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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
This series has now ended
We welcome your comments and suggestions contact us
This week
Friday 23 January 2009
(Rpt) Sunday 25 January 2009
Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently: Jan Kaplicky, Colonel David Smiley, Gaston Lenotre, Mick Imlah and Tony Hart.
Jan Kaplicky
Architect who has died aged 71

Jan Kaplicky was a visionary architect whose work inspired controversy as well as admiration. He designed the curving white shell of the media centre at Lords Cricket ground and the silver disc studded blue organic form of the Selfridge’s store in Birmingham. Most recently he had won the competition to design a new Czech National Library in his native Prague.

Matthew Bannister talks to Kaplicky's fellow architect Lord Rogers and to Amanda Levete of the architecture practice Future Systems.

Jan Kaplicky was born 18 April 1937 and died 13 January 2009.
Colonel David Smiley

Colonel David Smiley specialised in working behind enemy lines – both during and after the Second World War. His military career included operations in Oman, Yemen, wartime Europe and the Far East. Born into a military family, he went to Sandhurst, before joining the Royal Horse Guards in 1936. After distinguished service in Iran and Iraq and at the battle of El Alamein, he was recruited to join the Special Operations Executive and entered Albania in the spring of 1943.

Matthew Bannister talks to David Smiley’s son Xan Smiley, Middle East and Africa Editor at The Economist, and to Colonel Smiley’s biographer Professor Clive Jones of Leeds University.

Colonel David Smiley was born 11 April 1916 and died 9 January 2009.
Gaston Lentotre

French Patissier Master who has died aged 88

Gaston Lenotre was one of the great French chefs of the latter part of the twentieth century. Celebrated for his genius as a patissier, he also built up a huge international catering empire, ran Michelin-starred restaurants and a renowned cookery school.

Reporter Alasdair Sandford visited his cookery school outside Paris and Matthew Bannister talks to Gaston Lenotre’s friend, the chef Michel Roux.

Gaston Lenotre was born on 28 May 1920 and died 8 January 2009.
Mick Imlah

Poet and editor who has died aged 52

The poetry world was shocked to hear of the death from Motor Neurone Disease of Mick Imlah. He was 52 and seen as one of the most brilliant poets of his generation. His first full collection of poetry, “Birthmarks”, was published in 1988, his second "The Lost Leader" was published in 2008 and won the Forward Prize. Mick Imlah was also a poetry editor, working at the publisher Chatto and The Times Literary Supplement.

Matthew Bannister talks to the Poet Laureate Andrew Motion and to Mick Imlah’s friend and fellow editor at the TLS, Alan Jenkins.

Mick Imlah was born 26 September 1956 and died 12 January 2009.

Tony Hart

Artist and children’s Television Presenter who has died aged 83

In a television career that spanned fifty years, the genial, cravat-wearing Tony Hart inspired millions of children to pick up a paintbrush. His programmes included 'Vision-On' and 'Take Hart', both of which featured a gallery which displayed paintings and drawings sent in by young viewers.

Matthew Bannister talks to Tony Hart’s daughter Carolyn Williams.

Tony Hart was born 15 October 1925 and died January 18 2009.
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