Aired: 3 November 2014 at 6.30pm, BBC Radio 4
Curator: Phill Jupitus
Steering Committee: Clive Anderson, Richard Williams, Anne Dudley
The Old Bailey has been London's principal criminal court for centuries. Now a crown court centre, it hears cases from the City of London and the Greater London area, and those remitted to it from England and Wales. Before the first courthouse was built in the 16th century, sessions were held in nearby rooms specially hired for the purpose or in Newgate, the 'notorious prison' used to house prisoners from at least the end of the 12th century.
Extremely poor conditions for prisoners and the fast spreading of many diseases, meant a new prison was needed. Completed in 1785, the Old Bailey, named after the street besides the new prison, soon became popular as the scene of hanging of those sentenced to death. The condemned would be led along Dead Man's Walk between the prison and the court, and many were buried in the walk itself. Large, riotous crowds would gather and pelt the condemned with rotten fruit and vegetables and stones.
The last ‘beheading’ in the country took place outside the prison in 1820.
The building was further enlarged in 1824 when a second courtroom was added. 10 years later, an Act of Parliament extended the Central Criminal Court jurisdiction beyond the City and Middlesex to include parts of Essex, Surrey and Kent and to British ships on the high seas.
An architect called Edward Mountford was chosen to redesign and expand the court, and first stone of the new Old Bailey was laid in 1902, and five years later the building, with four courts, 90 cells and stones from the demolished prison used in its façade, was completed. It cost the City of London Corporation nearly £400,000 and was opened in 1907 by King Edward VII. It was bombed in 1941 and in the 60s and 70 and IRA car bomb damaged the building.
Crowning the Old Bailey is the statue of Justice; she stands 60 metres above the street and is 3.7 metres high, cast in bronze and covered with gold leaf. Her outstretched arms span 2.4 metres; in her right hand she holds the sword of retribution and in her left the equally balanced scales of justice. She is especially distinguished from other statues of Justice, by not being blindfolded.
Famous trials held there are those of Oscar Wilde, Dr Crippen, William Joyce (‘Lord Haw Haw’), John Christie, the Krays and Peter Sutcliffe, the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’.
Broadcaster, Writer &
Clive Anderson is a barrister by training, but he is best known for being an award-winning and versatile, presenter and comedy writer.
Winner of the British Comedy Award in 1991, Clive began his success during his 15-year law career with stand-up comedy and script writing, before rising to fame as the host of Whose Line Is It Anyway? on radio and then television.
Clive went on to front ten series of his own show, Clive Anderson Talks Back on Channel 4 and four series of Clive Anderson All Talk on BBC 1. As well as presenting several other TV and radio programmes, he has made many guest appearances on shows such as Have I Got News For You, QI, Mock the Week, and The Bubble. He currently hosts Loose Ends and Unreliable Evidence on Radio 4 and The Guessing Game on BBC Radio Scotland.
Clive has been the unflappable host of live events and award ceremonies for BAFTA, the London Evening Standard Film Awards, the Olivier Awards and has fronted other events and programmes ranging from the Proms to politics.
I'm a trained laywer; I don't have to admit to anything.
Anne Dudley is a composer, arranger, producer, performer, and a multi-talented and critically-acclaimed musician. She has composed and produced soundtracks for dozens of award-winning films and tv shows, although years, she never admitted to being a composer. 'I used to say I was a VAT inspector, or sometimes a drug dealer.'
She was a founding member of the Art Of Noise. They were one of the first groups to use sampling (including, naturally, on Hoops and Mallets, the sound of a croquet ball being hit by a mallet).
The group were named after a Futurist manifesto, they managed to be voted Best New Black Act by Billboard magazine (despite the fact that none of them were black). Dudley provided the gorgeous melodies - such as that for Moments in Love, the song to which Madonna walked down the aisle for her ill-fated marriage to Sean Penn.
She won an Oscar for producing and writing the music for one of the the most successful British films of all time, The Full Monty: 'After we won we were going to open a bottle of champagne, but we thought we wouldn't finish it, so we had a Diet Coke instead. How English is that?'
She has contributed string arrangements to many classic albums including 'The Lexicon of Love' and Robbie Williams 'Reality killed the video star'. She has said, 'my parents would turn the sound down at the mere hint of pop music', she recalls. 'That is probably why, when I was old enough to smuggle the transistor radio into the bathroom, I seized upon pop with such fiendish glee.'
She was musical director for Bill Bailey's 'Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra' which toured in 2009. She was the composer of an opera, 'The Doctor's Tale' with writer Terry Jones, for the Royal Opera House 'Opera Shots' season which had six performances in April 2011. She took part in the Royal Thames Pageant for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, composing a piece inspired by Handel's Water Music.
Anne and Terry Jones worked together again with the Royal Opera House to produce a staged 'floating opera' on London’s canals. The short opera "The Owl and the Pussycat" was part of the Cultural Olympiad.
Anne was music producer on the Academy award winning film of 'Les Miserables' starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway.
She composed the music for the ITV drama 'Breathless' which was broadcast in Autumn 2013 and is music director of the upcoming musical film 'Walking On Sunshine.'
The Woolsack is the seat of the Lord Speaker in the House of Lords. It is a large square cushion of wool covered in red cloth and has no arms or back and is stuffed with wool brought from around the Commonwealth. The tradition of the Woolsack dates back to the reign of Edward III when the wool trade was one of the most important parts of the economy. A seat stuffed with wool was therefore a very important symbol of the wealth of the country.
In front of the Woolsack in the House of Lords Chamber is a larger cushion known as the Judges' Woolsack. During the State Opening of Parliament, the Judges' Woolsack is occupied by senior judges. This is a reminder of medieval Parliaments, when judges attended to offer legal advice. During normal sittings of the House, any Member of the Lords may sit on it.
I think that music has endless life.
Richard Williams now lives with his wife Mo in Bristol. They have an office in the Aardman studios, where the Wallace and Gromit films are made. It is where Williams has planted his donation to the museum – an animator's sloping desk from the Disney studios – he has said of the desk, 'Walt bought a lot of them when the money started to come in after Snow White, and they still work'.
The idea behind the office cubical was invented by Robert Propst who wanted to invent a more dynamic, productive area that encouraged blood flow and staved off exhaustion. He called it an 'action office', but it was so successful that companies tried to squeeze more and more of them into smaller spaces and they became the dystopian nightmare that they are today.
Why is a raven like a writing desk? Lewis Carroll didn't have an answer in mind when he wrote the raven riddle but later came up with this solution: 'Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front.' He deliberately spelled 'nevar' wrong so it would read 'raven' backwards. US puzzler Sam Lloyd came up with this better answer: Because Poe wrote upon both.
Houdini bought Edgar Allen Poe’s writing desk.
Alan Turing chained his coffee mug to his desk to prevent it from being stolen. Gabriel Gárcia Márquez was married for 55 years. Every day, his wife Mercedes would put a yellow rose on his desk. Henrik Ibsen kept a pet scorpion on his desk for inspiration. Friedrich von Schiller put rotten apples under his desk to inspire him with memories of the orchards of his youth. Sigmund Freud kept a porcupine on his desk.
People wanting to get laid in the British Library engage in a form of anonymous flirting called 'Noting,' where you surreptitiously leave a note on the desk of the person you fancy.
Richard Williams is a Canadian animator, winner of two Oscars and countless other awards for his work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and A Christmas Carol. He is well known for his unfinished masterpiece The Thief and the Cobbler. He also produced hundreds of multi-award winning TV commercials throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s through Richard Williams Animation in London and L.A, as well as movie titles and sequences for films such as The Pink Panther, What’s New Pussycat? and The Charge of the Light Brigade. His publication, The Animator's Survival Kit, is essential reading for anyone seriously interested in animation.
He was born in Toronto on 19 March 1933. His parents were illustrators. When he was 5 years old, he went to see Snow White, which had come out in Toronto, because his mother was an illustrator he was aware they were drawings. His mother said he was never the same again. When he was 15 he went to Disney – he saved up money for a bus from Toronto to Los Angeles – and walked around in front of the studio for a month and a half trying to get in. Then, his mother had a friend in advertising who helped him spend two days there meeting people. He met Disney, and saw how animators work.
He left Toronto for Ibiza in 1953-55 before moving to London and since then has spent most of his professional life in the UK. He has credited animator Bob Godfrey for giving him a start in the business; he would do work in kind, and Godfrey let him use the camera, [it was] a barter system.
Williams began his career work with Yellow Submarine (1968) director George Dunning, and then worked in the expanding television commercials industry. His first film, The Little Island (1958), a philosophical treatise playing out the obsessional imperatives of 'beauty', 'truth' and 'goodness' as competing monsters, indicated his interest in the compulsive side of the human spirit.
The film's success enabled him to establish his own studio, which attracted many animators keen to embrace Williams' perfectionist approach. Later, he was to engage Disney veterans Art Babbitt, who developed 'Goofy' and worked on the 'Mushroom Dance' in Fantasia (1940), and Milt Kahl, animator of Shere Khan in The Jungle Book (1967), to train young animators at his studio.
In the 1960s Williams continued to balance his commercial work - notably a series of advertisements for Truman Bitter - with personal films like Love Me, Love ME (1962) and A Lecture on Man (1962), but he effectively combined the two in the extraordinary animated titles and bridging sequences for Tony Richardson's The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968). Williams' other notable title sequences include What's New, Pussycat? (US, d. Clive Donner, 1965) Casino Royale and most famously, The Return of the Pink Panther.
In 1966 Williams illustrated The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasruddin (d. Jonathan Cape, 1966), a collection of Sufi folk-tales about the wise fool, Mulla Nasruddin, and he determined to turn the stories into a feature film. Despite Oscar-winning success with A Christmas Carol (1970), The Thief and the Cobbler, as the Nasruddin film became known, suffered several false starts, including an elaborate test sequence funded by Saudi Prince Mohammed Feisal, which was widely admired but considered too costly. It has been released in different forms but his own version has never been completed and released.
My only purpose in life is to make people laugh.