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Joan Armatrading; The legacy of pill inventor Carl Djerassi; Birds of a Feather actor Linda Robson

Joan Armatrading reveals the inspiration for her music, how Carl Djerassi's pill changed women's lives and actor Linda Robson on how comedy can be used to tackle difficult topics.

Singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading on her music and how the industry has changed during her career. Carl Djerassi, the scientist who invented the first oral contraceptive pill has died aged 91. Dr Audrey Simpson, from the Family Planning Association, considers Djerassi's legacy and the greatest challenges to birth control today. Writer Zarqa Nawaz talks about her memoir Laughing All the Way to the Mosque. As Birds of a Feather features a cancer storyline, Linda Robson talks about how comedy can be used to explore difficult topics. Stylist and frugality blogger Alex Stedman and V&A fashion curator Oriole Cullen discuss the origins and art of selling on clothes.

Available now

58 minutes



  • Joan Armatrading

    Duration: 11:45

  • Carl Djerassi

    Duration: 07:39

  • Zarqa Nawaz

    Duration: 07:01

  • Comedy Tackling Difficult Topics

    Duration: 07:40

  • The Rise of Re-Selling

    Duration: 06:12

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading was one of the first black female singer-songwriters to gain prominence on the British music scene in the 1970s.  This month she starts the British leg of a major world tour – her last of such scale and first performing solo.  She talks to Jane about the inspiration behind her music, being a woman in a male dominated industry, and why privacy means so much to her.

Carl Djerassi

Carl Djerassi, the chemist who developed the first oral contraceptive pill died on the 30th January 2015 aged 91. Djerassi, widely dubbed 'the father of the Pill' led the team that developed norethindrone, a synthetic molecule that became a key component of the first birth control pill. The Austrian-born chemist synthesised norethindrone in a small laboratory in Mexico City on 15 October 1951 and it changed women's lives forever. Dr Audrey Simpson OBE, the CEO of the Family Planning Association joins Jane Garvey to discuss Djerassi’s legacy, whether he was responsible for sparking the sexual revolution and the greatest challenges to birth control today. 

Zarqa Nawaz

Zarqa Nawaz is a British-Canadian writer and broadcaster. She is most well-known for creating the first comedy about a Muslim family living in the West. Her work focuses on the issues in Islamic culture, such as sexism, often in a comical fashion. Her comical memoir “Laughing All the Way to the Mosque” will be available in the UK from 5th February.

Comedy Tackling Difficult Topics

How useful can comedy be in tackling difficult topics? Menopause, miscarriage to ageing and sex, are there any limits? Writer Jan Etherington and actor Linda Robson join Jane.

The Rise of Re-Selling

Whether it’s garb in our wardrobes that we don’t wear or unwanted Christmas presents that we’ve finally shrugged off the guilt for not liking, we all know that selling things on is just a click away – or is it?  We discuss the rise of reselling: stylist and 'Frugality' blogger Alex Stedman gives the tricks of the trade and we get the history of second hand from V&A fashion curator Oriole Cullen.


Role Contributor
Presenter Jane Garvey
Interviewed Guest Joan Armatrading
Interviewed Guest Audrey Simpson
Interviewed Guest Zarqa Nawaz
Interviewed Guest Linda Robson
Interviewed Guest Alex Stedman
Interviewed Guest Oriole Cullen
Producer Claire Bartleet


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