Dr Sian Williams talks to people who have lived through extraordinary events that have reshaped their lives in the most unpredictable ways. More
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If I panic I die
One Monday morning Stephen is meeting with his boss in a crowded coffee shop. Minutes later he’s at the centre of a horrific and brutal crime scene — his life hanging in the balance. It’s left him deeply scarred but has also prompted him to press the reset button on his life, and forced a fresh start for his family. This is a story he hasn’t told before publicly but as he explains to Dr Sian Williams, he believes sharing it will help him and perhaps others too.
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Being a TV news anchor was everything to Polly Evans until she was forced to re-evaulate her identity. Her turning point happened in the spotlight – in front of an audience of hundreds of thousands – when she felt deeply exposed and humiliated. It was caused by a physical condition called Adductor Spasmodic Dysphonia, but Polly’s journey since then has been one of self-knowledge and finding fulfilment in other ways, including a new career.
She braves the studio for the first time to tell this story to Dr Sian Williams.
Hazel Ellis-Saxon was brought up in a busy household with four siblings in the village of Tiptree in Essex in the 1960s. She struggled with her school work and was often finishing assignments when the other children were enjoying playtime. One day in a quiet classroom Hazel overheard her form teacher describe her to a colleague as ‘mentally retarded’. These two words had a profound effect — leading her to believe that she must be a huge disappointment to her parents and would never enjoy a full life.
Dr Sian Williams hears how this label shaped Hazel’s decisions for decades and what it took for her to throw it off.
From the rubble
It had been a beautiful day, Jessica Williams and her two young sons had been out in the local park enjoying the Welsh sunshine. By the time they got home they were happy but weary and looking forward to some cosy time on the sofa but as Jess opened the front door she noticed a strange smell. She put the boys in the sitting room and went into the kitchen to investigate — that was when the house exploded. Jessica tells Dr Sian Williams how the family, with the help of their village, began to rebuild their lives.
The box under the bed
Growing up Joe Jaquest Oteng knew very little about his Dad; they struggled to find much common ground. Joe’s Dad, Peter, was guarded about his early life in Ghana and the family he had left behind when he emigrated to the UK in the 1960s. When Peter died Joe was left to sort through his belongings. He discovered bundles of documents, letters and photos which revealed new and shocking information which didn’t match the life story Joe had been told.
Dr Sian Williams hears how Joe set out to find the truth about Peter and how along the way made some joyful discoveries for himself.