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LAST WORD
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Last Word
Listen to the latest editionFriday   16:00-16:30
Sunday 20:30-21:00 (rpt)

Radio 4's weekly obituaries programme
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This week
Friday 1st August 2008
(Rpt) Sunday 3rd August
Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently: Lord Russell-Johnston, Youssef Chahine, Elizabeth Bartlett and Professor Randy Pausch.
Lord Russell-Johnston
Liberal politician who has died aged 75

Lord Russell-Johnston was born in Edinburgh, but brought up on the Isle of Skye, he represented the constituency of Inverness at Westminster for thirty-three years. Russell Johnston was chairman of the Scottish Liberal Party in the 1970s and, in the 80s, played a leading role in the negotiations for the merger with the SDP. After the two parties joined forces, Russell Johnston became Deputy leader, foreign affairs spokesman and President of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. He campaigned passionately on human rights issues and was staunchly pro-European.

When he became a life peer, Russell Johnston changed his name by deed poll so that both his Christian name and surname would be retained in his title.

Matthew Bannister talks to journalist Neal Ascherson and two former leaders of the Liberal Democrats – fellow Scots Charles Kennedy and Sir Menzies Campbell.

Lord Russell-Johnston was born July 28th 1932. He died July 27th 2008.

Youssef Chahine
Director who has died aged 82

Youssef Chahine was one of the most influential figures in Arab cinema. The director of more than forty films was revered in his home country of Egypt, but also attracted a strong following in France where he was given the lifetime achievement award at the Cannes film festival in 1997. He is credited with having discovered the actor Omar Sharif, whose first starring role was in Chahine’s film The Blazing Sun.

Matthew Bannister talks to the film maker and writer Dr Ibrahim Fawal who has studied Youssef Chahine’s work.

Youssef Chahine was born January 25th 1926. He died July 27th 2008.
Elizabeth Bartlett
Poet who has died aged 84

The poet Elizabeth Bartlett only attained widespread recognition when she was in her fifties despite writing poetry all her life. Elizabeth lived in Burgess Hill in West Sussex. She was a doctor’s receptionist and a home care worker and was awarded an Arts Council Bursary in 1985 for her work in hospices, prisons and mental hospitals. Her experiences in the National Health Service gave her the inspiration for many of her poems. Elizabeth was adept at imagining herself into the lives of the characters she wrote about – as in the poem Case Notes, which tells the story of a young woman orchestral player.

Elizabeth Bartlett was born in Deal in Kent in 1924. Her mother had been a parlour maid and her father was a grocer’s assistant. He encouraged his children to get a good education and Elizabeth won a scholarship to the local grammar school where she was introduced to the work of Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas and Wilfred Owen.

Matthew Bannister talks to Elizabeth Bartlett's friend and fellow poet Connie Bensley.

Elizabeth Bartlett was born April 24 1924 and died June 18 2008
Randy Pausch
Computer scientist whose "Last Lecture" became a computer phenomenon and who has died aged 47

When computer science professor Randy Pausch was told he was dying of cancer, he decided to give one "Last Lecture". The resulting performance - upbeat, humorous and full of advice for making the most of life - became a worldwide media phenomenon. Millions of people have since watched the lecture on the internet and it became a best selling book. Randy repeated some of the lecture on the Oprah Winfrey Show and was named by Time magazine earlier this year as one of the World’s Top 100 Most Influential People.
Randy Pausch was a professor at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was 46 and married with three children when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In August 2007 he was told that the cancer had spread to his liver and spleen and that he had only another three to six months of relatively healthy life. A month later he gave his "Last Lecture". In the audience were a Wall Street Journal reporter, Jeffrey Zaslow, who later co-authored Randy Pausch’s book.

Matthew Bannister talks to the Head of the University’s Computer Science Department, Professor Peter Lee and to Jeffrey Zaslow.

Randy Pausch was born October 12th 1960. He died July 25th 2008.
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