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Episode 1

15 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 15 October 2012

Written by Adrian Fort.

The first of five extracts from a new biography of Nancy Astor, the first woman to take a seat in the British Parliament. Born in 1879, hers was a fascinating life: from straitened beginnings in the Civil War-ravaged Deep South of America, to marriage into one of the world's richest families, to a straight-talking campaign conducted door-to-door in one of the most deprived areas of Plymouth which brought her a political career that lasted more than two decades (from 1919 - until 1945).

Far from being a hardened campaigner who had suffered for the cause of female suffrage, she was already near the centre of ruling society, having married one of the richest men in the world. She was not even British, yet she became a trailblazer and beacon for the generations of women who would follow her into Parliament.

Reader: Anna Maxwell Martin.

Abridger: Alison Joseph.

Producer: Kirsteen Cameron.


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