Between the Ears


Radio Times
Review by:
Jane Anderson

First came those interiors and garden makeover series. Then came a gastronome’s tasting menu of cookery shows. Cast your eyes over a schedule for BBC2, Channel 4 or many of the lifestyle channels that flourish on British television and they are sprayed with programmes about downsizing, de-cluttering, selling your worldly goods at auction or
treating the psychological trauma of being a confirmed hoarder.

Has Radio 3 signed up to this latest obsession? Thankfully, no. This is Between the Ears, whose modus operandi is innovative broadcasting.
Over the course of six months, the producer Jonathan Mayo followed three people forced to move to smaller premises and take some extremely painful decisions about what they hold on to and what they let go.

For Mike this has been brought about by his stroke. He can no longer cope with stairs but his most prized possessions remind him of the fitness he has now lost. Nina is moving to a retirement flat and is trying to decide which memories of a life well lived can be got rid of. And Patricia, once a successful soprano, hates having to whittle down her treasures. They are “my life”, she says, as she tries to throw some away.

Interspersed among their stories are the detached comments of those who make their living from the movement and disposal of other people’s goods, such as removal men, auctioneers and estate agents. Boo, hiss.

About this programme

Decisions about what possessions to keep and what to throw away can be agonising, raising fundamental questions about their true value. This programme follows three people over six months as they prepare to move home, making sacrifices about their belongings as they go.

Cast and crew


Jonathan Mayo