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Historian Sir David Cannadine explores Winston Churchill's devotion to bricklaying and what it says about his relationship with ordinary people.

Winston Churchill was revered by millions as the saviour of Britain in the Second World War, but he wasn't just a great war leader - he wrote millions of words of journalism, he painted, he built brick walls, he owned racehorses, he gambled in Monte Carlo casinos and even wrote screenplays. Yet his personality was mercurial; bouts of hyper-activity were interspersed with black days of depression. While he had a loving marriage, he spent long periods apart from his wife and children, some of whom caused him deep anxiety and distress.

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of his death, celebrated historian Sir David Cannadine, author of In Churchill's Shadow, examines the life and career of Winston Churchill by looking at ten different themes that are less well known, but which are crucial to a fuller understanding of one of the most extraordinary individuals ever to occupy No. 10 Downing Street.

The first programme explores how Winston Churchill was a committed bricklayer, and he even joined the bricklayers' union. But this didn't mean he had anything in common with the working man. He was surrounded by a retinue of servants, he never even set foot in a shop and he famously got stuck on the Circle Line the only time he used the tube.

Featuring Roger Allam as the voice of Winston Churchill. Other parts are played by Ewan Bailey, Jasmine Hyde, James Sobol Kelly and Simon Tchernaik.

The theme tune is composed by David Owen Norris.

Producer: Melissa FitzGerald
A Blakeway production for BBC Radio 4.

15 minutes

Last on

Mon 19 Jan 2015 13:45

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Role Contributor
Producer Denys Blakeway


  • Mon 14 Mar 2011 15:45
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  • Mon 16 Jun 2014 14:15
  • Tue 17 Jun 2014 00:15
  • Mon 19 Jan 2015 13:45

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Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

A collection of programmes celebrating the life and achievements of Winston Churchill.