Programme Blogs

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 9th December 2016

West Herts Drivetime - Fri, 09/12/2016 - 7:20pm
On the final show for 2016, Simon Carver shared the following choices of the best films on free-to-air TV for the forthcoming week:

5.00pm – 6.40pm

FX: Murder by Illusion
7.05pm –  9.00pm
Movie Mix

6.15pm – 8.00pm
Channel 4

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
9.00pm – 11.55pm

Love Actually
9.00pm – 11.45pm

Last Vegas
9.00pm – 11.10pm

The Ghost
1.05am – 3.40am

The Film Guide will be back in 2017.
Categories: Programme Blogs

Mums And The Menopause - 22nd September 2016

The Parents' Show - Fri, 09/12/2016 - 12:48pm
All about the menopause with top consultant Andrew Hexall. He was appointed to the West Herts hospitals NHS Trust as a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in 2002. He is the clinical lead for Urogynaecology (the treatment of female bladder problems and prolapse) for West Hertfordshire and also has special interests in the treatment of pelvic pain and period problems. He has developed a team including physiotherapists and 3 nurse specialists and is primarily based at St Albans City Hospital although he also has clinics at Hemel and operates at Watford. He works on the labour ward at Watford and has an interest in postnatal problems including vaginal soreness, prolapse and incontinence.

Click To Listen >> Mums And The Menopause
Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: The Lion King

West Herts Drivetime - Thu, 08/12/2016 - 6:30pm
The final Musical choice for this week's Film Club is Disney's 'The Lion King'.

The musical epic produced by Disney is their 32nd animated feature film, and tells the story of Simba the lion cub and future king as he searches for his identity. However his eagerness to please others and penchant for testing boundaries soon gets him into big trouble.

James Earl Jones, Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and Whoopi Goldberg star. The film was the biggest success of 1994.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Woes of St.Albans Strategic Local Plan

Environment Matters - Wed, 07/12/2016 - 10:06pm
If you missed the show and would like a 15 minute update on sustainability and the environment in and around St.Albans, listen to or download this week’s podcast now

And you can subscribe to receive our podcasts directly into your inbox on the Radio Verulam Website


If you’re visiting the Radio Verulam studios above the Courtyard Cafe you’ll see the #IChooseTapWater Christmas Tree created by local artists Catherine Fenton and Lawrence Mathias with St.Albans Friends of the Earth. Made of recycled plastic water bottles the tree  St.Albans Friends of the Earth say that it reminds us to choose tap water over bottled water over the festive season.


For most of us our thoughts are well and truly focused on Christmas – who wants what presents, how long you’ll have to stay at the in laws and what size turkey you should order.

But we are being asked to look even further forward than Christmas. In fact we’re being asked for our opinion on St.Albans District Council’s plans for where big housing developments, businesses and other development will happen. It’s crucially important for our district, but it’s also extremely controversial. In fact the government planning inspector who gets the job of giving the plan the ok has already said that he thinks he’ll reject it.

So what’s the problem?

Noone from SADC was available to comment, but David Mitchell, Chair of Redbourn Parish Council explained the process that that SADC had gone through to reach the current draft of the SLP and where he thought the shortcomings were.

However, even though SLP may well be rejected by the government inspector, all comments fed in by local residents would have to be taken into account, so we should make sure we exercised our democratic right to respond.

In addition to being able to say what you think of the council’s plans on line via the planning pages of their website, you can also go along to see the council’s Public exhibition this Thursday 8 December and Monday 12 December, 10am-8pm – Committee Room 1, District Council Offices, Civic Centre. I’ve not seen the exhibition but I expect they’ll have all the plans for you to see and planners there in person to answer your questions.

Go online at and tell the council what you think of their proposals.


It’s been an unsettling time if you care about climate change or any of the host of other threats to our planet with all the uncertainty of political upheaval. If you’re feeling this, then you’ll be interested to know about Vigil for the Earth, and event taking place next Monday.

Joanna Field is a member of the Environmental Group for the Parish of St. Stephen’s with St. Julian’s explained that the vigil had been organised to mark the signing of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. It’s 7.30-9 Monday 12th St.Stephen’s Watling St and people of all faiths, or none are welcome to join in some time of companionable contemplation.

If you’re looking after children next Thursday afternoon (15th) then why not go along to Inn on the Park 1pm-4pm where Herts and Middx Wildlife Trust are holding a Childrens’ Christmas Crafting Session. Each child will make 2 Christmas decorations from natural materials and a few baubles and Christmas sparkles.

It’s suitable for accompanied children from 3-10 years.

No need to book, cost of £5 per child.

The HMWT workshops get booked up really quickly, so I’m giving you and early heads up on this one:

Natural Decorations Workshop

Tue, 20/12/2016 – 10:00am – 12:00pm

Get creative for Christmas…

Get in the Christmas spirit by making festive wreaths and other decorations inspired by nature.  Join Heidi, Commons and Greens Officer, for a short walk on the Common to collect materials before returning to the Town Hall to make natural creations.

Booking essential.£3 for members £5 for non members at

We always love to hear from you :
Tweet us  @RV_environment
Email us at 

Categories: Programme Blogs

Drivetime Sessions with Tom Craven @TomCraven

West Herts Drivetime - Wed, 07/12/2016 - 6:53pm
This week Danny was joined by singer songwriter Tom Craven. Tom played two of his original tracks, firstly 'Under Postcard Skies' inspired by his recent jaunt in California, and the newer 'A Change in the Papers'. If you would like to hear Tom explain a little about his writing head over to and you can listen to his performances too. Tom then finished his session with a spirited cover of 'One of Us', written by The Hooter's Eric Bazilian and released by Joan Osborne.

All of this was video recorded live on the West Herts Drivetime Facebook account. 

More information about Tom Craven and his musical happenings can be found at
Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: The Sound of Music

West Herts Drivetime - Wed, 07/12/2016 - 6:30pm
On today's Film Club Chris chooses 'The Sound of Music' as his musical choice.

The 1965 film directed by Robert Wise stars Julie Andrews as Maria, a nun sent to be the governess for the Von Trapp family, headed by patriarch Georg (Christopher Plummer).

One of the most enduring musicals of all time, Maria manages to bring wonder to the life of the family with her songs.

Look out for Nicholas Hammond as Friedrich von Trapp, the first live action Peter Parker/Spiderman! 
Categories: Programme Blogs

Local Literary Slot with K.A. Hitchins

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 06/12/2016 - 6:43pm

I was joined for this month's local literary slot by K.A Hitchins, who joined us to discuss her latest book 'The key of all unknown'. The book is about an excellent research scientist who wakes up in hospital unable to move or speak, not able to remember how she found herself there. And all kinds of twists and turns follow after that.

To find out more about her work visit:

I also ran through a number of events happening in the local area this month and next.

For full details visit: and

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 06/12/2016 - 6:30pm
Chris's next musical choice is 'Sweeney Todd'.

In the film Johnny Depp stars as a man accused of a crime he didn't commit and deported to Australia by a Judge enamored by his Wife. Returning after 15 years and calling himself Sweeney Todd, the now-mad man vows revenge, applying his razor to unlucky customers and sending their body's to the  meat-pie shop below. Though many fall to his blade, he will not be satisfied until he slits Judge Turpin's throat.

Tim Burton directed the gothic musical, and Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman and Sacha Baron Cohen also star.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: An American in Paris

West Herts Drivetime - Mon, 05/12/2016 - 6:30pm
This week Chris sets the Film Club theme to 'Musicals', and starts with 'An American in Paris'.

This 1951 film stars Gene Kelly as Jerry, a US Veteran now living as an artist in Paris, who falls in love with a French girl (Leslie Caron). Only problem is, she’s in a relationship with someone else.

Also stars Oscar Levant, Nina Foch and Georges Guetary.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Thrifty Mrs C

West Herts Drivetime - Mon, 05/12/2016 - 5:59pm

Penny Carr joined us tonight for some more money saving tips.

Making money on line
There are guides on line about matched betting, a lot of information can be found on line on this subject.
On line surveys are another way to earn money either cash or shopping vouchers.
Running an on line blog can also make you money,  Blogging your way to riches is a new book explaining how make money from an on line blog .

Energy Bills
this site provides an easy guide to different tariffs and more.

More information can be found at Penny's web site

Categories: Programme Blogs

Penelope Pritchett, perfect housewife & agony aunt - 2nd December 2016 @PerfectPritchet

West Herts Drivetime - Sat, 03/12/2016 - 4:17pm

Originally broadcast on 2nd December 2016.

Penelope will be back in 2017!  If you have a problem that you would like Penelope to address, email or tweet @PerfectPritchet
Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory

West Herts Drivetime - Thu, 01/12/2016 - 6:30pm
Chris' last Steven Seagal choice this week is 'Under Siege 2: Dark Territory'.

Under Siege but on a train! Casey Ryback is back, and when a holiday train ride through the Rocky Mountains with his niece is rudely interrupted by a team of hijackers, he has to jump into action once more.

Also stars Morris Chestnut, Eric Bogosian, and Katherine Heigl.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Above the Law

West Herts Drivetime - Wed, 30/11/2016 - 6:30pm
Today's Film Club choice is "Above the Law" (also known as 'Nico').
Seagal’s first film debut, full of kicking butt and taking names, a Chicago cop finds himself within an international conspiracy after a routine drug investigation.
Also stars Pam Grier and Sharon Stone.
Categories: Programme Blogs

The Future of Food

Environment Matters - Tue, 29/11/2016 - 8:02pm
If you missed the Future of Food debate don’t worry – you can listen to the full debate by downloading this week’s podcast now

And you can subscribe to receive our podcasts directly into your inbox on the Radio Verulam Website

As a finale to Sustainable St.Albans Week, Radio Verulam teamed up with Sustainable St.Albans Week to get together a vegan activist, a scientist, a farmer and a campaigner for rights for the developing world to talk about what we need to do to make our food sustainable.

Photo published for "The Future of Food" - What is the the key to sustainable food?

  • Professor Achim Doberman – Director of Rothamsted Research near Harpenden. Rothamsted is the longest running agricultural research station in the world. They say  their mission is to deliver the knowledge and new practices to increase crop productivity and quality and to develop environmentally sustainable solutions for food and energy production. One of those solutions in genetic modification.
  • Jeff Heine is a local campaigner for Global Justice Now!,. a democratic social justice organisation working as part of a global movement to challenge the powerful and create a more just and equal world. They point out that a few use the world’s resources to generate incredible wealth and power for themselves whilst, many millions of people are unable to access the essential resources – like food and water.
  • Ian Pigott  runs a diversified farming business just north of Harpenden where he grows wheat, oilseed, rape and oats. The farm is a LEAF (linking environment and farming) demonstration farm. He is the founder of Open Farm Sunday and chair of the charity Farming and Countryside Education

Listen in to her what they had to say about

  • organic food
  • the effect of leaving the EU on food production
  • soil health
  • food labelling
  • eating less meat? going vegan?
  • what we can all do to make a difference

Whilst there was plenty that the panel definitely had different views on, there was also definite areas of common ground.

What do you think? Tweet #sustweek2016 with your thoughts.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Executive Decision

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 29/11/2016 - 6:30pm
Our next Steven Seagal movie is 'Executive Decision'.
When a plane is taken over by terrorists who want to use it as a makeshift-bomb, Kurt Russell must go on a mission to knock them out.

Stars Seagal, Halle Berry, Oliver Platt and John Leguizamo.
Categories: Programme Blogs

Bake It Easy with Lucy Clark @heavensacupcake

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 29/11/2016 - 5:59pm
Today the show took a festive turn as Lucy showed us how to bake gingerbread.  These are great for kids to decorate and you can make them into any shape you like!
-Plain flour
-spices- such as ginger and cinnamon (but you can be as creative as you like!)
-brown sugar
-golden syrup

1. Sift the flour and spices together and blend the mixture in a food processor.  If you don't have a food processor you can blend them using a wooden spoon but this method is easier. Blend the mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs.
2. Add sugar in and stir it with a wooden spoon.  Then take the eggs and the golden syrup, and add them to the mixture.  Pulse it together until all the lumps are gone.  The mixture should now be dough-like.
3. Knead the dough, and roll it out briefly.  Wrap dough in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for 15 minutes.  Do this so the dough holds its shape when you roll it out.
4.  Roll out dough and use your cutter to cut the shapes out.  When you cut out each individual shape, cut around the shape and roll out the excess again to get as many biscuits from your dough as possible.
5.  In order to ensure the shapes are firm, you could put the biscuits in the fridge for 10 minutes.  This will make sure the shapes hold during baking.
5.  Put the gingerbread in the oven for 12-15 minutes (depending on your oven temperature), until the biscuits are baked through.
6.  When cooled, decorate the biscuits with icing sugar and sprinkles.

To find out more about Lucy's baking, visit her website:

Categories: Programme Blogs

Radio Verulam Science Feature 28/11/2016 with Sam Rolfe

West Herts Drivetime - Mon, 28/11/2016 - 6:52pm

Radio Verulam Science Feature 28/11/2016 with Sam Rolfe
This month I was talking about an scientific phenomena called the Maunder Minimum, due to the complete non-recognition of the phenomena by a radio quiz team... The Maunder Minimum is a period in history where there were relatively few sunspots and it is thought to be a factor in the Little Ice Age that occurred around the same time. The language of the quiz master determining the question to be "tricky" due to the fact that it was a science question lead me to the realisation that scientific facts and knowledge, though no more tricky or specialist than knowing about past football fixtures, music, literature etc. is chastised as a knowledge subject - see below for my full explanation.Also, what to see in the night sky this month.
Maunder MinimumThe Maunder Minimum is the reported reduced number of sunspots between 1645 and 1715. A lot of the data for these observations came from research conducted by a wife and husband team called Annie and Walter Maunder, hence the name. Walter Maunder published two papers about it at the time but despite passing her Cambridge examinations with honours, being the top mathematician in her class and ranked at a 2:1 level, restrictions at the time meant she was not awarded the degree she had completed and hence was not recognised for her contributions to the solar cycles publicly. The phenomenon was not widely recognised within the community until 1976 when a paper was published by John Eddy. The Maunder Minimum coincides with relatively cold temperatures known as the Little Ice Age, suggesting a possible contribution to Earth’s climate due to the solar cycle, though there are other factors involved and this potential link to climate is still not well understood.

The Sun goes through a recognised cycle of maxima and minima where it is more or less active, where one cycle is 11 years minimum to minimum. When the Sun is active, there are more sunspots, which appear dark, but they are still very hot, but are relatively cool compared to the surrounding atmosphere of the Sun, hence their dark appearance. If plotted on a diagram, the areas in which the sunspots appear form a butterfly wing effect across the surface with the centre of the wings along the equator.

They occur due to concentrations of magnetic field flux which inhibits convection, and the intense magnetic activity causes secondary phenomena such as solar flares (a release of electromagnetic radiation across the spectrum from gamma rays to radio waves at the speed of light, arrival at Earth: 8 mins) and coronal mass ejections (a release of a plasma of electrons and protons from the Sun, take one to three days to reach the Earth).During a period of 28 years, though only part of the Maunder Minimum, fewer than 50 sunspots were observed, whereas a similar period in recent times would yield 40,000 – 50,000.
Science as the Outsider I was recently listening to a radio quiz show, in which the answer to the question was the Maunder Minimum, which when about to announce the question the host preceded it with “I think this is a stinker” and when discussing the possible answer with the contestants said “a complex but quite well known phenomena of climate variance, the words ‘quite well known’ might be disputed”. Furthermore he gave the team a point for their plight at having to answer such a “terrifically hard” question and there is “no shame” in not being able to answer it. He would never have used the same phasing if the team were stuck on a question about football, music or Shakespeare.
Such throw away comments about science and knowledge of science is continually damaging to the subject. It does nothing to lessen the unfortunate and deep rooted feeling in our society that science is out of reach and difficult to understand. No other subject is chastised in such a way, the knowledge of music, literature, sport, pop culture and current affairs etc. is accepted as normal and not difficult or tricky. Knowledge of science should be as normal as any subject, people take the time to learn about all sorts of different things, scientific subjects are no different. I often attend pub quizzes in which there is rarely a whole round based on science, and maybe if I am lucky I get one science question in the general knowledge round but the questions are so very basic that most people on the table will know the answer, so I cannot meaningfully contribute at all. And yet an entire round on sport asking questions on 1970’s football league results, the penalty takers in the 1994 world cup draw between whoever and whoever and something about cricket, though ridiculously obscure as far as I am concerned is acceptable and common. Furthermore, I have been to quizzes before where answers to science questions given by the quiz master are fundamentally incorrect, further propagating problems with the understanding of science within our society. Science is more accessible than ever with the advent of factual websites and videos available online providing explanations to scientific concepts and news, the use of accurate scientific concepts in movies and the mountains of popular science books that are available and yet those who are interested and learn about science are still marginalised and treated as eccentric if their knowledge base is in this area and not other well learned subjects like sports, literature and pop culture.

Night Sky This MonthMercury can be seen low in the west sky around the 11thDecember when it is at its greatest elongation, you will need full view of the horizon. The Geminid meteor shower peaks on the 13th and 14th Decemeber, it can have a rate of 120 meteors per hour, though some of the fainter meteors may not be visible due to the full Moon. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight.The Full Moon is on 14th Dec.Winter Solstice is on the 21st Dec, bringing the beginning of longer days.Visible planets this month: Venus, Mars, Uranus and Neptune in the evening and Jupiter in the morning.
Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Under Siege

West Herts Drivetime - Mon, 28/11/2016 - 6:30pm
On the Film Club this week Chris looks at the films of action star 'Steven Seagal', beginning with 'Under Siege'.

Former Navy SEAL Casey Ryback (Seagal) is now working as a chef when the ship he’s on is taken over by a band of mercanaries. Bad news for them.

Also stars Gary Busey, Tommy Lee Jones (who would win an Oscar the following year), and Erika Eleniak.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Penelope Pritchett, perfect housewife & agony aunt - 25th November 2016 @PerfectPritchet

West Herts Drivetime - Sat, 26/11/2016 - 4:21pm

Originally broadcast on 25th November 2016.

If you have a problem that you would like Penelope to address, email or tweet @PerfectPritchet
Categories: Programme Blogs

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 25th November 2016

West Herts Drivetime - Fri, 25/11/2016 - 7:00pm
howdy it is chris here and i am a poopy stupid face and i like to pick my nose and i smell like butt and i write bad. SIMON how ever is very hansom and clever and does not smell like butt he smells like cigars and adventure and all things manly and attracktive. he also writes much better than i do and is better looking because i look like i walked into a door with my nose first he he he he heh. SIMON RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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.

Silver Linings Playbook
12.35am – 2.40am
Channel 4

12.20am – 1.45am

1.15pm – 2.50pm

Calamity Jane
3.45pm – 5.50pm

2.25pm – 4.35pm

11.20pm – 1.35am

Starter for Ten
10.00pm – 11.30pm

Young Frankenstein
6.45pm – 9.00pm
Movie Mix
Categories: Programme Blogs