Thursday, 30 November 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Run Fatboy Run

Concluding the Film Club this week, Charlotte's last Simon Pegg flick is 'Run Fatboy Run' from 2007.

Five years after jilting his pregnant fiancée on their wedding day, out-of-shape Dennis (Simon Pegg) decides to run a marathon, in the hopes of winning her back from her new boyfriend, and winning the respect of his son.

Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria and Dylan Moran are just a few of the stars.

Celebrating 10 years of @HarpendenArrows

We were joined by members of Harpenden Arrows running club this evening.

Harpenden Arrows was established 10-years ago by a small founding group, including Colin Wareham who served as the club's inaugural Chairman over almost all of the first 10 years.
Colin was awarded lifetime membership of the club earlier this year, and was succeeded by current Chairman, Graham Harper, who has been a member for almost all of the club's 10-year history.
In a nice coincidence, the club recently welcomed its 500th member since its founding.

For more information:

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: The World's End

Today's Film Club looks at another work starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, directed by Edgar Wright, 'The World's End'.

This time, Simon Pegg is Gary King, an immature 40-year-old who's dying to take another stab at an epic pub-crawl that he last attempted 20 years earlier. He drags his reluctant old friends back to their hometown for a night of heavy drinking, finishing at the fabled World's End pub. However, their real struggle begins when their pub crawl turns into a fight for mankind.


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Hot Fuzz

Next on the week of Simon Pegg films is another double act with Nick Frost, 'Hot Fuzz'.

Hot Fuzz stars Simon Pegg as PC Nicholas Angel, a Metro cop moved out to a sleepy village with minimal crime rates. Partnered with a blundering local (Nick Frost), Angel finds himself bored out of his mind until a suspicious string of murders arrives.

Interior Design for November with Gwendoline Alderton- @GA_interiors !

Today we talked to a very Christmas-enthused Gwendoline about the latest trends in interior design this winter.  This time of year, many people may decide to take the excuse of people coming round over the holiday season to redecorate their house, or to rethink some aspects of their interior design. 

One style that's on trend this season is a Latin American style.  This style incorporates rich colours- these colours serve to lift the room and also ones mood.  Guest bedrooms are often redecorated this time of year due to a need to accommodate guests visiting over the holiday.  If you're planning on redoing a guest bedroom, why not include rich colours?  Pompoms are also popular with a Latin American theme- put them on Christmas trees, cushions, curtains.... (Gwendoline insists you can't overdo pompoms...).

Another popular colour this season is blue.  A calming & nurturing colour, it is particularly effective when incorporated into the design of a bedroom or a bathroom.  Peacock blue in particular is a popular shade of blue, but blue/green is also a popular shade.  To add more interest in a room, use lighter and darker colours, neutral tones or sparkle to catch the eye! (WARNING: Blue baubles on a green Christmas tree can sometimes get a bit lost aesthetically- beware this common Christmas pitfall!)

Along with blue, white is also very popular.  Red and green are usually the most popular colours this time of year, but white is taking over this year!  It's a popular colour because it's fresh and clear, and looks great with sparkles.   A completely white room can look a bit boring, however, so incorporate some texture to give it sumptuousness and interest. A good texture to use in wintertime is wool, because it's a warm and organic material.  

Gwendoline will be back in 2018 with more interior design features!

Gwendoline's Website

Little understood debilitating condition #Endometriosis, flies ruin your wine, #SotM Vera Rubin discovers Dark Matter and the #Geminid #meteor shower with @smrolfe

Radio Verulam Science Feature 27-11-2017 
A round-up of the Science that Sam discussed with Danny on Monday 27th November.


Endometriosis can affect the brain 
Endometriosis is a common (1 in 10 people with female reproductive organs) but little understood condition where endometrial cells, those that line the uterus, are found elsewhere in the body. This includes the bladder, bowel, lungs, spine and the brain. 
The cells react in the same way each month as those in the uterus – building up a lining, breaking down and bleeding. However, if these cells are elsewhere in the body, the blood has no way to escape. 
The symptoms include chronic pain, heavy periods, tiredness, depression and can affect anyone of child bearing age regardless of racial heritage. 
Getting a diagnosis can take a while (on average 7.5 years from first raising symptoms with doctors to firm diagnosis) as the symptoms are similar to many other common conditions, so if you experience these symptoms, make a diary that you can bring to your doctor. Information is power and can help with managing symptoms too.  
Currently the only way to diagnose this condition is with a laparoscopy, where a camera is inserted into the pelvic cavity via a small cut near the navel to look for endometrial cells on the organs. 
A recent study showed that a group of mice who had their endometrial cells surgically moved into their abdomens (they don’t menstruate like humans) were more likely to display symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to a control group who had sham surgery.  
These results are showing that there are changes to the central nervous system, but a lot more research is required to understand this debilitating and painful condition. 
For more information go to 

New Scientist Magazine, 25 November 2017 

Flies in the wine ruin the taste 
There is an anecdote that a fly landing in your wine will ruin the flavour. Researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala set out to prove this one way or another. Female fruit flies produce a pheromone to attract males and this appears to be the root of the wine-lover’s problem.  
A group of wine tasters were given either: a glass that previously had a female fly in for 5 minutes, a male or no fly. Those who had the female fly in their glass reported that the taste was somewhat unpleasant, with a more intense smell, even if only one nanogram of the pheromone had been present – so no matter how quick you are to remove the fly, your drink is likely already tainted. 
Unfortunately, it is also hard to wash away this compound, so best to keep an eye on your glass and keep the flies out if you want the best flavour from your wine. 

Scientist of the Month 
Vera Rubin, astronomer, 1928 - 2016
An American astronomer who worked on galaxy rotation rates. She was turned down from the astronomy program at Princeton because they didn’t allow women, she went on to earn her PhD at Georgetown. Rubin was the first to make the observation that stars on the edges of galaxies had an orbiting speed matching the stars in the centre of the galaxies. An unusual observation because it was thought that if the strongest gravitational forces existed where the more of the mass was at the centre, the gravitational force should decrease farther out, causing the orbits to slow. (We see this in our own Solar System, the planets further out move more slowly around the Sun.) 
Her observations had confirmed a hypothesis by Fritz Zwicky in 1930 that said some sort of invisible dark matter must be scattered throughout the universe keeping their orbitals up to speed. Rubin was able to prove that 10 times more dark matter existed in the universe than previously thought, with up to 90 percent of the universe being filled with it. For years, Rubin’s observation failed to receive support, as many of her male colleagues discredited it. They felt her discoveries were impossible under Newtonian Laws and that she must have made a miscalculation. Both her doctoral and master’s thesis were criticized and basically ignored, though the evidence was irrefutable. Fortunately, the scientific community has since recognized her work, but only because her male colleagues later validated it. 

Night Sky this Month 
13/14 Dec: Geminids meteor shower, best viewed after midnight but meteors can be seen any time of night between 7th to 17th Dec. This meteor shower produces colourful meteors up to 120 per hour at the peak because of debris left by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon on it’s orbital path. The meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini but can appear anywhere in the sky.

21 Dec: Winter Solstice, the shortest number of daylight hours, marking the beginning of winter, but days will get longer again afterwards. 

Planets are currently not well placed for astronomy, so study the Moon and its features, and maybe try a Messier marathon – how many of these objects can you see in one outing. Try drawing them.
Next Science Feature will be Monday 22nd January 2018, see you then!

Monday, 27 November 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Shaun of the Dead

Charlotte's looking at the best Films starring Simon Pegg this week, starting us off with comedy classic 'Shaun of the Dead'.

This horror comedy film is about a  pair of lazy friends who find themselves in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, and put together a plan to hide at their local pub for safety. The film is extremely funny, very gory but also rather emotional.

The film stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Nighy, Peter Serafinowicz and more.


Friday, 24 November 2017

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 24th November 2017

Simon was very excited in the studio today.  Each time he was asked how his week went, he giggled and patted his hands on his trousers in a most animated fashion.  This is unusual for Simon, as he hasn't been particularly animated in any noticeable way since the 1980s.  When probed, Simon eventually admitted that he saw his radio rival Mark Kermode at an event and used an adjacent toilet cubicle.  Undoubtedly, this will add a chapter to Simon's forthcoming memoirs.

Unbelievably, almost none of that was made up this week!

Here are Simon's choice of films on free-to-air TV for the forthcoming week:


9.00pm – 11.20pm


Ex Machina
9.00pm – 11.05pm
Channel 4


9.00pm – 11.35pm
Channel 5


The Road
11.45pm – 1.55am


Mars Attacks!
10.50pm – 1.00am


The Riot Club
9.00pm – 11.05pm


9.00pm – 11.20pm

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Bond Themed Dining With @BreakawayAmDram

Today on West Herts Drivetime Danny was joined by Lesley and Margi of Breakaway Theatre company to talk about their Top Secret dining even, No Mr. Bond, I Expect You To Die!

The licenced to thrill pair visited the Radio Verulam studios to discuss their murder mystery event, which takes place at Inn on the Park at Verulanium Park in St. Albans, which will be a play presented in stages in between courses.

The show focuses on a group of spies competing to become the next Double O agent and are currently at a testing facility to be appraised, when things start to go wrong. The audience are given clues and information about the characters and are invited to figure out who's behind it all.

During the chat they also talked about their previous murder mystery evenings and upcoming projects.

The event takes place on December 1st at 7:30pm. Tickets for the event are £30 and will include a 3 course meal. Tickets are available at

You can reach the Breakaway Theatre Company on their Facebook page BREAKAWAYTHEATRE or their Twitter @breakawayamdram

Charlotte's Film Club: Limitless

Charlotte's last film based in New York for this week is 'Limitless'.

Released in 2011, this sci-fi thriller sees unemployed writer Eddie's (Bradley Cooper) life changes when an old friend gives him a drug that produces enhanced mental acuity. Stoked on the untested chemical, Eddie rises to the top of the financial world and attracts the attention of a tycoon (Robert De Niro) who intends to use him to make a fortune. But terrible side-effects and a dwindling supply threaten to collapse Eddie's house of cards.


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The Drivetime Sessions with @DariaKulesh sponsored by @FightingcocksSA

On this week's Drivetime Sessions we were joined by the singer-songwriter Daria Kulesh and accompanying guitarist Tristan Seume. She performed her singles 'Rusalka' and 'Vasilisa', and performed a cover of 'Pride of Petravore' originally by Percy French.

For more information on Daria Kulesh you can visit her Facebook page or for more information about upcoming gigs.

If you would like to listen to the Drivetime Sessions again then visit and navigate to Wednesday at 5:30.

Charlotte's Film Club: Phone Booth

Our next 'New York' based film is Phone Booth from 2002.

Colin Farrell is Stu, an arrogant publicist who is cheating on his wife.
He picks up a ringing payphone to find himself talking to The Caller, a mysterious man armed with a sniper rifle and the determination to get Stu to admit his faults.
Also stars Kiefer Sutherland, Radha Mitchell and Katie Holmes.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: The Day After Tomorrow

Continuing to look at films centralised on the city of New York, today on the Film Club, Charlotte focuses on 'The Day After Tomorrow'.

This 2004 disaster film sees an enormous "superstorm" develop as a result of global warming, setting off catastrophic natural disasters throughout the world. The Climatologist (Dennis Quaid) who discovered this storm desperately tries to get to his son(Jake Gyllenhaal), who is trapped in New York.

Talking Movember with Steve Markwell

Today we talked to Steve Markwell about his Movember campaigning, fundraising and activism: raising awareness for men's issues.  'Movember' is a movement which encourages men to grow moustaches in November and to raise money for the Movember Foundation, which raises awareness and supports charities which help men with mental health issues and with testicular and prostate cancer. 

3/4 suicides are committed by men, and on average men die 4 years earlier than women.  Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer amongst men, with one man dying every 45 minutes.  The problem is, these statistics are rarely talked about, and one of Movember's aims is to raise awareness about them. 

Movember was started in Australia in 2003, when some men had the idea of growing moustaches to draw attention to male issues.  Steve started taking part in Movembers in 2008.  Recently, his father has been suffering with prostate cancer and this has led Steve to realise how these health issues can impact whole families and communities.  This has made his fundraising and activism much more personal- and makes his ultimate aim of advertising and raising awareness of men's issues much more crucial.

One of his aims is to encourage men to go to their GPs to get checked for early signs of cancer.  Prostate cancer in particular, if caught early, is treatable- whereas if caught too late it can be deadly.  When caught early the chance of surviving beyond 5 years is 98%. Prostate cancer can be tested for by a PSA, which is a blood test.  Without a national screening service, like the breast cancer screening service, it is crucial that men be proactive and go to the GP to take care of their health.

Beyond growing his moustache, Steve has been organising events to raise money and awareness.  On 7:15pm on Sunday 26th, at the Craft and Cleaver on St Catherine's Street, there will be a pub quiz.  It will contain many great rounds such as moustache rounds, music rounds, and trivia rounds. This is right after the Christmas Lights Switch on, so if you're passing through, why not drop in and support a great cause?  Everyone is welcome (even children!) 

Steve's Mobro Account -including Craft & Cleaver event details- Call Adam to book your team in.
The Movember Website

Monday, 20 November 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Sully

This week on the Film Club, Charlotte is setting our theme to 'New York', the Big Apple, the City of Dreams. Up first is Tom Hanks Drama 'Sully'.

Based on the real life story of Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot who made an emergency landing in New York's Hudson River after a US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese. Miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survived the harrowing ordeal, and Sullenberger becomes a national hero in the eyes of the public and the media. Despite the accolades, the famed pilot now faces an investigation that threatens to destroy his career and reputation.


Entertainment Update

David Widdowson joined us tonight to provide an update on local events in the theatre.

Abbey Theatre
FRI 24 NOV 17 8PM

Adapted by Gareth Armstrong from the writings of Oscar Wilde
A solo adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, a letter Wilde wrote to his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, from Reading Gaol.
De Profundis is an astonishingly brilliant, searingly honest composition that illuminates all the nooks and crannies of Oscar Wilde’s embittered mind and bruised soul. TICKETS £12

The Maltings Friday 1st December
The Foxglove Trio seeks out lesser-known traditional and contemporary folk songs and, with care and creativity, transforms them into moments of breathtaking beauty. This concert is part of its autumn tour for its second album, Distant Havens, and is a chance to hear the powerful signature sound which is based on Patrick Dean’s bold melodeon playing, Cathy Mason’s intricate cello lines and Ffion Mair’s clear, soaring vocals

Friday, 17 November 2017

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 17th November 2017

Simon and Danny were on their own this week.  No Chris, no Sam, no Charlotte, no Max, no Harry.  No one else.  Just them.  After several years of hand-holding, babysitting and general supervision, the others finally felt that Simon and Danny could cope on their own.  What could possibly go wrong?

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire though Radio Verulam is now looking for new premises.

That might not necessarily be true but here are Simon's choice of films on free-to-air-tv for the forthcoming week:

10.40pm – 12.50am

11.00pm – 2.05am

11.00pm – 1.15am
Channel 4

The Five Year Engagement
1.05am – 3.35am

The Charge of the Light Brigade
12.40pm – 3.15pm

This world is not enough
8.00pm – 10.40pm

11.15pm – 1.20am

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Mad Max: Fury Road

And Charlotte's final apocalyptic choice for this week's Film Club is 2015's Mad Max Sequel 'Fury Road'.

Tom Hardy is Max (who is somewhat mad) and he teams up with Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa, a road warrior in her own right, to save several young women from the grasp of the evil warlord Immortan Joe. Expect exciting chases and lots of explosions. Oh so many explosions.


A Conversation With @HarpendenWriter

This afternoon Danny was joined by Jo & Derek of Harpenden Writers to talk about the origins of the group as a creative writing class all the way to celebrating their 20th Anniversary by releasing an anthology of works from members past & present.

During the conversation they chatted about some of the inspirations for stories in the anthology, what goes on during their monthly meetings, and we also learned that Jo used to be a presenter here at Radio Verulam!

Harpenden Writers meet on the first Friday morning of every month at the Friends Meeting House on Southdown Road, Harpenden. The group are welcoming of anybody curious about joining and encouraging of all of their members. For more information, or if you would like to get involved or pick up a copy of their anthology 'The Words', visit

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Drivetime Sessions with @amelialappert sponsored by @FightingcocksSA

On this week's Drivetime Sessions we were joined by the singer-songwriter Amelia Lappert. She performed her singles 'Fall like the Rain' and 'All the Way to the Moon', and performed a cover of 'Stitches' originally by Shaun Mendes.

For more information on Amelia Lappert you can visit her Facebook page for more information about upcoming gigs.

If you would like to listen to the Drivetime Sessions again then visit and navigate to Wednesday at 5:30.

Charlotte's Film Club: Children of Men

Another dystopian future for the Film Club today, as Charlotte looks at 2006's 'Children of Men'.

As infertility reaches an all-time high in the future, a disillusioned bureaucrat (Clive Owen) becomes the unlikely champion in the fight for the survival of Earth's population; He must face down his own demons and protect the planet's last remaining hope from those who would wish to harm her.

Julianna Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Michael Caine also star.


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: The Hunger Games

Up next on this week's Film Club, Charlotte looks at 2012 post-apocalyptic thriller 'The Hunger Games'.

Based on the wildly successful series of books, the film is set in a future where America is divided into 12 districts, each forced to send 2 youths into a nationally broadcast fight to the death.

Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Donald Sutherland.

Health Matters - Hill End Hospital; Colds, Nascot Lawn; and A Special Thank You

Four Issues in Tonight’s DriveTime

·         Operation Meadow
·         Colds & Flu
·         Nascot Lawn
·         A Special Note of Thanks

1. Operation Meadow
Are you aware of any physical or sexual abuse at Hill End Hospital Adolescent Unit, between 1969 and 1995, when the facility closed? The Police are appealing for anyone who may have any information relevant to the on-going investigation to make contact with them. There are some really good web pages dedicated to Op Meadow on the Constabulary’s website.

These provide details about the background and outlines how you can support this investigation. The police stress that officers are specially trained to deal with these type of crimes and will support victims in a sensitive, empathetic and caring manner.

2. Common Cold Myth Busting
There’s lots of myths around the common cold; here’s just a few of them!
·         Feed a Cold; Starve a Fever – being sick often kills the appetite, and forced feeding won’t help! What will help is staying well hydrated and make sure you’re getting enough calories. So the best advice is to skip dieting if you’re not feeling too well!
·         You’ll get Sick if You don’t wear a Coat – colds and flu are caused by germs that circulate more readily in the cold winter months. But studies show that you’re more likely to catch a cold indoors than out! Of course, if it’s really cold and you don’t have a coat you’re likely to get hyperthermia – but that’s another issue!
·         A Wet Head will Make You Sick! – you’ll probably feel chilly if you skip the blow dry on a chilly day, but that won’t mean those wretched little germs will find you more easily! Again, hyperthermia could make you more vulnerable if you catch a cold – but that’s a consequence, not a cause!
·         Wearing Garlic Prevents Colds! – that pungent smell may keep germ spreading friends and co-workers away; but here’s the point – garlic has many great qualities bit you need to eat it – not wear it! Garlic’s antioxidant properties boost immunity and fight inflammation – so add a couple of cloves a day to your diet!
If you feel a cold coming on, here’s the best advice

3. Nascot Lawn
 Nascot Lawn is a large Victorian house in Watford that has been converted to provide respite care for children with complex health needs and learning disability. The current position is that HVCCG has acknowledged that it was acting on incorrect advice and has put the funding back until Jan 18; however, on NOV 16 there is a committee meeting to determine how provision will be made in future is to be held; it is likely to recommend that they will simply fund the Continuing Health Care Needs of those children and young people assessed as eligible.
This has been a very difficult time for the families who obviously have been campaigning to keep the service and who are deeply worried that alternatives will mean a reduced service - which seems highly likely.  A very sad business.

4. And Finally

A massive thank you to Listener David and his wife Anne in Bricketwood for the support and help you gave me last TUE. Very best wishes to you and your family from all of us at Radio Verulam