Thursday, 24 March 2016

Chris' Film Club: The Martian

Finally this week we look at 'The Martian', the film based on Andy Weir’s novel and nominated for 7 Oscars.

It stars Matt Damon as Mark Watney, a botanist and astronaut who is part of a 6 person crew on a mission to Mars. When they are forced to abort the mission, Watney is hit by debris and presumed dead, while the rest of the crew escape safely. Turns out, he isn’t so dead, and must survive until he can be rescued.

Directed by Ridley Scott, it also stars Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig and Michael Pena.

Talking to Theo Michaels @TheoCooks

Our guest in the studio this afternoon was Hertfordshire-based 2014 MasterChef Semi Finalist Theo Michaels.

He talked about his time before and after the show. He gave up a career of IT recruitment after MasterChef, and is now focusing on pop up restaurants, private dining and coming up he will be launching his own range of Cooker, and a cook book focused entirely on mug-based food!

For more information on Theo's new services and products, or some cooking ideas you can visit his blog here
Or to listen to the interview again you can go to and navigate to Thursday's show.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Drivetime Sessions with Shadows at Midnight

Today's Drivetime Session played host for the first time to Shadows at Midnight, a double act consisting of Pip and Steve. They performed two beautiful covers, one of Carlene Carter & Dave Edmunds' 'Baby Ride Easy', and one of Snow Patrol's - 'Run', as well as their own inspiring original composition 'I Know the Man'.

To hear the session again, go to and navigate to Wednesday from 5.30pm.

Chris' Film Club: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Nominated for 5 awards (all in technical categories), 'The Force Awakens' is the start of a new trilogy of films in the Star Wars universe.

Set about 30 years after the 2nd Death Star is destroyed, Luke Skywalker has disappeared. A new fascistic force has built up from the rubble of the Empire, and now threatens the galaxy.

Directed by JJ Abrams, it stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver, as well as the original cast of Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Chris' Film Club: Spotlight

This week the Film Club focuses on 2016 Oscar Nominees, with today's being 'Spotlight'.

Nominated for 6 awards and the Best Picture winner on Oscar night, it tells the story of the ‘Spotlight’ team, a group of investigative reporters at the Boston Globe who uncover horrific stories of child abuse within the Catholic Church, and the Church’s attempts at covering it up.

Directed by Tom McCarthy, it stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Brian d’Arcy James, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci.

Styling For Sale With Gwendoline Alderton @GA_Interiors

For this month's interior design feature Gwendoline talked about styling for sale, and how to make your home look appealing to buyers.

Gwendoline spoke of how buyers should be able to visualise the rooms' potential as this will make it more marketable and will increase the chance of selling it. Furnishing unused rooms with cheap furniture, such as temporary beds and cupboards, makes the room more appealing to adverts.

Changing the interior design of your house might cause some upheavals in your life but it will be worth it when you can move to your new home! It is the perfect opportunity to have a clear out to de-clutter your life, so it is easier to move when the time comes, and so your house looks neater. Gwendoline's advice also included making sure that animals are not around during viewings, using light bouncy colours for the walls, especially pastel/white colours as the room appears to be more spacious.

If you like to find more information about interior design you can visit Gwendoline Alderton's twitter or website!

Written by Harry Derbyshire and Annie Lawrence

Friday, 18 March 2016

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 18th March 2016

It was a packed studio tonight, with Danny, Simon, Chris, Tamara, and Erin all squeezing into what is actually quite a small room. Sadly the air conditioning unit had packed up some time in early 2009 and no-one had got round to fixing it. This causes the room to heat up considerably, especially when there are a lot of people around, stinking up the place.

And, boy, was there a lot of stinking up going on. Simon, who considers himself something of a 'naturalist' (for instance he makes his own clothes out of entirely natural substances, which is mostly mud and sticks), doesn't wear any form of deodorant. He proudly notes that this stance (and the subsequent odor) has 'never killed anything larger than a fox'. Well, this may be the case, but it can still incapacitate a human being, and Chris may never be the same again if he regains consciousness.

Ok, that was a lie, but Simon was in the studio to talk about the UK box office, new releases in the cinema, and his pick of films on TV for the coming week.

12.15am – 2.35am

The Day After Tomorrow
7.40pm – 10.00pm
Channel 4

2.00pm – 4.20pm

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
2.50pm – 5.00pm

War of the Worlds
10.55pm – 1.15am

Oh What a Lovely War
1.25pm – 4.10pm

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
9.00pm – 11.05pm

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Chris' Film Club: The Limey

'The Limey' concludes our week of available on Netflix films.

This 1999 Steven Soderbergh film features Terence Stamp as a British criminal who flies to LA to investigate the suspicious circumstances of his daughter’s death.

Also stars Peter Fonda, Luis Guzman, Lesley Ann Warren and Bill Duke.

Ed Suttie and Ed2NorthPole @ed2northpole

Ed Suttie returned to the Drivetime Studio today to give us an update on his now fast-approaching trek to the North Pole.

On March 31st Ed will be on his way to begin his journey, and so he and Danny discussed both how much preparation is necessary for such a huge journey, and also how the people of St. Albans inspired him to go on this trek for 4 different charities.

This Saturday there are a number of activities for Children being hosted at the St. Albans Waterstones to raise money, with details on this, other events and Donation links available on the Ed2NorthPole website:

And to keep up to date on Ed's Progress and more events you can visit his Facebook page:

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Chris' Film Club: The Mist

'The Mist' is the focus of today's Film Club.

A bleak 2007 adaptation of the Stephen King book, it’s about a group of people who find themselves trapped in a supermarket after a mysterious mist descends on their town, and they discover that horrible creatures live within it.

Directed by Frank Darabont, it stars Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Andre Braugher and Laurie Holden.

The Drivetime Sessions with The Caution Horses @HorsesCaution

On the Drivetime Sessions this week we were joined once again by the fantastic Caution Horses!

As always on the Sessions we asked for two of their own original songs, which today were 'I fall' and 'The Getaway Song', and on top of that a cover of another artist's work, with Civil Wars Cover of Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' being their choice.

Thanks again to Lauren and Ray for coming in today, and if you missed out or would like to listen to their performance again you can go to and navigate to 'West Herts Drivetime' on a Wednesday.

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Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Chris' Film Club: Fargo

Today Chris looks at 'Fargo', the Classic Oscar-winning film from 1996 by Joel and Ethan Coen,

It stars Frances McDormand as a small town sheriff in North Dakota, who is both heavily pregnant and on the trail of a pair of bungling kidnappers.

McDormand won an Oscar for her role, and it also stars William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare.

Health Matters - March 15 2016

Four subjects covered in this evening's DriveTime:-

1. One You Program

It’s all about Wellbeing – a new program to give structure and meaning to staying well.

The Quiz – do take it; it’s really interesting.

The Six Areas
  • Eating – eat sensibly – it’s more than just 5 a day!
  • Drinking – in moderation; but don’t over do it!
  • Moving – moderate and vigorous activity
  • Sleeping – 8 hours +/-.   Quality nit quantity; lots of good tips – e.g. mood
  • Smoking – ½ of long term smokers die from a smoking related illness. Lots of ideas here
  • Stress – a little stress in our lives is good for us – unmanageable it becomes a problem; things you can do for yourself; if it gets worse, seek help.

2. Medicines

In our area of West Herts it’s estimated that around £3m worth of medicines are wasted every year. Enough for 10 ambulances. Three Causes – Mistakes; Not taking; Over-ordering. Se how you can help -

3. Some Statistics

  • Hospital Beds. The United Kingdom has just 3 hospital beds per 1000 people whilst Germany has over 8 per 1,000. In the WHHT area the figure is just half of the UK average. 
  • Hospital Provision. In the North East there is one acute hospital for every 153,000 population; in our region, East of England, the average is one for every 280,000. In the WHHT area the figure is 1 for every 625,000.
  • Diagnostic Equipment. In the OECD League Table for the provision of diagnostic equipment per million people the UK comes 28th out of 30 countries; and West Herts has less than half the UK average.
  • Targets for Diagnosis. The UK standard is that no more that 1% of people should have to wait over 6 weeks to have access to a diagnostic test; the latest figures that SAPG has seen show that the figure for WHHT  is over 13% miss the 6 week target.

Have your say – go to

4. Hubs in St Albans & Harpenden
Hear the facts at the SAPG Meeting on March 30th. Details here

Finally ........ Go Well!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Chris' Film Club: Ferris Bueller's Day Off

This week on the Film Club the theme is 'available on Netflix'.

First is 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The 1986 film by the late John Hughes stars Matthew Broderick as the titular character, a high schooler who skips school with his girlfriend and best friend to go on a crazy adventure.

Also stars Jeffrey Jones, Mia Sara and Alan Ruck.

Consumer Advice


Tonight Elizabeth Crampton from the Citizens Advice Bureau joined us to cover the following current items .

 Tracing your pension 

You've been busy working hard, and you may have just lost track. Maybe you moved house, changed jobs, or simply didn't notice when the letters stopped arriving in the post. Life happens, your pension got lost -- and it's not going to come looking for you.
Tracking down a forgotten or lost pension shouldn't be so complicated. While there are many reasons why your pension has gone astray, what's important is that it's recovered.

Rental Properties

Information on assured tenancies and assured short hold tenancies for private tenants including rent, repairs and the right to stay in the accommodation.

Life Insurance
Life insurance can pay your dependants money as a lump sum or as regular payments if you die. It is designed to provide you with the reassurance that your dependents will be looked after if you’re no longer there to provide.

Friday, 11 March 2016

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 11th March 2016

Simon was taking a break from his part-time job of saving dogs from burning buildings (he sets the fires himself, and leaves all cats to burn, but it is an otherwise noble pursuit) to make an appearance in the studio discussing films, and what he is doing at the weekend. To be honest it was mostly about what he is doing at the weekend. Turns out that - beside setting some fires and saving some hounds - he is going potholing.

When Danny mistakenly asked Simon where he was going to be doing this - breaking the number one rule about conversing with Simon which is 'Never Show Any Interest in Anything Simon Says or Does, It'll Only Encourage Him' - Simon told everyone he was going down the massive St Albans sinkhole. He's under the belief that the sinkhole is actually a hellmouth that has opened up, so he's donning his tightest Buffy the Vampire Slayer leather trousers, loading up on holy water and steaks (both wooden and beef), and hunting the forces of darkness. He hopes to be back by tea time.

Ok, that was a lie, but Simon was in the studio to talk about the UK box office, new releases in the cinema, and his pick of films on TV for the coming week.

Kill List
10.45pm – 12.35am

The Talented Mr Ripley
10.00pm – 12.10am

Strictly Ballroom
3.00pm – 4.30pm

Slumdog Millionaire
10.00pm – 12.20am
Channel 4

11.05pm – 2.10am

The Fast and the Furious
9.00pm – 11.35pm

10.45pm – 12.35am
Movie Mix

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Interview with David Widdowson - St Albans Shakespeare Festival @STAShakespeare

In the studio today was David Widdowson, actor with Ovo theatre company, and the director of the upcoming St Albans Shakespeare Festival, starting this Saturday.

David was here to discuss the inaugural Festival in St. Albans, which commences on the 12th of March, and goes on for 3 months until the 4th of July!

During this time over 30 different performances of 17 different plays will be playing throughout St. Albans.

Details on the upcoming celebrations can be found on the following websites, as well as the 'St. Alban's Shakespeare' facebook and Twitter pages.

Chris' Film Club: American Psycho

Finally this week on the Film Club we have 'American Psycho'.

The film adaptation of the popular yet controversial 'psychological thriller-horror slasher black comedy' was directed by Mary Harron, and looks at how a wealthy and psychopathic banker lives his life.

Stars Christian Bale, William Dafoe and Reese Witherspoon.

World Kidney Day With Diana Garratt

Diana Garratt joined us on the Drivetime show to raise awareness about World Kidney Day which is an annual global awareness and education event, held on the second Thursday in March. Every year, countless local, national and international events are organised by kidney charities, healthcare professionals, patient groups and individuals who want to make a difference.

Diana discussed ways in which we could look after our kidneys by staying well hydrated with lots of water whilst keeping active through gentle exercise!

You can find more information about World Kidney Day here.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Chris' Film Club: Shrek

Next for this week's film club theme of 'Women Directors', we have the first Shrek film, joint directed by Vicky Jenson and Adam Adamson.

Mike Myers stars as Shrek the ogre, whose precious solitude is suddenly shattered as his swamp is invaded by annoying fairy tale characters.

Other stars are Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy.


Drivetime Sessions with @SarahLappert

On Drivetime Sessions this week we were graced by Sarah Lappert along with her backing singer/roadie/mum; Helen. Her two originals were the beautiful 'Rise of the Sun' and 'Pushed and Shoved' which was a song based on a past relationship. Her final song was a wonderfully immersive performance of Extreme's 'More than Words'; a perfect way to end the Drivetime Session's this week.
If you'd like to follow Sarah, her gigs, her music and anything else you can check out her facebook page

This session will be available for a week after broadcast at by navigating to Wednesday at 5.30pm.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Penny Carr: Being Thrifty with @BeingMrsC

Today, our thriftiness correspondent Penny Carr was in the studio once again to discuss all the ways in which we can save money.

First of all, she told us about Ilona Richards, Britain's 'most frugal pensioner, who manages to live on £2,400 a year. Methods of Ilona's we can use to save money ourselves include microwaving water to make cups of tea, or going shopping at 7:30 in the evening, when the shops reduce their prices for the final time that day.

Penny also discussed the upcoming Easter holidays. Hertfordshire county council have set the Easter holidays for kids in the county a week later than for most other schools in the country. This means that there are savings of up to £800 available in Centre parcs, and holiday cottages can be booked at half price.

Finally, she recommended online surveys as a way of making easy, quick money. Although such surveys don't pay very much, there are smartphone apps available that allow you to them surveys quickly and whenever you have a few minutes spare.

Penny's Twitter
Penny's Website
Ilona Richard's Website

Chris' Film Club: Big

In celebration of International Women's Day this week's Film Club theme is Women Directors.

Starting us off is a Tom Hanks classic from 1989 'Big', directed by Penny Marshall.

Within the film Hanks plays a child who's wish to be made an adult is magically granted overnight.

Starring along with Hanks are Elizabeth Perkins and Robert Loggia.

Friday, 4 March 2016

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 4th March 2016

Greetings film fans!

Unfortunately Chris The Brave was unable to join us for today's show, leaving me to write this post.  Usually, he can be found hanging out at the Radio Verulam studios, being all brave and heroic and whatnot.  However, his bravery was severely tested when he encountered Mr Big, Simon's new pet chiwawa.

Mr Big has a growl and a yelp that can barely be described by mere words alone.  Somehow, Simon has managed to master this beast and is currently in the process of training Mr Big, believing him to be the perfect wingman when Simon is out schmoozing with the ladies.  This training does not appear to have started well though, as when Mr Big & Chris The Brave met, there was trouble!  The pair locked eyes for a full one hour and 47 minutes before Mr Big let out a blood-curdling high-pitched yelp that would send shivers down anyone's spine.  This was too much for Chris The Brave, resulting in him bursting into an enormous flood of tears, spinning on his heels and heading to the comfort of his home and his emergency supply of milk bottle sweets.

It is possible that some of the above has been exaggerated for comedic purposes but below are definitely Simon's choices of the best films on free-to-air TV for the forthcoming week:


10.20pm – 12.55am


Les Miserables
9.00pm – 12.05am


American Hustle
9.00pm – 11.40pm
Channel 4


Quantum of Solace
9,.00pm – 11.10pm


Red Dragon
9.00pm – 11.35pm


From Hell
10.00pm – 12.30am

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Chris' Film Club: East Is East

The final film this week is 'East Is East'.

A comedy-drama about a British-Pakistani family in Manchester in 1971, it was written by Ayub Khan-Din and directed by Damien O’Donnell,

It’s equal amounts of funny and tense, and stars Om Puri, Linda Bassett and Jimi Mistry.

Mindful St. Albans w/ Ruth Farenga @mindfulpathway

In the studio today Ruth Farenga (a regular on Tuesday's 'Verulam In the Morning' with Richard Edwards' visited to discuss her organisation 'Mindful Pathway' and the plans to bring Mindfulness to the St. Albans area.

For those who don't know, Mindfulness means paying a great amount of attention to the present 'on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally'. 

This Spring Mindful Pathway is bringing an 8 week Mindfulness course to St. Albans to help individuals to meditate and relax easily. 

For more details on Mindfulness, and the upcoming courses visit the Mindful Pathway website here

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Drivetime Sessions with @hopemusicuk

Hope joined us this Wednesday on Drivetime Sessions. She endulged us with her beautiful voice singing two enchanting originals 'Ghost' and 'The Fall'. For the final song, an immersive and simple re-imagining of Dusty Springfield's 'I Only Want to be With You', she was joined by Jack Hobbs' vocals. Her cover of this song was also performed for the recent Dog's Trust TV advert which featured on Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.

You can check out Hope's website for all her info, music, gigs and more.

This session will be available for a week after broadcast at by navigating to Wednesday at 5.30pm.

Chris Film Club: 28 Weeks Later

The 2007 sequel to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, it tells of the British rebuilding process in the wake of the outbreak of an apocalyptic virus.

Obviously things won’t go quite to plan.

Stars Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Imogen Poots and Idris Elba.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Chris' Film Club: Kill List

Today the Film Club looks at the 2011 horror 'Kill List'.

Directed by Ben Wheatley, two former soldiers (Neil Maskell and Michael Smiley) become contract killers after leaving the army.
They take on a mysterious job that takes them into a dark cult underworld.

Local Lit Feature with Marie Kemplay - Clare Mulley

Harpenden born author, Clare Mulley, joined us for this months Local Literacy Feature to discuss about her two well known biographies, 'The Woman Who Saved the Children: A Biography of Eglantyne Jebb' and 'The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville'. Clare also discussed the vast amount of research that goes into writing her books, such as visiting Warsaw to further her information on Christine.

You can listen to the interview with Clare Mulley here!

To finish this month's literacy feature, Marie Kemplay spoke of events taking place in this coming month, such as World Book Day on 3rd March and the Hertfordshire Lit Fest, which is an exciting programme of author talks and events throughout March and April in Hertfordshire Libraries

You can visit LitFest16 for more information on the literacy festival running these coming months.