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2014 Press Releases

‘Chrysanthemum’ blossoms into BBC 4 spot

27 Mar 2014
The documentary by Dr Gilson will broadcast on Tuesday 8th April at 11.02am and again on Monday 14th April at 9.02pm

A radio documentary on chrysanthemums, written and presented by Dr Jools Gilson, who lectures in English at UCC, is to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4. 

The documentary will air on Tuesday 8th April at 11.02am and again on Monday 14th April at 9.02pm. Entitled ‘Chrysanthemum’, Dr Gilson explores the world of chrysanthemums through memories of her grandfather, Chinese tea ceremonies, and the search for the perfect bloom. What blossoms is a story of survival, and the pursuit of perfection.

Gorgeous, medicinal and edible, chrysanthemums come with whole worlds in their blossoms. Jools Gilson chases these remarkable plants from her Grandad’s garden in the 1930s to the latest National Chrysanthemum Show in Stafford, visits championship grower Ivor Mace’s garden in the Rhondda Valley and sips chrysanthemum tea ceremoniously in Notting Hill.

What is it that drives people to tend their chrysanthemums as if they were newborn babies? And what is the connection between these floral shenanigans and the chrysanthemums used as ancient Chinese herbal remedies for calming itchy eyes and lowering blood pressure?

Jools returns to her roots, to ask her aunties how her Grandad found time between factory work, growing vegetables and trapping rabbits to feed his ten children, to grow something just because it was beautiful.

‘Chrysanthemum’ is produced by Adam Fowler.


About Dr Jools Gilson

Jools Gilson is a writer, choreographer and broadcaster. She was the Director of the dance-theatre company half/angel for ten years. Her work has been produced, performed and exhibited internationally, and she has received bursaries and awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, Arts Council of England, Culture Ireland and others. She is also an award-winning radio documentary maker for RTÉ. She holds a PhD in Theatre & Performance Studies from the University of Surrey, and has taught performance and critical theory at the University of Hull and Dartington College of Arts. Her work is focused on developing provocative poetic spaces in different performance platforms. 

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