Archive on 4 – London 2012: From Waste Land to Gold Rush – Saturday 16th July 2022, 8pm, BBC Radio 4


Presented by Gabby Logan, BBC Radio 4’s Archive on 4 reveals the extraordinary story of how London became host city of the 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games and when for a few short August weeks, London and Britain was the cultural and sporting Capital of the world; how politicians, planners, architects and builders transformed a neglected chunk of east London – the Lower Lea Valley – into a superb Olympic Park; how the athletes of Team GB won a shed load of medals – and what has happened to the London Olympics legacy in the ten years since those Great British achievements.

Gabby interviews Jessica Ennis Hill and Nicola Adams on sharing the country’s joy and the triumphs of their own experiences, revisiting and providing fresh insights into some of the most memorable moments of London 2012. Sir Chris Hoy returns to the finishing line at the Velodrome where he won his sixth gold medal.

The show will document the unlikely alliances of extraordinary characters, political rivals, visionary planners and exotic architects that enabled the Games bid to go ahead and the Park to get built. All this as London mayors and prime ministers came and went, whilst all the investment was made in the shadow of the great 2008 financial crisis.

The programme offers fascinating observations on the physical and political build up to the Games and the consequences of the legacy – has grassroots sport beenboosted, or have those “legacy” hopes been disappointed?

Finally, the programme explores what enabled Britain, famously bad at delivering big national projects, to make such a huge success of London 2012.

Presenter Gabby Logan

Writer Dave Hill

Executive Editor Michael Foster

Producer Andrew McGibbon

A Waste Of Space – Wednesday 13th April 2016, BBC Radio 4

View the programme here.

Harriet Sergeant investigates whether empty commercial buildings could house the homeless.

In October 2015, a group of housing activists – the Manchester Angels – broke into the defunct Manchester Stock Exchangeand started living there illegally. They expected to be evicted by the building’s new owners, Premier League footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, who were midway through converting it into boutique hotel. But instead of action to get the squatters removed, the footballers decided to let them stay for the winter. Not everyone was happy with either party and the police were frequently called to incidents at the Stock Exchange, caused by rival groups of squatters.

Politicians have been so concerned about the damage caused to commercial property that they want to make squatting in commercial buildings a criminal, rather than a civil offence. But with the number of empty commercial buildings reaching record numbers – estimated at more than 1.5 million in the UK – has this high profile philanthropic gesture by two of the world’s most famous footballers challenged prevailing attitudes to squatting?

Harriet Sergeant, columnist for the Daily Mail and a contributor to the right-leaning Centre for Policy Studies, investigates why co-operatives and collectives are choosing to occupy defunct commercial spaces and whether the use of empty commercial buildings could provide a short-term fix for the burgeoning housing crisis.

Harriet talks to property developers, local authorities, leading academics, landlords, social groups and cooperatives using the example of the Manchester Stock Exchange to understand commercial squatting. Can it be harnessed to benefit cities, rather than seen chiefly as an anti social act?

Presenter: Harriet Sergeant
Producers: Andrew McGibbon, Louise Morris and Nick Romero

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.