Archives for July 2009

The Original Dangerous Book for Boys & Girls?

Post categories:

Rupert Allman | 09:54 UK time, Friday, 31 July 2009



We should thank listener Michael Wood who sent us these old illustrations in response to our appeal for things to do indoors. He has sent us on a journey, rekindling an interest in toilet roll, paste, scissors and sellotape. We've enough to write a book, but am told Michael has plans to do one of his own.

Staying Out for the Summer?

Rupert Allman | 10:12 UK time, Wednesday, 29 July 2009


Summer Weather ..or playing games in the rain?

Ahem..the outlook is not quite as bright as first thought. But are we really going to let a few damp days and a bit of swine flu get in the way of the Great British holiday? No, we are not. Please use this space to share with others how it is possible to create our own "sunshine indoors". Preferably, something for all the family. Leave a comment or email

CRB checks and "Secret" letters

Post categories:

Chris Vallance | 09:57 UK time, Wednesday, 29 July 2009



Last year over 3.4 million people had Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks. In most cases both the applicant and the employer will see the information supplied by the police, but that's not always the case. In some rare instances a Chief Officer of Police may write a letter to the employer containing "additional information".By law the applicant isn't allowed to know the contents of the letter, and CRB guidance tells employers not to disclose its existence. Last year, the Home Office tells us, 235 of these letters were sent.

One of our listeners who works as a manager in the public sector is concerned about this process. He feels it places people who have to make employment decisions based on CRB checks in a difficult situation. He emailed us to say:

"In effect information that has not been subject to full investigation or
prosecution is contained in these letters, the employer has no opportunity to verify the information and more importantly the individual concerned has no opportunity to challenge. If people are concerned about the human rights issues of the CRB system then I suggest they pay some attention to what is really happening in the name of safeguarding

But the "additional information" system is intended for use only where the consequences of revealing the information would be grave, such as jeopardizing a current police investigation. If we imagine a scenario in which someone currently subject to a covert police operation were applying for a job, it's easy to see why not all information can be disclosed to the applicant.

So are these letters and erosion of the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" or a necessary part of protecting the public? We're looking at the "additional information" system on iPM this week. If you've something to contribute please do leave a comment or email us at

Too young to fight for your country?

Jennifer Tracey | 11:05 UK time, Monday, 27 July 2009


SA80 A2 rifle

One iPM listener writes:

'My son is 17 and half way through training with the Royal Marines. He's going on holiday to Turkey this summer with friends and needs a letter from me as he's not old enough to travel outside the EU without parental permission.

Compare this to the fact that he is likely to be on the front line in Afghanistan within the next 6 months! He may be exceptionally well-trained but is he really old enough for it?'

Should we be sending soldiers into combat at the age of eighteen? Perhaps you work with young recruits or have some experience / insight that you can share. If so, please do leave a comment below or email us.

Suggest a story

Post categories:

Jennifer Tracey | 17:31 UK time, Saturday, 25 July 2009


Music and entertainment for Forces in the Middle East (1943)

Is there something you think BBC journalists should be investigating? Heard something on the news that didn't sound right in your experience? Do you know something that other listeners might want to hear?

You can send in a story idea or just a single sentence of news. Small or super sized - all suggestions welcome.

Leave a comment below, email us or tweet.

A walk through CCTV
iPM accompanies listener Michael Dear, counting cameras on his daily London commute. You can listen again to the piece as broadcast on the programme this week.

Rescue effort

Post categories:

Jennifer Tracey | 17:30 UK time, Saturday, 25 July 2009


Jackie Greaves in 1994

He survived alone, lost in the Australian bush, but should 19-year-old Jamie Neale donate any interview fees he receives to the rescue services who came looking for him or is he entitled to do whatever he wants with it?

Listener and mountain rescue volunteer Tom Barkas wrote to us after hearing the story on PM

'Having experience of rescues after which the person responsible has walked off with lucrative deals, I applaud the announced decision of the family to give the publicity proceeds to the rescue services.'

Tom went on to tell us about a rescue in the Cairngorms some years back, where a woman was paid a lot of money from her story but the papers unfairly accused her of not passing any of it on to her rescuers.

iPM tracked down that woman. In 1994, Jackie Greaves spent days lost in sub-zero temperatures before rescue teams found her. Here she is talking to Eddie:

Send us Your News

Post categories:

Jennifer Tracey | 16:51 UK time, Monday, 20 July 2009

Comments (55)

Your News sentence
It couldn't be simpler. You send us a single sentence of news about your week. We compile it into a bulletin and invite top BBC talent to read it out on iPM, Saturdays 5.30pm.

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, listen to Edward Stourton reading Your news on tonights PM programme or have a read of the script

When can you send it?
This week, or any week, you can send us a sentence of Your News.

Will we read out your name?
No, no and absolutely not. It's totally anonymous - all secrets are safe.

How do you send it?
Leave it in the comments below, email us, tweet it or write to us:

iPM, Room G601
BBC News Centre
London W12 7RJ

iPM back Saturday 5.30pm

Post categories:

Jennifer Tracey | 14:43 UK time, Sunday, 19 July 2009


Buzz Aldrin moon bootprint, 20 July 1969

Thank you early morning listeners for tea, your stories and your first thoughts of the day. Hope you can join us at 5.30pm, but you could always podcast us at 5.45am if you feel so inclined.

All stories and programme suggestions welcome. If you've heard something in the news that you disagree with or have a knowledge of, or if there's a story you think we should cover - leave a comment below, email us or tweet.

Your News read by Shaun Ley

Post categories:

Jennifer Tracey | 12:00 UK time, Sunday, 19 July 2009


Westminister guru, Shaun Ley

You email, tweet ,or leave a blog comment sharing your news in one sentence. iPM puts them together as a bulletin and invites a BBC legend to read it out.

This week, from The World This Weekend, Shaun Ley:

Finished A Level marking this week ahead of schedule, and feel that my life stretches ahead of me full of joy and laughter and freedom!

Especially enjoyable swims at Guildford Lido this week, swimming in rain, wind and sun.

Came home, cleaned the guinea pigs out and caught the dog trying to eat one of the poor things!

Now that SATs have been scrapped, senior staff spent the day pressurising teachers into inflating students' grades. Our fake results are our best ever, OFSTED will be pleased.

I seriously contemplate committing random acts of frenzied violence in the workplace but decide to have a cup of tea instead.

Worried about how I'll drive from London to Mongolia in a 1 litre car without a Russian visa.

We went camping in Devon - it rained, a lot.

My wife has gone to the airport to spend two weeks in Turkey with the vicar.

Thought for the Day reconsidered

Post categories:

Jennifer Tracey | 12:44 UK time, Wednesday, 15 July 2009


Mark Damazer

The BBC Trust has launched an investigation into The Today programme's regular religious slot and the possibility allowing non-religious voices.

The Guardian and The Times reports.

And the Radio 4 controller, Mark Damazer, is also reconsidering. Here's what he said on Radio 4's Feedback on Friday (1.20 mins)

Mark Damazar wrote on this blog in January that 'it was a genuinely difficult question', but that 'we believe that broadening the brief would detract from the distinctiveness of the slot.'

Mark Damazer declined to come on the iPM programme earlier this year, but we had a huge response and your comments formed the basis of a discussion between the Rev. Prof Alister McGrath and Prof AC Grayling.

This is the edited version (8 mins) as it appeared on the programme, you can hear the full version (22 mins) on this earlier post.

Also today, The Today programme asked if TFTD should stay sacred.

UPDATE: Mark Damazer writes about appearing on Feedback.

Is there a doctor on board?

Post categories:

Jennifer Tracey | 18:35 UK time, Tuesday, 14 July 2009


Is there a doctor on board?

An aviation engineer had something of a busman's holiday this week when he was called on to repair the airliner bringing him back from a break in Menorca.

iPM has been thinking about airline passengers being asked to give the crew assistance since we heard from the father of an oil rig safety engineer. His son watched in shock as a fellow passenger was taken ill and stopped breathing.

"It appeared that the flight crew did not have adequate basic training, felt incompetent to render CPR and had to call on the services of the passengers."

Have you or someone you've travelled with been taken seriously ill mid-flight? Have you given medical aid to a passenger?

Or perhaps like the aviation engineer you've lent your professional expertise to the flight crew. Let us know.

Email us or leave a comment on the blog.

We asked Scott Adams, the oil rig safety engineer, about what happened. After asking listeners if anyone had had similar experiences Martin Miles-Moore and Dr Halcyon Leonard got in touch.

Martin is a physiotherapist who recently responded to a call as he returned from a ladies basketball tournament in Berlin. And Dr Halcyon is a retired GP who could never have guessed the consequences of answering a call ten years ago on a flight to Oman.

They each told me their story, beginning with Scott.

Your News

Post categories:

Jennifer Tracey | 10:29 UK time, Sunday, 12 July 2009


Edward Stourton. Mind your backs!

You email, tweet , or leave a blog comment sharing your news in one sentence. iPM puts them together as a bulletin and invites a BBC legend to read it out.

The Today programme's Edward Stourton did the honours on our last show:

My son is in Philadelphia for a gathering of fellow cult-members who may one day realise they've been duped into cutting themselves off from their families.

After returning from working in Mumbai, Peter is still trying to explain his actions with the live-in housemaid to his wife.

I had to cancel the order for my new car as the manufacturers had no idea when it would be made.

A colleague is the envy of the office after having a huge bouquet of 12 pink roses delivered.

I had a lovely text conversation with my daughter; the first one we've had since she stopped talking to me four years ago; maybe we'll speak soon.

I completely lost it at the crematorium but I managed to get back enough composure to deliver Mum's eulogy.

I narrowly avoided my house burning down when sunlight focused by a mirror set fire to a curtain.

Husband jobless, three student sons jobless, I am now declaring myself available to house sit anywhere, a remote property would be ideal.

Spent the afternoon at the top of a ladder, using both ungloved hands to remove a swarm of bees from my neighbours' roof cavity, and thinking that this was a prime example of "Don't try this at home, folks!"

My 10 year-old-car is making expensive noises. "Scrappage me!" it coughs enticingly.

Bravo, Charlie, Foxtrot, Tango... space to think

Post categories:

Jennifer Tracey | 05:45 UK time, Saturday, 11 July 2009



It's not easy to find the space to think. In the last few weeks we asked for your thoughts while we boiled a kettle on the programme. This week, we wondered what thoughts the phonetic alphabet might trigger.

Have a listen and let us know if something, anything really, springs to mind - leave a comment below or email us.

Suggest a story

Post categories:

Jennifer Tracey | 05:43 UK time, Saturday, 11 July 2009


BBC work booth

There's nothing secretive and underhand about the way we gather your stories. Eddie just likes working in a booth similar to the ones above. It's a BBC thing, it's what we do.

Send us an idea or just a single sentence of news about your week. Leave a comment below, email us or tweet.

Sorry if you've sent us a story and we haven't picked it up, it may just be, we haven't had the chance. We do read everything that comes in and you're welcome to flag it up again. Thanks.

Suggest a story

Post categories:

Jennifer Tracey | 05:40 UK time, Saturday, 4 July 2009


Moon Landing 20 July 1969

Got a story you want to share? Or even just a single sentence of news about your week you'd like to tell us.

Comment below, email us or tweet, tweet it.

The Great Kettle Experiment

Post categories:

Jennifer Tracey | 05:39 UK time, Saturday, 4 July 2009


Heard that we boiled a kettle on Radio 4 but missed the experience of waking up to it?

Let us recreate it for you.

During the boil, what were you thinking? Here's what fellow listeners had on their minds last week...

They've put the microphone too close to that kettle, thinks Pam, a retired BBC sound supervisor.

Roger worries he's been 'damaged forever' by going on a safety course. He can't stop asking: "Was a qualified person in charge of the studio kettle?"

Mick is transported back 45 years to North Wales and a scattering of small tents by a stream where he collects fresh water for the first brew of the day.

"What on Earth could the word "kettle" mean?" asks Frenchman Alain, he listens to iPM to improve his English.

Sally's head is itching. She must have caught lice from my daughter, she decides.

Tony imagines the one-and-a-half day journey that the Welsh water has taken to reach his Birmingham tap.

"What would the experience of drowning be like?" wonders Elspeth.

Richard returns to his childhood in Beirut and the first time he saw a dead body. His nanny's grandfather was laid out on a bed, his stockinged feet held together with a safety pin.

Alan's thoughts bounce from the wounds he received on D-Day and his long battle to secure a blue parking badge for his car.

Janie thinks angrily about Mark Thompson and the axing of the UK Theme. She used to dream a little while listening to it.

I never just sit and let my mind wander, realises Nick. He wonders if he's missing out on something that might be beneficial.

Ian works out the total of time he's spent with his daughter since her GCSEs finished. It's about 20 minutes and most of that was while giving her a lift to yet another party.

Bob suddenly remembers that it's Armed forces day and wonders if his old uniform still fits.

"What's the email address?" thinks Geoff. Is it iPM or iPN? Eddie should use the phonetic alphabet. India papa mike or india papa november.

Edwin tries to tot up how much licence fee money is being wasted on broadcasting a boiling kettle.

What's playing on Radio 2, thinks Gary. Two Tribes by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

Can you put a price on quality of life?

Post categories:

Jennifer Tracey | 05:38 UK time, Saturday, 4 July 2009


Out of reach?

"If there's a treatment that may extend your life by up to three months, costs, for example, £2000 per month (i.e. unaffordable for most), but is not available on the NHS, would you want me to tell you about it?"

This is the question posed by a cancer specialist to iPM listeners. It's a dilemma she's increasingly facing.

Both Labour and the Conservatives say the health budget will be protected from spending cuts, but the NHS could face more difficult choices with a new and increasingly expensive drugs market.

In recent years there's been improvements to so-called modifier drugs for terminally ill patients - the pills won't cure you, but they may extend your life.

But the cost is huge. While the National Institute for Clinical Excellence - NICE - gives guidance on which drugs primary care trusts should offer, trusts interpret the advice differently and make their own decisions about which drugs to fund.

We invited our cancer specialist to explain her situation

Listener Sheela Rao experienced the drug funding dilemma from the other side of the doctors' desk. Her husband was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in March 2000. His doctor said there was a drug that MAY help, but it wasn't funded by their trust. She starts by explaining how she felt the moment she was told.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.