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Dr Bill Frankland

Dr Bill Frankland, allergy specialist, is interviewed by Kirsty Young.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Dr Bill Frankland.

Frequently referred to as the "grandfather of allergy", his achievements include the introduction of the pollen count to the British public and the prediction of increased levels of allergy to penicillin.

Born in Cumbria in 1912, Dr Frankland turned 103 in March. He studied medicine at Oxford and worked at St Mary's hospital in Paddington, London, before war intervened. He signed up to the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), but spent over three of the six years he spent in the army as a prisoner of war in Singapore.

After the war, he began work in the dermatology department at St Mary's, but quickly switched to allergy which became his passion. During the fifties he served as a registrar to Alexander Fleming who had discovered penicillin back in 1928. In 1954 he published a seminal research paper about a double-blind randomised trial proving that pre-season pollen injections greatly reduced the symptoms of hay fever sufferers.

He has treated high profile patients including Saddam Hussein and given evidence in court - possibly the oldest expert witness to do so. He continues to work in a private practice and has remarked, "I really don't know what people do when they retire at 65.".

Available now

38 minutes

Last on

Fri 14 Aug 2015 09:00

Music Played

  • Engelbert Humperdinck

    Little Brother Dance With Me

    Performer: Jennifer Larmore. Performer: Rebecca Evans. Performer: Philharmonia Orchestra. Performer: Sir Charles Mackerras (conductor).
    • Hansel and Gretel.
    • CHANDOS.
  • Richard Wagner

    Bridal Chorus (Lohengrin, Act III)

    Performer: Frederic Bayco.
    • Music For Weddings.
    • EMI.
  • Elsie Morison, Marjorie Thomas, Jeannette Sinclair, Pro Arte Orchestra, Glyndebourne Chorus & Sir Malcolm Sargent (conductor)

    Three Little Maids

    • The Mikado.
    • EMI.
  • Herbert Sumsion

    Nunc dimittis in G

    Performer: The Choir of St Paul's Cathedral. Performer: Christopher Dearnley. Performer: John Scott (conductor).
    • My Spirit Hath Rejoiced.
  • Queen's College Oxford Choir & Owen Rees (Conductor)

    The Boar's Head Carol

    • Carols from Queen’s.
    • AVIE.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Falsa imagine ("Image Clear and Bright") From Act 1 of Ottone

    Performer: Louise Kemeny. Performer: Mikhail Shilyaev.
    • Recorded Live on Radio 3's In Tune October 2014.

    • Robert Schumann

      Fantasie in C Major Op 17

      Performer: Martha Argerich.
      • Fantastie Op. 17 Fantasiestucke Op. 12.
      • EMI.
  • Edward Elgar


    Performer: The Band of the Welsh Guards.
    • Best of British Military Bands.
    • RONCO.

    The Story of San Michele by Axel Munthe




Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Bill Frankland
Producer Cathy Drysdale


  • Sun 9 Aug 2015 11:15
  • Fri 14 Aug 2015 09:00

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