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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 18th April 2008
(Rpt) Sunday 20th April
Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently: John Wheeler, Paul Arden, Klaus Dinger, EA Markham and Gwyneth Dunwoody.
John Wheeler
Professor of Theoretical Physics who has died aged 96

Professor John Wheeler was one of the most influential physicists of the last century. He worked on nuclear fission with Nils Bohr and on relativity alongside Einstein. John Wheeler was born in Florida where his parents were librarians. He recalled asking his mother at the age of four where the universe ended. Dissatisfied with her reply, he took up the study of science. At the age of 21 he was awarded a doctorate by Johns Hopkins University.

Matthew Bannister speaks to Steven Weinberg, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Texas and Michio Kaku, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of New York.

Professor John Wheeler was born July 9th 1911 and died April 13 2008.
Paul Arden
Advertising Creative and writer who has died aged 67

Paul Arden brought us some of the most memorable advertising campaigns of the 1980s. The mercurial adman – noted for his uncertain temper - was creative director of the Saatchi and Saatchi agency at the height of its success. Working with Charles Saatchi, Arden produced the iconic Silk Cut cigarette campaign, which consisted quite simply of a slashed sheet of billowing purple silk. He also produced the witty visuals which launched a new national newspaper under the slogan “The Independent. It Is. Are You?”

Paul Arden was brought up in a council house in Sidcup in Kent. After studying at Beckenham Art College, Paul landed a succession of jobs in advertising agencies – often being fired for his combative attitude. In 1979 he joined Saatchi and Saatchi as an art director. There he produced highly visual campaigns, like the one which showed people and even objects relaxing on board an Intercity train. After leaving Saatchi and Saatchi in 1992, Paul Arden set up a film production company and in 2003 he turned to writing self help books such as It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be! which were very successful, particularly in the United States.

Matthew Bannister speaks to Lord Bell former Chief Executive of Saatchi and Saatchi and Art Director Alex Taylor.

Paul Arden was born April 7th 1940 and died April 2nd 2008.
Klaus Dinger
Influential German musician who has died aged 61

In the 1970s, Klaus Dinger was the drummer on the first Kraftwerk album and then co-founded the influential German band Neu. With his musical partner Michael Rother, he made a major contribution to the innovative sound that came to be known as Krautrock. Noted for his robotic style of drumming and anarchic vocals, Dinger pioneered the use of electronic effects, remixes and ambient textures long before they became the staple diet of the dance scene in the 1990s. Klaus Dinger’s biography is sketchy but he was born in Germany, lived in Dusseldorf and is quoted as saying he was badly behaved at school but enjoyed singing in the choir. Neu may not have sold a lot of records, but they influenced many of the musicians who came afterwards, including David Bowie, Sonic Youth and Stereolab.

Matthew Bannister speaks to musician Julian Cope and music journalist Paul Morley.

Klaus Dinger was born March 24th 1946 and died March 20th 2008.
EA Markham
Poet and writer who has died aged 68

It’s hard to put E.A.Markham into a category. He was a poet, fiction writer, theatre director, editor and creative writing teacher. And he was often on the move. Edward Archibald Markham was born in Montserrat in the Caribbean.. He came to the UK as a student in 1956 and at different times lived in Lampeter, Sheffield, Newcastle, Norwich, London, Paris and Papua New Guinea. He held a number of creative writing fellowships, founded the Caribbean Theatre Workshop and edited the magazine Artrage. But it will probably be for his poetry that E.A. Markham is best remembered.

Matthew Bannister speaks to fellow poet Fred D’Aguiar.

Archie Markham was born October 1st 1939 and died March 23rd 2008.
Gwyneth Dunwoody
Longest serving woman in the House of Commons, who has died aged 77

Gwyneth Dunwoody was the longest serving woman MP in the House of Commons. She came from a political family: both her grandmothers were suffragettes and her father was General Secretary of the Labour Party. Gwyneth was elected as MP for Exeter in 1966 and went on to represent Crewe and Nantwich. An outspoken critic of the New Labour project, she was respected for her integrity and was a long serving chairman of the Transport Select Committee. When the government tried to remove her from that post in 2001, more than a hundred Labour MPs defied the whips to vote for her to stay.

Matthew Bannister speaks to broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, presenter of Radio 4's Any Questions on which Gwyneth Dunwoody was a frequent guest.

Gwyneth Dunwoody was born December 12th 1930 and died April 17th 2008.
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