Lives In A Landscape



Documentary series telling original stories about real lives in Britain today


  • RIP

    27/11/2015 Duration: 28min

    Alan Dein travels to Nottingham to meet with the 4th & 5th generations of a family firm of Funeral Directors (with a 6th generation already on the horizon). When furniture maker and dealer Arthur William Lymn started 'undertaking' funerals with his son Harold Percy in 1907, their first premises were on Goosegate - next door to a man selling potions and lotions. Although Arthur and Harold could not match the subsequent success of their next-door-neighbours, the Boots Pure Drug Company Ltd, AW Lymn did have to move to larger premises in 1915. And in the hundred years since they have continued to grow, now operating out of 25 offices, employing 110 staff and conducting 3,500 funeral every year. Last year a brain tumour forced Harold's grandson, Nigel Lymn Rose to hand over the reins of the company to his son Matthew while he underwent brain surgery and recuperated. This summer, fully recovered and back at work, this temporary arrangement was made permanent. As Matthew and Nigel work out the parameters of their

  • Goodbye to Boleyn

    20/11/2015 Duration: 27min

    The Boleyn Ground, Upton Park. Home to West Ham since 1904. No one would call the stadium, or indeed the streets that closely bind it in the borough of Newham, beautiful but it has echoed to one of football's oldest anthems 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles' since the 1920's. Now that song and the stones & grass that have been an arena for legends like Hurst, Moore & Peters will not just fade and die but be demolished. Very soon the club will move from E13 to E20 & the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, no longer owners but tenants in a very different space. Match days around Green Street and the other roads that bind the stadium to the area will be like every other day. But for these last few months the pavements still reverberate to the returning tribes of Essex, their family ties strong in a place that has greatly changed since Bobby Moore and his other '66 immortals made West Ham a global name. Amidst the throng on match day, Alan Dein weaves his way through the streets to chronicle lives enfolded by the stadium.

  • 13/11/2015

    13/11/2015 Duration: 27min

    When pensioners Viv and Fred Morgan read about a teenager committing suicide clutching her teddy, they decided to act - turning their home into a school to help other bullied kids. They took their Bed and Breakfast in Hatton, Warwickshire and turned rooms into classrooms and built recreation and therapy facilities in the grounds. Now they have 17 pupils attending, more than half of whom have tried to take their own lives in the past. Children aged between 11 and 16 can be referred by their local authorities and most stay for about a year. At first they often struggle with the curriculum but gradually they join classes - with 22 full and part time teachers covering everything from Science and English through to Photography GCSE. Fred was 90 when they founded Northleigh House School but even now, four years on, he has no interest in retiring and Viv agrees: "We're not people who sit back and do nothing. When we heard of the situation facing youngsters we just knew we should try and help." Alan Dein meets pu

  • Care for Claire

    06/11/2015 Duration: 27min

    Lives in a Landscape reports from Penistone, where Claire Throssell is being helped by her community after her sons were killed by their father in a house fire exactly a year ago. As well as killing his sons and himself, Darren Sykes also destroyed much of the house, lighting fires throughout the terraced home and luring his boys into the loft with the promise of a new train set. He had cancelled the home insurance before the blaze and Claire faced both the devastating loss of her sons and also the terrible reminder in a home she couldn't sell because of such extensive fire damage. Local people wanted to stand firm against such 'evil', according to a local singer and archivist, Dave Cherry, who has helped raise money. Teams of volunteers organised by Reverend David Hopkins at St John's Church and both the Rotary and 41 Clubs, have overseen the rebuilding of the home. Whilst nothing will replace her loss, Claire tells Alan Dein that such community support has helped her focus on creating a legacy for her

  • The Life of Reilly

    07/09/2015 Duration: 27min

    For every stand-up comedian that's a household name, there are dozens of hard-working, funny, committed comedians who haven't quite broken through into the national consciousness. Christian Reilly is a musical stand-up, a wandering minstrel, whose comedy material is delivered through song. He's a popular and successful act who's in great demand on the comedy-club circuit. His diary is packed: Some weeks he'll do two gigs in one night, in two different cities. It's an exhausting schedule. His year, along with so many others, reaches its peak at the Edinburgh festival in August. In this week's Lives in a Landscape Alan Dein hears Christian's story and travels with him to gigs in Manchester, Liverpool and, ultimately, Edinburgh. From behind-the-scenes at comedy venues, to the share-house Christian rents for a month in Edinburgh with fellow comedians, Alan discovers what motivates Christian, what his ambitions are, and whether he believes he can achieve them. Producer: Karen Gregor.

  • The Glastonbury Tales

    31/08/2015 Duration: 27min

    Alan Dein joins African and Afro Caribbean Catholics from Bristol as they take part in the annual pilgrimage to the ancient abbey at Glastonbury. On board the pilgrim bus, parishioners share their life stories, and explain why they are all drawn to worship in the church of St Nicholas of Tolentino. Producer: Chris Ledgard

  • The River Cam

    24/08/2015 Duration: 27min

    Alan Dein tackles the picturesque but crowded stretch of the River Cam that winds in and out of Cambridge. Here, house-boats, punts, rowing boats and cruisers fight for space on what is, the river manager says, the most crowded stretch of river in Britain. Producer: Chris Ledgard.

  • The Adoption Party

    17/08/2015 Duration: 27min

    In the last few years, 'adoption activity days' have gathered momentum in the UK, where children waiting to be adopted meet prospective adoptive parents at a party. The children are often 'hard to place,' either because of medical issues, their age, or behavioural problems. The hope is that once the families meet them face to face, they will get a much better idea of the children, rather than from paper and photo alone. For these children, the party day is often their last chance to find a family, before they are put into long-term foster care. Alan Dein joins couples Rob and Sarah, and Emma and John, and single adopter Rachael, as they look for a child. Producer in Bristol: Sara Conkey.

  • Herd under the Hammer

    29/04/2015 Duration: 28min

    Alan Dein meets farmer Steve Graham as he sells his herd of 1000 dairy cows - the largest UK sale this year. Having woken at dawn for 35 years to milk the cows, he has decided to sell - but how will he adjust to life without them? Steve's life has been governed by the relentless pattern of milking twice a day, and the pressures of rearing the cows from birth and caring for them throughout their lives. On his farm in Devon, he says "There are a lot easier ways of making money than milking cows. But if you don't look after them, they won't look after you." Alan joins Steve on the farm on the final days with his herd and travels with him to the market. When the cows hit the ring, it is not just them being judged, but Steve's reputation on the line. At auction, Alan hears from fellow farmers about the state of the dairy industry and the pressures put upon them by a falling milk price. But Steve reveals that his reasons for leaving the industry are more personal. Producer: Clare Walker.

  • My Class My World

    22/04/2015 Duration: 28min

    Ms Pope runs a tight ship in her class of 27 at Bowling Park Primary School: she has little option given her pupils come from 18 different countries, speak 31 languages between them and have to all pitch in on the frequent occasions when classmates leave and new ones arrive Maja tells me that teaching her Mum English is one of the hardest things she has ever attempted: she's given up now! She learnt from class-mate Casper, who has taught others in the class. Maja is now teaching L'Annee, who arrived from the Congo and speaks no English at all. This system of catch-up operated by the pupils and ensures that all new arrivals can quickly integrate into Bradford life. Producer: Sue Mitchell.

  • Holy Island: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

    15/04/2015 Duration: 27min

    Alan Dein meets the modern residents of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. While the recorded history of of the place can be traced back to the 6th century and includes the followers of St. Aiden and St Cuthbert, the current residents try to maintain a way of life that has existed for hundreds of years. Where the monks of Lindisfarne had contend with the Vikings and the Reformation, today's residents face an annual invasion of half a million tourists. With the help of residents - both young and old - Alan Dein explores their options... whether they should stay on island and keep the old industries going, or leave and discover what the wider world has to offer. Fishermen Andrew and Stuart Johnson, farmer Alison Brigham and retiree Brian Paterson have always lived on the island... recent school-leavers Molly Luke and Joel Rain are planning to leave in the autumn... and island shop keeper Gary Watson left only to come back. But what is the draw of the place? When the tide is out coachloads of tourists and pilgrim

  • Titans Together

    08/04/2015 Duration: 27min

    In the start of the new series of Lives in a Landscape Alan Dein discovers that instead of prescribing tablets local GPs are writing out prescriptions for a few weeks of Titan therapy: watching rugby games, attending weekly lunches and fitness classes. The pensioners are sitting alongside the players as they train and even as they strip down for next year's fund-raising calendar. Titan therapy, at Rotherham Titans rugby club, has been so successful that many of those initially given funding for six weeks are still attending. Those like 82 year old Grace couldn't be happier: "Tuesday morning and the weekend games are the highlight of my week - I was close to taking my own life when the doctor arranged for me to come here. But now it's changed my life completely." For Match Day Captain, Tom Holmes, the idea has its roots in the club's long history of encouraging community involvement: "We need this more than ever in this area now and we all look forward to Grace and the others being here. I haven't told them

  • Sails and Oars Only - Oyster Fishing on the Fal

    15/12/2014 Duration: 27min

    In 1602 Sir Richard Carew saw fishermen catching oysters with 'a thick strong net fastened to three spills of iron, and drawn to the boat's stern, gathering whatsoever it meeteth lying in the bottom of the water, out of which... they cull the oyster'. When Les Angel and Timmy Heard show Alan Dein how they catch oysters in the Fal today he finds that, in four centuries, nothing's changed. The last wild native oyster beds lie in this beautiful Cornish estuary. In 1876, in an early example of conservation legislation, Truro Corporation passed byelaws forbidding the mechanised harvesting of oysters. The Fal oystermen use gaff-rigged cutters, some over a century old, the last in Europe to fish commercially under sail. Upstream they dredge with punts; not what see boys in blazers and girls in muslin poling along the Cam in, but hefty rowing boats. Twenty years ago mussel farming was introduced. Ropes are suspended from rafts, obliging molluscs attach themselves and grow, and grow. The methods are simple, the ti

  • Jam, Jerusalem and an Awful Lot of Glitter

    15/12/2014 Duration: 27min

    Jam, Jerusalem and an Awful Lot of Glitter When Jeannie joined her local branch of the Women's Institute in Liverpool, she hoped for a bit of distraction from an ongoing, long term illness. But what she found there was a whole lot more than jam and Jerusalem. Before you could say Victoria sponge cake, she was sashaying down a catwalk dressed as a space alien, complete with ray gun, 8 inch heels and 3 inch red eyelashes, in front of a screaming audience. Welcome to the Vogue Ball - Liverpool's 21st century version of a phenomenon that swept the streets, and then the underground clubs of New York back in the 1980's. You might remember the Madonna song "Vogue" which spread the word - but this dance movement originated in the world of excluded black, gay street kids. Vogueing was an escape from a world which was set up to exclude them. It was all about fantasy, taking on a role for one night only of your dream persona; a Wall Street Banker; a glamorous diva; a film star, or even a creature from another galaxy.

  • Last Port of Call

    12/12/2014 Duration: 27min

    Alan Dein visits an old mariners' home on the banks of the River Mersey. Mariners' Park in Wallasey is home to over 150 former Merchant Navy seamen and their wives or widows. Many of them set off on their maiden voyage as young sailors from Liverpool, passing the home on their port side as they embarked on a life of discovery, adventure and hard work at sea. Now, having "swallowed the anchor", they settled here in retirement and watch the occasional vessel pass up and down the river. But, as Alan discovers, life on dry land has given many of these sailors a new lease of life. They track ships on the internet, take the ferry across the Mersey and throw themselves into a sports day. But he also finds a reflective side to the Park and a very strong attachment to its own history. The Merchant Navy is often overlooked in Remembrance services, but not at Mariners' Park. Producer Neil McCarthy.

  • The Horses of Holme Wood

    12/12/2014 Duration: 27min

    Bradford Council regularly monitors horse numbers on its Holme Wood estate, with workers and police carrying out late night raids to round them up. Alan Dein meets the animal owners and explores their bitter battle with the council as they tether horses in parks, alleys and even their own gardens. Gaz has tried dogs, cats and guinea pigs. Last week when his seven kids wanted a new pet he picked up a £50 horse form a mate on the street. The horse is now in his back garden and during the day he risks the council's wrath by moving it into the park outside his home. It is a huge council estate but his home is let by a private landlord and although he has no income he's asking that landlord if he can build a stables for Sausage in his garden! The estate is literally teeming with horses and no one bats an eyelid at one more joining their ranks. Across the road Pip is engaged in a game of cat and mouse with council officials as he tries to hide his horses. Eviction notices have been served on his parents and he's

  • Branscombe Chalet Owners

    18/09/2014 Duration: 27min

    In February 2014, the worst storms in a generation hit the south Devon coast. Among those affected were the owners of five beach chalets at Branscombe. The sea took away much of the beach and eroded the earth banks on which the chalets stood, exposing the foundations and making some of them uninhabitable. Before the storm, the chalets were worth up to £250,000 each but now they are virtually unsaleable. The owners would like to rebuild them, and move shingle back up the beach to protect them from future storms. But there's a problem: Branscombe beach is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and falls under the control of Natural England. Natural England won't let the owners move shingle, partly because the upper shoreline is home to the very rare scaly cricket. They also adhere to a "Shoreline Management Plan", which says that there should be "no active intervention" to protect the beach from erosion. There is a stand-off between the owners and Natural England, but the clock's ticking: without ur

  • The Death Doulas

    29/08/2014 Duration: 27min

    Alan Dein meets doulas in Lewes in Sussex - people working in palliative care from all walks of life who have learned how to be companions for people who are dying. They also are involved in consciousness-raising about the end of life and run Death Cafes in Lewes. We follow doulas Polly and Jane as they reveal their motivation for being involved in this work, talk to people about end of life directives, and describe what a doula does in the room of a dying person. Producer: Sara Conkey.

  • The Roman Way

    22/08/2014 Duration: 27min

    Alan Dein follows the fast-moving story of a squatter who takes over a pub in Luton - he says for the benefit of the local community. The Roman Way is a sprawling 1960s pub at the centre of the Lewsey Farm housing estate. The landlord of fourteen years, Declan, made the decision earlier this year to give up the business and return to Ireland to start a new life. But, just as Declan is leaving, on his very last morning in the pub, Biggs turns up; a larger-than-life local character determined to take over the pub on behalf of the newly formed Lewsey Farm Community Action Group. Dressed in a hoodie and bandana and carrying a heavy chain, he negotiates his way past police and a representative from the pub's owners, and - in his terminology - 'legally occupies' the building. Over the next few weeks the story takes many unexpected twists and turns, and draws in bailiffs, security guards, police and the local community. Alan Dein watches as the story comes to a conclusive end. Producer: Karen Gregor.

  • Getting the House Ready

    28/04/2014 Duration: 27min

    74 year old Myf Barker is turning her enormous home into a wedding venue in the hope that it will make money. Kate Lamble meets the family and uncovers memories amid the chaos. Purton House has been lived in by Myf, her late husband and her children for decades. It's a rambling family mansion with grounds, and an organic farm attached. But Myf has an eye to the future and wants to leave the house to her children as a viable business. So she's working to turn the property into a venue where weddings can be held and bridal families can stay the night. Her main job is to convert the upstairs rooms so that they meet the standards of the most exacting couples. Old furniture has to be renovated, walls have to be painted and new bathrooms are being put in. Myf will even have to move out of her own bedroom which is being turned into a sitting room. It's a daunting workload. Will it be ready on time? Kate Lamble meets Myf, some of her grown up children including daughters Rowie and Talia and also Glenn, the son sh

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