This was a good week for Radio 4. 94-year-old Archers star, June Spencer, who plays Peggy Woolley, has appeared in the show since its first episode in 1951 and is the only remaining member of the original cast, took home an honorary BBC audio award.
June has recently been at the centre of a storyline about the death of her on-air husband after suffering from dementia. June in fact lost her own husband to the disease, and the actor who played her husband in the show, Arnold Peters, was also diagnosed with the condition and died last May.
Sean O’Connor, Editor of the Archers, said, “June is an extraordinary woman who has committed her life to the BBC and the Archers. At 94, absolutely nothing fazes her. She performed with heartbreaking dignity in the recent episodes, using her instincts as an actress and channelling her own difficult experiences of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s”
Following on the theme, the Good week/bad week team here had word from Radio 4 this week, that Where Memories Go by Sally Magnusson (daughter of Magnus) will be next week’s Book of the Week. The book is Sally’s moving account of her mother’s long struggle with dementia. The book is a portrait of Sally’s mother, a pioneering Scottish journalist known for her wit and love of storytelling, which also looks at the science behind the disease, as well as the politics and indeed challenges of caring for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s good to see the station devoting such a great deal of air time to such an important subject.
It wasn’t such a good week, however, for 76-year-old June Humphreys who was sentenced to a month in prison – suspended for 12 months – after she admitted using her free bus pass to travel to shopping centres across Cheshire and Staffordshire to go on pilfering trips. The great grandmother, who suffers from breast cancer and osteoarthritis, filled her shopping trolley with a range of items, ranging from chocolate and alcohol to breast pumps and boots, had racked up a string of convictions but said she carried on regardless because she was “bored” and “tired of being old”.