Obituary: Brian Redhead

VARIED are the reasons for sadness at Brian Redhead's departure, and among them is that we are deprived of a broadcaster intensely interested in the medieval world, and able to communicate that interest to others, writes Tam Dalyell (further to the obituary by Michael Leapman, 24 January).

In the summer of 1953 Redhead was asked by his fellow members of the Committee of the Cambridge Union how he had managed to get his First in Part 1 History.

Oh, he explained breezily, it was for three reasons. First, the nous he had developed for what was interesting, for examiners were human, working for the Seaside Chronicle in Whitley Bay. Secondly, he said that he got on just great with his supervisor, Reggie White, Fellow of Downing, and was able to make him laugh. Thirdly, Redhead said that he took shorthand notes at the lectures of four professorial fellows of Peterhouse - Dennis Brogan, who claimed mischievously that his encyclopaedic knowledge of the United States came from sleeping with women in 49 of the states, Herbert Butterfield, compelling and tortuous wrestler with historicism, Michael Postan, champion of the Tsar's economic reforms before 1913, and above all Dom David Knowles.

It was David Knowles, then Regius Professor of Modern History - a diminutive monk figure who enthralled the huge lecture room at Mill Lane, in his slow piping voice describing Aristotle, St Augustine, St Bernard, Marsiglio of Padua, William of Ockham, Duns Scotus, Aquinas and Dante as if he knew them personally - who sparked Redhead's lifelong interest. These personages were to reappear many years later in Redhead's religious broadcasting. Redhead had few heroes but Knowles was one of them. Indeed Redhead's style 6.30 to 8.30am owed a good deal to what he learnt about the Schoolmen and medieval disputation.

When last year I told Redhead that his 13-part examination of the Christian centuries was the best thing he had ever done in radio or journalism he beamed with pleasure and agreed. When he retired, he vouchsafed, he would do so much more in that field. Alas it is not to be, and great is the pity.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on