It looks like the BBC has finally come around to truly appreciate the unique talents of Sir John Peel. To cash-in, excuse me, to tie-in with the second annual John Peel Day BBC Enterprises release John Peel Remembered and Home Truths: The Peel Years & Beyond on the 2nd of October and 2nd of November respectively.
Am I being overly cynical or is it perhaps easier for the BBC to appreciate John PeelTM the brand over the previous awkwardly principled living breathing model?
John Peel Remembered includes the Radio 4 Book of the Week serialisation of Margrave of the Marshes, Peel’s part-written autobiography completed by his wife, Sheila Ravenscroft and a Home Truths Special, a special programme to mark the anniversary of John Peel’s death, in which Tom Robinson visits Peel Acres to meet John’s wife Sheila and their four children. Available on tape and CD.
BBC Radio 4’s Home Truths, which was hosted by John Peel from 1998 until his death in 2004, had a hugely dedicated following. The programme became synonymous with Peel and with his family, as well as his unique and eccentric views on British life, which were reflected in the people he chose to contribute to the programme.
From an autistic child who’s a brilliant magician, to the Page 3 girl who became a mayor; and from a man betrayed by his best friend to a fire-eater in a giant, pink rabbit’s suit, Home Truths was at its strongest when it juxtaposed the inspiring with the humorous, the moving with the idiosyncratic. Never sentimental, it was often incredibly moving and, in the voice of John Peel in particular, managed to be enquiring without being voyeuristic, concerned but never ingratiating.
This collection of the best stories from the programme reflects the particular character of the show and its contributors, ranging between comedy and tragedy, eccentricity and inspiration. A perfect bedside companion, and a book for dipping into, Home Truths: The Peel Years and Beyond wonderfully evokes the true flavour and voices of British life. Available in Hardback book.