Radio Listener by Jim Gilchrist

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GLASGOW crime writer Denise Mina is on record as saying that she isn’t at all squeamish about depicting violence in her writing.

In LIFE AFTER DEATH, however, the last of Radio Scotland’s current series of Medical Matters, Mina investigates the way in which one individual’s death can be the saving of another’s life.

She talks to organ donors and recipients and their families, as well as to health professionals, to discover that more than 750 people in Scotland are currently waiting for a donor organ which could transform their life expectancy. Yet people remain oddly unresolved about the issue, with an apparent 90 per cent supporting the concept, but only 30 per cent actually signing on the donor register. In the meantime, three people on that waiting list die every day.

There again, if the bomb you’re defusing goes off, there may not be a lot that medical science can do for you. As one of the world’s longest serving bomb disposal officers, Peter Gurney knows the risks only too well. IT’S MY STORY: THE LONG WALK traces Gurney’s career over 40 years, during which he has twice been awarded the George Medal for bravery and an MBE for gallantry.

Some of his colleagues were less lucky, among them Ken Howarth, killed in London’s Oxford Street by an IRA bomb which itself was booby-trapped. Gurney had to find his friend’s body then check for other secondary devices before defusing a similar bomb nearby. The programme features extracts from his commentary, recorded by a micro-cassette machine as he went about his business.

Recording rather less nerve-wracking deliberations, THE LISTENING PROJECT is a new joint project between Radio 4, BBC’s national radio networks and the British Library which aims to “capture the nation in conversation”. This audio snapshot of the UK will be archived by the library and is fronted by Fi Glover, while a website ( enables listeners to submit their “conversations that matter” – be they pondering things philosophical, considering the Beatles or recalling a life of crime.

Medical Matters – Life After Death

Monday, Radio Scotland, 2:05pm

It’s My Story: The Long Walk

Monday, Radio 4, 8pm

The Listening Project

Friday, Radio 4, 12:52pm, 4:56pm and 11:56pm