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Helicopters and Street Vendors

Episode 1 of 10

4 Extra Debut. London-born novelist Andrea Levy presents the first of ten mixes of voices, sounds and experiences capturing the spirit of London by night and day. From 2010.

Writer Andrea Levy presents ten anthologies of short pieces for radio capturing a certain off-beat spirit of London.

In this first programme, we join the crew of one of London's police helicopters looking down on city streets as they carve their circling way through the London sky on the shortest night of the year; on the ground, Andrea hears from Zimbabwean David Mwanaka who farms 60 - yes 60 - acres in Enfield, growing white maize; and on the final day of paid-for local newspapers on the streets of London, Alan Dein talked to the vendors calling "Standard! Evening Standard!" for the last time in October.

Regular features include Pairs in Squares, in which Jonathan Glancey randomly selects a section from the grid of London's famous streetmap and explores it in company with a well-known London companion; and The Other Londons - five places with a 'London' name NOT found within the M25.

Andrea Levy was born in London and holds the city close to her heart; her experience growing up there as a black Londoner pervades her novels and is the thread woven through this mix of the day-to-day and the nocturnal... of pieces taking a sidelong glance as well as a more direct approach. A blend of poetry and prose, of the factual and the fictional that together make up this diverse and diverting nightly series.

Andrea Levy sadly died of cancer aged 62 in February 2019.

Executive Producer: Simon Elmes

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2010.

22 days left to listen

30 minutes

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Last Tuesday 00:30

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