« Desert Island Discs

Gillian Reynolds

2018-06-03 | 🔗
Gillian Reynolds spent 42 years as the radio critic of the Daily Telegraph before she was headhunted by the Sunday Times at the age of 82. Born into a working class family in Liverpool, her mother ran a market stall and her father was a seaman, but also a gambler. Her mother was determined to ensure that Gillian had a good education, and she was the first in her family to go to a grammar school. She went on to study English at Oxford. She took up an internship in America, where she met her husband, and they returned to Liverpool when she became pregnant with the first of her three sons. She first worked as a radio critic for the Guardian in 1967. She became the first female controller of a commercial radio station when she joined Radio City, Liverpool, in 1974. She moved to London in 1975 when she left her troubled marriage, and secured the job of radio critic for the Telegraph, as well as working as a journalist in television and radio, at one point even co-presenting the Today programme. She chaired the Sony Radio Awards for four years, the only woman to have done so, and the Radio Academy Festival for a decade. She lives alone, but with around two dozen radios, in Notting Hill. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is the bbc. Oh I'm christiaan welcome to desert island discs where every week I asked my gear to choose the eight tracks, the book and the luxury item that they want to take. If they were cast away on a desert island for rights since the music on these podcast fashions is shorter, then in the original broadcast you can find over two thousand more additions to listen to and download, desert island discs website. I. The castaway today is the right to an broadcaster Gillian Reynolds. The very embodiment of the word during an she is the most experienced and respected radio critic around forever hovel.
Century, she has tuned in and turned her attentive use to. What's on, for on the wireless picking apart in praising without fear or favour. It hurts when she puts the button, I should know because her love for a knowledge of the medium is evident in all she writes and at a stage in life, when most people are deepen retirement she has just of a stunning career ryaku, leaving the daily telegraph after forty two years and taking up with us sunday times she has made Think of the habits of floating convention born and brought up in liverpool. Her mother was a market trader. Her father was a seaman and inveterate gambler against all the odds. She was first in her family to attend university going up to oxford in nineteenth before to read english. She said of her work. Listening It's your mind, make the magic so welcome, gillian mental
have you thought before now, but what might be a new list of eight for desert island is constantly had only four years. I've been getting on and off, buses will commence the markets going done. Escalators thinking is tina turner. In or out. I have thought about this programme. Ceaselessly. Since I first at issue, which has many years ago. You ve been listening with professional ear to redo for over fifty years, but but I'm I'm wondering what it means to personally well up anything to the radio pretty much the eight decker I mean I was brought up with radio born in nineteen thirty five, we were all shit out of the room when war was declared so my mind is conditioned to listening, but always to having radio as Paul of the calendar of my life. Why? the point of reviewing. What do you want to achieve with your reviews? I want to have a conversation. In a metaphor,
The sense with the people who listened to the programme and with people who made it a because There is at this extraordinary, unique interaction between the producer. A programme in radio and the people. It speaks to the it's much closer intelligence. On radio is purse. Not because goes. He knew it goes straight into imagination somehow. So when I write on social issues into myself, but I'm Asking people am I wrong here and I dread the moment. Greater poverty, are you see someone coming toward you reaching into inside left pocket or into the handbag an you know the yellow in cutting its coming out and somewhat will come to you bet you ruined my life as it happened, will you tell me who and women when it wasn't you and those are the things about you, you did you ve been very nice about
Well, I was wrong, you know, and I get things wrong. Did that happen to you? Actually, somebody go. Oh yeah, one of the review. More than once it still happens. People will say to me: you have in my life, but that even today tomorrow's another day. Isn't it innocent Given that there is such a proliferation of choice, critics can cure It and pointers in a direction say this is a broadcast that might get your attention. This is why this might be useful to you. You used the word. I hate you it's going to happen more than once Gilliam said we're going to have to deal with very we will fence them in one by one curate I mean I right, a column about things. I've listened to things have, like things, have disliked the reasons why never entertainment I can use a homely analogy to bit like being a dj. This, music, but there is, dj, you, father scottie, music them actually metals. Tell me about this. First one wise. It made it, oh because I like a dance I'm past the age when I can dance in public. Indeed, outposts
at age. A long time ago, when I discovered on holiday with my children, might never younger that the ultimate threat was to say: if you don't behave, I will get but does I'm going to have earth women far september? It is the dances music in the world it s testable ran paying them as possible. That was earth swindon fire in September julie, metals. When would have very little girl. You lived, I think, with your parents and
your grandmother. You lived in her house how many many people were nice altogether. My first memory is living in eight. No one road never pull eleven and in the front bedroom. It was me my breath billy, among them my dad in the back bedroom there was emma unto Nancy anti. During an anti po and in the small bedroom there was uncle howled, who was an apprentice tradesmen, an object of great admiration in the family, an uncle I do it's a long distance lorry drivers, I'm attend so far, you're, that's not counting passing people who would sleep on Everyone said this house had elastic walls and you grew up helping. You were on the market stalls sort of helping out from a very early age. In the war time the market was bond, and there were very few stalls, laughter freezing cold, it was an old stone, victorian building and from it bob five we'd go in, and I remember my brother being asleep
Under my grandma stole out, he was all wrapped up. What were you selling? What were they so well in the war time my grandma sell to the millions of fabric odd length and anything else. If you get our hands on that wasn't, coupons- and I remember one of my first job. Was to go to this hugh. Of buttons and try and find two matched and to this I have an absolute horror of pot in boxes, arbiter, millimeter, or is it true that your grandmother spent time in strange ways? Yes, she did, I think, nine months for that market trading. She was entrapped, she accepted merchant navy. Coupons, a woman who pretended to be pregnant, but I mean she got off with a lot more than Yeah chicken sentenced for because in the war we didn't go short grandma got away with a great deal, but eventually she paid the price and put it this way. We were more.
Kin to gypsies, thompson thieves, but we were very intellectual with it. We read those books in the house, I was brought up could be a lady in capital letters. I did not want to be a lady. I did not want to have straight hair last stockings, string of real pearls. I want to be Rita, hayworth Gilda, and why wouldn't you, let's have some more music Julian reynolds. Tell me about your second well. I would love to hear the signal she tune of a show that I should be into a magic world, the world, paul temple and steve it ran for years and years there was set. Pull temples, but there was one steve marjorie westbury had this very high, pretty voice, and so, when Paul said to her, that's a lovely, the hat, Steve shitty. Thank you pull. This push world where these amity, detectives would assist scotland yard in solving copious mystery
and the signature tune carnation scott brought me absolutely to this world. Coordination. Scots, the bull temple theme composed by the analysis perform their by the queen's whole light orchestra conducted by sidney towards at gillian lentils. Am I right in thinking that your mom told you you'd been born, lucky absolutely right
that's fascinating, jean still, listen to me. I had read doubts on the cells of my feet and we had one both a week in the olden days and I should drive- Teaching lift up. My foot attributed see those dots, you're, lucky you're born lucky and you tell me that all the time not she might have had in mind that there was a child before us pash who die eighty four and a half from diphtheria, pat, was beautiful. She had blonde hair. She could with our own knife and fork from the age of one, It pardon my hand, but I couldn't get into it because everyone s daughter, but clever. I was brought up to be clever. I was brought up to be lucky and I was brought up not knowing everything, but how, the confidence to go and try and then it, though, the time in your child who then, when you moved out of your grandmother's home and you moved into the norris greatness states, what your memories of then.
The rougher end of nor a screen and the protestants lived on one side of pockets, drought and the catholics who lived on the other. It was in the time of the bombing we lived in what was called a kitchen house. There was one room downstairs he had arranged in it. There was a long scullery at the back with a boiler. The lot when she was outside on the porch and in the winter it was so cold. It would freeze over. But this was a model estate built in the twenties it vanished now all been demolished and the first school I went to his monkstown road, my mother tongue, right now, because I came home school thank everyone else. Good is pink or green ocean. I didn't get one and the next asian, It means going. She said with a net notes and the teacher said yes and she's your leaving you're going to be
square. What a good piece of luck! Kirsty! I am born lucky where what it is that school was remarkable. Well, you're born, look you're you're born with a mother whose sort of sluggish remarkable sent and such here she didn't divorce, and that would have been pretty unusual. It was asleep she removed somebody who you have known as uncle bill. Yet he was my dad's best friend my dad as a gambler and she got ready fed up and she bill who turned out to be a drunk at one time. A move barricading ourselves in one of bills. Drunken fits my brother and I said to her why did you marry him and she said well. At least the drunk. You know where you are ah well. Yes, she elected from you. Then, to get a good education. The books were in the house and you knew that the important thing was getting good results in school. Would that be fair, o? Absolutely fair? I mean not good yet it all. That is because He'd have to leave school at fourteen and she always resented the fact that
she'd never been able to go to university and sheep really pressured me to go for this dick scholarship and eight of these awarded each year to them. Of liverpool and our promises. Got three. That year was me and another girl and another boy. Let's have some music Julian. It's going to be yoda your third of the morning term, a little bit about this choice. I think I was about fifteen when I had record and I would have heard, is unjust club, which was David Jacobs or humphrey littleton, and it was miles Davis both of the cool I'd like to just but I didn't like trot. My brother, and I became fanatical boxes and this record represents to meet the portal between bob and all of the music that come after this is recorded in nineteen, forty nine and it's still as a region. Ass, the sun rising
that was miles Davis and got shown recorded in nineteen, forty, nine and, as he said, to introducing naturally metals as original as the sunrise in future. So that and so nineteen fifty four you went up and ends college oxford to read english
What did you make of unthinking know of the ex environs of the sheer honeyed beauty of the place. Staggering A beautiful I remember going my interview, and I go to oxford I couldn't believe it. Even in march it was gorgeous clear You had a strong brain in your hand, but to socially I was it for you. I was bullshit, be fearless. In summary, fearless, socially, nothing bothered me. I had the wardrobe I had choose the heels what was the wardrobe you had to have a black suit for Allocations, mine pencil, skirt and fitted jacket, I mean We can assume that was not my interview. Suit, mind you suit with a lady suit to be born that is new. Jewelry and no senor petticoat went out got it lace on petticoats abounded social mobility. Of course is something that some we concentrate a lot on these days by
Then you say you were fearless, but will you conscious of the class system? I was a beneficiary one of many in my generation of the forty four education act. It got his into the old grannis schools. Free they'd been paid. For previously it got his into university free, completely free your city. Aid for maintenance, and that was when you saw a huge influx of kids from promised goes not just in the north, but all around and Oliver had been taught by teaches suit often just commercial forces said there was this huge impetus, the social change after the war and so encouraged as a bright girl by the principle of your college too. Apply for two year, internship part of that what would happen in america, all of it all of it would happen in america and where you at this point to the purposeful did, you think, will once I've done that I'd like to do This did you have a sense of what you're working life for the rest of your life might hold. Where
again my mother's philosophy, having seen the better take the furniture out with my dad. She was fun, of the opinion that mental training with portable capital, so I never had any direct career ambitions, but by the time I got talks it. Lady EL. The feed my principal finance had noticed that I was odd. I wasn't pretty but I was kind of attractive and I was funny the original and said, have you thought of america? Have I thought about it? all of those in the dream upon dream, Jillian evans, It's time for more music. Tell me about this next, one where my fourth this is another search, a portal record, because when I got to america I listened constantly to the radio and discovered what was happening was the black music, was coming through, and here ray charles was just
another flame. Let it my heart, because this is a trap that opens between gospel rock folk
Everything about me come and see what the tavern she said that your father tell your pop,
a lot of sydney about what I'd say: rachel Julian Reynolds. It was nineteen fifty eight than you were doing your masters and you through it all up for love. Yes, cuban arrived. So I got my wait, and that was to stanley reynolds who's, a journalist. That's why she is journalist on the local newspaper and you came back home to have your first of three sons. Why did you not want to make a life in america? Well, I disagree this america was not like my dream of it. I discovered it to be far more cars conscious than britain, former race, conscious than britain far more socially exclusive, but the main factor in moving back was: I was pregnant and those days if you were a resident alien. If anything went wrong with the marriage, I would have no rights to the child. I even and tuna bit isn't being married. They were little associate fractures and difficulties to be on the safe side are just move back,
by nineteen sixty seven than you were doing your first radio critics job. That was for the guardian. Yes go lucky again stand he was by that time, the guardians, television critic and john course, the fee his editor thought it would be really cute tracing catherine, had passed up to have the radio critic, anatolian, grudging relation and This was the moment when bbc local radio was born where The BBC networks, as we know them now were being formulated and coming in the adventure radio one the death the pirates and leading up to, of course, the advent of commercial radio, and there was a point when you are actually a controller over commercial radio station. It was radio city in liverpool and night. Yes, that was because I worked with well. Leopard and terry smith, who is the founder of radio in liverpool and he said you, come dish because
being a woman, do this job with a huge novelty, not was at luck, always somebody asked in it a gamble who knows the actual practicalities the day to day running of the station, the programming dealing with the stars dealing with the eagles. How did you find out of that hard? I'm not good at meetings bits of it. Could do. I could do programme ideas. I paid very good people. Really wasn't terribly good ass. If I d go I didn't do very well tell me about your next piece of music pendulum, we're onto your fists I've chosen son, in very different because it relates to a complete different part of my life, it reduced the big where I was thinking about the world. Its history and I was listening a lot to the radio heard something which had a very strange effect on a long lasting effect, and it was this into the music of just coverage, and chosen known violence shadow number one. I think he finished it
in forty eight and he didn't hear it publicly perfume for five years, because it was a ban on the public performance. Russia of all music that wasn't a very patriotic Can you imagine that and when it gets to the final movement, you hear how he is thumbed his nose at the lot of it, and he just goes into this triumphant dance and the way it's played reflects the joy, the defiance
I'm the triumph of arch over politics
most of the free movement of persons to cause, which is my contention number one in a minor that was lydia motor coolidge with the scottish national orchestra conducted by name. I envy- and you said that you were about two and a half years in julie, minerals, when you realise that you manage, might not be a walk in the park. He you were to have two more children, but at what point did you? begin to think that there was a lot, What to this thing you might have wanted and there wasn't just one point I drank a bit and the with the germans. First on his, then a mind and it was difficult A year ago, he married, I didn't remarried, hello music. In seventeen years I draft liverpool.
I moved to london and albert everybody I knew who I never worked for So I knew TAT my book stability of work because my work had paid the mortgage and I needed to keep a sharp The security of the boys don't you see the boys, I had read an interview with you were you. You said that really at that point, what you needed to do was secure a home because you were working in london and they were still living in unlivable, their fault or that yet they were living in the house and it was a. He was if using bishop, a pressure on me to go back and using the voices of bargaining point for a long time and my oldest boy left home. And did you go back? No, no! No! There is no going back here, kill me, I mean I'm, not joking you'd have killed me. I wouldn't be sitting here so I left, how'd you like, but you know at the time, were in our lives and we're living is but you of an age. Now, where I imagine there,
The occasions when you ve looked back at what was probably the most tumultuous period of your life and saw a good deal about it. What do you think of it now, while you can always do things better in hindsight, but I didn't believe in that. I believe you got stand by what you ve done. Your reasons had been wrong. You might mistakes, but you have to learn from the mistakes that you made Mistake was not taking the boys. I did run away with them, the two younger boys for a couple of weeks, but but his cordial got gotten back, the two younger these were kept in suspension for a long time, so that was deaf but in the end by, working quite hard. I got the money, to employ a really good lawyer. I had the money to buy a big enough place to live. I schooled myself for the court case difficult because, if you're, the mothers left her children, oh you're down thou, but I had and brief who acted for me. A wonderful solicitor, so I was pushed by
women all the way. And finally, the boys came to live with me, they still remember the anniversary. I don't I learned from it. I learnt from it You said that certain your husband married again- and you did not know that conscious thing well Yes, yes, I like living on my own. There was a period when I had the bishop cohabitation and when my cohabitation reproached me, he's benny too much money, on flowers. I remember thinking it's my money. It's my buddy flowers I do wish. I like and the iron and myself and from tat day on lovers, yes, but partners know Gillian lentils. Let's have some of your music. Now tell me about what we're going to hear. Well, this is quite appropriate to the discussion of love and where its
anti one's life because you can do without it. It creeps in by windows and, as time goes by, you realize it's quite a precious thing. It's from an opera called one touch of venus. By cut with lyrics expired. Nashua, known, of course, is a comic first fire and his lyrics. A beautiful there are very good songs in the ship, but this summer speak, low is the best some in the world. I think
use, its good vile, speak little lyrics by nash. It was sunday by an sissy from torture with sea india's infinite orchestra conducted. John Elliot garden. Let's talk a little bit julian metals them a little bit more about the trade, the profession, if you will of the critic eve destroyed
hold costs as ready mules dinners for one. What a great little phrase without a dentist explain a bit of that what will I mildly resistant to the podcast, because there are a lot of people now whose business it is to say this is eating of audio its the saving of audio. It's just audio branching out. You did a pull us we're, while at the telegraph to do enjoy it, we did six. We think to encourage dust and they dropped it without noticing without acknowledgement. But I am delighted to say that my co present then PETE Norton is now ahead. Podcasting at the telegraph, so maybe their ideas it changing. Maybe I was ahead of the wave, though
the hugely popular they people download podcast in their tens of millions engineer worldwide. Yes, indeed, and also people can say things that they wouldn't say in front of a life mike that they wouldn't be allowed to make the edits on radio for in a way that kind of the joy of them the states are off. If you will, these days off another, a good things about that people can talk about there. Rex here or their sexual problems or the problems with their frightful mother and son. That's that good? it is a new forum, it's more personal and will find it's an audience. Dislike a dangerous thing. I think for the bbc is that you ve got political centres who are meant to maintain steadfast independence of any political viewpoint occasionally seeming to nudge into one shades of opinion or another, and I think, a touchy quite dangerous alighting. Someone ought to have a serious think about it before they get two carried away
time for more music to him. What on earth and ultimate disk actually tell me about your seventh to take and no good when you talk about revolutions in broadcasting. That was one wasn't a drama. It was a feature ripped page page from the author doesn't summits and has been come one of the great international record. Radio classic said the world this something about it? Certainly the original radio version that always me we cry, but this is the magic one. This is a woman Richard Burton to begin at the beginning. It is spring moonless night in a small town stylus and bible black, the cobbles treat silent and hunched Tourism rabbits would limping invisible down to the slow black slow black crow black fishing boat, bobbing sea.
The house is a blind as moves, though morrissey find tonight in this, noting velvet ngos or blind as captain cat there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock the shops in warning that way: The whole and widows weeds and all people of the lulled dumbfounded town, a sleeping now to the burden reading part had done thomas's under milk would. You've been head hunted at the age and I will say your at the age of eighty two, minutes Quite an unusual experience: what does it feel like? I'm more thrilling than marriage. Very is to be had hunted course over the years, and you have a, I think, probably a unique prospective given the amount of time you have done the job that you ve done. What is the biggest surprised you about what has happened in the radio landscape, the continued flourishing of. Is the
continuing fact that people love it rely on it its knowing they don't turn on the television? When there's a teacher strike. They turn on the radio when feel miserable in the middle of the night, when you ill U turn on! Well, service or radio, five live or whatever it's a joy meeting, Meat say: everything's, brilliant, the times, the detailed radio and say begone tell me about your eighth and final choice, then julian metals, what we're gonna hear well it comes from my middle of the night listening I had a bad miscarriage this ten year gap between my first. My second sons and had a terrible courage and it was over and I started listening to a loss of rage, you of a different nature and I discovered delay quartet's of beethoven and one of the great blessings of my life ass. My mother would have said born. Lucky was have wonderful friends and the other week I went with three.
And to liverpool- and we went to stephen, even half the bass head shatters with Liverpool Phil now the liverpool? it's one of my pride and joys and the did not deny is remarkable, vacillate, tranquil and hearing Steven half play with them with friends around me equities. EL band. We sat and watched him. He listens to the opening of the Judges is long introduction and he takes the feel of the orchestra and when it comes and from each place swivels on the seat and he plays, and he is beyond belief, a master. So I would like this record for the pure joy. Encounter with great minds.
that was part of a certain movements, as these hidden spent a contingent number one perform, thereby student half with the boy livable philharmonic orchestra condemn. Goodbye vassili Portugal. It was recorded for BBC radio three at the philharmonic whole liverpool on the twenty second of much twenty eighteen. It's time then, jailing of course away. You may know this already assigned for the books. I give you the complete works of shakespeare and the bible what it can to take along with them I've decided the watch I would need on this amendment is escape. Another world, if any my mind, so I will take a book. I love, but I haven't Yes, bush unshaved somewhat over hogarth a life in a word by Jenny. You girl, who is one in my absolute favorite favorite rises I want to go and hang around with hope,
in the gang with pope and swift and hazlitt, and this has got pictures as well said that a bit of a cheat I have to ask you This question is: have I got my glasses with me? Well, let be benevolent and say this a distinct possibility. You do have you got every time I set foot on a boat from now on, my glasses will be on. My name was about a luxury, well, being a long time, listen to this programme? I remember norman mailer, who did the giant spliff? Yes, it was. I would like an endless supply of scotch. Please would you like a single motor, a blended with a blend, please woman. After my own heart, it is yours, then chilean, and what then about your track to save very hard choice, but I'd have to take the beethoven because nick Kenyon a former in total. Eighty three, I once went interview and then I said, why does me the matter and he looked at me and he said very kindly because there has to be another way of saying things without words, unnatural,
having does its use chilean reynolds. Thank you. Much for letting us here, your desert island discs. Thank you. I The I hope you enjoyed that interview with Gillian Reynolds. You might be interested to know this over on our sister station. They are running a series called critical eye and as part of that, over the next four weeks, they'll broadcast the desert island discs editions with clive james blunt Marvin, a girl and famously me, many of the radio presented that chile has been critiquing over the years have been cast away and they include bob harris, John peel and teddy woken who dispatched twice and sue lowly castaway chris evans in two thousand and five, Chris, its nineteen. Eighty, three, your seventeen, you just past your driving test and your Well was a guy called Timmy mallett a dj on piccadilly radio
manchester. You and thousands of other kids ice suspect in the north west, but you got to meet him in You go to job out him. How did you do that? Well, I just specimens and test. As you say, my mum bought me a car with space, rita and timid was doing roadshow and then he was just orson and after show finished. I followed him home terrible. It was still there, but I got a puncture which had never had before. Never comes one internet fix. It so I will again see people just see the building, so I went to see the building of pathetic stephanie. And as I was outside looking at the building, just staring at a gong timmy walked. How could you ve been to drop his records of this this fate yeah? I accosted him unless it excuse me, but I would ask you to write it: Ain t any should then, with egypt a year earlier comes more not before fifteen. Spare me now. I said it and while I was there, this mascot came in uneasy stored in estonia like a world unless it who's that
So that's my sister Andy, but he leaves to where I can talk to me about universe terminal up with him tonight. So am I let them go and then got home. Unregulated cunningham's pregnant transcend legacy. You didn't let go you let go there and that great care and dim reggie turning in the next answered the damaging, and I will do anything for nothing. To me this is leaving himself next night. The wednesday I was in answering the phones on show. He got killed for nothing, no pay, how god doesn't get paid for treating office, but it didn't matter because you can't buy that but you said that you learn. Ninety percent of what you went on to use yourself on the media from Timmy managers are right, yeah the foundation of it. Definitely how would you characterize it will? Do you thinking that affection and attention to detail thoroughness, to the fact that everything can be done,
And we don't have to say now and you have to have original ideas, that's what is really all about in your trade is now I think of yemen. That was what tim is very good at em, but us about about being fearless. They I'm thinking about it here. I friday, for example, you had peter, had reading the spice girl lyrics to you and you had nasser hussain betting. Many television sets into the thames. I mean these are the fruits the evans imagination, I'd like to claim the to one, but that was danny bakers idea, but in all similar similar cover things. I think, if you do some weird it's already interesting, which is half the battle so that, if it's not funny still interesting, if it's funny as well, is even better. We put another record on But I've been on the radio, Chris evans? You can, of course, download all of these programs either via the desert, island discs, websites or via your usual podcast provider and as ever it'll be great If you could raise the programmes next time-
I'll, be consigning cosmology, professor Carlos frank to the lonely, isolation of the island I have a sense of something he might rather enjoy. What with all the stars to contemplate. I do you'll join us the. In june twenty seventeen, the fire at grenfell tower in west london, killed. Seventy one people now the inquiry is under way to establish what happened and what caused it. Alongside the inquiry. A new podcast reporting every day the inquiry sit splaining the evidence and de mystifying the jargon. So we can all better understand what they say. Wouldn't inquiries, doing That's the grenfell tower inquiry podcast with me: eddie Mair. This the bbc.
Transcript generated on 2022-06-12.