Tony Benn at the BBC: The Benn Tapes, Free at Last! and more

Written by:
Tony Benn
Narrated by:
Tony Benn

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
June 2024
11 hours 25 minutes
A collection of Tony Benn’s private audio diaries, documentaries and archive interviews

Tony Benn was the patriarch of the Labour left, a radical statesman, orator and anti-war campaigner who spent over 50 years as an MP, serving in the Cabinet under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. A prolific diarist, his political memoirs have been compared to Pepys in their detail, scope and accuracy. Three volumes are included here, read by Benn himself, together with four fascinating programmes focussing on the man behind the diaries.

Part I: Tony Benn’s Diaries

The Benn Tapes 1 – For over 25 years, Tony Benn sat late into the night dictating his personal account of the daily happenings at the heart of government. In this unique series, he shares his remarkable recordings from history’s front line, recalling events such as Harold Wilson’s surprise 1976 resignation; the miners’ strike of 1984-1985 and the 1992 general election.

The Benn Tapes 2 – This second series of behind-the-scenes revelations sees Benn recounting why he believes nuclear power is unsafe, disclosing what went on during Cabinet reshuffles and tracing the split in the party following its 1979 defeat, the emergence of the Social Democratic Party, and his challenge to deputy leader Denis Healy.

Free at Last!: The Diaries 1991-2001 – Spanning Tony Benn’s final decade as an MP, this third volume covers the Gulf War, the rise of New Labour, the death of Diana Princess of Wales and peace in Northern Ireland. Mixing political observations with a moving account of family life, it is full of humour, insight, joy and sadness.

Part 2: Tony Benn’s Life

In the Psychiatrist’s Chair: Tony Benn – Dr Anthony Clare talks to the legendary parliamentarian about his life, his career and how his guiding principles were influenced by his parents’ social and political convictions.

Sentimental Journey: Tony Benn – Arthur Smith accompanies Tony Benn on a trip back to the place where he was born, grew up, and spent most of his political life – the City of Westminster.

With Great Pleasure: Tony Benn – The veteran politician presents a selection of the prose and poetry that has shaped his personal philosophy, including the words of Mahatma Gandhi, Dwight D Eisenhower, Oscar Wilde and John Bunyan.

Night Waves: Tony Benn – In an event from the 2008 Free Thinking festival, Tony Benn talks about the value of experience and discusses his own life experience with presenter Susan Hitch and the audience.

Cast and credits

The Benn Tapes
Read by Tony Benn
Produced by Keith Jones

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 21 Jul-8 Sep 1993 (Series 1), 17 Oct- 5 Dec 1994 (Series 2)

Free at Last!: The Diaries 1991-2001
Read by Tony Benn
Produced by Jane Ray

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 13-17 Oct 2003

In the Psychiatrist’s Chair: Tony Benn
Presented by Dr Anthony Clare
A Michael Ember production

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 13 Aug 1995

Sentimental Journey: Tony Benn
With Arthur Smith and Tony Benn
Produced by Dilly Barlow

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 29 Jul 2006

With Great Pleasure: Tony Benn
Presented by Tony Benn
Readers: Saffron Burrows, Jim Findley and Carl Prekopp
Produced by Christine Hall

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 26 Jul 2007

Night Waves: Tony Benn
Presented by Susan Hitch
With Tony Benn
Produced by Allegra McIlroy

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 11 Dec 2008

© 2024 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2024 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd
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