Press Archive

The Telegraph 6.5.15

Napoleon: The Man and the Myths. “Extracts from Napoleon’s diaries are read and passages from letters by William Cobbett and Madame de Stael, his disapproving contemporaries, are given careful voice too, for this is an exactly measured series, produced by Susan Marling and Victoria Ferran for independents Just Radio. I wish it were in the Friday evening omnibus slot instead of the lumbering Home Front…This, on the other hand, is grown-up radio.”

The New Statesman 7.5.15

The Language of Pain. “A particularly intense Archive Hour looking into how patients can be made to feel better by training doctors in “narrative medicine” – to be more keenly attuned to stories about pain.”

The Telegraph 28.5.14

Carla Bruni’s Postcards from Paris. “It would take a more generous woman than I to warm immediately to Carla Bruni. Beautiful, smart, seller of two million copies of her first LP, supermodel, former rock chick married to a former French president, mother of two who got her figure back in the twinkling of an eye, what’s not to grudge? Last Wednesday night, I could barely hear the start of her new Radio 2 series, Carla Bruni’s Postcards from Paris, over the sound of my grinding teeth. Yet she tells her story (there are two more episodes to come) in a voice so softly confiding and with such intriguing musical illustration my gnashing soon ceased.”

The Radio Times 28.5.15

Carla Bruni’s Postcards from Paris.  “Who would have suspected, given that her four albums didn’t exactly set the UK charts alight, that Carla Bruni’s songs are so well crafted? And that she can demonstrate a quarter-tone scale? But I’ve also found, as she recalls her progress from supermodel to chanteuse to consort of the President of France, that I’ve been hanging on Bruni’s every word.”

The Radio Times 14.5.15

The Birth of Blondie. “Credit goes to producer Paul Smith for the clever way in which he has edited interviews with people who knew the band at the time and the dry commentary of the wonder couple themselves.”

The Radio Times 5.12.13

Brian Ferry’s Jazz Age. “His description of seeing the Chris Barber band and Ottilie Patterson performing at Newcastle City Hall in 1955 when he was only ten is riveting. Chris Barber’s recollections of the night make it doubly so.”

The Spectator 23.11.13

Curlew River. “In this smooth-crafted feature, the tenor Ian Bostridge took us through rehearsals for a new production of the ‘church parable’… Bostridge and his supporting experts were so passionate about Britten’s achievement in taking his love of English landscape and infusing it with strains from abroad, and their voices were so cleverly woven together, that after just half an hour I really wanted to hear the whole piece.”

The Observer 6.10.13

Keeping it Real. It won’t make you feel any better about what one contributer called your ‘dopey nostalgia’, but it will ceratinly make you laugh.”

The Spectator 3.08.13

The Namer of Clouds. “This was a beautifully produced (by Paul Smith) radio meditation on the power and precision of words but also the impossibility of being scientific about something so nebulous as a puff of greyish-white vapour as it scuds across a wind-blown sky.”

The Guardian 27.06.13

The Namer of Clouds. By coming up with the terms we use to describe the perpetual building and unbuilding of these temples of vapour, Howard provided a perfect example of how to “describe imprecision precisely”, which, as Greenlaw points out in this excellent programme, is also a poet’s job.”

The Stage 25.05.13

The Rite of Spring. This intensely detailed 45 minutes of radio compellingly conveyed why Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography, accompanied by Igor Stravinsky’s striking score, turned the conventions of classical ballet on their head.”

The Independent 4.05.13

Jemima Khan and the Part-Time Wife.  …a sensitive and revealing exploration of Muslim polygyny…and a neutral investigation was always going to get further than anything judgemental.”

The Daily Telegraph 1.09.12

All Lit Up: a Century of Illumination in Blackpool. “Presented by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, creative curator of the Illuminations, produced by the brilliant Susan Marling, it will show why Blackpool’s motto, Progress, fits the town.”

The Radio times 1.09.12

All Lit Up: a Century of Illumination in Blackpool. Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen…guides us around the architectural heritage of the first resort in Britain for workers. His sublime use of the English language makes every description as bright and pulsating and glamorous as the million-plus coloured lights. Never has a tramway sounded so gorgeous.”

The New Statesman 13.08.12

The Smart Dumb Blonde. There was so much here to enjoy… Maureen Dowd – a Pulitzer-winning columnist for theNew York Times may have been born in Washington but sounds pure New Jersey. Her offs are owfs. Her beautifuls byuwdiful…. Ben Lyon – the 20th Century Fox executive who “discovered” Monroe – sounded as gloriously, confidently, bamboozle-ishly 1950s as someone selling a condo in Aspen while wearing tin buttons and shoes with the sole flapping off…. These sort of great American voices are rarely heard now. The loss of their variety and sly energy is as sad as anything you could say about Monroe.”

The Radio Times 22.08.12

The Smart Dumb Blonde. “This is a quality piece of radio and gives women of every hair colour something to think about.”

The Financial Times 28.01.12

When You’re Gone, You’re Gone. A meditation on death, with words, music & comments from friends… Composer Jocelyn Pook’s piece includes contributions from her dying mother. Intriguing, haunting, not at all mawkish.”

The Radio Times 31.01.12

When You’re Gone, You’re Gone. A truly beautiful piece of work in which the composer Jocelyn Pook and producer Kate Bland seamlessly weave repeated words, phrases and interviews around haunting songs and music. It is Pook’s very personal examination of death and what, if anything, comes afterwards.  She explains at the start that her father died when she was 12 and her sister when she was 18. Jocelyn and her mother, recorded just before she died, have a particularly strong need to question the existence of an afterlife, which I will not spoil by attempting to rationalise, just warn you that it is desperately sad.”

The Times 28.01.12

When You’re Gone, You’re Gone “is a beautiful, life-affirming meditation with words and music by the composer Jocelyn Pook.”

The Independent 30.12.11

David Hockney – New Ways of Seeing. “A rare and intimate portrait of David Hockney, imminent subject of a Royal Academy retrospective, in which the artist talks to Rachel Campbell-Johnston at his home in Bridlington about photography, plein-air painting and his fascination with new technology that has led him to create art on an ipad.”

The Spectator 28.01.12

David Hockney – New Ways of Seeing. “(Hockney) spoke with such passion, such clarity, you didn’t need to see the canvas to believe it.”

The Radio Times 03.12.11

Hemingway in Havana. “As with every programme that radio producer Susan Marling makes, there’s an intense feel for the place that she visits. Her previous programmes have often been about areas of the world that inspired painters but now she’s turned her attention to the years in which the writer Ernest Hemingway lived in Cuba. The programme opens with the sound of a heaving ocean breaking on the shore and we soon discover that chatting with local sailors and the ownership of a beloved fishing boat called Pillar became the inspiration for Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Marling talks with Valerie Hemingway, the woman who worked as the writer’s secretary before marrying his son, and to the team who now maintain his house on a hill near Havana – it’s just as he was when he left it in 1960. A year later he committed suicide and the Cuban government turned it into a museum. This intimate look inside his home is top-quality radio and paints just as powerful a picture of Hemingway as it does of his Havana hideaway.”

The Financial Times 15.10.11

Archive on 4: The Red Bits Are British “is a superb survey of left, right and in-between educational attitudes, taking in old voices chanting mnemonics, fiction (Miss Brodie, The History Boys), schools broadcasts… – plus politics, naturally. Provocative, informative, exhilarating.”

The Spectator 08.10.11

Barbara Windsor’s Funny Gals. “An engagingly nostalgic series on great American female comics.”

The Daily Telegraph 15.09.11

Ayckbourn in Action. “This programme explores (Ayckbourn’s) marvellous record not only as a director of plays but as the artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. His are talents that don’t necessarily go hand in hand but the fascinating thing about this documentary (by Susan Marling) is that it sheds light on how he makes it all work. We hear from actors, critics, his biographer Paul Allen. It’s not a luvvie love-in but as brisk and full of insight as an Ayckbourn play.”

The Guardian 14.09.11

Ayckbourn in Action is primarily a show about Alan Ayckbourn (pictured) as director, a role in which his talents have, we’re told, been eclipsed by his skill as a playwright. The impressive cast of interviewees – including Michael Gambon, Penelope Wilton and Julia McKenzie – have ample first-hand experience of Ayckbourn the director, from which they draw stories warmly and generously. From interviews with these actors and the man himself, we get a sense not only of his directorial tastes and style, but of his relentless energy and perfectionism… If you’ve ever wondered why he keeps going, and how, you will find the answers here.”

The Daily Telegraph 10.09.11

Ayckbourn in Action. As (Ayckbourn’s) 75th stage playNeighbourhood Watch opens, this documentary (by brilliant Susan Marling for independents Just Radio) hears from actors who have worked with him – Julia McKenzie, Michael Gambon, Peter Bowles, Penelope Wilton and Martin Jarvis – about his skill with actors, his gift for inspiring performance.”

The Daily Telegraph 30.08.11

Pete Townshend – Before I Get Old. Disturbingly frank and unexpectedly moving…his producer is marvellous Susan Marling, a person in whom even the wariest would have confidence.”

The Daily Telegraph 20.08.11

Pete Townshend – Before I Get Old. A scoop, a coup. Pete Townshend, rock star, writer, gives…a full account of his life and career as a musician…The producer is marvellous Susan Marling, whose work is more often on Radios 3 and 4.”

The Independent 21.07.11

Barry Humphries in Weimar was an almost perfect match of presenter and theme…an exuberant recollection of “music from a society on the brink of cataclysm, dancing on a volcano.”

The Daily Mail 16.07.11

Barry Humphries in Weimar. “Barry talks about his Weimar obsession, then Dame Edna Everage shimmers into the studio, all beaded and feathered, for a bit of old Berlin fun.”

The Spectator 09.07.11

Mabey In The Wild. Mabey could make a dandelion sound like a lily, he’s such a persuasive talker, and so deeply knowledgeable. Yet he never talks down to us, his listeners, but rather invites us to share in his enthusiasm.”

The Observer 02.07.11

Mabey In The Wild. In a welcome new series, naturalist Richard Mabey makes us think twice about British wild flowers as he explores their natural and cultural history.”

The Sunday Times 03.07.11

Mabey In The Wild. Richard Mabey’s essay on (daffodils), lyrically immortalised by Wordsworth, is a model of concision and blends botany with culture.”

The Times 24.03.11

House Beautiful. Llewelyn-Bowen’s enthusiasm is infectious as he recounts the rise of the Aesthetic Movement as a backlash against dreary mass-produced goods coming from all those dark satanic mills.”

The Daily Telegraph 24.03.11

House Beautiful. “This excellent documentary marks the Victoria & Albert’s upcoming exhibition The Cult of Beauty, which celebrates the achievements and legacy of the late 19th century Aesthetic Movement. Llewelyn-Bowen explores how Aestheticism’s focus on the home as a means of personal expression laid the foundations for our modern obsession with decor.”