TV and Radio

Radio Review: Secrets that last a lifetime

In this episode of Life Changing, Dr Sian Williams hears how Joe Jaquest Oteng set out to find the truth about his father

Life Changing: The Box Under the Bed, Radio 4

More or Less, Radio 4

What happens when a parent dies and you discover a whole life that you knew nothing about?

This Life Changing was about secrets that lasted a lifetime and how a son grows from anger at what had been hidden from him to an understanding and acceptance of the man who was his father.

Growing up, Joe Jaquest Oteng knew little about his dad and they struggled to find common ground.

His father, Peter, was very guarded about his early life in Ghana.

Joe's parents had separated and he particularly remembers going to his dad one Christmas. He described how his father was really into Christmas and was expecting him – so when he landed on the doorstep to a dark, empty house, he was surprised.

Hours passed. Eventually a black cab pulled up with his father inside and he rushed over because he was so angry, only to discover a very ill man inside – emaciated, sick, gaunt and a little confused.

Peter had left all the shopping to the last minute because he just did not have the energy to do it.

Inside, the house was “a bomb site” – food half eaten, plates, rubbish. He had not been coping for a while.

It was a difficult story to tell – you felt for them both.

Peter had prostate cancer and went straight to hospital and then to hospice where he died.

When his son had to clear his house, he found a box of photos.

There was even a wife back in Ghana about whom he knew nothing and his father was part of a huge family… his father's father was chief of the village and he had five wives – Peter was the youngest of 69 brothers and sisters.

Life Changing is addictive radio… it's the moments and the events that turn a life about and the fall-out from that.

Meanwhile, for all the number crunchers out there and those with a healthy scepticism about data, the series More or Less is back.

Tim Harford examines and sometimes debunks the numbers and stats. This series begins with a look at NHS waiting lists and why a fall in those waiting longest on lists in England is not quite the whole story. Is it ever?



TV and Radio