Diane and I discuss all those famous Disney heroines – Snow White, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, Ariel and Belle (oh, yes, and not forgetting Minnie Mouse!) – as well those wicked queens, cruel stepmothers and other menacing villainesses, such as the dalmatian-fur-obsessed Cruella de Vil! The series also explores the importance and influence of Walt's mother, Flora Disney, his wife, Lillian and their two daughters.
In addition to my co-presenter, many of those whom I interviewed for the series are, sadly, no longer with us which gives it an added poignancy to the programmes as well as providing a remarkable archive of the women (and men!) who were responsible for the memorable female characters in Disney movies: among the role-call of the departed are artists and animators, Marc Davis, John Hench, Joe Grant, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, Disney executive, Roy E Disney and biographer Bob Thomas and my dear friend and most intuitive of Disney historians, Robin Allan.
The series – produced by my good pal and colleague, Malcolm Prince – examines the work of artists Mary Blair and Alice Davis as well as featuring the work of the singers and actresses who gave voice (and sometimes provided live-action inspiration) for the Disney ladies from Adriana Caselotti (Snow White), Ilene Woods (Cinderella) and Katherine Beaumont (Alice and Wendy) to Jodi Benson (Ariel) and Ming-Na Wen (Mulan). There are also contributions from Richard M Sherman, who with his late brother, Robert B Sherman, wrote the songbook of '60s childhood and, of course, Dame Julie Andrews who sang some of their most famous songs!
Disney's Women is being broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on Tuesday evenings at 10:00 pm and episodes are available afterwards on BBC iPlayer for 30 days.
You will find current listening details here
A common comment that I receive when an old programme of mine such as this gets repeated runs along the lines of: 'More cash rolling into the Sibley coffers, courtesy of the BBC!' Oh, if only they knew: this series would not normally carry any repeat fee, but – on this occasion – only because I had to go into Broadcasting House to record updated the opening and closing announcements, I will be getting the princely sum of £200!
Ah, well, never mind, at least it's nice to know that people will get a chance to hear again what was once a regular radio voice...