The week in audio: Death at Deepcut; Shergar’s disappearance; Adults, Almost – reviews | Podcasts
Here are two series of investigative podcasts on past crimes. (Yes, I know. Support.) In the first one, Death to DeepcutSerious Work, Journalist Jane MacSorley and Retired Detective Colin Sutton decipher the notorious deaths at Deepcut Army Training Base between 1995 and 2002. Soldiers Sean Benton, Cheryl James, Geoff Gray and James Collinson have all died of gunshot wounds on different occasions.
MacSorley, whose presentation has the right amount of fire and outrage, has covered this case for nearly two decades. Sutton worked for the Surrey Police Department and was responsible for investigating the deaths of Gray and Collinson, until he left for a job at the Met. He is unhappy with what happened after he left. In short, they know their business and during this podcast, they discover a new avenue of investigation, more – shocking – another sudden death of a young soldier, Anthony Bartlett, just two months before that of Gray. It was quickly considered suicide by the military, this time by overdose. Bartlett’s brother Steve, a balanced man, ex-military himself, must have identified Anthony’s body. “I saw death, sudden death. It wasn’t clean, if you know what I mean, ”he says. “There was blood from his ears and nose. “
Maybe you already feel like you know Deepcut: Private detective the reader has been kept informed of the appalling manner in which the camp is run. But this series brings it all home. In the first episode, some of those who were there at the time describe violent bullying, sexual assault, “hazing” involving masked men jumping on sleeping soldiers and beating them up. The commanders were involved. Deepcut was where young recruits went after their first training; several of them were still teenagers.
We learn more, especially during episodes five and six. Collinson was panicking about the money when he died; there were many usurious loans in the camp, between officers and soldiers, which were never investigated. Very occasionally, an army superior takes the floor. One of them was working at Deepcut when Leslie Skinner was sent there. Skinner had previously been convicted of exposing himself to two young boys. “It was amazing when we heard that Skinner was coming towards us… anyway, he should have been kicked out… but we were told to take him away,” the superior ranted. And, heartbreaking, we hear about a young soldier who was sexually assaulted by Skinner at Deepcut. (Skinner was ultimately convicted of five counts of sexual assault and was jailed for four and a half years.)
Who would want to run up against an army closing ranks, a police force which believes what the army tells them and a government which wants to draw the line through this mess? Collinson’s mother saw what happened in the inquiries into the deaths of Benton, James and Gray and withdrew her request for one to that of her son. She can’t face it. A proper public inquiry into all of these deaths, plus Bartlett’s, is clearly overdue. I hope this exemplary and compelling podcast will be the catalyst.
If you want to laugh after all this, then you could try the other real crime show, the kidnapping of Shergar, winner of the 1981 Derby. Spoiler: the horse dies. But that’s not what’s funny here: the joke is in the presenter, Vanilla Ice. A show about Shergar, presented by rapper Vanilla Ice. If only Shergar hadn’t died. A show on Vanilla Ice, presented by Shergar, would make just as much sense.
Ice – real name pub quiz fan Rob Van Winkle – is no idiot. An enthusiastic and self-aware presenter, he happily acknowledges that he is best known for “singing, dancing, making movies and renovating homes… like Kirsty Allsopp but with more tattoos and a baseball cap”. No mention of horse racing, notice. This is a multi-part podcast that will tell a story most are already familiar with. Whether you join the merry-go-round will depend on how long you think the joke will hold.
If you want to cheer yourself up in another way, then Radio 4 is sweet. Adults, almost featured various 17 and 18 year olds recorded over the past year. “The confinement was a relief… I had a Spanish oral exam from the GSCE for which I had not studied,” said one of them, Kezia happily. Oh, they were so optimistic, even when they were feeling down; how nice to hear such a natural mind and such a pleasure in life. Young people, full of hope and enthusiastic for the future, who are learning all the time. Like those poor Deepcut soldiers.
Three complete sets to binge
Coming from the cold
Winner of Gold and Silver at the Arias Awards, in Best Sports Show and Top Factual Categories, this six-part TalkSport series about black and mixed-race British football players celebrates their presence since the very beginning of the beautiful game. Excellent contributors (the always excellent John Barnes, plus Andy Cole, Ian Wright, Gareth Southgate and more) and a top notch soundtrack make it essential listening. Jessica Creighton presents well and intelligent interviews reveal how brilliant black British players have been overlooked or stereotyped due to racial prejudice. Perfect for anyone who loves football, but especially for teenagers.
A life in music
A Radio 4 quartet which ended a few days ago, A life in music is presented by music journalist Jude Rogers. It’s a delight, beautifully produced and written, that takes us from Rogers’ early years to how she might integrate music into her later years (she’s in her forties). From the very first episode, where we hear her singing as a five-year-old (with a beautiful Welsh accent), it’s a clever and sensitive examination of how music helps us access joys and joys. disasters of who we are and where we are in the world. “Music and memory have a strong evolutionary link,” explains a neuroscientist. “Music is a portal.
Reply to all
The beloved and long-established tech show returns after some controversy. Co-host PJ Vogt and producer / presenter Sruthi Pinnamaneni quit after The test Cooked, the last Reply to all miniseries, was withdrawn after two episodes. The series was about the supposedly toxic atmosphere of a New York food magazine, but led to Reply to all employees accusing Vogt and Pinnamaneni of creating a similar atmosphere (the miniseries was a weird series before it was even dropped). The new presenters are Emmanuel Dzotsi and Alex Goldman, whose rapport is pretty sweet and the first show looks at Goldman’s internet search history (undertones of “Look! I’m a nice guy! No dark story here ! “). Fall for the old, but embrace the new.