Category Archives: Children

What made America great? On the trail of Laura Ingalls Wilder

It was the 2008 crash that somehow inspired me to finally read the Little House on the Prairie books. I was clearly craving comfort, safety, a kind of nostalgia for a vaguely remembered 70s girlhood in which I half watched … Continue reading

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The making of Do Pass Go: boardgames in the internet age

Do Pass Go my BBC Radio 4 documentary, airing on Friday April 14th 2017, has its origins in a piece I wrote about the Libyan dictator General Gadaffi playing chess on TV in the run up to his toppling, and … Continue reading

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The making of John Ruskin’s Eurythmic Girls

John Ruskin’s Eurythmic Girls is a Radio 3 Sunday Feature which airs this Sunday Feb 26th at 645pm Intellectual and art school champion of medieval art he may have been, but it is John Ruskin’s alleged horror of female pubic … Continue reading

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Ladybird books: Constructing the future past of modern Britain

I used to visit a beloved university English professor  and his wife. He had won the Military Cross for hand to hand combat in the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945 but never talked about the terrible things he’d seen. … Continue reading

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How the Space Shuttle Broke My Heart

  This weekend’s Radio 4 Extra Floating In Space 3-hour special (9am and 7pm Saturday Mar 1th and iplayer after) with Simon Guerrier explores the history and the fantasy of manned space exploration from the cosmonauts to dreams of Mars … Continue reading

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The men are weeping in the Oval Office…

Lucy Dichmont and I have made a Something Understood for Radio 4 about Weeping. I knew I wanted to talk about the Wailing Women in the Bible and especially that I wanted to talk again to award-winning poet Andrew McMillan … Continue reading

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The Teen Within…

This week’s Something Understood gives voice to people who I reckon are rarely heard on radio. Teenagers. The readings are all done by young actors and much of the music and poetry you’ll hear was written by them, or about … Continue reading

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Marriage, Margaret Thatcher & the closet of female expectations

This article first appeared in The Big Issue. Journalism worth paying for (subscriptions available) For years my mother kept an entire cupboard where she used to save up things for my trousseau; the old fashioned concept of a bride’s personal … Continue reading

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Sixty years on: Has Cinderella on film got trapped in The Valley of the Dolls?

I rather enjoyed the new live action Disney Cinderella. We’re reviewing it on Front Row on Monday Mar 23rd. But the issues raised here still stand. Imagine Cinderella as a anti social tomboy with cropped black hair who acts well, just … Continue reading

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Frozen? That’s not feminism

My daughter finally got me to watch Frozen recently. I think she’s sorry she did. Though I sense 13 year old girls are watching it with a sense of irony and a  kind of knowing detachment in the way my … Continue reading

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