Michael Portillo, Diana Melly, Yang-May Ooi, Polly Bagnall

Libby Purves meets former government minister and broadcaster Michael Portillo, Diana Melly, widow of George, writer and performer Yang-May Ooi and author and artist Polly Bagnall.

Libby Purves meets former government minister and broadcaster Michael Portillo; Diana Melly, widow of George with a book about ballroom dancing and bereavement; writer and performer Yang-May Ooi and author and artist Polly Bagnall.

At the age of 76, Diana Melly decided to take up ballroom dancing after the death of her husband, George. In her new book, Strictly Ballroom - Tales from the Dance Floor, she sashays through tea dance etiquette, the perils of the Argentine tango and how to stay upright in rough seas on the QE2. Strictly Ballroom - Tales from the Dance Floor is published by Short Books.

Polly Bagnall is the co-author - with Sally Back - of Ferguson's Gang: The Remarkable Story of the National Trust Gangsters about a group of eccentrics who combined anarchic stunts and fine dining with saving the English countryside. To preserve their anonymity they wore masks and adopted pseudonyms including Bill Stickers, and Red Biddy. Polly's grandfather, John Macgregor, was the gang member known as the Artichoke. Ferguson's Gang: The Remarkable story of the National Trust Gangsters is published by The National Trust.

Yang-May Ooi is a writer and performer. Her play Bound Feet Shoes: A Life Told In Shoes is Yang-May's personal story set against the tradition of foot binding, as practiced by her great-grandmother. The play explores Yang-May's experiences of being a Chinese-Malaysian woman in the UK, her coming out story, cultural reflections of what it means to be a woman, and an exploration into mother-daughter relationships. Bound Feet Blues: A Life Told In Shoes is at Tristan Bates Theatre in London

Michael Portillo was an MP for nearly 20 years and held three ministerial positions in the Cabinet. He is now a broadcaster and is a regular guest on weekly politics show, This Week. He has made documentaries on subjects including music, wildlife and the Spanish Civil War. In the book Great Continental Railway Journeys he retraces the journeys from Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide. Great Continental Railway Journeys is published by Simon and Schuster.

Producer: Paula McGinley.

Available now

43 minutes

In the studio

In the studio
L-R: Polly Bagnell, Diana Melly, Yang-Mai Ooi, Michael Portillo

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Libby Purves
Interviewed Guest Michael Portillo
Interviewed Guest Diana Melly
Interviewed Guest Yang-May Ooi
Interviewed Guest Polly Bagnall
Producer Paula McGinley

Broadcasts

Podcast