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Routes of English Special
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Churchill season banner
8.00pm - 8.30pm, Monday 24 January 2005
Melvyn Bragg on Churchill and the English language.
Churchill's Roar
Churchill and Melvyn Bragg imageMelvyn Bragg presents an analysis and celebration of the remarkable language, voice and vocal acrobatics displayed throughout his life by Sir Winston Churchill. The programme will be available online after the broadcast on Radio 4.
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"The nation had the lion's heart. I had the luck to give the roar," Churchill is reported once to have said about his pivotal role in the Second World War. But the 'roar' that he gave the country was far more than sound - it was, as his memorable speeches amply illustrate, a subtle mixture of words and delivery, of voice, vocal pyrotechnics and a deep understanding of the power of language that was unique.

Melvyn Bragg, whose Radio 4 series The Routes of English traced the course of spoken English from its first glimmerings in Anglo Saxon Wessex to contemporary inner London Jamaican English, the Hiberno-English of Derry and the English of colonial Calcutta, now takes on the language of Greatest Briton.

Recorded in the Cabinet War Rooms and taking in the study where Winston rehearsed the speeches at his Kent home at Chartwell, Churchill's Roar examines the way he used metaphor and powerful imagery to strengthen the nation's sinews in the darkest moments of World War 2; Melvyn also subjects the great voice to tests by the University of London's Phonetics Department under Professor John Wells, in order to identify just what the great orator's vocal qualities and devices were that make his 'roar' so powerful.

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