Episodes

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Cope and Carry On!20190614

There's an estimated 15,000 people in Britain who have reached the age of 100 and received the famous telegram from the Queen. That's 0.02% of the overall population.

Over five programmes, we hear from some of them about the lives they've led, their experiences in the last 100 years, the lessons they've learned and how they view the future.

Today's centenarians are both actors.

Earl Cameron, a seafarer from Bermuda, came to prominence having been marooned in London during the Second World War. From severe poverty and much discrimination, he set about making a life for himself in England, eventually becoming one of the first black actors to break into British theatre, television and film.

June Spencer, born this day exactly 100 years ago, is most widely known among Radio 4 listeners as Peggy in The Archers. It's her motto for life that gives this final episode its title. It used to be "never give up", but she's realised, looking at the state of the world as well as her own circumstances, that there are some things you need to give up on. Now, it's "cope and carry on".

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Looking to the future in the company of some of Britain's centenarians.

Dear Me! What Next?20190611

There's an estimated 15,000 people in Britain who have reached the age of 100 and received the famous telegram from the Queen. That's 0.02% of the overall population.

Over five programmes, we hear from some of them about the lives they've led, their experiences in the last 100 years, the lessons they've learned and how they view the future.

Today, Londoners born around the end of the First World War - including Beattie Orwell who reached political consciousness fighting Oswald Mosley's fascists in Cable Street, and Classicist Joyce Reynolds who still researches in Cambridge University library three times a week - consider the "gloomy" state of the world around them and the kind of attitude people need to keep upbeat.

Produced by Alia Cassam
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Looking to the future in the company of some of Britain's centenarians.

I'm Not Too Old At All!20190612

There's an estimated 15,000 people in Britain who have reached the age of 100 and received the famous telegram from the Queen. That's 0.02% of the overall population.

Over five programmes, we hear from some of them about the lives they've led, their experiences in the last 100 years, the lessons they've learned and how they view the future.

Today, two centenarians from Yorkshire - Elsie Beesle, who's lived a life full of dancing until her legs "got a little wobbly" and attending night classes (latterly with the University of the Third Age), and Dennis Allen who was born in 1914 and spent fifteen years in the Army driving a truck and fighting in Afghanistan, Singapore and Burma. These days, he's been told he's too old even for a scooter - although he does have an exercise bike.

Produced by Hannah Dean
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Looking to the future in the company of some of Britain's centenarians.

Like Children Fighting Over Toys20190610

There's an estimated 15,000 people in Britain who have reached the age of 100 and received the famous telegram from the Queen. That's 0.02% of the overall population.

Over five programmes, we hear from some of them about the lives they've led, their experiences in the last 100 years, the lessons they've learned and how they view the future.

Bob Weighton is a supercentenarian. He's aged 111 and England's oldest man. In this episode, Bob, with remarkable eloquence and generosity, reflects on a full life spent in different parts of the globe. He looks around him at the world he now inhabits and considers what lies ahead for himself and the rest of us.

Produced by Alia Cassam and Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Looking to the future in the company of some of Britain's centenarians.

That's Life, I Suppose!20190613

There's an estimated 15,000 people in Britain who have reached the age of 100 and received the famous telegram from the Queen. That's 0.02% of the overall population.

Over five programmes, we hear from some of them about the lives they've led, their experiences in the last 100 years, the lessons they've learned and how they view the future.

Today we hear from Richard Braithwaite from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a retired collector of taxes; Olive Gordon, who arrived in London from British Guyana in 1952 believing the streets would be paved with gold - she was to be disappointed; Phyllis Haley, who's now 108 although she can't always keep count; and Ronald Atkins from Preston, the UK's oldest former MP.

(With thanks to Orders of St John Care Trust)

Produced by Hannah Dean and Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Looking to the future in the company of some of Britain's centenarians.

01Like Children Fighting Over Toys20190610

There's an estimated 15,000 people in Britain who have reached the age of 100 and received the famous telegram from the Queen. That's 0.02% of the overall population.

Over five programmes, we hear from some of them about the lives they've led, their experiences in the last 100 years, the lessons they've learned and how they view the future.

Bob Weighton is a supercentenarian. He's aged 111 and England's oldest man. In this episode, Bob, with remarkable eloquence and generosity, reflects on a full life spent in different parts of the globe; he looks around him at the world he now inhabits and considers what lies ahead for himself and the rest of us.

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Looking to the future in the company of some of Britain's centenarians.

02Dear Me! What Next?20190611

There's an estimated 15,000 people in Britain who have reached the age of 100 and received the famous telegram from the Queen. That's 0.02% of the overall population.

Over five programmes, we hear from some of them about the lives they've led, their experiences in the last 100 years, the lessons they've learned and how they view the future.

Today, Londoners born around the end of the First World War - including Beattie Orwell who reached political consciousness fighting Oswald Mosley's fascists in Cable Street, and Classicist Joyce Reynolds who still researches in Cambridge University library three times a week - consider the "gloomy" state of the world around them and the kind of attitude people need to keep upbeat.

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Looking to the future in the company of some of Britain's centenarians.

03I'm Not Too Old At All!20190612

There's an estimated 15,000 people in Britain who have reached the age of 100 and received the famous telegram from the Queen. That's 0.02% of the overall population.

Over five programmes, we hear from some of them about the lives they've led, their experiences in the last 100 years, the lessons they've learned and how they view the future.

Dennis Allen was born in 1914 and spent fifteen years in the Army, driving a truck and fighting in Afghanistan, Singapore and Burma. These days, his great-granddaughter tells him he's too old for a scooter. But he - like others of his age - has things he wants to do and places he wants to go - not least visiting his 'elderly' son a few miles away in Haworth, Yorkshire.

"The world's getting lazy", he says.

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Looking to the future in the company of some of Britain's centenarians.

04A New World Order20190613

There's an estimated 15,000 people in Britain who have reached the age of 100 and received the famous telegram from the Queen. That's 0.02% of the overall population.

Over five programmes, we hear from some of them about the lives they've led, their experiences in the last 100 years, the lessons they've learned and how they view the future.

Earl Cameron, a seaman from Bermuda, found himself marooned in London in October 1939. From severe poverty and much discrimination, he set about making a life for himself in England, eventually becoming one of the first black actors to break into British theatre, television and film.

"He's lived", he says, "he's sinned", but has faith, despite current turbulence, in a "new world order".

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Looking to the future in the company of some of Britain's centenarians.

05Cope And Carry On!20190614

There's an estimated 15,000 people in Britain who have reached the age of 100 and received the famous telegram from the Queen. That's 0.02% of the overall population.

Over five programmes, we hear from some of them about the lives they've led, their experiences in the last 100 years, the lessons they've learned and how they view the future.

Among today's centenarians is June Spencer, born this day exactly 100 years ago. June, who is more widely known as "Peggy" in The Archers, shares her motto for life. It used to be "never give up", but she's realised, looking at the state of the world as well as her own circumstances, that there are some things you need to give up on.

Now, it's "cope and carry on".

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Looking to the future in the company of some of Britain's centenarians.