Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Planet Terror

West Herts Drivetime - Wed, 04/05/2016 - 6:30pm
On today's Film Club we look at 'Planet Terror', the film produced by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez.

 A small town comes under zombie attack from people infected by a toxic chemical, and only a small group of skilled survivors can stop the problem at it's source,

Stars Rose McGowan, naveen Andrews, Josh Brolin, Freddy Rodriguez, Marley Shelton, and Bruce Willis.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: The Hateful Eight

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 03/05/2016 - 6:30pm
For this Tuesday's edition of the Film Club Chris looks at Tarantino's latest release 'The Hateful Eight'.

Written and directed by Tarantino, it sees eight strangers trapped together in a lodge during a terrible blizzard. One of the eight is a criminal, on her way to hang, and her captor believes at least one of the eight is going to try and help her escape.

Stars Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Damien Bechir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern as the ‘Hateful Eight’.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Local Literary feature with Marie Kemplay

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 03/05/2016 - 6:06pm
Today we were joined by Marie Kemplay and Howard Linskey.  Howard's new book, 'Dead Behind Eyes', is going to be released on the 19th of May.  It's the second book in three, but it can also be read as a stand alone book. His book is a crime novel set in the 90s, and Howard chose to set it then because he himself was a journalist at this time, so he can write with a great deal of accuracy.  Setting it in the 90s means that the characters in the book are able to use less technology, but this makes the novels more interesting as it is more challenging for them to solve the crime.  While writing this book, Howard was influenced by issues in the media, such as corruption and bribery.  He said he looks at news stories and exaggerates them into crime fiction, because in many cases life is stranger than fiction.  This book is set in Newcastle and many places mentioned are real places.
Howard's book launch is taking place on the 11th June in Waterstones in Welwyn Garden City, between 6pm and 8pm.   Howard's website is  and his twitter is @HowardLinskey

After Howard left, Marie discussed the new Harry Potter play, 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child', which is being released on the 31st July.  This date is notable not only because it is JK Rowling's birthday, but it is also Harry Potter's birthday as well.  In addition to this, an original map of Middle Earth drawn by JRR Tolkien has been found.  It includes notes to the illustrator and gives fans a greater insight into the world of Middle Earth.

Categories: Programme Blogs

New GM trials and “untramelled womanhood” on bikes

Environment Matters - Mon, 02/05/2016 - 9:41pm

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. 

Defra has given Rothamsted Research in Harpendn permission for 2 years of further field trials for their fish oil producing camelina plants. Lead scientist Professor Johnathan Napier joined us to explain how the latest crops produce more of the oils we normally only get from fish, and some produce astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a pigment that farmed fish normally get from their food and which keeps their flesh pink. As 80% of fish oils harvested from the sea are used to feed farmed fish it is hoped that Rothamsteds’ GM camelina will produce oils that will be able to reduce the pressure on wild sources. Read more on the Rothamsted website.

Professor Napier also commented on Dr Stephanie Hixson’s findings. Her team fed caterpillars on artificial leaves containing oils like the ones that the GM camelina plants produce. When the caterpillars changed into butterflies their wings were stunted and deformed. Professor Napier explained that

  • in the experiment caterpillars fed on the artifical leaves that did not contain the fish-type oils hatched into butterflies with stunted wings too
  • the GM camelina plants only have the fish type oils in their seeds, not in their leaves

Whilst Professor Napier admitted that their were risks in the GM experiments, he was satisifed that the Defra licensing process was rigorous and so risks were kept to a minimum and not outweighed by the potential benefits.

Local woman, cyclist and ride leader Rona Wightman joined us to talk about forthcoming local womens’ cycling events. Many thanks to Rona for this great summary…

Fabulous cycle ride – celebrating women, cycling and emancipation.

South Herts CTC are holding a women only “Five Miles to Fabulous” cycle ride on Saturday 7 May.  The aim – which we fully expect to realise – is to be a picture of free, untrammelled womanhood as we ride on (the day before) USA Mothers’ Day, when many women celebrate  the emancipating power of cycling.  We have not registered our ride as an official one with Cyclofemme, but we will “Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, Empower the Future of Women in Cycling”

Susan B Anthony, the activist and suffrage campaigner said in 1896: “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

For a UK perspective:

Meet at Morrisons, Hatfield Road, 0930h.  Cycle racks near crossing (opp post office).

Check your bike, wear sensible clothes, bring a spare tube, money for coffee stop.

Help with looking after your bike

Halfords are again running women-only cycle workshop demonstration sessions, on Tuesday 10th May (evening) and Sunday 26 June (9am to 10am).  You need to book as places are limited.

It went very well last year, they had a bike on a stand and the mechanic ran through the basic checks and adjustments.  You don’t bring your own bike, but you do get to ply the spanners on the shop demo bike.

Local Breeze Champions will be there to promote women’s cycling.


The Breeze network is run by British Cycling.

Trained ride leaders, all volunteers, organise bike rides, usually women-only, sometimes women and children.  You find the rides via the website.  You can also find local Brreze network information on facebook,,

There will be a Breeze ride from St Albans to BRE Garston on 22 May to visit the “Cycle Festival Bricket Wood”, the first event in the Tour of Hertfordshire Series of cycling festivals.

Details of the Breeze ride at

Moving Mums

Several Hertfordshire Breeze Champions are involved with Moving Mums, under the auspices of the Hertfordshire Sports Partnerships Women and Girls team.–girls/moving-mums-7806/

The Moving Mums project delivers ‘physical activity at the school gate’, and cycling is one of the activities offered.  If you think that would be something you would like at your school gate, contact the team.

Looking ahead,  #ThisGirlCan in Herts week is coming up in June:

South Herts CTC have organised a ride on Saturday 11 June.

Other events for your diary:

UK Green Film Festival  will be celebrated at the Garden City Cinema with showings of a whole range of award winning environmentally themed films. I can recommend Just Eat It on Thursday and Friday. It achieves a tricky balance between being interesting, and even funny, but still carries a serious message that we all feel empowered to act on.

Save Butterfly World will shortly become registered as a charity, and you can become a member for £10

Help is needed with their publicity campaign, and although 53,000 have signed their online petition, they’re looking for as many signatures as possible, so please sign if you haven’t already.

For offers of help and suggestions: Email:

Sign the Petition@

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Death Proof

West Herts Drivetime - Mon, 02/05/2016 - 6:30pm
Chris returns to the Film Club this week, choosing the works of Quentin Tarantino as a theme.

First this week we have 'Death Proof'; Tarantino’s Grindhouse’ film about a psychotic stunt driver (Kurt Russell) who preys on innocent women as his victims, until he comes across a group a little stronger than he thought.

Also stars Rosario Dawson, Zoe Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rose McGowan.

Categories: Programme Blogs

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 29th March 2016

West Herts Drivetime - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 7:00pm
After quite a long time away, Chris was allowed back into the studio. Danny had finally decided to let Chris out of the locked room he had trapped him in. Danny is often jealous of Chris and his chiseled good looks, effortless charisma and charm, unbridled intellect, and devastating athleticism (among other things). Without Chris' benevolent leadership and bravery in the face of adversity the quality of the show had dipped somewhat in recent weeks. This was partly due to the rift that had developed between Danny and Erin. It turns out that Erin has a habit of rugby-tackling people she knows in the street and Danny had been an unfortunate recipient of this. Danny, who recently got his bus pass, doesn't think his heart can survive another scare like that, but Erin has promised to never stop. This could end badly...

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.

Air Force One
9.00pm – 11.30pm

Smokey and the Bandit
2.40pm – 4.25pm

The Natural
3.55pm – 6.40pm

Sleeping with the Enemy
9.00pm – 10.55pm

9.00pm – 11.15pm

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
10.05pm – 11.55pm

The Anderson Tapes
7.05pm – 9.00pm

Categories: Programme Blogs

Max And Erin's Film Club: John Wick

West Herts Drivetime - Thu, 28/04/2016 - 6:30pm
And finally on our 'Willem Dafoe' themed Film Club, we have the 2014 action packed 'John Wick'.

When sadistic mobster Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen) and his thugs steal Ex-Assassin John Wick's (Keanu Reeves) prized car and kill the puppy that was a final gift from his wife, John returns to the crime underworld to unleash a brutal revenge. Meanwhile, Iosef's father (Michael Nyqvist), one of John's old employers, puts a bounty on the title character's head, employing a number of assassins in the hope of protecting his son.

Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki and Ian McShane also feature.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Max And Erin's Film Club: The Fault In Our Stars

West Herts Drivetime - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 6:30pm
Next on this week's Film Club we have 'The Fault In Our Stars', an adaptation of John Green's young adult novel.

Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley), a 16-year-old cancer patient, meets and falls in love with Gus Waters (Ansel Elgort) from her cancer support group.  The two share both share the same wit and a love of books, especially "An Imperial Affliction" by Peter Van Houten. When Gus scores an invitation to meet the reclusive author, he and Hazel embark on the adventure of their brief lives.

Categories: Programme Blogs

The Drivetime Sessions w/ Chris Flegg

West Herts Drivetime - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 6:29pm
On the Drivetime Sessions today we were joined once again by local musician Chris Flegg.

As always on the Sessions we asked for two original songs, as well as a cover of the work of another artist. Chris was more than happy to comply, playing us 'Somebody Or Nobody', 'When You're a Refugee' and a cover of The Beatles' 'Penny Lane'.

For more details and to keep up with Chris visit his website:
And if you missed out on this week's Drivetime Sessions you can listen again on by selecting this afternoon's show.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Holiday Atmosphere! - Interior Design with Gwendoline Alderton @GA_Interiors

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 26/04/2016 - 6:33pm
Today on the Drivetime Show we were joyfully joined by Gwendoline Alderton for the shows regular Interior Design feature!
Gwendoline spoke about features that can be added and altered in your living space to make it feel like a holiday atmosphere!
Thinking about neutral based colours such as cream, white and grey (which is considered very modern moment), makes the room feel a lot more spacious and comforting. The use of pastel colours such as pale pink and pale blue, which are also the colours of the year, make the interior a lot more holiday themed with sea colours such as light blue and green adding ocean subtlety.

To finish off the discussion, Gwendoline recommended wooden flooring is also a very holiday/beach themed add on with the addition of a lovely blue and white striped rug to fill the centre floor. 
You can check out more about Interior Design by visiting Gwendoline's website or her twitter!

Categories: Programme Blogs

Max And Erin's Film Club: The Grand Budapest Hotel

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 26/04/2016 - 6:30pm
Next in our Willem Dafoe focused Film Club we look at the celebrity cameo filled 'Grand Budapest Hotel'.

The Film looks back at the glory days of the fictional hotel in the 1930s, following Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), and Zero, a junior lobby boy and Gustave's friend/protege. Gustave prides himself on providing first-class service to the hotel's guests, but when a guest dies mysteriously, he finds himself the recipient of a priceless painting and the chief suspect in her murder.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Max And Erin's Film Club: Daybreakers

West Herts Drivetime - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 6:30pm
This week Erin and Myself take charge of the Film Club, going with the theme of 'starring Willem Dafoe'.

Monday's film is 'Daybreakers' from 2009, a film set in a future where the majority of the world's population are vampires, and there is a critical blood shortage.

Ethan Hawke stars as Edward, a vampire trying to develop a blood substitute, who finds himself united with the two fugitive humans Lionel (Willem Dafoe) and Audrey (Claudia Karvan), who claim to have a possible cure.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Angela Stone director of Parlour Song

West Herts Drivetime - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 6:02pm
We were joined by Angela Stone this evening , Angela is the director of the current production by the Company Of Ten at the Abbey Theatre "Parlour Song".

The play is described as an explosive black comedy written by local playwright Jezz Butterworth, and is set in St Albans and includes many references to the local area.

Parlour Song runs at the Abbey Theatre until Saturday 30th April, further details can be found at the web site

Categories: Programme Blogs

Erin's Film Club: Phantom Of The Opera

West Herts Drivetime - Thu, 21/04/2016 - 6:30pm
Our final musical for this week is 'Phantom Of The Opera' from 2004.

Gerard Butler stars as the brooding Phantom, who hides beneath a 19th century Paris opera house and schemes to get closer to vocalist Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum). The Phantom, wearing a mask to hide a congenital disfigurement, strong-arms management into giving the budding starlet key roles, but Christine instead falls for arts benefactor Raoul (Patrick Wilson). Terrified at the notion of her absence, the Phantom enacts a plan to keep Christine by his side, while Raoul tries to foil the scheme.

Joel Schumacher directs.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Jess Distill from The Company Of Players @shakespearefolk

West Herts Drivetime - Thu, 21/04/2016 - 6:04pm

We were lucky enough to have Jess Distill back in the studio for an interview this afternoon, discussing the upcoming events planned for the Shakespeare tribute group 'The Company Of Players'.

For the upcoming 400th commemoration of Shakespeare's death, a number of emerging Folk and Acoustic talents have grouped together to form 'The Company Of Players', who plan to write, record and perform brand new material as a celebration of his works. This includes spending a week in April together in a house in Belper, writing and rehearsing, to create new works.
Currently a number of tracks are in the works, with plans to release them later this month, and for updates on these you can check out the Company Of Players on Facebook, Twitter or their Pledge Page

Categories: Programme Blogs

The Drivetime Sessions with The Skeltons

West Herts Drivetime - Wed, 20/04/2016 - 7:01pm

The Drivetime Sessions were once again joined by the Skeltons, An acoustic trio consisting of Andy, Laurie and Holly.

They performed 'I Wont Look Back', a beautiful, brand new original composition, as well two breath taking covers including The Civil Wars 'Barton Hollow' and Maggie Rose's 'The Preachers Daughter'. To find out more about the Skeltons and their upcoming gigs, visit them at their LemonRock page or find them on Facebook.

If you missed their performances, you can hear them again at
Categories: Programme Blogs

Erin's Film Club

West Herts Drivetime - Wed, 20/04/2016 - 6:30pm
Erin's musical-themed Film Club continues today with 'Rock Of Ages'.

Soon after hopping off a bus from the Midwest, aspiring singer Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) immediately finds herself in trouble. Coming to her rescue is Drew (Diego Boneta), a bar-back at the legendary club the Bourbon Room. With stars in their eyes, the young lovers chase their dreams, but a misunderstanding involving rock god Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) threatens to tear them apart.

The songs of Journey, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and other artists underscore the film, and other stars are Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Erin's Film Club: Mamma Mia!

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 19/04/2016 - 6:30pm
Today's 'Musical' film is 2008's 'Mamma Mia!', based on the songs of Swedish pop group ABBA.

The film follows Donna (Meryl Streep), a hotelier in the Greek islands, as she prepares for her daughter Sophie's (Amanda Seyfried) wedding. Meanwhile, in secret Sophie has sent three invitations to men from her Mother's past in the hope of finding her true father to walk her down the aisle.

Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Dominic Cooper also feature.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Bake it Easy with Lucy Clark - Victoria Sponge @heavensacupcake

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 19/04/2016 - 6:11pm
Today Lucy talked about a cake she is making for the mayor's party. She is making a classic Victoria sponge. This cake is good for a standard birthday cake because it's easy to make.

To make this cake you will need: flour, butter, caster sugar, egg, flavouring (traditionally vanilla- vanilla extract, essence or bean paste are some of the products you could use). Just put in a couple of teaspoons because when you make a sponge you should make sure your ingredients weigh equal amounts. For a normal sized birthday cake you should have roughly 250 g of each ingredient, and 4 eggs. If you want to make a bigger cake you should just increase the amount of ingredients.

Put all the ingredients in mixer, mix and put in the mixture in a cake tin. If you're making a sandwich you should use 2 separate cake tins and then sandwich them together, or you could cut the whole cake in half afterwards but this is probably harder to do. If you put it in smaller tins it bakes quicker, so be careful.

Put in the tins into the oven for 20-25 minutes at 170 degrees Celsius. Don't open the oven to check repeatedly because this will affect how the cake bakes adversely. You could dust the top with icing sugar and for the middle you could use jam and buttercream, or fresh cream (such as double cream or whipping cream-whisk for a couple of minutes).

Traditionally you should use strawberry jam but you could use raspberry jam or blackcurrant jam. To prepare buttercream use 250g butter and 500g sugar (the butter should be half the amount the sugar is) and mix together gently and pop in the middle. To colour your icing you could use food colouring. To change the flavour of the cake you could substitute the vanilla for another flavour such as cocoa powder, lemon, or espresso powder.
Categories: Programme Blogs

Erin's Film Club: Sweeney Todd

West Herts Drivetime - Mon, 18/04/2016 - 6:30pm
Erin's in control of the Film Club for another week, and following her week of 'Superheros' this week we look at 'Musicals', starting with Tim Burton's '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