After Nick had the stroke in 2001 we concentrated on rehabilitation. He had several projects that were running at the time, one of which was with Simon Elmes a radio producer for BBC. Nick had worked with him on a programme about the English Language, particularly about the Cornish accent. Simon had put in a submission to make a programme, with Nick. about beachcombing, to be called ‘Atlantic Drifting.’
He phoned me while Nick was still in hospital to say that they had got the commission. I had to tell him that Nick couldn’t speak. He said not to worry, just keep in touch. When Nick was well enough I told him and we started to think about another programme. What if we recorded his recovery from the stroke for radio? It would be about a writer who couldn’t write, about how the brain works and it would give Nick something to focus on, some real work.
I phoned Simon and told him. He sighed and said ‘Thank goodness, that’s what I’ve been thinking but I didn’t know how to ask.’ He sent us some sound equipment and we got on with it.
The programme was broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and attracted a great deal of attention, both from fans of Nick’s work, but also from many people who were also recovering from strokes and identified with the thoughts and experiences Nick documented in the programme. The BBC have kindly offered to let us host the full programme on this site, which you can download or listen to below.
We also had great support from Aphasia Now, who provide advice and support to thousands of people dealing with stroke recovery every year.
Listen to Dumbstruck
The entire original recording of Dumbstruck is now available online with the kind permission of the BBC. The file is quite large so depending on the speed of your internet connection you may have to wait a while for it to start loading.
You will need the latest version of Quicktime installed.