Programme Blogs

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

West Herts Drivetime - 3 hours 21 min ago

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

All the fun of #sustweek2016

Environment Matters - Thu, 24/11/2016 - 10:02pm
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

Yes, I did get an interview with Sir Ed Davey when he came to speak at Marlborough Road Methodist Church on Monday evening, but I’m saving that for another show – so you’ll have to wait to hear what he said.

We started off hearing from this year’s Cyclenation hosted for the first time in St.Albans. Clare Rogers from Enfield described how she had started cycling her kids to school after seeing the filth of pollution hanging over London. To her horror the news that the borough was to receive £3m from Boris Johnson for new cycle infrastructure has caused enormous opposition. She was working with other mums and people wanting to make Enfield cleaner and safer to try and change attitudes. The Cyclenation conference had been a chance to revitalise her campaigning batteries in the company of like minded people.


Cllr Beric Reed of St.Albans District Council had also been at Cyclenation, getting some inspiration for St.Albans. He’d been taking a look at tube style cycle maps and learning how every £1 spent on cycling reaps £4.20 worth of benefits.


Down at Trinity Church, service users with learning disabilities were being helped by Emily to use recycled jam jars to make Xmas lanterns. They were talking about what sustainability meant to them, and enjoying the support of the group whilst their carers had a break. Emily said how the group had enabled some of the service users to be in a group environment for the first time. The Comic Relief Funding she’d received had been put to excellent use.

Yesterday evening I went along to find out how the old town hall in the middle of town is being converted into a new museum complex and what is being done to make it as sustainable as possible.

I spoke to Tom Hallam, one of the project managers who told us about the new insulating walk way that will wrap the upper storey of the building and help keep heat in this valuable, old building. The enormous windows will also receive additional insulation in the form of bespoke secondary glazing, and LEDs will provide low energy lighting. Unfortunately heating will still have to be via a gas boiler, but air source heat pumps on the roof will help out.

It looks like the building will be a bustling hub in the middle of St.Albans – so it will be fantastic to see how the building progresses and what it’s like when it’s finished.



Radio Verulam is getting together with Sustainable St.Albans Week to run this event  on an issue that affects us all.

What should our food be like in the future? Organic?Vegan? GM? Local? How can we feed ourselves sustainably and fairly?

Come and join the Future of Food debate on Saturday 26th November 2pm in the SADC council chamber.

There’ll be a panel discussing your questions including

  • Professor Achim Dobermnan of Rothamsted Research,
  • Ian Piggott a local farmer,
  • Mary Barton a local vegan activist and
  • Jeff Heine of Global Justice Now!.who campaigns on exploitation of people in the developing world

The debate will last for an hour after which we’ll be getting into small groups to take the discussion further and to see if we can come up with some action points for St.Albans.

Get your free ticket now –

But if you can’t make the debate, don’t worry because we’ll be recording it so that you can listen to what went on at this time next Wednesday in a special hour long edition of Environment Matters.



We always love to hear from you :

Tweet us  @RV_environment
Email us at

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Trumbo

West Herts Drivetime - Thu, 24/11/2016 - 6:30pm
Chris' final 'Best of 2016' film is 'Trumbo'.

The film tells the story of Dalton Trumbo, a Hollywood screenwriter who was part of the Hollywood Ten, who were all blacklisted by the House of Un-American Activities Committee for their supposedly communist views. Trumbo couldn’t produce work under his own name, but continued to work, writing such classics as Roman Holiday and Spartacus.

Stars Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Louis CK and John Goodman.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Deadpool

West Herts Drivetime - Wed, 23/11/2016 - 6:30pm
Next this week, Chris looks at surprise 2016 hit 'Deadpool'.

The R-rated superhero movie stars Ryan Reynolds as a wise-cracking, foul-mouthed mercenary who gains superpowers.

Also featuring are Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller and Gina Carano.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Arrival

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 22/11/2016 - 6:30pm
Next on Chris' best of 2016 Film Club is 'Arrival'

Based on a short story by Ted Chiang, it sees aliens arrive on Earth, and a leading linguistics expert is picked to try and communicate with them. Why are they here? What do they want?

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, it stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Interior design feature with Gwendoline Alderton @ga_interiors

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 22/11/2016 - 6:00pm
Today we talked to Gwendoline Alderton, our interior design correspondent, about Christmas and what that means for interior design.  She talked about colours associated with Christmas, such as red and green.  However this year white has become more popular, with white Christmas trees being sold. However you can use white in many different ways, including white upholstery or white light fittings.  You could also try off-white or cream colours.
In order to add interest to any white things you might use, you could add pastel colours such as blue or pink.  You could also add darker and lighter colours to accent the pastel colours.

Usually there's an animal that is especially popular on the high street around Christmas time- and this year owls are on trend.  You can find owls in many places- including on woolly hats!  Within the world of interior design, however, you can find them on baubles and other tree decorations.

Christmas decorations are usually about attention to detail- you want something which will add a bit of glamour or sparkle.  Add glass or crystal are very quick ways to adding glamour to your home, and you can do this through getting crystal baubles or perhaps through drinking glasses.  Feathers, fur and wool are also really good textures for adding detail.

Gwendoline's website :
Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Doctor Strange

West Herts Drivetime - Tue, 22/11/2016 - 11:58am
This week Chris is setting the Film Club theme as 'Best of 2016', and starts with the most recent Marvel Studios production 'Doctor Strange'.

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as an arrogant, yet extremely talented surgeon, who after a car accident ruins his career seeks help from a mysterious religious sect.

Directed by Scott Derrickson, it also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, and Mads Mikkelsen.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Breakaway Theatre Company

West Herts Drivetime - Mon, 21/11/2016 - 5:40pm
Our guests tonight on Drivetime were Hannah, Shelley and Abbi from the breakaway Theatre Company who told us about the upcoming production The Good, The Bad And The Absolutely Awful, this is a murder mystery with audience participation. The evening includes a 3 course meal in the ticket price.
More details can be found at the web site
Categories: Programme Blogs

Penelope Pritchett, perfect housewife & agony aunt - 18th November 2016 @PerfectPritchet

West Herts Drivetime - Sat, 19/11/2016 - 7:00pm

Originally broadcast on 18th 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 18th November 2016

West Herts Drivetime - Fri, 18/11/2016 - 7:00pm
The man that will one day go down in history as 'Simon the Merciless' was in fine fettle this evening. The idea that a sensible film guide was going to be recorded was thrown out of the window as soon as Simon arrived at the studio dressed as an astronaut, and declared it was his new dream to one day look down on the Earth from space. Simon goes through new dreams quite regularly, and they all have varying degrees of achievability. Last week his dream was to eat a yogurt that was not out of date, but the week before he was aiming to take Brentford FC to the World Cup final.

So while Danny manfully tried to talk all about films, Simon just wanted to talk about what he'd learned about being an astronaut. He learned that it's a naturally occurring silicate mineral, and was used extensively in the 19th and 20th centuries during building, until it was discovered to cause cancer. This disturbed Danny somewhat, as it didn't seem to describe Tim Peake. It soon became clear that Simon had been researching asbestos.

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.

11.00pm – 1.10am

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
8.00pm – 10.00pm

Forever Young
4.00pm – 6.05pm

The Babadook
9.00pm – 10.50pm

9.00pm – 11.15pm

Captain America: the First Avenger
9.00pm – 11.25pm

The Book of Eli
9.00pm – 11.25pm
Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Black Hawk Down

West Herts Drivetime - Thu, 17/11/2016 - 6:30pm
Chris concludes the Film Club this week with 'Black Hawk Down'.

Filled with British actors playing Americans, the Film directed by Ridley Soctt tells the story of the disastrous US military operation in Mogadishu in 1993.

Josh Harnett, Eric Bana, and plenty of Brits star (Ewan McGregor, Jason Isaacs, Orlando Bloom, Tom Hardy, Ewan Bremner, Ioan Gruffudd, Hugh Dancy, to name but a few).

Categories: Programme Blogs