Stevie Smith; Autism; Losing a parent

Jane Garvey talks to Benjamin Brooks-Dutton about grieving for your partner and how you help a child to build memories of a dead parent.

As a new play about her life goes on stage at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester, we discuss the significance and legacy of poet Stevie Smith.

Dr Wendy Lawson on her experiences of autism and why so many women don't get diagnosed.

And, from the archive of the Imperial War Museum - we hear a first hand account of the life of World War I signaller Annie May Martin.

Presenter: Jane Garvey
Producer: Ruth Watts.

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58 minutes

Last on

Mon 12 May 2014 10:00

Richard Scudamore

The Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has said he’s sorry after inappropriate emails he wrote were leaked to a Sunday newspaper by a former PA. In public Scudamore is a huge supporter of women’s football, but the emails reveal him to have attitudes towards women that might be best described in a family show as “exceedingly old fashioned” – and many would consider them extremely offensive. He discussed 'female irrationality', and he and another man joked about a woman colleague they nicknamed Edna. Laura Williamson, the sports writer for the Daily Mail, joins Jane to discuss.

Young Children and Grief

Benjamin Brooks-Dutton’s wife was knocked down and killed by a car in North West London as he walked with her, pushing their two year old son in his buggy. Being left as a widower to raise their son, Ben started a blog lifeasawidower to encourage others to open up about their grief. It proved hugely popular. He has now written a book about how he and Jackson have coped since Desreen’s death. Ben joins Jane to explain the importance of fostering memories for a child who has lost their parent at an early age.


It’s Not Raining, Daddy, It’s Happy, is published by Hodder and Stoughton


Grief Encounter

Winston's Wish

Child Bereavement UK

Care for the Family

Widowed and Young

WW1: Women and the War – A Signaller’s Story

WW1: Women and the War – A Signaller’s Story

In 1918, Annie May Martin was a telegraphist working in France. Her role with the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was to pass messages in morse code between front line troops and London. In an archive interview, she looks back on her life as a signaller, why they were called the ‘blue and white angels,’ and remembers the hostility she experienced at the hands of French civilians. Her reflections are included in IWM’s Lives of the First World War, launched today to create a digital memorial to mark the lives of more than eight million people in WWI. Project Manager Melanie Donnelly joins Jane Garvey to talk about the scale of the task ahead.


WW1: Women and the War 

Lives of the First World War: Annie May Martin


Image: WWI telegraphists in France. © IWM (Q 7972)

Women and Autism

According to the National Autistic Society, around 700 000 people in the UK have autism. That’s one person in every hundred. Many people on the spectrum experience difficulty getting a diagnosis, but for women in particular autism is often overlooked or diagnosed late. Dr Wendy Lawson is one such case. At school Wendy was considered to be intellectually disabled, and ‘almost incapable of doing as she is told’. In her teens, she was misdiagnosed as schizophrenic. The label stuck for more than 25 years, until she was diagnosed in 1994 as having high-functioning autism. Since then she has dedicated her life to helping others understand autism through her academic research, writing, and talks. She talks to Jane about her misdiagnosis, and why autism is so often under-diagnosed in females.


National Autistic Society

Spectrum First

Dr Wendy Lawson website



Stevie Smith

The play Stevie, about the life of novelist and poet Stevie Smith, is currently running in Chichester, with Zoe Wanamaker playing the unconventional, droll, melancholic, and hugely talented writer. So who was Stevie Smith? When she died in 1971 she was one of the 20th Century’s most popular poets. She’s known for putting the story of her life into her poems and prose, but she’s also celebrated for her intrigue, satire, and playfulness. Her literary admirers are numerous. Two of them - poet Catherine Smith, and Dr Will May, Lecturer in English at the University of Southampton and the Editor of the Collected Poems and Drawings of Stevie Smith, to be published later in the year - join Jane in the studio.


Stevie runs at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester from 24 April to 24 May


Role Contributor
PresenterJane Garvey
Interviewed GuestWendy Lawson
Interviewed GuestBenjamin Brooks-Dutton
Interviewed GuestWill May
Interviewed GuestCatherine Smith
Interviewed GuestMelanie Donnelly
ProducerRuth Watts

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