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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 22nd December 2006
Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently. This week: Joseph Barbera, John Rae, Desmond Briscoe, John Hamilton and Elizabeth Bolden.
Joesph Barbera
Animator who has died aged 95.

The partnership of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera created some of the twentieth century’s most enduring cartoon characters including Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear the Flintstones and Scooby Doo. Joe Barbera came from the Little Italy district of New York and started life as a bank clerk before pursuing his love of animation.

Matthew Bannister talks to Michael Mallory - author of ‘Hanna-Barbera Cartoons’ and friend of Joesph Barbera.

Joseph Roland Barbera was born March 24th 1911. He died December 18th 2006.
John Rae
Headmaster and writer who has died aged 75.

John Rae was the son of a radiologist and was educated at Bishop Stortford College and Cambridge University. After ten years as an assistant master at Harrow, he was appointed headmaster of Taunton School. From there he became the headmaster of Westminster, one of the UK’s leading public schools where he worked for sixteen years.

Alongside his academic career, Dr Rae found time to write the biography of an inspirational Belfast headmistress, books on education policy, several children’s novels and regular articles in the press.

Matthew Bannister talks to his daughter Siobhan Tinker, ex Westminster pupil Lib Dem MP Nick Clegg and to his deputy at Westminster Jim Cogan.
John Rae was born March 20th 1931. He died December 16th 2006.
Desmond Briscoe
Sound Engineer who has died aged 81.

Perhaps the most famous product of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop is the theme tune for Dr. Who, but during thirty years of innovation it produced countless ground breaking soundtracks. The workshop was founded by the pioneering engineer Desmond Briscoe.

From his father - a telephone engineer - Desmond inherited an interest in technology and married it to his own passion for music. In the 1950s, Desmond began experimenting with the use of electronic sounds and music in BBC radio drama productions. The foundation of the workshop followed Samuel Beckett’s first radio play: “All That Fall” for which Briscoe developed sounds previously unheard on the British airwaves. Extract from “All That Fall”.
Desmond Briscoe  was born June 21st 1925. He died December 7th 2006.
John Hamilton
Former leader of Liverpool City Council who has died aged 84.

During the 1980s Liverpool City Council was on collision course with Margaret Thatcher’s government. The controlling Labour group on the council had been infiltrated by the Trotskyist Militant Tendency and resolved to defy Conservative curbs on local authority power. The media face of Liverpool council was its flamboyant and outspoken deputy leader Derek Hatton – but the actual leader of the Labour group was John Hamilton. He was born in Liverpool to a family of Quakers and adhered to their principles throughout his private and political life.

As well as leading the council he was secretary of the National Socialist Education Association and was chairman of governors at Liverpool Polytechnic.

Matthew Bannister talks to Derek Hatton and to journalist Liam Fogarty who covered on events the activities of Liverpool City Council during the 1980s.
John Hamilton  was born September 2nd 1922. He died December 14th aged 84.
Elizabeth Bolden
World’s oldest woman who has died aged 116 years and 118 days.

Elizabeth (“Lizzie”) Jones was born in 1890 in Somerville Tenessee, the daughter of freed slaves. In about 1908 she married Lewis Bolden and their first child was born a year later. At the time of her 116th birthday in August 2006, Lizzie had 40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 2nd-great-grandchildren, 220 3rd-great grandchildren and 75 4th-great grandchildren. She spent her final years in a nursing home in Memphis.

Matthew Bannister talks to Craig Glenday, Editor in Chief, of the Guinness Book of Records.
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