Midweek - 15/07/2009
Lively and diverse conversation with Libby Purves and guests Anna Sam, Patrick Maguire, Peter Mitchell and Rick Stein.
Anna Sam was a literature graduate from France who, unable to find a job in publishing, took a job as a supermarket checkout girl. Eight years later she was still there and started to write a blog which was hugely successful, receiving over one million hits to date. When her identity was revealed she was inundated by requests for media appearances and 13 publishers made her offers. Her book, Checkout: A Life on the Tills, sold over 100,000 copies in France and is now published in the UK by Gallic Books.
Patrick Maguire is the youngest member of the Maguire Seven who were wrongly convicted of bomb-making in the 1970s. He was 14 when he went to prison for four years. He is a self-taught artist, having drawn since childhood, who has his first ever exhibition at the Kingsgate Gallery as part of the Kilburn Festival in London, which focuses on the Irish experience in Kilburn.
Peter Mitchell is an exhumation specialist, whose unusual profession has seen him exhume 30,000 bodies and rebury them in new graves. He was the man tasked with the exhumation of 15,000 bodies from the ground beneath St Pancras station to make way for the cross-channel rail link, and he has moved countless other bodies at the request of relatives. He is the subject of a Channel 4 programme, The Exhumer, which is part of the Revelations series, exploring the impact religion has on the lives of believers and non-believers in Britain today.
Rick Stein is somewhat misleadingly labelled a 'celebrity chef'. In fact, he owns four restaurants, a cookery school and a hotel in the fishing port of Padstow in north Cornwall, which have developed over the past 33 years. He has written 11 cookery books and recorded several cookery series for TV. His new series for BBC Two, Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey, takes him on a food journey through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bali. The book to accompany the series is published by BBC Books.