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David Temple/Derek Jarman

Episode 1 of 5

David Temple has an imagined conversation with his late brother-in-law Derek Jarman. The two differ in many ways but mutual affection shines across the 22 years since Derek's death.

David Temple has an imagined conversation with his late brother-in-law, Derek Jarman. The two differ in many ways but their mutual affection, and a similar sense of humour, shine across the 22 years since Derek's death, as they share impressions of Jarman's films.

There is much laughter in the exchange between the living and the deceased as David and Derek recount stories of film premieres and family Christmases. There is sadness also as Jarman talks of the death of his mother from cancer. Temple tells Jarman of a death, also from cancer, that he did not live long enough to know of, that of Derek's sister, David's wife. Derek's own HIV-related death is a constant backdrop to the dialogue.

At times it's easy to suspend disbelief and to imagine these two men are actually in the same room together, catching up after more than two decades apart, such is the spontaneity and quiet energy of their conversation.

In 1991 Natalie Cole sang a duet with her long dead father, Nat King Cole - the result was Unforgettable. This is the radio equivalent. In each edition of the series, a different guest is invited to interact with someone, now dead, with whom they have, or have wanted to have, a connection. Using technology designed for musicians and DJs to spontaneously play out short musical clips, producer Adam Fowler facilitates a real-time conversation between the two participants, using conversational snippets of the deceased from past recordings.

The guest has no advance knowledge of the excerpts, and the conversation can take unexpected turns, occasionally leading to some emotionally charged interchanges, as living voices engage with those preserved in the archive.

Research: Philippa Geering
Producer: Adam Fowler
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

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15 minutes

Last on

Tue 14 Mar 2017 09:30

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