Audio Documentaries and Features

Conversations on a Bench: Series 3

Conversations on a Bench – Strabane

Anna Scott-Brown hears more stories from the people who stop to sit beside her on benches around the country.

In this edition, Anna sits on a bench in Strabane on the Irish Border. Throughout the programme, a specially commissioned work by the poet Maureen Boyle draws on the voices of those passing by – and sometimes pausing on – the bench in Abercorn Square.

These hidden stories are glimpsed through snatched moments and the painful and beautiful stories people tell Anna in this busy urban setting – the carer who lost a longed for baby during pregnancy and memories of the Troubles in this hot spot on the border, those who smuggled goods across the closed border and whose relatives moved to Northern Ireland via the hiring fair that used to take place in the square.

Presented by Anna Scott-Brown
Produced by Adam Fowler

Listen to the programme on BBC Radio 4

Conversations on a Bench – Derby

In this edition, Anna sits on a bench in the centre of Derby. Throughout the programme, a specially commissioned work by the poet Sophie Sparham draws on the voices of those passing by – and sometimes pausing on – the bench at ‘the Spot’ in the city.

These hidden stories are glimpsed through snatched moments and the painful and beautiful stories people tell Anna in this busy urban setting. One man talks of regaining his hearing after 18 years of deafness, another – a child of Caribbean immigrants – of the pain he feels for the Windrush generation.

Presented by Anna Scott-Brown
Produced by Adam Fowler

Listen to the programme on BBC Radio 4

Conversations on a Bench – Shetland

In this edition she sits on a bench in Hamnovoe on the Island of Burra in Shetland.  Throughout the programme a specially commissioned work by the poet Jen Hadfield draws on the voices of those passing by – and sometimes pausing on – the bench opposite a small west facing harbour.  

The poems speak in the voices of the landscape and the words of the contributors, reflecting on geology, time and the Island community.  

We hear snatches of dialect and how it was once considered rude and even unlucky to speak dialect in a public space, as well as folklore and stories.  

Presented by Anna Scott-Brown
Produced by Adam Fowler

Listen to the programme on BBC Radio 4