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John Lithgow, Shelby Holmes, Nick Bullock, David Green

43 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 12 December 2012

Libby Purves meets actor John Lithgow; climber Nick Bullock; Shelby Holmes, who comes from a family of fairground showmen, and David Green, grandson of composer Ignatz Waghalter.

Shelby Holmes comes from five generations of fairground showmen and is now studying English at Trinity College, Oxford. Her childhood was filled with stories of her ancestors: her great-great-great-great-grandmother was Ellen Brown, niece of Mr Brown, the close friend of Queen Victoria who entertained the royal children with his travelling animal menagerie.

John Lithgow is a Broadway star and Emmy-award-winning television actor. He is currently performing the title role in 'The Magistrate', Arthur Wing Pinero's farce set in Victorian London. Lithgow is a versatile character player whose previous performances range from a transsexual ex-football player in The World According To Garp to an extraterrestrial in 3rd Rock From The Sun. 'The Magistrate' is at the National Theatre, London.

Nick Bullock is a climber who was once employed as a prison officer. Working in a maximum-security jail with some of Britain's most notorious criminals, he felt trapped in a world of aggression and fear until he discovered the mountains. His book 'Echoes - One Climber's Hard Road to Freedom' takes him from Pakistan to Peru in his search for a new way to see the world. 'Echoes' is published by Vertebrate Publishing.

David Green's Jewish Polish-German grandfather was Ignatz Waghalter, a successful composer who was forced to leave Berlin for the US when the Nazis came to power. After the war Waghalter's music lost its popularity and in 1949 he died in relative obscurity in New York. In 1988 David Green discovered his grandfather's long lost music in the family attic. This missing music has now been recorded by the Royal Philharmonic and violinist Irmina Trynkos. Waghalter's complete violin repertoire is released on Naxos Records.

Producer: Paula McGinley.


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