Before They Were Famous

Even the most successful writers have at some point had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01012012081520140625
20151007 (BBC7)
20170509 (BBC7)
Ian Leslie with often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

Ian Leslie presents a new Radio 4 comedy show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of some of the world's best known writers. A project of literary archaeology, Leslie has found evidence in the most unlikely of places - within the archives of newspapers, periodicals, corporations and universities - showcasing the early examples of work by writers such as Jilly Cooper during her brief and unfortunately unsuccessful foray into the world of war reporting, and Hunter S Thompson in his sadly short-lived phase working in the customer relations department for a major American Airline.

These are the newspaper articles, advertising copy, company correspondence and gardening manuals that allow us a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best loved literary voices - people we know today for their novels or poems but who, at the time, were just people with a dream...and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Produced by Anna Silver and Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

Ian Leslie presents a new Radio 4 comedy show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of some of the world's best known writers. A project of literary archaeology, Leslie has found evidence in the most unlikely of places - within the archives of newspapers, periodicals, corporations and universities - showcasing the early examples of work by writers such as Jilly Cooper during her brief and unfortunately unsuccessful foray into the world of war reporting, and Hunter S Thompson in his sadly short-lived phase working in the customer relations department for a major American Airline.

Ian Leslie presents a new Radio 4 comedy show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of some of the world's best known writers. A project of literary archaeology, Leslie has found evidence in the most unlikely of places - within the archives of newspapers, periodicals, corporations and universities - showcasing the early examples of work by writers such as Jilly Cooper during her brief and unfortunately unsuccessful foray into the world of war reporting, and Hunter S Thompson in his sadly short-lived phase working in the customer relations department for a major American Airline.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

01022012082220140702
20151014 (BBC7)
20170516 (BBC7)
Ian Leslie with more surprising first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers.

Ian Leslie presents the comedy show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of some of the world's best known writers.

A project of literary archaeology, Leslie has found evidence in the most unlikely of places - within the archives of newspapers, periodicals, corporations and universities - showcasing the early examples of work by writers such as Jilly Cooper during her brief and unfortunately unsuccessful foray into the world of war reporting, and Hunter S Thompson in his sadly short-lived phase working in the customer relations department for a major American Airline.

These are the newspaper articles, advertising copy, company correspondence and gardening manuals that allow us a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best loved literary voices - people we know today for their novels or poems but who, at the time, were just people with a dream...and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Produced by Anna Silver and Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

A project of literary archaeology, Leslie has found evidence in the most unlikely of places - within the archives of newspapers, periodicals, corporations and universities - showcasing the early examples of work by writers such as Jilly Cooper during her brief and unfortunately unsuccessful foray into the world of war reporting, and Hunter S Thompson in his sadly short-lived phase working in the customer relations department for a major American Airline.

Ian Leslie presents a new Radio 4 comedy show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of some of the world's best known writers. A project of literary archaeology, Leslie has found evidence in the most unlikely of places - within the archives of newspapers, periodicals, corporations and universities - showcasing the early examples of work by writers such as Jilly Cooper during her brief and unfortunately unsuccessful foray into the world of war reporting, and Hunter S Thompson in his sadly short-lived phase working in the customer relations department for a major American Airline.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

01032012082920140709
20151021 (BBC7)
20170611 (BBC7)
Ian Leslie with more surprising first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers.

Ian Leslie presents a new Radio 4 comedy show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of some of the world's best known writers. A project of literary archaeology, Leslie has found evidence in the most unlikely of places - within the archives of newspapers, periodicals, corporations and universities - showcasing the early examples of work by writers such as Jilly Cooper during her brief and unfortunately unsuccessful foray into the world of war reporting, and Hunter S Thompson in his sadly short-lived phase working in the customer relations department for a major American Airline.

These are the newspaper articles, advertising copy, company correspondence and gardening manuals that allow us a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best loved literary voices - people we know today for their novels or poems but who, at the time, were just people with a dream...and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Produced by Anna Silver and Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

Ian Leslie presents a new Radio 4 comedy show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of some of the world's best known writers. A project of literary archaeology, Leslie has found evidence in the most unlikely of places - within the archives of newspapers, periodicals, corporations and universities - showcasing the early examples of work by writers such as Jilly Cooper during her brief and unfortunately unsuccessful foray into the world of war reporting, and Hunter S Thompson in his sadly short-lived phase working in the customer relations department for a major American Airline.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

0104 LAST2012090520140716
20151028 (BBC7)
20170618 (BBC7)

Ian Leslie presents a new Radio 4 comedy show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of some of the world's best known writers. A project of literary archaeology, Leslie has found evidence in the most unlikely of places - within the archives of newspapers, periodicals, corporations and universities-showcasing the early writing examples of writers such as Jilly Cooper-during her brief and unfortunately unsuccessful foray into the world of war reporting, and Hunter S Thompson - in his sadly short-lived phase working in the customer relations department for a major American Airline.

These are the newspaper articles, advertising copy, company correspondence and gardening manuals, that allow us a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best loved literary voices - people whom we know today for their novels or poems but who, at the time, were just people with a dream...and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Produced by: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick Production for BBC Radio 4.

Ian Leslie reveals surprising first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers.

Produced by: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick Production for BBC Radio 4.

A Hat Trick Production for BBC Radio 4.

Ian Leslie presents a new Radio 4 comedy show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of some of the world's best known writers. A project of literary archaeology, Leslie has found evidence in the most unlikely of places - within the archives of newspapers, periodicals, corporations and universities-showcasing the early writing examples of writers such as Jilly Cooper-during her brief and unfortunately unsuccessful foray into the world of war reporting, and Hunter S Thompson - in his sadly short-lived phase working in the customer relations department for a major American Airline.

These are the newspaper articles, advertising copy, company correspondence and gardening manuals, that allow us a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best loved literary voices - people whom we know today for their novels or poems but who, at the time, were just people with a dream...and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Produced by: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick Production for BBC Radio 4.

Ian Leslie reveals surprising first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

02012013101620171108 (BBC7)
20151202 (R4)
Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

We may know them today for their novels, plays or poems but, once upon a time, they were just people with a dream - and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

What the world's best-known writers did for a living before they became famous.

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

02022013102320171115 (BBC7)
20151209 (R4)
Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

We may know them today for their novels, plays or poems but, once upon a time, they were just people with a dream - and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

Even the most successful writers have, at some point, had to take jobs to pay the bills.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

"

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

02032013103020171122 (BBC7)
20151216 (R4)
Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

We may know them today for their novels, plays or poems but, once upon a time, they were just people with a dream - and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.
Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

Even the most successful writers have, at some point, had to take jobs to pay the bills.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

02042013110620171129 (BBC7)
20151223 (R4)
Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

We may know them today for their novels, plays or poems but, once upon a time, they were just people with a dream - and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick Production for BBC Radio 4.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick Production for BBC Radio 4.

Even the most successful writers have, at some point, had to take jobs to pay the bills.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

02052013111320171206 (BBC7)
20160106 (R4)
Even the most successful writers have, at some point, had to take jobs to pay the bills.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

We may know them today for their novels, plays or poems but, once upon a time, they were just people with a dream - and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

0206 LAST2013112020160113 (R4)
20171213 (BBC7)
Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

We may know them today for their novels, plays or poems but, once upon a time, they were just people with a dream - and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

"

Even the most successful writers have, at some point, had to take jobs to pay the bills.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

Even the most successful of writers have, at some point, had to take day jobs to pay the bills.

Ian Leslie presents the second series of this Radio 4 spoof documentary, which sheds light on the often surprising jobs done by the world's best known writers in the days before they were able to make a living from their art.

In a project of literary archaeology, Leslie unearths archive examples of early work by great writers, including Fortune Cookie messages written by Germaine Greer, a political manifesto by the young JK Rowling, and a car manual written by Dan Brown. In newspaper articles, advertising copy, and company correspondence, we get a fascinating glimpse into the embryonic development of our best-loved literary voices.

We may know them today for their novels, plays or poems but, once upon a time, they were just people with a dream - and a rent bill looming at the end of the month.

Producers: Anna Silver and Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

03012015052020170830
20191015 (BBC7)
20170830 (R4)
Ian Leslie presents the show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

In this episode, we're first treated to graphic novelist Alan Moore's early drafts for the popular Fred Bassett cartoon strip.

We then turn to crime writer Patricia Cornwell and her perhaps excessively gory descriptions of fast food menu items, written as an early commission by a high street restaurateur when work was scarce.

Finally we hear from great poet Byron as he first plied his trade for a quick paycheque, penning headstone verses for beloved deceased pets.

To end the show, the first of our disturbingly unseasonal Christmas cracker jokes by Henrik Ibsen.

Producer: Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4 first broadcast in May 2015..

Featuring early efforts by Alan Moore, Patricia Cornwell, Byron and Henrik Ibsen.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

In this episode we're first treated to graphic novelist Alan Moore's early drafts for the popular Fred Bassett cartoon strip.

Producer: Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

In this episode we're first treated to graphic novelist Alan Moore's early drafts for the popular Fred Bassett cartoon strip.

We then turn to crime writer Patricia Cornwell and her perhaps excessively gory descriptions of fast food menu items, written as an early commission by a high street restaurateur when work was scarce.

Producer: Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

03022015052720170906
20191022 (BBC7)
20170906 (R4)
Ian Leslie presents the show that brings to light the often surprising, first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

In this episode, we get a valuable insight into the origins of Henry Longfellow's poetic success - in the guise of a letter of complaint to a boiler repair company.

We also hear the troubled, adolescent Mary Shelley craft disturbing notes to accompany floral tributes, marvel at the deliciously spooky auction catalogue copy written by MR James, and hear a slightly disturbing Christmas cracker joke by Fredrik Ibsen.

Producer: Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4 first broadcast in May 2015.

Featuring a valuable insight into the origins of Henry Longfellow's poetic success.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

In this episode we get a valuable insight into the origins of Henry Longfellow's poetic success - in the guise of a letter of complaint to a boiler repair company.

We also hear the troubled, adolescent Mary Shelley craft disturbing notes to accompany floral tributes, marvel at the deliciously spooky auction catalogue copy written by M.R. James, and hear a slightly disturbing Christmas cracker joke by Fredrik Ibsen.

Producer: Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

Ian Leslie presents the show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

We also hear the troubled, adolescent Mary Shelley craft disturbing notes to accompany floral tributes, marvel at the deliciously spooky auction catalogue copy written by M.R. James, and hear a slightly disturbing Christmas cracker joke by Fredrik Ibsen.

03032015060320170913
20191029 (BBC7)
20170913 (R4)
Ian Leslie presents the show that brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

In this episode, we gain some understanding of the force that was to be reckoned with in the case of William Blake, and how his spiritual leanings came to bear on his copy for public signs in London parks.

We also hear the beginnings of Will Self's acerbic style in his submission as a child, re-working a classic fairy tale for an adolescent magazine.

There's also the much loved poet Pam Ayres and her sadly unused submission for a reworking of the three-minute warning in the event of a nuclear bomb.

Finally, we hear another of the questionable offerings from Henrik Ibsen to the joke department of a Christmas cracker manufacturer.

Producer: Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

How William Blake's spiritual leanings came to bear on public signs in London parks.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

Ian Leslie presents the show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

There's also the much loved poet Pam Ayres and her sadly unused submission for a reworking of the 3 minute warning in the event of a nuclear bomb.

Producer: Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

In this episode, we gain some understanding of the force that was to be reckoned with in the case of William Blake, and how his spiritual leanings came to bear on his copy for public signs in London parks.

We also hear the beginnings of Will Self's ascerbic style in his submission as a child, re-working a classic fairy tale for an adolescent magazine.

There's also the much loved poet Pam Ayres and her sadly unused submission for a reworking of the 3 minute warning in the event of a nuclear bomb.

Producer: Claire Broughton

A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4 first broadcast in June 2015.

03042015061020170920
20191105 (BBC7)
20170920 (R4)
Ian Leslie presents the show that brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

In this episode, the author of Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk is found to have started out doling out questionable advice as editor of the letters page of a US newspaper's children's supplement.

Next up, we hear Marcel Proust's unexpected ornithological leanings and previously undiscovered entries from Raymond Chandler's adolescent diaries.

To finish, there's another of Henrik Ibsen's uncomfortable Christmas cracker jokes.

Producer: Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

Chuck Palahniuk began by doling out questionable advice as editor of a letters page.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

Ian Leslie presents the show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

Producer: Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

In this episode, the author of Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk is found to have started out doling out questionable advice as editor of the letters page of a US newspaper's children's supplement.

03052015061720170927
20191112 (BBC7)
20170927 (R4)
Jane Austen's first employment was as a bailiff's clerk penning letters to debtors.

Ian Leslie presents the show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

The episode begins with Jane Austen's first employ as a bailiff's clerk penning exceptionally sweet letters to unfortunately late paying debtors.

To follow, we hear Edward Lear's indecipherable missives on behalf of the British Intelligence services and a Radio 4 stalwart, the Shipping Forecast, is re-imagined in a submission found in the archives from a young Martin Amis suggesting how to update the format.

To end, there's another of Henrik Ibsen's unexpected offerings of jokes for a Christmas cracker company.

Producer: Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

To follow, we hear Edward Lear's indecipherable missives on behalf of the British Intelligence services and a Radio 4 stalwart, the Shipping Forecast, is re-imagined in a submission found in the archives from a young Martin Amis suggesting how to update the format.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers

0306 LAST2015062420171004
20191119 (BBC7)
20171004 (R4)
Hear Fay Weldon's illuminating quiz for Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Ian Leslie presents the show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

To start off this episode, we hear Fay Weldon's illuminating quiz for Cosmopolitan Magazine - 'Are you too obsessed with your ex?'.

Next, it's Friedrich Nietzsche's lesser known work for a toy company catalogue - giving possibly more in depth descriptions than were initially required.

Then we hear from beloved poet Pam Ayres again, in a piece submitted to the Office of Information as a draft for a public safety announcement.

Finally, there's another of Henrik Ibsen's joke submissions for a Christmas cracker manufacturer.

Producer: Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

Ian Leslie presents the show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

To start off this episode, we hear Fay Weldon's illuminating quiz for Cosmopolitan Magazine - 'Are you too obsessed with your ex?'.

Next, it's Friedrich Nietzsche's lesser known work for a toy company catalogue - giving possibly more in depth descriptions than were initially required.

Then we hear from beloved poet Pam Ayres again, in a piece submitted to the Office of Information as a draft for a public safety announcement.

Producer: Claire Broughton

Ian Leslie presents the show which brings to light the often surprising first literary attempts of the world's best known writers.

To start off this episode, we hear Fay Weldon's illuminating quiz for Cosmopolitan Magazine - 'Are you too obsessed with your ex?'.

Next, it's Friedrich Nietzsche's lesser known work for a toy company catalogue - giving possibly more in depth descriptions than were initially required.

Then we hear from beloved poet Pam Ayres again, in a piece submitted to the Office of Information as a draft for a public safety announcement.

Finally, there's another of Henrik Ibsen's joke submissions for a Christmas cracker manufacturer.

Producer: Claire Broughton
A Hat Trick production for BBC Radio 4.

Hear Fay Weldon's illuminating quiz for Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Comedy. Ian Leslie uncovers the first literary attempts of the world's best-known writers