Famous People You've Never Heard Of

Famous People You've Never Heard Of

Our podcasts are a mix of conversations with a wide range of subject matter experts and enthusiasts, interspersed with the occasional audio drama. Each episode focuses on one person, a group of people or a genre from the world of entertainment that we wish to bring back to the spotlight and who has been lost to history or is in danger of being so.The Arts industries are currently in peril but this is nothing new. The Entertainment industry in all its guises has seen it all before. Political turmoil, plague, poverty, overnight success, sudden failure and the long term closure of theatres are not unique to the 21st century.We are not academics (although luckily some of our prestigious guests are) so don't expect forensic analysis or ground breaking research in every episode. We are entertainers, passionate about our craft, its heritage and its future. And we want to share our enthusiasm with you!


March 29, 2023 26 mins

Avril Coleridge-Taylor (1903-1988);  Wikipedia says she was a "pianist".  She was.  She was also a composer and conductor (in fact she was the first female conductor of the band of the Royal Marines).   She was also the daughter of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Historian and author Stephen Bourne and musician and author Patricia Hammond talk about her  talent and her eventful  life in this episode. 

Find out...

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We're delighted and privileged to be releasing today's podcast on the 200th anniversary of the death of Billy Waters.

Born in 1776 Waters was a familiar sight on the Strand in London.  He was a black ex-sailor who had been invalided out of the Navy after losing a leg.  With a crude wooden prosthesis he danced and also played the violin outside the Adelphi Theatre.  He became so famous that a whole industry g...

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Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)  was a British composer.

His mother was English and his father from Sierra Leone.  He referred to himself as "Anglo-African" and was referred to by white musicians in the US as the "Black Mahler", which is the title of the biography by  Charles Elford.
Coleridge-Taylor entered the Royal College of Music at the age of only 15 and was taught by Prof. Charles Villier...

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Paula David's one woman show is a journey through menopause and a discovery of self.
It is poetic and musical, has movement and dance and examines something that all women experience and few have the courage to speak about.  It is also highly amusing!

Paula spoke to us about the show ahead of her one night at the Exchange in Twickenham on 29th March as part of the One Woman Wednesday season.

Book tickets ...

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February 13, 2023 9 mins

Yootha Joyce, best known for "George and Mildred" was one of the best known TV stars of the 1970's.  But she was so much more...

Award -winning actress Caroline Burns-Cooke tells her story in the  brilliant one woman show "Testament of Yootha", showing for one night only at the Exchange in Twickenham on 22nd March as part of the One Woman Wednesday season to celebrate Womens History Month and Inter...

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Isadora Duncan:  dancer, muse, innovator, political activist and so much more was born in the USA in 1877.  She died in Nice, France in 1927 in a freak accident that is sadly the thing that she seems to be most remembered for.  Well we want to change that!

Elizabeth Blake is an actress, dancer and choreographer.  She has written and is currently performing a one woman show about Isadora that has wowed audiences and critics...

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Clara Schumann, a pianist, composer and piano teacher.  And wife of Robert Schumann.

Clara Wieck had a fascinating life- a child prodigy, like Mozart before her she was touring as a concert pianist under the watchful eye of her domineering father from a very young age.  She went on to marry Robert, have eight children and continue to work in the male dominated world of classical music until she died aged 76 having survived...

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June 4, 2022 40 mins

Ally Sloper's Half-Holiday was the name of a weekly comic strip which first appeared on 3 May 1884.   

Before Superman, Spiderman, Desperate Dan and  Dennis the Menace came Ally Sloper.  From 1884 until the 1920s, the red-nosed social climber who poked fun at the English people and their customs was a household name and national favourite.

Ally Sloper takes us into the realms of the first comic strip cha...

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Who was Fred Karno?  and what was his army?

We talk to David Crump whose biography of today's subject reveals all - and some!

Karno was a giant personality who had a giant effect on theatre and cinema as we know it.  The man who gave  Stan Laurel, Charlie Chaplin and the Crazy Gang their first break and almost single handedly invented the type of slapstick we recognise in the silent movies had an eventful lif...

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Back in the dark days of Lockdown number 2 at the end of 2020 Lottie and Linda were enjoying the TV series Harlots.  Whilst chatting about it Lottie remembered seeing the blue plaque that is dedicated to Priss Fotheringham, the "second best whore in London".  And the idea for a podcast episode was born!

For reasons many and varied it's taken us a whole year to bring the episode to you and we do hope you...

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Amanda Ira Aldridge, one of the most important female composers of the 20th century has been all but forgotten.

Daughter of the groundbreaking actor Ira Aldridge,  Amanda, was also a singer and in her latter years a voice teacher.  One of her pupils was Paul Robeson who approached her when he cane to  the UK to play Othello.  He was only the second black actor to play the role.  Amanda's father Ira had been the f...

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For this special episode  we've moved away from talking about our long forgotten heroes of history to talk to our very much up to date  award winning theatre-maker - and hero -  Christopher Green.

Christopher is a huge advocate of theatre as an experience and of the "all the world's a stage" ethos.  In this conversation we talk about experiential theatre, site-specific productions and  why  clear instru...

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Fred Barnes was a huge star in his time, but his fame, fortune and undeniable glamour hid a tragic story and self-destructive nature.

Christopher Green and John Orchard talk to Lottie about Fred Barnes'  tragic life and death, how he has been almost written out of history and their own projects to bring him back into popular culture.

A blue plaque to Fred Barnes will be unveiled on 18th October 2021 at his ho...

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Vesta Tilley was possibly the most famous male impersonator of all time and a huge star of the Victorian Music Hall.  The girl from Worcester, who was treading the boards from the age of 3 was also the wife of an MP and "Britain's best recruiting sergeant" during WW1.

In this episode Ann-Lindsey Wickens tells us what it's like to portray this iconic figure, and Vesta's history is told - in brief by...

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"The Diary of a Nobody" has long been a favourite book of both Tim Shaw and Andy Smith.  They've seen it on stage, listened to it on the radio and, of course, read it.

So one rainy August day in Edinburgh after seeing Rodney Bewes in his on man version of 3 Men in a Boat and over a small sherry or two they hit upon the idea of adapting Charles Pooter's  diary into a one man play.  Andy reprised his role...

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This season's audio drama is :
The Diary of a Nobody, by George & Weedon Grossmith, said by Evelyn Waugh to be the "funniest book ever written".

The book has never been out of print and is available at all good bookshops.

This adaptation is by Tim Shaw.  It is directed by Steve Taylor

Charles Pooter - Andy Smith
Carrie - Lottie Walker
Lupin - Steve Taylor

Studio Rec...

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George Grossmith created many of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic baritone roles and was known for his delivery of the famous patter songs.

He was also a writer and composer who entertained royalty in the parlours of palaces and a journalist who spent time as a Bow Street Court reporter.  And, together with his brother Weedon he was responsible for producing "The Diary of a Nobody", which has never been out...

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The original "greatest showman" was not P.T. Barnum, it was a chap from Newcastle Under Lyme in Staffordshire, who went by the name Philip Astley.  Astley was a soldier and talented equestrian who went on to invent what we now recognise as the modern day circus.  His story is one of the many that prove that truth is stranger (certainly more remarkable) than fiction.

Andrew Van Buren hails from the world of c...

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Margaret Monod talks about her blog, "Into the Limelight" and her fabulous collection of Music Hall postcards .

Today's Podcast:
Host:  Lottie
Guest: Margaret Monod
Edited By:  Jacob Taylor
Music: James Hall

This is a special bonus episode broadcast specially for the British Music Hall Society's Music Hall & Variety Day

Follow Margaret on Twitter:  @m...

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April 22, 2021 4 mins

Welcome back to "Famous People You've Never Heard Of"!

We've some fabulous guests talking about some truly fabulous people and hope that you enjoy finding out about them all.

Some of our contributors this season are:

Stephen Bourne
Lyn Brown MP
Moira Buffini
Christopher Green
John Orchard
Andrew van Buren

And some of our wonderful subjects are:
Vesta Ti...

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