It was 1985 when the Pet Shop Boys released their first hit single, West End Girls. From that moment they have occupied a unique space in the pop landscape, writing unashamedly catchy songs, working with legends of the music business and packaging it all up in an aesthetic that wouldn’t look out of place in a modern art gallery.


Who better, then, to send to meet Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe to talk about their 40-year career at the top of pop than Radio Times' David Hepworth, who was Tennant’s boss at Smash Hits at the point when Tennant decided to swap writing about music to making it. In the latest issue of Radio Times magazine, read about the key to the duo’s success – and discover what happened the day they met Frank Sinatra.

Elsewhere, we talk to Suranne Jones about her latest drama Maryland, and hear from Rachel de Thame, who is preparing for a week among the flowers and gardens of the Chelsea Flower Show by rediscovering the horticultural claims of the humble weed.

We also hear from Whoopi Goldberg, who dropped by to talk to Radio 4’s John Wilson about her astonishingly varied and at times controversial career. But, she explains, one message unites everything she has done: “All of my work has been, ‘This could be you, so pay attention!’” Certainly she has never been short of the critics’ attention – she’s one of a handful of stars to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award.

And with awards in mind, we caught up backstage with the winners of the Arias – the broadcast industry’s annual awards show that now includes the world of audio. With Radio 4 winning Station of the Year, it would appear that intelligent speech radio is going from strength to strength – which is music to our ears...


Also in this week's Radio Times:

  • The Sewing Bee’s Esme Young and Patrick Grant discuss how the show has helped boost the wider sewing industry and why we should all be more mindful of the environmental impact of fashion
  • Danny Dyer on why he doesn’t regret leaving EastEnders, why he won’t do I’m a Celebrity and the negative impact of fame on him and his family
  • Emer Kenny tells us about making the transition from actor to screenwriter, creating better roles for women and writing her real-life pregnancy into The Curse
  • Paul Merton chats about hosting Room 101, which is now back on radio, the benefits of radio versus television, and his own pet hates

Reel Stories: Pet Shop Boys airs at 9:05pm on Saturday 20th May on BBC Two.

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