Beryl Burton, Radcliffe and Maconie, Working Class Struggle in 30 minutes – Maxine Peake you are my new star

Do radio shows get any better than this?

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I am quietly minding my own business listening to my favourite radio show on Friday. Radcliffe and Maconie on BBC Radio 6 Music has just my sort of music and chat together with some great guests. As I started listening I wasn’t really alert to Friday’s guest Maxine Peake, vaguely aware she’s an actress.

Charmed in 30 minutes by a really genuine character who was great fun. She already had me won over when she chose “Testimony of Patience Kershaw” by the Unthanks,  a amazing song about working class struggle which she felt summed up some of her views. (Performed on my Music to Ride Bikes By Page)

But then twenty minutes in she announced that she is writing a radio play about cycling legend Beryl Burton for BBC Radio 4 which will hopefully come out in September. Maxine enthused about the BB story based on her autobiography Personal Best – the working class woman from Morley who went on to become a world champion in an era of no support and sponsorship.Beryl Burton - Personal Best Cover

It made me pull “Personal Best” out of the bookcase and start reading as a great postscript to “Half man , half bike” last week, two extraordinary champions in a week. Beryl was a fixture of my formative cycling years, I remember my Mum racing against her, probably mid-late 60s. Everyone was just in awe of what she did but she was just so accessible to club cyclists as she rode the national time trialling scene.

Years later I have had the pleasure of riding with Beryl’s daughter and grandchildren at the CTC Birthday rides. We were up in Dumfries and I still recall Dave Bailey from Sheffield being in awe of the Burton aura, but they were just a nice family enjoying their touring.

Can’t wait for the radio play, I hope it comes off.