist who became part of the band; to Bee Gees biographer Andrew Mon Hughes and to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Managing Director, Ian Maclay.

    Born 22 December 1949; died 20 May 2012 aged 62.

  • Canon Eric James

    Last Word spoke to the former head of religious broadcasting at the BBC, the Reverend Ernie Rea, and to Roger Eastman who is Dean of Gray’s Inn Chapel where Eric James was preacher.

    Born 14 April 1925; died 1 May 2012 aged 87.

  • Alan Oakley

    Matthew spoke to one of his colleagues at Raleigh, David Moakes and to Alan’s second wife Karen.

    Born 27 April 1927, died 18 May 2012 aged 85.

  • David Ellis

    Matthew spoke to his daughter Matilda Cockbain, to the former archivist of Ballet Rambert, Jane Pritchard and to Mark Baldwin who is artistic director of Ballet Rambert

    Born 17 November 1921; died 21 February 2012, aged 90.

  • Eugene Polley

    The poet Elvis Mcgonagall pays tribute in verse.

    Born 29 November 1915; died 20 May 2012 aged 96.



  1. Image for Last Word

    Last Word

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

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss