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A novelist, a racehorse trainer, a swimmer and film star, a key figure in the Warsaw Pact and 'the fastest granny on water'

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 14 June 2013

Matthew Bannister on

The Scottish novelist Iain Banks - author of The Wasp Factory and The Crow Road - who also wrote science fiction

Sir Henry Cecil - one of the most successful flat racing trainers of recent times. Willie Carson pays tribute.

Hollywood's swimming superstar Esther Williams,

Marshall Viktor Kulikov - one of the last of the Soviet military commanders. He played a key role in the crisis that led to martial law being imposed in Poland.

And the Countess of Arran - a powerboat racer known as the fastest woman on water. She reached 103 miles per hour in a rocket-like boat on Lake Windermere in 1980.

  • Iain Banks

    Matthew spoke to the playwright Maxton Walker and live in the studio to Nick Barley, Director of Edinburgh International Book Festival.

    Born 16 February 1954; died 9 June 2013 aged 58.

  • Sir Henry Cecil

    Matthew spoke to the former jockey Willie Carson and to the BBC’s horse racing correspondent, Cornelius Lysaght.

    Born 11 January 1943; died 11 June 2013 aged 70.
  • Esther Williams

    Film writer Karen Krizanovich pays tribute.

    Born 8 August 1921; died 6 June 2013 aged 91.
  • Viktor Kulikov

    Matthew spoke to The Independent’s former Moscow correspondent Rupert Cornwell.

    Born 5 July 1921; died Moscow 28 May 2013 aged 91.
  • The Countess of Arran

    Last Word spoke to her son, the Earl of Arran and to power boat expert John Puddifoot.

    Born 20 July 1918; died 16 May 2013 aged 94. 


  • Rory Morrison

    Born 5 August 1964; died 11 June 2013 aged 48.


Matthew Bannister


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