A Life's Work

'A Life's Work' is a new series in which Paddy O'Connell brings together three people, from three different generations, who have dedicated their lives to the same profession.

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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01Funeral Directors20180808

Three funeral directors talk about the changes they have seen in their profession.

Series that brings together people who have dedicated their lives to the same profession.

'A Life's Work' is a new series in which Paddy O'Connell brings together three people, from three different generations, who have all dedicated their lives to the same profession.

This week, the guests are going to be talking about matters of life and death although the conversations will actually be more about death as all three are funeral directors.

The funeral business has seen big changes over the last two decades which have been fuelled by contemporary attitudes to death and a demand for new ways of saying goodbye to our loved ones.

So, what do funeral directors think of the way in which their profession has evolved in recent years and how have they themselves been a part of that evolution?

Contributors:

David Holmes has been in the funeral business since the age of 17 (40 years ago) and founded his own company in 1989. He describes Holmes and Family as being very definitely at the 'traditional' end of the business.

Jenny Gilbert grew up in the family business (AJ Adkinson & Son, founded 1929) and says that she provides "funerals with a modern twist" as well as traditional funerals. In 2015, she was in charge of the reburial of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral.

Louise Winter's first experience of death was only five years ago at her grandfather's funeral (when she was 26). At the time she thought that there must be a better way of doing funerals so she became an 'alternative' funeral director and founded her own funeral company - Poetic Endings". Louise is a former editor of The Good Funeral Guide.

Producer: Helen Lee.

01Midwives20180815

Three midwives talk about the changes they have seen in their profession.

Series that brings together people who have dedicated their lives to the same profession.

'A Life's Work' is a new series in which Paddy O'Connell brings together three people, from three different generations, who have all dedicated their lives to the same profession.

Today's guests all work in a world traditionally run by women and their combined experience covers 50 years of service from the decade immediately after the 'Call the Midwife'.

Three midwives tell Paddy about how their own personal stories reflect the changes in the community they serve.

Contributors:

Sheena Byrom became a midwife in the 1970s and worked for the NHS for 35 years. She retired at the age of 55 having been a community midwife and then a consultant midwife. In 2009, she became a Head of Midwifery in the North of England and oversaw the opening of three new birth centres. Sheena is still a practising midwife.....one of the oldest in the country....although she doesn't actually 'catch babies' anymore, as she (in her own words) "catches midwives instead".

Sofia Odugleh works as a community midwife in Cardiff. Prior to this, she worked in a high risk maternity unit. She trained to be a midwife in her 30s and has been doing the job for 12 years. Sophia is a devout Muslim.

Dilan Chauhan is just about to qualify. There are no medical people in his family and they were surprised when he announced that he was going to train to be a midwife. (There are in fact fewer than 200 qualified male midwives in this country - 0.4% of the total). Dilan does not resent any woman who refuses to have him in the delivery room - he says that women should be able to make choices about how they give birth and who should be present.

Producer: Helen Lee.

0101Female Police Officers20180725

This first programme features women who have chosen to enter a man's world where they have won the right to face equal danger and equal criticism whilst standing on 'the thin blue line' to defend our rights and our responsibilities.

Today, Paddy is joined by three female police officers whose combined experience covers nearly half a century of change and they talk about how their own personal stories reflect the changes that have affected the community they serve.

Contributors:

Former Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Malton became a police officer in 1970 and eventually joined the Flying Squad. She was also the inspiration behind DCI Jane Tennison, played by Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect.

Sara Thornton is Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) and the former Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police.

PC Danielle Hibbert has been a police officer for four years and works with the British Transport Police.

Producer: Helen Lee.

0102Diplomats20180801

Three diplomats talk about the changes they have seen in their profession.

Series that brings together people who have dedicated their lives to the same profession.

'A Life's Work' is a new series in which Paddy O'Connell brings together three people, from three different generations, who have all dedicated their lives to the same profession.

This programme features three diplomats whose many years of service to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have contributed to over half a century of British foreign policy. From the Cuban missile crisis, via the fall of communism, natural disasters, countless receptions and numerous changes in government to one of the defining moments in the world history - 9/11 - their personal careers reflect the changing attitudes of the country they have served.

Sir Christopher Mallaby joined the diplomatic service in 1959. He was British Ambassador to Germany during the fall of the Berlin wall (1988-92) and then British Ambassador to France (1993-96). He clashed with Mrs Thatcher over the reunification of Germany (she was against it) and he was a junior diplomat in the Moscow embassy during the Cuban missile crisis.

Dame Nicola Brewer is the former High Commissioner to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland (2009 - 2013). She joined in 1983. Her children were born during a posting to France, grew up in India and spent time in South Africa. She is now Vice-Provost (International) at UCL.

Arthur Snell was High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago (2011 - 2014). As an Arabic speaker, he worked in Africa, Yemen and Iraq and his career was defined by 9/11. He joined in 1998 but decided to leave the diplomatic service - in part - because he has a young family.

Producer: Helen Lee.

0103Funeral Directors20180808

Three funeral directors talk about the changes they have seen in their profession.

Series that brings together people who have dedicated their lives to the same profession.

'A Life's Work' is a new series in which Paddy O'Connell brings together three people, from three different generations, who have all dedicated their lives to the same profession.

This week, the guests are going to be talking about matters of life and death although the conversations will actually be more about death as all three are funeral directors.

The funeral business has seen big changes over the last two decades which have been fuelled by contemporary attitudes to death and a demand for new ways of saying goodbye to our loved ones.

So, what do funeral directors think of the way in which their profession has evolved in recent years and how have they themselves been a part of that evolution?

Contributors:

David Holmes has been in the funeral business since the age of 17 (40 years ago) and founded his own company in 1989. He describes Holmes and Family as being very definitely at the 'traditional' end of the business.

Jenny Gilbert grew up in the family business (AJ Adkinson and Son, founded 1929) and says that she provides "funerals with a modern twist" as well as traditional funerals. In 2015, she was in charge of the reburial of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral.

Louise Winter's first experience of death was only five years ago at her grandfather's funeral (when she was 26). At the time she thought that there must be a better way of doing funerals so she became an 'alternative' funeral director and founded her own funeral company - Poetic Endings". Louise is a former editor of The Good Funeral Guide.

Producer: Helen Lee.

0104Midwives20180815

Three midwives talk about the changes they have seen in their profession.

Series that brings together people who have dedicated their lives to the same profession.

'A Life's Work' is a new series in which Paddy O'Connell brings together three people, from three different generations, who have all dedicated their lives to the same profession.

Today's guests all work in a world traditionally run by women and their combined experience covers 50 years of service from the decade immediately after the 'Call the Midwife'.

Three midwives tell Paddy about how their own personal stories reflect the changes in the community they serve.

Contributors:

Sheena Byrom became a midwife in the 1970s and worked for the NHS for 35 years. She retired at the age of 55 having been a community midwife and then a consultant midwife. In 2009, she became a Head of Midwifery in the North of England and oversaw the opening of three new birth centres. Sheena is still a practising midwife....one of the oldest in the country....although she doesn't actually 'catch babies' anymore, as she (in her own words) "catches midwives instead".

Sofia Odugleh works as a community midwife in Cardiff. Prior to this, she worked in a high risk maternity unit. She trained to be a midwife in her 30s and has been doing the job for 12 years. Sophia is a devout Muslim.

Dilan Chauhan is just about to qualify. There are no medical people in his family and they were surprised when he announced that he was going to train to be a midwife. (There are in fact fewer than 200 qualified male midwives in this country - 0.4% of the total). Dilan does not resent any woman who refuses to have him in the delivery room - he says that women should be able to make choices about how they give birth and who should be present.

Producer: Helen Lee.