Lemn Sissay's Origin Stories

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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Is It A Bird?20171026

Lemn examines how he hid his feelings and identity to fit in with the world around him.

Batman was an orphan; Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was an orphan; Superman was an orphan and a foundling. Cinderella was a foster child. Darth Vader - well, they can't all be winners. Lemn Sissay returns to BBC Radio 4with a comic and poetic look at the treatment of children raised in care, orphans and foster children in popular culture, comparing them with reality. Because it surely says something about how we view them that we create so many for fiction.

Lemn will explore the gap between fiction and reality, based on his own experiences of growing up in care as well as those of some special guests.

3. Is It A Bird

The most important thing that John and Martha Kent taught Clark, the boy they found in a strange-looking pod that crash-landed on their Kansas farm, was to keep his true self secret. People wouldn't understand that you can lift cars, melt steel beams with your eyes, or fly. People will be scared of you because you are different. Every adoptee and every care leaver knows this feeling. Lemn examines how he hid his feelings, his experiences, his identity, in order to fit in better with the world around him.

Lemn also talks to comedian and adoptee Deborah Frances-White about secret identities - and how to go about reinventing yourself.

Written and performed by... Lemn Sissay
Guest... Deborah Frances-White
Producer... Ed Morrish

LEMN SISSAY'S ORIGIN STORIES IS A BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTION.

Is It A Bird?20171102

Lemn examines how he hid his feelings and identity to fit in with the world around him.

Batman was an orphan; Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was an orphan; Superman was an orphan and a foundling. Cinderella was a foster child. Darth Vader - well, they can't all be winners. Lemn Sissay returns to BBC Radio 4with a comic and poetic look at the treatment of children raised in care, orphans and foster children in popular culture, comparing them with reality. Because it surely says something about how we view them that we create so many for fiction.

Lemn will explore the gap between fiction and reality, based on his own experiences of growing up in care as well as those of some special guests.

3. Is It A Bird

The most important thing that John and Martha Kent taught Clark, the boy they found in a strange-looking pod that crash-landed on their Kansas farm, was to keep his true self secret. People wouldn't understand that you can lift cars, melt steel beams with your eyes, or fly. People will be scared of you because you are different. Every adoptee and every care leaver knows this feeling. Lemn examines how he hid his feelings, his experiences, his identity, in order to fit in better with the world around him.

Lemn also talks to comedian and adoptee Deborah Frances-White about secret identities - and how to go about reinventing yourself.

Written and performed by... Lemn Sissay
Guest... Deborah Frances-White
Producer... Ed Morrish

LEMN SISSAY'S ORIGIN STORIES IS A BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTION.

Mutatis Mutandis20171019

Lemn looks at the children at Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.

Batman was an orphan; Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was an orphan; Superman was an orphan and a foundling. Cinderella was a foster child. Darth Vader - well, they can't all be winners. Lemn Sissay returns to BBC Radio 4with a comic and poetic look at the treatment of children raised in care, orphans and foster children in popular culture, comparing them with reality. Because it surely says something about how we view them that we create so many for fiction.

Lemn will explore the gap between fiction and reality, based on his own experiences of growing up in care as well as those of some special guests.

2. MUTATIS MUTANDIS

In this second episode, Lemn looks at the children at Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, otherwise known as The X-Men Academy; specifically, Rogue and Wolverine, whose dark and tragic origins lie long before either of them reached the School. But there, Xavier - Professor X - sought to teach the children how to control their powers and make the most of them. Lemn's experiences in children's homes in Wigan was not the same. What difference would it have made it it had been?

Lemn also talks to comedian and care leaver Sophie Willan, who spent most of her childhood in foster care and assisted accommodation. What superpowers did she discover she had, removed from the security of family?

Written and performed by... Lemn Sissay
Guest... Sophie Willan
Producer... Ed Morrish

LEMN SISSAY'S ORIGIN STORIES IS A BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTION.

Mutatis Mutandis20171026
The Bed Under The Stairs20161003

Batman was an orphan; Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was an orphan; Superman was an orphan and a foundling. Cinderella was a foster child. Darth Vader - well, they can't all be winners. Lemn Sissay returns to BBC Radio 4 with a comic and poetic look at the treatment of children raised in care, orphans and foster children in popular culture, comparing them with reality. Because it surely says something about how we view them that we create so many for fiction.

Lemn will explore the gap between fiction and reality, based on his own experiences of growing up in care as well as those of some special guests.

1. THE BED UNDER THE STAIRS

In this first episode, Lemn discusses his experiences as a foster child, comparing them to the life of Harry Potter. Like Harry, Lemn was never told the truth about what happened to his parents. Like Harry, he found his foster parents harsh and unforgiving. But, like Harry, he came through those problems, avoided the dementors, and grew up.

As well as storytelling, comedy and poetry, Lemn imagines an interview with Vernon and Petunia Dursley - Harry's foster parents. Finally, they get to tell their side of the story.

Written and performed by... Lemn Sissay

Producer... Ed Morrish

Lemn Sissay is the author of six collections of poetry. He has also written plays for stage and BBC radio. His radio documentary Child of the State was nominated for the 2010 Sony Awards, and last year's two-part series for Radio 4, Lemn Sissay's Homecoming was described by The Spectator as "a poignant, mind-stretching half-hour... This was truly innovative radio", and caused The Observer to remark, "What a thing to hear in Radio 4's 6.30pm slot - the sound of genuine happiness; also regret, anger, wonder, bursting from the radio with the unexpected exuberance of a child dancing at a chamber concert... terrific radio".

Lemn was the first poet to write for the Olympics 2012 and received an MBE for Services to Literature. He is associate artist at the Southbank Centre, an (hon) Doctor of Letters, and currently the Chancellor of the University of Manchester. If you should Google "Lemn Sissay" all the returning hits will be about him. There is only one person named Lemn Sissay in the world.

LEMN SISSAY'S ORIGIN STORIES IS A BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTION.

The Bed Under The Stairs20171012

Lemn discusses his experiences as a foster child and draws comparisons with Harry Potter.

Batman was an orphan; Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was an orphan; Superman was an orphan and a foundling. Cinderella was a foster child. Darth Vader - well, they can't all be winners. Lemn Sissay returns to BBC Radio 4 with a comic and poetic look at the treatment of children raised in care, orphans and foster children in popular culture, comparing them with reality. Because it surely says something about how we view them that we create so many for fiction.
Lemn will explore the gap between fiction and reality, based on his own experiences of growing up in care as well as those of some special guests.

1. THE BED UNDER THE STAIRS

In this first episode, Lemn discusses his experiences as a foster child, comparing them to the life of Harry Potter. Like Harry, Lemn was never told the truth about what happened to his parents. Like Harry, he found his foster parents harsh and unforgiving. But, like Harry, he came through those problems, avoided the dementors, and grew up.

As well as storytelling, comedy and poetry, Lemn imagines an interview with Vernon and Petunia Dursley - Harry's foster parents. Finally, they get to tell their side of the story.

Written and performed by... Lemn Sissay
Producer... Ed Morrish

Lemn Sissay is the author of six collections of poetry. He has also written plays for stage and BBC radio. His radio documentary Child of the State was nominated for the 2010 Sony Awards, and last year's two-part series for Radio 4, Lemn Sissay's Homecoming was described by The Spectator as "a poignant, mind-stretching half-hour... This was truly innovative radio", and caused The Observer to remark, "What a thing to hear in Radio 4's 6.30pm slot - the sound of genuine happiness; also regret, anger, wonder, bursting from the radio with the unexpected exuberance of a child dancing at a chamber concert... terrific radio".

Lemn was the first poet to write for the Olympics 2012 and received an MBE for Services to Literature. He is associate artist at the Southbank Centre, an (hon) Doctor of Letters, and currently the Chancellor of the University of Manchester. If you should Google "Lemn Sissay" all the returning hits will be about him. There is only one person named Lemn Sissay in the world.

LEMN SISSAY'S ORIGIN STORIES IS A BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTION.

The Dark Side20161024

Batman was an orphan; Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was an orphan; Superman was an orphan and a foundling. Cinderella was a foster child. Darth Vader - well, they can't all be winners. Lemn Sissay returns to BBC Radio 4 with a comic and poetic look at the treatment of children raised in care, orphans and foster children in popular culture, comparing them with reality. Because it surely says something about how we view them that we create so many for fiction.

Lemn will explore the gap between fiction and reality, based on his own experiences of growing up in care as well as those of some special guests.

4. The Dark Side

No-one, really, believes they are doing evil. Anakin Skywalker did not become Darth Vader because he liked being bad, he did it because he believed his pregnant wife was in danger - and so began his journey to the Dark Side. In this final, and possibly toughest, episode, Lemn examines his bad choices; where he let himself do the wrong thing - and how he has attempted to make amends. When must you let go of your memories and live?

Written and performed by ... Lemn Sissay

Producer ... Ed Morrish

LEMN SISSAY'S ORIGIN STORIES IS A BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTION.

The Dark Side20171102

Lemn examines where he let himself do the wrong thing, and how he has tried to make amends

Batman was an orphan; Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was an orphan; Superman was an orphan and a foundling. Cinderella was a foster child. Darth Vader - well, they can't all be winners. Lemn Sissay returns to BBC Radio 4 with a comic and poetic look at the treatment of children raised in care, orphans and foster children in popular culture, comparing them with reality. Because it surely says something about how we view them that we create so many for fiction.

Lemn will explore the gap between fiction and reality, based on his own experiences of growing up in care as well as those of some special guests.

4. The Dark Side
No-one, really, believes they are doing evil. Anakin Skywalker did not become Darth Vader because he liked being bad, he did it because he believed his pregnant wife was in danger - and so began his journey to the Dark Side. In this final, and possibly toughest, episode, Lemn examines his bad choices; where he let himself do the wrong thing - and how he has attempted to make amends. When must you let go of your memories and live?

Written and performed by... Lemn Sissay
Producer... Ed Morrish

LEMN SISSAY'S ORIGIN STORIES IS A BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTION.

02Mutatis Mutandis2016101020171019

Batman was an orphan; Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was an orphan; Superman was an orphan and a foundling. Cinderella was a foster child. Darth Vader - well, they can't all be winners. Lemn Sissay returns to BBC Radio 4with a comic and poetic look at the treatment of children raised in care, orphans and foster children in popular culture, comparing them with reality. Because it surely says something about how we view them that we create so many for fiction.

Lemn will explore the gap between fiction and reality, based on his own experiences of growing up in care as well as those of some special guests.

2. MUTATIS MUTANDIS

In this second episode, Lemn looks at the children at Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, otherwise known as The X-Men Academy; specifically, Rogue and Wolverine, whose dark and tragic origins lie long before either of them reached the School. But there, Xavier - Professor X - sought to teach the children how to control their powers and make the most of them. Lemn's experiences in children's homes in Wigan was not the same. What difference would it have made it it had been?

Lemn also talks to comedian and care leaver Sophie Willan, who spent most of her childhood in foster care and assisted accommodation. What superpowers did she discover she had, removed from the security of family?

Written and performed by... Lemn Sissay

Guest... Sophie Willan

Producer... Ed Morrish

LEMN SISSAY'S ORIGIN STORIES IS A BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTION.

Lemn looks at the children at Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.

Batman was an orphan; Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was an orphan; Superman was an orphan and a foundling. Cinderella was a foster child. Darth Vader - well, they can't all be winners. Lemn Sissay returns to BBC Radio 4with a comic and poetic look at the treatment of children raised in care, orphans and foster children in popular culture, comparing them with reality. Because it surely says something about how we view them that we create so many for fiction.

Lemn will explore the gap between fiction and reality, based on his own experiences of growing up in care as well as those of some special guests.

2. MUTATIS MUTANDIS

In this second episode, Lemn looks at the children at Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, otherwise known as The X-Men Academy; specifically, Rogue and Wolverine, whose dark and tragic origins lie long before either of them reached the School. But there, Xavier - Professor X - sought to teach the children how to control their powers and make the most of them. Lemn's experiences in children's homes in Wigan was not the same. What difference would it have made it it had been?

Lemn also talks to comedian and care leaver Sophie Willan, who spent most of her childhood in foster care and assisted accommodation. What superpowers did she discover she had, removed from the security of family?

Written and performed by... Lemn Sissay
Guest... Sophie Willan
Producer... Ed Morrish

LEMN SISSAY'S ORIGIN STORIES IS A BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTION.

03Is It A Bird?20161017

Batman was an orphan; Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was an orphan; Superman was an orphan and a foundling. Cinderella was a foster child. Darth Vader - well, they can't all be winners. Lemn Sissay returns to BBC Radio 4with a comic and poetic look at the treatment of children raised in care, orphans and foster children in popular culture, comparing them with reality. Because it surely says something about how we view them that we create so many for fiction.

Lemn will explore the gap between fiction and reality, based on his own experiences of growing up in care as well as those of some special guests.

3. Is It A Bird

The most important thing that John and Martha Kent taught Clark, the boy they found in a strange-looking pod that crash-landed on their Kansas farm, was to keep his true self secret. People wouldn't understand that you can lift cars, melt steel beams with your eyes, or fly. People will be scared of you because you are different. Every adoptee and every care leaver knows this feeling. Lemn examines how he hid his feelings, his experiences, his identity, in order to fit in better with the world around him.

Lemn also talks to comedian and adoptee Deborah Frances-White about secret identities - and how to go about reinventing yourself.

Written and performed by... Lemn Sissay

Guest... Deborah Frances-White

Producer... Ed Morrish

LEMN SISSAY'S ORIGIN STORIES IS A BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTION.

Batman was an orphan; Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was an orphan; Superman was an orphan and a foundling. Cinderella was a foster child. Darth Vader - well, they can't all be winners. Lemn Sissay returns to BBC Radio 4with a comic and poetic look at the treatment of children raised in care, orphans and foster children in popular culture, comparing them with reality. Because it surely says something about how we view them that we create so many for fiction.

Lemn will explore the gap between fiction and reality, based on his own experiences of growing up in care as well as those of some special guests.

3. Is It A Bird

The most important thing that John and Martha Kent taught Clark, the boy they found in a strange-looking pod that crash-landed on their Kansas farm, was to keep his true self secret. People wouldn't understand that you can lift cars, melt steel beams with your eyes, or fly. People will be scared of you because you are different. Every adoptee and every care leaver knows this feeling. Lemn examines how he hid his feelings, his experiences, his identity, in order to fit in better with the world around him.

Lemn also talks to comedian and adoptee Deborah Frances-White about secret identities - and how to go about reinventing yourself.

Written and performed by... Lemn Sissay

Guest... Deborah Frances-White

Producer... Ed Morrish

LEMN SISSAY'S ORIGIN STORIES IS A BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTION.

04The Dark Side20161024

Batman was an orphan; Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was an orphan; Superman was an orphan and a foundling. Cinderella was a foster child. Darth Vader - well, they can't all be winners. Lemn Sissay returns to BBC Radio 4 with a comic and poetic look at the treatment of children raised in care, orphans and foster children in popular culture, comparing them with reality. Because it surely says something about how we view them that we create so many for fiction.

Lemn will explore the gap between fiction and reality, based on his own experiences of growing up in care as well as those of some special guests.

4. The Dark Side

No-one, really, believes they are doing evil. Anakin Skywalker did not become Darth Vader because he liked being bad, he did it because he believed his pregnant wife was in danger - and so began his journey to the Dark Side. In this final, and possibly toughest, episode, Lemn examines his bad choices; where he let himself do the wrong thing - and how he has attempted to make amends. When must you let go of your memories and live?

Written and performed by... Lemn Sissay

Producer... Ed Morrish

LEMN SISSAY'S ORIGIN STORIES IS A BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTION.