Conversations On A Bench

Episodes

SeriesTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
2016100920161015 (R4)

Anna Scott-Brown returns to hear more stories from the people who stop to sit beside her on benches around the country. In this episode, she is joined on a bench overlooking Beadnell Harbour in Northumberland by holiday-makers, environmentalists and some members of the last remaining fishing families of Beadnell.

Throughout the programme, a specially commissioned work by poet and Beadnell resident, Katrina Porteous draws on the voices of locals and passers by.

The harbour was once a thriving departure point for the lime produced in the kilns behind the bench, and for the traditional coble fishing boats, now almost completely gone.

Today, the village has one of the highest percentages of holiday homes in Britain, and traditional ways of making a living are under threat, but Anna is joined by those whose communal memory goes back to the heyday of a once close-knit working community.

Now the only viable industry is tourism, and the beach below the bench throbs with the noise of watersports during the summer months. As migrations of salmon, arctic tern and human incomers ebb and flow, Katrina Porteous's poem evokes the cycles of seasons and millennia, the history locked within a disappearing dialect, and the constant reincarnation of communities, landscapes and ways of being.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna Scott-Brown's gentle - but insistent and sometimes extremely direct - questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

Presenter: Anna Scott-Brown

Producer: Adam Fowler

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

2016101620161022 (R4)Owen Sheers' poem reflects tales told to Anna Scott-Brown on a bench facing Swansea Bay.

Anna Scott-Brown hears more stories from the people who stop to sit beside her on benches around the country. In this edition she is joined in Mumbles, on a bench overlooking Swansea Bay, by locals, holidaymakers and the family of the person to whom the bench is dedicated.

Throughout the programme, a specially commissioned work by poet Owen Sheers draws on the voices and stories of those who sit and contemplate the inscription, ""Born to be Wild - Dinks Nash -Loved Forever.

The views from the bench of the Gower Peninsula and the threatened Tata Steelworks evoke stories of migration and community, of division and cohesion, and of grief for what has gone we well as celebration for what lives on.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna Scott-Brown's gentle - but insistent and sometimes extremely direct - questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

Presenter: Anna Scott-Brown

Producer: Adam Fowler

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

Derby - Sophie Sparham2019010620190112 (R4)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 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.

Stories of homelessness feature throughout the programme, including one young man who has turned his life around. And there is a final citation to hope, both in Sophie’s poetry and in the contributors who have sat on the bench.

Sophie picks up on some of Derby’s well known figures in her poems, and pays a moving tribute to the city she lives in, while expressing some of the tensions inherent in her love for it.

Hidden lives are revealed, and common threads recur as Anna’s gentle but insistent, and sometimes extremely direct, questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

Presented and Produced by Anna Scott-Brown
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

A poem by Sophie Sparham echoes stories told to Anna Scott-Brown on a bench in Derby.

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

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

Falmouth2020030120200307 (R4)Anna Scott-Brown hears more stories from the people who stop to sit beside her on benches around the country.

In this edition, she sits on a bench in Falmouth, Cornwall. Throughout the programme a specially commissioned work by the poet Penelope Shuttle draws on the voices of those passing by – and sometimes pausing on – the bench in Queen Mary Gardens on the seafront.

It is a counter-intuitive approach to the county that gets away from its picture-postcard image, reflecting the poverty and hardship experienced by many in a post-industrial county.

There are stories of love and death, poignantly brought together as Penelope remembers her late husband Peter on whose bench the conversations are taking place.

From the automata maker and his little cat that tells us ‘suddenly it is now’, to the exercise teacher from Washington DC, the swimming instructor who remembers losing her wellies in the park as a child, and the sustainable tourism gold award winner who is now sceptical about how much good tourism does for the country.

How long does it take to become Cornish? It seems the answer is three generations, while the county itself seems to draw out a special affection from old timers whose families go back generations and from newer arrivals.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna’s gentle but insistent, and sometimes extremely direct, questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

A poem by Penelope Shuttle picks up on conversations recorded on a bench in Falmouth.

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

Ilford20200315Anna Scott-Brown hears more stories from the people who stop to sit beside her on benches around the country.

In this edition, she sits on a bench in Ilford. Throughout the programme, a specially commissioned work by the poet Hussain Manawer draws on the voices of those passing by – and sometimes pausing on – the bench beside Valentines Mansion in Valentines Park.

It creates a portrait of a diverse London borough built on farmland, and the constant flow of people arriving and moving on. From the first white middle class residents to the Jews and people of the Windrush generation, arrivals from Asia and latterly Somali - immigrants and refugees.

Memories from childhoods in the park, and ones that go back to the Partition of India and Pakistan, illustrate the power of place and belonging and some of the barriers to full integration.

We hear the story of an abusive marriage against the background of the murder of sex-worker Marianna Popper on Ilford Lane, and of a young woman who counts members of the drugs gangs as her "family", but who has escaped.

Rising crime is pushing some people out, and the bench is dedicated to Levi Miller who took his own life. But what we learn from Ilford is that, if the same energy that depresses you can be used for living life, life can be different.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna’s gentle but insistent, and sometimes extremely direct, questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

A poem by Hussain Manawer picks up on conversations recorded on a Bench in Ilford.

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

Ilford2020031520200321 (R4)Anna Scott-Brown hears more stories from the people who stop to sit beside her on benches around the country.

In this edition, she sits on a bench in Ilford. Throughout the programme, a specially commissioned work by the poet Hussain Manawer draws on the voices of those passing by – and sometimes pausing on – the bench beside Valentines Mansion in Valentines Park.

It creates a portrait of a diverse London borough built on farmland, and the constant flow of people arriving and moving on. From the first white middle class residents to the Jews and people of the Windrush generation, arrivals from Asia and latterly Somali - immigrants and refugees.

Memories from childhoods in the park, and ones that go back to the Partition of India and Pakistan, illustrate the power of place and belonging and some of the barriers to full integration.

We hear the story of an abusive marriage against the background of the murder of sex-worker Marianna Popper on Ilford Lane, and of a young woman who counts members of the drugs gangs as her "family", but who has escaped.

Rising crime is pushing some people out, and the bench is dedicated to Levi Miller who took his own life. But what we learn from Ilford is that, if the same energy that depresses you can be used for living life, life can be different.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna’s gentle but insistent, and sometimes extremely direct, questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

A poem by Hussain Manawer picks up on conversations recorded on a Bench in Ilford.

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

Ilford2020031520200321 (R4)Anna Scott-Brown hears more stories from the people who stop to sit beside her on benches around the country.

In this edition, she sits on a bench in Ilford. Throughout the programme, a specially commissioned work by the poet Hussain Manawer draws on the voices of those passing by – and sometimes pausing on – the bench beside Valentines Mansion in Valentines Park.

It creates a portrait of a diverse London borough built on farmland, and the constant flow of people arriving and moving on. From the first white middle class residents to the Jews and people of the Windrush generation, arrivals from Asia and latterly Somali - immigrants and refugees.

Memories from childhoods in the park, and ones that go back to the Partition of India and Pakistan, illustrate the power of place and belonging and some of the barriers to full integration.

We hear the story of an abusive marriage against the background of the murder of sex-worker Marianna Popper on Ilford Lane, and of a young woman who counts members of the drugs gangs as her "family", but who has escaped.

Rising crime is pushing some people out, and the bench is dedicated to Levi Miller who took his own life. But what we learn from Ilford is that, if the same energy that depresses you can be used for living life, life can be different.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna’s gentle but insistent, and sometimes extremely direct, questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

A poem by Hussain Manawer picks up on conversations recorded on a Bench in Ilford.

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

Anna Scott-Brown hears the stories of people who stop to sit beside her on a public bench.

Leeds2020030820200314 (R4)Anna Scott-Brown's conversations and chance encounters on a bench in Potternewton Park, Leeds provide the context for Zodwa Nyoni's specially commissioned poem.

Meeting visitors of the Leeds West Indian Carnival, whose home is this very park, along with established and new residents of Leeds' Chapeltown area, Anna uncovers stories of displacement and belonging, of shared space and shared humanity. There emerges a picture of what makes Potternewton distinctive - as well as how it has changed over the years.

The importance of music, heritage and food comes to the fore, alongside racial tensions of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, with experiences of bias that still exists today. The Windrush scandal provides a contrast to the celebration of the West Indian Carnival, and the shocking death of David Oluwale in 1969 following serial police victimisation sits alongside historical accounts of police brutality suffered in this area.

Poet Zodwa Nyoni deftly interweaves her own rhythms into the stories and celebrates the beauty and vitality of this space and its people.

Poet: Zodwa Nyoni
Reporter: Anna Scott-Brown
Producer: Philippa Geering
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

Zodwa Nyoni's poem reflects stories told to Anna Scott-Brown on a park bench in Leeds.

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

Shetland - Jen Hadfield2019011320190119 (R4)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 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 poem speaks in the voices of the landscape and the words of the contributors, reflecting on geology, time and the Island community.

The edges between the land and the sea and the sea and the sky becomes a theme, as does how living on an island changes your perspective on community, the sea and your place in the world.

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.

The rich variety of voices melds those born and living on Shetland with people who have arrived for many different reasons – including one Polish lady exiled in 1981 when martial rule was imposed in Poland. She finds a similarity between being cut off from her homeland and living on a small island in bad weather.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna’s gentle but insistent questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

Presented by Anna Scott-Brown
Produced by Adam Fowler and Anna Scott-Brown
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

Jen Hadfield's poem echoes stories told to Anna Scott-Brown on a Shetland Islands bench.

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

Stories from people who stop to sit beside Anna Scott-Brown on benches around the country.

Strabane - Maureen Boyle2018123020190105 (R4)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.

Once an employment blackspot, how is the town faring now? And what difference will Brexit make here on the border?

Throughout the programme, Maureen Boyle’s poem interweaves a personal elegy for her grandfather who worked at the nearby Linen factory in Sion Mills and her own memories of growing up in the area.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna’s gentle but insistent, and sometimes extremely direct, questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

Presented and Produced by Anna Scott-Brown
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

A poem by Maureen Boyle echoes stories told to Anna Scott-Brown on a bench in Strabane.

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

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.

Once an employment blackspot, how is the town faring now? And what difference will Brexit make here on the border?

Throughout the programme, Maureen Boyle’s poem interweaves a personal elegy for her grandfather who worked at the nearby Linen factory in Sion Mills and her own memories of growing up in the area.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna’s gentle but insistent, and sometimes extremely direct, questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

Presented and Produced by Anna Scott-Brown
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

A poem by Maureen Boyle echoes stories told to Anna Scott-Brown on a bench in Strabane.

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

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.

Once an employment blackspot, how is the town faring now? And what difference will Brexit make here on the border?

Throughout the programme, Maureen Boyle’s poem interweaves a personal elegy for her grandfather who worked at the nearby Linen factory in Sion Mills and her own memories of growing up in the area.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna’s gentle but insistent, and sometimes extremely direct, questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

Presented and Produced by Anna Scott-Brown
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

A poem by Maureen Boyle echoes stories told to Anna Scott-Brown on a bench in Strabane.

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

Stories from people who stop to sit beside Anna Scott-Brown on benches around the country.

01Mumbles - Owen Sheers20161016Owen Sheers' poem reflects tales told to Anna Scott-Brown on a bench facing Swansea Bay.

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

01Mumbles - Owen Sheers2016101620161022 (R4)Owen Sheers' poem reflects tales told to Anna Scott-Brown on a bench facing Swansea Bay.

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

01Northumberland - Katrina Porteous20161009Katrina Porteous's poem reflects tales told to Anna Scott-Brown on a Northumberland bench.

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

01Northumberland - Katrina Porteous2016100920161015 (R4)Katrina Porteous's poem reflects tales told to Anna Scott-Brown on a Northumberland bench.

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

0220171029

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

In this edition, she sits on a bench in London's Chinatown. Throughout the programme a specially commissioned work by the poet Sarah Howe draws on the voices of those passing by - and sometimes pausing on - the bench outside a bubble tea shop in Gerrard Street.

These hidden stories are glimpsed through snatched moments and the painful and beautiful stories people tell Anna in this busy urban setting - the life on hold of an illegal immigrant, the gambler who has lost everything and found God but who is still fighting his addiction, the woman whose father committed suicide after the handover of Hong Kong to China, the political exile turned lawyer, the successful businessman, the artist and the chef.

Throughout it all, the importance of food and family emerges as people speak of where they find their roots - in Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, London's Chinatown itself - and compare the experiences of being a migrant to Britain with a British-born Chinese.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna's gentle but insistent questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

Producer Adam Fowler
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

Sarah Howe's poetry echoes tales told to Anna Scott-Brown on a bench in Chinatown, London.

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

022017102920171104 (R4)

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

In this edition, she sits on a bench in London's Chinatown. Throughout the programme a specially commissioned work by the poet Sarah Howe draws on the voices of those passing by - and sometimes pausing on - the bench outside a bubble tea shop in Gerrard Street.

These hidden stories are glimpsed through snatched moments and the painful and beautiful stories people tell Anna in this busy urban setting - the life on hold of an illegal immigrant, the gambler who has lost everything and found God but who is still fighting his addiction, the woman whose father committed suicide after the handover of Hong Kong to China, the political exile turned lawyer, the successful businessman, the artist and the chef.

Throughout it all, the importance of food and family emerges as people speak of where they find their roots - in Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, London's Chinatown itself - and compare the experiences of being a migrant to Britain with a British-born Chinese.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna's gentle but insistent questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

Producer Adam Fowler
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

Sarah Howe's poetry echoes tales told to Anna Scott-Brown on a bench in Chinatown, London.

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

0220171029Sarah Howe's poetry echoes tales told to Anna Scott-Brown on a bench in Chinatown, London.

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

In this edition, she sits on a bench in London's Chinatown. Throughout the programme a specially commissioned work by the poet Sarah Howe draws on the voices of those passing by - and sometimes pausing on - the bench outside a bubble tea shop in Gerrard Street.

These hidden stories are glimpsed through snatched moments and the painful and beautiful stories people tell Anna in this busy urban setting - the life on hold of an illegal immigrant, the gambler who has lost everything and found God but who is still fighting his addiction, the woman whose father committed suicide after the handover of Hong Kong to China, the political exile turned lawyer, the successful businessman, the artist and the chef.

Throughout it all, the importance of food and family emerges as people speak of where they find their roots - in Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, London's Chinatown itself - and compare the experiences of being a migrant to Britain with a British-born Chinese.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna's gentle but insistent questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

Producer Adam Fowler
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

0229/10/201720171104
02Edinburgh - Janette Ayachi20171022

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

In this edition, she sits on a bench in Inverleith Park in Edinburgh. Throughout the programme, a specially commissioned work by the Edinburgh-based poet Janette Ayachi draws on the voices of those passing their time in the park.

From the bench there is a panoramic view of both the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town. The layering of this strangely three dimensional city of roads and bridges, arches and spires is echoed in the layering of story. A schoolgirl practices her reading, while a man always ready to use his fists regrets a life dominated by drugs. Refugees from Syria are finding their feet as they learn to master the language, while one man connects to his homeland in Africa through song. A local churchman talks of pilgrimage and a museum curator of holding the past - present and future together - as one woman speaks of her fear of aging.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna's gentle but insistent and sometimes extremely direct questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

A poem by Janette Ayachi echoes stories told to Anna Scott-Brown on a bench in Edinburgh.

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

02Edinburgh - Janette Ayachi2017102220171028 (R4)

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

In this edition, she sits on a bench in Inverleith Park in Edinburgh. Throughout the programme, a specially commissioned work by the Edinburgh-based poet Janette Ayachi draws on the voices of those passing their time in the park.

From the bench there is a panoramic view of both the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town. The layering of this strangely three dimensional city of roads and bridges, arches and spires is echoed in the layering of story. A schoolgirl practices her reading, while a man always ready to use his fists regrets a life dominated by drugs. Refugees from Syria are finding their feet as they learn to master the language, while one man connects to his homeland in Africa through song. A local churchman talks of pilgrimage and a museum curator of holding the past - present and future together - as one woman speaks of her fear of aging.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna's gentle but insistent and sometimes extremely direct questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

A poem by Janette Ayachi echoes stories told to Anna Scott-Brown on a bench in Edinburgh.

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

02Edinburgh - Janette Ayachi20171022A poem by Janette Ayachi echoes stories told to Anna Scott-Brown on a bench in Edinburgh.

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

In this edition, she sits on a bench in Inverleith Park in Edinburgh. Throughout the programme, a specially commissioned work by the Edinburgh-based poet Janette Ayachi draws on the voices of those passing their time in the park.

From the bench there is a panoramic view of both the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town. The layering of this strangely three dimensional city of roads and bridges, arches and spires is echoed in the layering of story. A schoolgirl practices her reading, while a man always ready to use his fists regrets a life dominated by drugs. Refugees from Syria are finding their feet as they learn to master the language, while one man connects to his homeland in Africa through song. A local churchman talks of pilgrimage and a museum curator of holding the past - present and future together - as one woman speaks of her fear of aging.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna's gentle but insistent and sometimes extremely direct questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

02Edinburgh - Janette Ayachi20171028
02Manchester - Andrew Mcmillan20170829A poem by Andrew McMillan echoes stories told to Anna Scott-Brown on a Manchester bench.

Anna Scott-Brown hears more stories from the people who stop to sit beside her on benches around the country. In this edition, she sits on a bench next to Manchester's gay village, in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing.

Throughout the programme, a specially commissioned work by poet Andrew McMillan draws on the voices and stories of those passing the time in Sackville Gardens - a man with schizophrenia and a woman drinking to forget, a potter looking for inspiration in the shape of the trees, a man and his ex boyfriend walking a dog from one of the nearby penthouse flats, the young carer with great compassion, and the woman driven by her past to fulfil her dreams.

The impact of the recent bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester Arena is never far away, while the stories depict a noble city with a distinctive spirit, which comes to the fore at moments of crisis.

Andrew McMillan's poem creates a glimpse of snatched moments and the painful and beautiful stories people tell Anna Scott-Brown in this busy urban setting.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna's gentle - but insistent and sometimes extremely direct - questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

Presenter: Anna Scott-Brown
Producer: Adam Fowler
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

02Manchester - Andrew McMillan20170829Anna Scott-Brown hears more stories from the people who stop to sit beside her on benches around the country. In this edition, she sits on a bench next to Manchester's gay village, in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing.

Throughout the programme, a specially commissioned work by poet Andrew McMillan draws on the voices and stories of those passing the time in Sackville Gardens - a man with schizophrenia and a woman drinking to forget, a potter looking for inspiration in the shape of the trees, a man and his ex boyfriend walking a dog from one of the nearby penthouse flats, the young carer with great compassion, and the woman driven by her past to fulfil her dreams.

The impact of the recent bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester Arena is never far away, while the stories depict a noble city with a distinctive spirit, which comes to the fore at moments of crisis.

Andrew McMillan's poem creates a glimpse of snatched moments and the painful and beautiful stories people tell Anna Scott-Brown in this busy urban setting.

Hidden lives are revealed and common threads recur as Anna's gentle - but insistent and sometimes extremely direct - questions elicit poignant and profound responses from those sitting on the bench.

Presenter: Anna Scott-Brown
Producer: Adam Fowler
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

A poem by Andrew McMillan echoes stories told to Anna Scott-Brown on a Manchester bench.

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