Nicholas Parsons was only just 16 when his parents sent him from his relatively privileged home in London to the industrially hardened city of Glasgow.

It was January 1940 and with the country still at war, the Parsons felt the best place for their teenage son was serving his country north of the border.

So with the help of an uncle, Nicholas secured an engineering apprenticeship on the busy River Clyde.

For 5 years he combined his studies at Glasgow university with work for the Drysdales firm.

60 years on Nicholas Parsons goes back to the place where he was sent as a boy but grew into a man.

By day he had a tough education from the uncompromisingly tough men of the Clyde, but by night he had the freedom to discover his talents on stage and perform to packed out theatres and concert halls full of the men with whom he was clocking on and off.

In this series Nicholas returns back to Glasgow and retraces the life he once had, starting his journey in the YMCA digs he came to call home.

He'll also revisit Glasgow University and the department of Engineering where he studied.

It's still at the centre of expertise in teaching and research in shipbuilding today.

He'll find out how the profession of shipbuilding has changed.

Producer: Lyndon Saunders

An All Out production for BBC Radio 4.


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Nicholas Parsons takes a heartfelt look at the decline of shipbuilding on Clydeside.

He meets former union activist and proud Glaswegian Jimmy Reid, who orchestrated the famous 'work-in' protest during the 70s.

Nicholas also visits BAE Systems - the last post of shipbuilding and apprentice schemes on the Clyde.

He also looks at the paradox of Clydeside - the loss of industry has caused the severe decline of employment for the local community, but it's a beacon of hope as the tough working conditions of shipbuilding are replaced by urban regeneration projects, further education colleges and tourism.

Producer: Lyndon Saunders

An All Out production for BBC Radio 4.


Nicholas Parsons continues his journey to Clydebank in Glasgow to rediscover his time as a wartime apprentice in the shipbuilding industry.

He also reveals how, whilst working by day, he explored his love for performing in the theatre at night - against his parents' wishes.

And in doing so, Nicholas took those formative steps to becoming the actor and broadcaster he's known and loved as to this day.

Producer: Lyndon Saunders

An All Out production for BBC Radio 4.

Nicholas Parsons revisits the Clyde, where he was an apprentice in the 1940s.