Meeting Myself Coming Back - Series 4


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Music, planes and trains: Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson's life from the sound archive.

The first programme in the new series of 'Meeting Myself Coming Back', the series in which leading public figures explore their lives through the BBC archives, features Sir Richard Branson in conversation with John Wilson. From his early days as the founder of "Student" magazine, to the creation of the Virgin record business and expansion into a global empire, Richard Branson has been an icon of entrepreneurship. In this interview, he meets his younger self from the sound archive and discusses his reactions with John Wilson.

He begins by hearing his 21- year old self running the influential "Student Magazine" from a basement in London and relives the way he created Virgin Records as a cut price mail order enterprise. He also hears the sound archive from 1984 when he announced the setting up of Virgin Atlantic with only one plane. We hear his memories of his daring exploits in hot air balloons and at sea and his thoughts on escaping death by a whisker.

Richard Branson also relives the episode when one of his planes flew into Baghdad airport in to bring out the British hostages held by Saddam Hussain after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. He talks about the eerie stillness of the deserted airport, the tension of waiting and the relief when the hostages finally came on board.

We also hear his thoughts on doing business, taking knocks, political affiliation, plans for space travel and paying tax.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

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Clive James was seldom off our television screens in the 80s and 90s. His shows like "Saturday Night Clive" and "Clive James on Television", featured clips of TV around the world and pioneered many techniques that we take for granted today.

But throughout this time, he was also writing memoirs, poems and critical essays. After leaving his native Australia, he began his career writing for literary magazines and later became the TV critic of "The Observer".

This more serious side has often been overlooked because of his TV fame. But, having left TV presenting behind and now having been diagnosed with leukaemia, Clive is re-assessing his life and legacy.

In "Meeting Myself Coming Back", Clive hears clips from moments in his life and discusses his reaction to them with John Wilson. We hear a recording from his student days in Cambridge performing a comic monologue at a college "Smoker" event. There are clips from early appearances on radio, in the company of the novelist Kingsley Amis and also his first attempts at writing and performing on television.

We also hear extracts from his TV shows of the 80s and 90s, when, in addition to his shows about television, he presented travel programmes and a series considering the nature and history of fame in the 20th century.

In an honest and penetrating look back at his life, Clive discusses his achievements, his past mistakes and his illness.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

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From rookie MP to Liberal Democrats leader, from the Royal Marines to high office in Bosnia, Paddy Ashdown relives his life from the archives in a frank and sometimes emotional conversation with John Wilson

From his early days in the army to his leadership of the Liberal Democrats, Paddy Ashdown - now Lord Ashdown- has been a singular political figure. He arrived in Westminster as a Liberal but soon his party voted for a merger with the SDP. He led the newly named Liberal Democrats for 11 years and then worked in Bosnia, trying to repair the damage that the war had done.

In this interview he meets his younger self at key moments from the sound archive and discusses his reactions with John Wilson. We hear his memories of serving in the Marines and also hear extracts from his first major speech at the Liberal Party Conference when he warned of the dangers of Cruise missiles.

There are highly emotional moments as well, when Paddy recounts the horrors of the scenes he saw in Bosnia in 1992.

And the programme comes up to the present with a consideration of what the Coalition and the recent local elections have meant for the Liberal Democrats.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.