Programme Blogs

The first Drivetime Wedding - Congratulations to @CCAikman & @SMRolfe

West Herts Drivetime - 20 hours 51 min ago
It was a monumentous and emotional day for our show today.  One of the longest serving members of the team, the dashing and handsome (his words, not mine!) Chris Aikman (he of the Made Up News and Film Club fame) married our very own Science Correspondent, the Space Doctor herself - Sam Rolfe!

Whilst I don't usually allow staff liaisons of a romantic nature (unless I am involved!), I thought I should give this my blessing, not least because Chris and Sam have actually been together for far longer than either of them have worked on the show.

Theirs was a lovely wedding, which was a perfect fitting for two such wonderful people.  I am sure listeners would be delighted to know that the day went without hitch, even though I am still waiting to deliver my speech.

Whilst they requested that their special day not be shared on social media (in case Chris' other wives find out) they did allow me to take this one photo, to be shared here for all our listeners:

I guess the smart money is now on which of the team will be next to tie the knot?
Categories: Programme Blogs

Penelope Pritchett, perfect housewife & agony aunt - 21st October 2016 @PerfectPritchet

West Herts Drivetime - Sat, 22/10/2016 - 7:00pm

Originally broadcast on 21st October 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 21st October 2016

West Herts Drivetime - Fri, 21/10/2016 - 7:00pm
Another shocking turn of events took place at Radio Verulam that resulted in Chris forcefully being taken hostage by a lady in a bridesmaid dress? Intel just in, that he is currently being held in an unidentified church, preparing to take a set of vows for tomorrow. These include apologising for things he hasn't done and making promises stronger than a friendship bond!

In light of the situation, a much more attractive and youthful replacement of Chris was able to come to the rescue. Unfortunately, she was not able to make time to save him before his life sentence to relationship prison tomorrow. However, she was able to rush to the aid of the West Herts Film Guide in order to promote Simon's concoction of well loved films! With this, the unknown saviour of this evening finally returned to her grotto, believed to be neighbouring a large, green Scotish Ogre.

Final Destination
9.00pm – 11.05pm

The Invisible Woman
9.00pm – 10.45pm

The Grand Budapest Hotel
9.00pm – 11.00pm
Channel 4

The Madness of King George
7.45pm – 10.00pm

Shaun of the Dead
9.00pm – 11.05pm

The Imitation Game
9.00pm – 11.45pm

7.15pm – 11.00pm
Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: The Evil Dead II

West Herts Drivetime - Thu, 20/10/2016 - 6:30pm
Concluding the week of cult classics is Sam Raimi's 1987 horror sequel 'The Evil Dead II'.

Picking up from where the first film left off, the sequel introduces a comedy element, and focuses on Ash Williams attempting to escape the cabin in the woods, while facing his demonically possessed girlfriend.

Stars Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks and Kassie DePaiva.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Lindsey from the St Albans Chamber Choir @SACChoir

West Herts Drivetime - Thu, 20/10/2016 - 6:04pm
We joined by Lindsey from the St Albans Chamber Choir. Their next concert is the Angel Voices, which will be held Saturday 22 October at 7.30pm at the St Saviours Church. They explores the extraordinary sonorities of a choir combined with woodwind and brass instruments. Lindsey explained what a Chamber Choir is.

The concert will feature the work of three contrasting composers.The choir will be accompanied by an ensemble comprising two oboes, cor anglais, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets and three trombones, and conducted by the chamber choir’s Musical Director, John Gibbons. If you would like to join the concert, tickets £15 (£5 child/student) and Tel 07570 454744 or email
or online at to purchase tickets. And if you missed the interview you can listen to it by visiting and navigate to Thursday from 5.30pm.
Categories: Programme Blogs

The Drivetime Sessions with @Pipsmusicuk

West Herts Drivetime - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 6:34pm

Live on the show for a second time, Pip performed two of her new folk pop tracks 'Sway with the breeze' and 'Fall like the rain'. Pip also treated us to a beautiful cover of 'Pompeii' by indie rock band Bastille, who are lead by their very own Dan Smith. 
For updates and more information about Pip head to

If you missed this week's session, or just wanted to listen it to again, you can find it by visiting and navigating to 5:30 on Wednesday.
Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Scanners

West Herts Drivetime - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 6:30pm
Continuing on the topic of cult films, today's selection by Chris is 'Scanners'.

Directed by David Cronenberg, the fscifi/ horror film is about the war between a peaceful group of psychics, and those attempting to make a new race that will control the world.

Michael Ironside, Stephen Lack, Jennifer O’Neilland and Patrick McGoohan star.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chips not down for fish, plus hope yet for butterflies?

Environment Matters - Tue, 18/10/2016 - 9:12pm
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

(Photo Godfrey’s)

The chips aren’t down for fish at Godfrey’s

If you live in Harpenden, the chances are that you already knew that your local chippy, Godfrey’s was pretty good. But I think their recent Best Take Away Award at the St.Albans Food and Drink Festival and getting through to the top 10 chippies in the whole country show that they are in fact, in in the words of OFSTED,Outstanding.

Which is great. Unless you’re concerned about dwindling cod stocks or the impact that all those plastic chip boxes have on the environment. But Godfreys pride themselves on more than just good food. Owner Luke is working hard to make the business sustainable, too.

Fresh back from haddock hunting in Norway, Luke explained how all the fish he serves, even the cod, is sustainably caught and all the packaging he uses is compostable. Food waste gets anaerobically digested and even the oil he cooks with is sustainably sourced. Whilst Luke’s clients are largely unaware of Luke’s efforts, sustainability matters a lot to Luke personally. We look forward to hearing whether Godfreys is voted best fish and chip shop in the country on January 26th. Good luck Luke!


Bad and good news for butterflies

We heard last week that it had been an unusually bad year for butterflies. If you spend any time in your garden or outside you probably knew that already – I’ve seen very few butterflies all year, although I did see a red admiral on some ivy flowers yesterday – apparently their numbers are up 40%


John Horsfield, Chairman of Save Butterfly World, explained how butterflies locally had not done well, but on the Butterfly World site they had continued to flourish. Now Butterfly World is a charity plans are being made for the future in line with what members of the public say they’d like.


The theme for this year’s Sustainable St.Albans Week is Sustainable Food and between now and the week at the end of November I’m asking for your Nifty tips on how to keep food on our plates and out of the bin.

Here’s a tip from…..Luke from Godfreys. He said that if you visit Godfreys and find that the portions are too big, then they do small portions to help you cut down on leftovers. If you’re not a Godfrey’s customer then ask your favourite take away if they do small portions and, if they don’t then ask them why. It not only helps cut down on food waste but helps us keep our waist lines down too.

Symondshyde Plan

You’ve only got until 24th October – that’s less than a week- to tell Welwyn and Hatfield Council what you think about their plans to allow a village to be built at Symondshyde.

Save Symondshyde say that Welwyn and Hatfield Council aren’t making it easy for you, but don’t be deterred. Set aside half an hour, follow the clear instructions on the Save Symondshyde Website and have your say.
Coming up this week..

Image result for ayletts apple weekend

Ayletts Apple Weekend 23/24 October

They will be celebrating the bounty of British orchards in conjunction with the Herts Orchard Initiative.  They have a fun weekend where you can enjoy:

  • Apple Juice tasting from Perry Court Farm
  • Traditional Farmhouse Cider tasting from “Cottage Delight”
  • Jam tasting from London Jam Factory
  • Spice up your BBQ menus with some apple recipes hosted by Kadai Firebowls (Saturday only)
  • Over 15 varieties of English apples to taste and purchase from Brogdale Farm in Kent
  • Help and advice about growing apple trees in your garden
  • Free Childrens Activity
  • Demonstrations by the Herts and Beds Wood Turners Association

St Albans & District Bee Keepers Association will be in attendance, Sustainable St Albans will be there on Sunday

On Sunday 10.30-12.30 HMWT invite you to join them to explore the  Sherrardsparkwoods with an expert guide…Meet at Templewood entrance off Pentley Park, 200m on the left past Templewood School.  Sat Nav: AL8 7SD. For more information please contact Valerie Fullforth on 01462 623667 or email

Tuesday 10-12 you can Discover Harpenden Common in autumn. Join Commons and Greens Officer, Heidi Mansell, for some inspiration on getting out and enjoying nature this autumn. Meet at Harpenden Cricket Club car park. Book at

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 18/10/2016 - 6:30pm
Next on our week of cult films is 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'.

The 1975 comedy horror musical stars Tim Curry as Frank N. Furter, a mad scientist who takes in a young married couple, played by Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon.

Campy and weird, it’s developed a massive cult following, and made stars of Sarandon and Curry.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Bake It Easy with Lucy Clark @heavensacupcake

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 18/10/2016 - 6:03pm
Today Lucy told us how to make chocolate chip cookies.
-150g butter
-80g light brown sugar
-80g granulated sugar
-2tsp vanilla extract
-1 egg
- 225g plain flour
-1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
-pinch of salt
-100g white choc chips

1. Preheat the oven to 190C, or if you're using a fan oven, preheat it to 170C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together and beat until it's light and fluffy.
3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix together further until they are completely incorporated.
4.  Then add the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda using a sieve, to make sure there are no lumps.  Then mix everything together using a wooden spoon.  Don't use a stand alone mixer because otherwise this can lead to overmixing.
5. Then add chocolate chips and the cranberries.  Stir further.
6. Use a teaspoon to make small well spaced mounds on the baking tray.  However, if you want to make a giant cookie, you should make one large mound.
7.  Put the tray in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until light brown.  They should be a little soft in the middle.
8. Let them cool on a wire rack for a few minutes.
Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: The Warriors

West Herts Drivetime - Mon, 17/10/2016 - 6:30pm
This week on the Film Club Chris wants to look at cult classics, starting with 'The Warriors'.

In the film, The Warriors, a small gang from Coney Island, NYC, are accused of the murdering one of the cities most most powerful gangsters. They have to make their way home across the city to safety, while every other gang is hunting them down.

Released in 1979, it stars Michael Beck, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, James Remar and David Patrick Kelly.

Categories: Programme Blogs

St Albans Musical Theatre Company

West Herts Drivetime - Mon, 17/10/2016 - 5:51pm
Tony Bradburn from St Albans Musical Theatre company was our guest tonight telling us about their upcoming production of Sister Act at the Alban Arena.

For more details about the Theatre company go the web site
Categories: Programme Blogs

Penelope Pritchett, perfect housewife & agony aunt - 14th October 2016 @PerfectPritchet

West Herts Drivetime - Fri, 14/10/2016 - 7:00pm

Originally broadcast on 14th October 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 14th October 2016

West Herts Drivetime - Fri, 14/10/2016 - 7:00pm
This week, in a shocking turn of events that could only happen on soap operas and hurriedly written community radio blog posts, Simon was replaced in the studio by his evil twin, Stephen. The two were separated at birth when an evil doctor at the hospital sold Stephen to a travelling circus in exchange for a magic lute. Stephen spent much of his life plotting revenge at his twin brother who hadn't stopped the doctor (probably because he was a baby at the time).

So before the show Stephen kidnapped Simon, tied him up in a room next to a radio tuned to Radio Verulam, and enacted his evil plan: he would do the Film Guide instead of Simon, but he would do it better. Hell, he even remembered some actors names and didn't start describing completely wrong films. We've invited him back again next week.

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.

Django Unchained
10.00pm – 1.05am
Channel 5

The Full Monty
9.00pm – 11.00pm
Movie Mix

Fantastic Mr Fox
4.50pm – 6.35pm

Rob Roy
9.00pm – 11.50pm
Movie Mix

Midnight Express
11.00pm – 1.30pm
Movie Mix

11.00pm – 12.45am

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
8.30pm – 10.45pm
Categories: Programme Blogs

Penelope Pritchett, perfect housewife & agony aunt - 7th October 2016 @PerfectPritchet

West Herts Drivetime - Fri, 14/10/2016 - 1:57am

Originally broadcast on 7th October 2016.

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

New to the Drivetime Podcast - the one & only @PerfectPritchet

West Herts Drivetime - Fri, 14/10/2016 - 1:51am

Hi Drivetimers

Joining our podcast from this week is our brand new agony aunt Penelope Pritchett (aka comedian Vicky Arlidge).  Her sage pearls of wisdom can be heard on Fridays during the third hour of the live show.

We will also make the episodes available after broadcast via our podcast.  You can subscribe to it by clicking here WestHertsDrivetimeWithDannySmith

Today's episode was originally broadcast on 30th September 2016.
Categories: Programme Blogs

Sailing across Australia and China on a yacht race with @ShonaLDavies

West Herts Drivetime - Thu, 13/10/2016 - 6:30pm
Danny Smith was joined today by Shona Davies who will be sailing across Australia and China. Shona who is from London Colney has signed up to the Crew for the 2017-18 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and through this she will be travelling in the world's most dangerous seas on Earth. After her breakdown, she started to support MIND. She's chose MIND as her charity because she believes that it would help others with their mental health issues like they did to her.  The dates of Shona's sailing has not been confirmed yet, however she is expected to sail in November 2017. Shona will be holding different fundraising events such as auctions and pub quizzes. If you would like to donate through the website which is

And if you missed the interview you can listen to it by visiting and navigate to Thursday from 5.30pm.
Categories: Programme Blogs

The Drivetime Sessions with @StarseedzMusic

West Herts Drivetime - Thu, 13/10/2016 - 2:34pm

On this week's Drivetime Sessions we were delighted to welcome the wonderful Starseedz back onto the show.  Jon & Catrine chatted with Danny about how they write songs, the origin of their name, their musical family and their upcoming gigs.  They also performed the original tracks "Miss You" and "Made That Way", along with their cover version of "Femme Fatale" by Lour Reed.

Starseedz have a YouTube channel and a website

The session is available for the next week at by navigating to Wednesday from 5.30pm.
Categories: Programme Blogs

Seeing eye to eye with Herts CC Vision for Transport?

Environment Matters - Tue, 11/10/2016 - 8:28pm
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

Traffic congestion is expected from midday in St Albans city centre (stock photo)

Cllr Derrick Ashley, portfolio holder for Transport, Environment and Planning at Herts CC explained to Amanda how the Transport Vision 2050 had been created to try and prepare the county for likely circumstances up to 2050. The Vision has in plenty of suggestions – turning St.Albans into a Sustainable Travel Town, connecting towns with a rapid transit bus route and connecting that in with services like the Abbey Flier (converted into a guided bus), but Cllr Ashley suggested that we all might have other suggestions which he asked us to feed in to the process.

You can respond to as much or as little of the consultation as you want.

You have until December 14th and you’ll find what you need here.

Symondshyde Plan

Save Symondshyde, who spoke to Amanda earlier in the year, are urging everyone to respond to the Welwyn Hatfield council Local Plan consultation so you can have your say on their proposals for a substantial village right next to Symondshyde Wood – well away from transport links and amenities and destroying green belt, agricultural land and a much loved beauty spot.

They’re really keen to help anyone who is struggling to get to grips with how to respond. They recently helped a group of friends fill in their forms over coffee, so if you and a few friends feel that you could use some help or guidance, one of them will happily come to see you all together and guide you through the process. They’ll provide the biscuits if you supply the coffee! Just let them know if you need any help at all (

Find out more about the planned development and the consultation at
Apples (c) Josh Kubale

There are still Apple Days coming up locally
On Saturday 15th October, at the Highfield Oval in Harpenden YWAM are holding their annual Apple Festival. Come along for tractor rides, bouncy castle, hog roast, games and stalls.
Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust will be there! We will be in the orchard area holding a series of wildlife activities –
• Making ‘bug front doors’ – craft activity decorating pieces of wood to create ‘bug front doors’ to be taken home and placed on the ground as a new shelter for bugs
• Guided ‘Bug safaris’ – series of led walks around the orchard to discover who’s making the orchard their home; we’ll be keep a list of what we find as a record on the day – no booking necessary just turn up on the day
• Guided walk of the site’s woodland wildlife site; with a focus on identifying signs of the woodland’s wildlife, history & management – more information and to book on the walk

Shenley Apple Day 16th October 12-5 – another big orchard. They expect 3000 people

Ayletts Apple Weekend 23/24 October

Toad Stools (c) Clare Gray

Also this weekend is a HMWT Fungus Foray :Sun, 16/10/2016 – 10:00am – 12:30pm
Identify fungi with the help of an expert…
Join Mid-Herts Local Group and fungi expert Kerry Robinson for a walk around Mardley Heath. Kerry will help to spot and identify fungi along the way.
Booking essential. For more information and to book contact Vicky at or on 07976 759112.

And if you miss that Fungus Foray there’s another one next Wednesday 19/10/2016 – 10:30am – 12:30pm
Identify fungi with the help of an expert at Panshanger.
Join us for a walk around the woods with a fungi expert to discover the huge variety of colourful fungi that grows in the park. Booking essential.

Further info and booking at


Categories: Programme Blogs

The Future for our Hospital? Sept Health Matters

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 11/10/2016 - 4:17pm

1. Reconfiguration of our Hospitals Complete review of the way in which we access our health services:
  • Closer to Home;
  • Joined up approach;
  • Access to Hospital when needed

Three Options for our hospitals:
  • Centralise in new build;
  • Centralise in Watford, or
  • Combination of Watford and St Albans.

Evaluation based on three criteria
  • Clinical Approach
  • Access and Patient Experience
  • Affordability

Recommendation is to refurbish/new build at Watford AND refurbish/expand St Albans.
Not an ideal solution (centrally located new build was generally preferred) but realistic!
2. HubsHospital solution impacts Health & Well being Hubs; Larger Hubs at main centres (Watford, St Albans, Hemel) and smaller hubs at other centres (Harpenden, Berkhamsted, etc). Improved access to diagnostics
Harpenden Hub is progressing well and should be open by mid 2019; there has been less progress on a St Albans Hub although there could actually be 2! A City Centre and a Hospital-based facility.
3. Flu
Not much time left now to get your flu jab; understand who’s eligible
  • 65 years of age or over (born before March 31 1952   
  • pregnant (at any stage of the pregnancy)
  • have certain medical conditions  (eg Diabetes, heart problems parkinsons etc)
  • very overweight
  • living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility 
  • receive a carer's allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill 

NB If in doubt, talk to your doctor

Categories: Programme Blogs