Piers Plowright described himself as a 'radio man'. He'd grown up in a home where the wireless was moved into the living room of an evening for family listening.
Others have called Piers, who died in July 2021, the Godfather of the British Radio Feature.
His thirty-year BBC career began in 1968 as a trainee in English By Radio, after which he migrated via drama to documentaries. There, his programmes received radio's highest accolade, the Prix Italia, on three occasions. Yet he remained always modest, a practised listener, a supporter of colleagues, a composer of sound, silence and word, and - for all his erudition and love of culture - a mischievous spirit.
All of this is felt in his many programmes (see below). In a medium described as having no memory, the quality and distinctiveness of Piers' radio programmes - and the grace of the man - are long remembered.
You are invited to lend your ears to some of his work in this tribute from colleagues and admirers:
Melvyn Bragg, his close friend from student days and distinguished broadcaster,
Dr Cathy Fitzgerald, an award-winning feature-maker and presenter
Seán Street, poet and Professor of Radio
Marta Medvešek, the young Croatian recipient of the 2021 Prix Europa for radio documentary
Matt Thompson, a younger colleague who fell under Piers' spell in the BBC documentaries department
Julie Shapiro, formerly Artistic Director of the Third Coast Festival in Chicago, which awarded Piers the Audio Luminary Award in 2006
Martin Williams, a celebrated producer and amateur radio historian
Redzi Bernard, producer and co-host of the Telling Stories podcast
Tony Phillips, former production colleague and radio commissioning executive.
Including interview excerpts with Piers from Roger Kneebone's Countercurrent podcast and Victor Hall's Pocketsize Studio
and extracts from the following programmes in the BBC Sound Archive:
Stepping Stones (R4, 2015)
A Fine Blue Day (R4, 1978)
Splashpast! (R4, 1993)
Mirooo (R3, 1993)
Mr B - a portrait of James Bellamy (R4, 1991)
Setting Sail (R4, 1985)
One Big Kitchen Table (R4, 1989)
Mr Fletcher, the Poet (R4, 1986)
Nobody Stays in This House Long (R4, 1983)
What Are They Looking At? (R3, 1997)
First broadcast 18th December 2021, BBC Radio 4
Produced by Alan Hall