Vasectomy; Giving up alcohol; Royal bedchambers; Gráinne Maguire

Reporter Geoff Bird has a vasectomy. Stand-up comedian Gráinne Maguire talks about her love of Election night. 'High Sobriety' - Jill Stark's account of giving up alcohol for a year. Dr Lucy Worsley on Royal bedchambers. Presenter: Jenni Murray.

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58 minutes

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Fri 2 Aug 2013 10:00


Doctors in Adelaide have put out a call for volunteers to have vasectomies in public whilst medical staff answer questions from the audience. The aim is to encourage a wider and more open discussion of male contraception whilst promoting the first ever World Vasectomy Day on October 18th. In the UK, there has been a sharp fall in the number of vasectomies performed on the NHS over the past decade. In 2011/12, just over 15,000 men ‘had the snip’ compared to nearly 40,000 in 2001/2. A few days ago, reporter Geoff Bird had a vasectomy. He took his tape recorder into the surgery with him and recorded the whole procedure. He joins Jenni to talk about his experience. They are joined by Dr Stephen Searle who – as Consultant and Clinical Director of Sexual Health Services in Derbyshire – does 400 vasectomies a year, and agony aunt Denise Roberston.

Giving up alcohol

In 2011, at the age of 35, journalist Jill Stark woke up with such a bad post New Year’s Eve party hangover that she decided to give up alcohol for the rest of the year. Having had her first taste of booze when she was 13, Jill had been a binge drinker throughout her twenties and in to her thirties. Earlier this month, a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that deaths from alcohol-related illness in young women are on the rise, prompting discussion on contemporary attitudes to women, alcohol, and ‘how much is too much?’

Jill’s book, High Sobriety: My Year Without Booze, charts her year on the wagon and looks at why, as a society, we seem to be so obsessed with drinking and getting drunk. Jenni is joined by Jill and Dr Louise Newson, to discuss women’s alcohol consumption and if more of us should all be taking a break – or even giving it up for good.

For information on recommended drinking guidelines for women and men in the UK, and help and advice for changing your drinking habits, see the NHS Change4Life website.


Gráinne Maguire

Gráinne Maguire

Gráinne Maguire is a comedian who loves politics. Her Edinburgh show this year is a One Hour All Night Election Special with needlessly complicated graphics, exit polls, silly time filling, humiliated grown-ups trying not to cry in public and, of course, swing-o-meters. Last year, Gráinne warmed-up for Ed Miliband at the Labour Party Conference and in the past, she had a picture of Tony Blair on her school locker [although she now says that whenever he’s back on the news, it’s like a bad ex-boyfriend getting in touch]. In September, Gráinne returns to Radio 4 where – as the current holder of the Radio 4 Writer’s Bursary – she will be working on The News Quiz and The Now Show.  

Gráinne Maguire is performing her One Hour All Night Election Special at The Wee Coo in Bristo Square in Edinburgh from the 3rd to the 25th August.

Tales from the Royal Bedchamber

Tales from the Royal Bedchamber

The Royal family might feel that the press nowadays is far too intrusive but it is nothing compared to what some monarchs in previous centuries had to endure. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the royal bedchamber was a public space and a large crowd would watch the King as he dressed and undressed. The most senior members of court held positions on the staff of the royal bedchamber and the most important post was that of Groom of the Stole – a member of the aristocracy who would assist his Majesty on the toilet by passing him a rag with which to wipe his bottom. From Medieval times to the Victorian era, the royal bed and bedchamber have played an important role in shaping the destiny of the monarchy. Dr Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, has made a film about the subject and she joins Jenni to tell her some Tales from the Royal Bedchamber. 

Dr Lucy Worsley presents Tales from the Royal Bedchamber on August 5, BBC Four, 9pm. The exhibition – Secrets of the Royal Bedchamber – can be seen at Hampton Court Palace until 3rd November.


Role Contributor
PresenterJenni Murray
Interviewed GuestGeoff Bird
Interviewed GuestGrainne Maguire
Interviewed GuestJill Stark
Interviewed GuestLucy Worsley
ProducerHelen Lee

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