Penarth Literary Festival- Rory Cellan-Jones: Ruskin Park

We’re delighted to welcome journalist and podcaster Rory Cellan-Jones to Penarth to talk about his moving new memoir Ruskin Park: Sylvia, Me and the BBC, which details his search for the truth behind his isolated childhood and absent father.

Can we ever really know the truth about our parents? Rory Cellan-Jones knew he was the child of a brief love affair between two unmarried BBC employees. But until his mother died and he found a previously unknown file labelled ‘For Rory’ he had no idea of their beginnings or ending, and why his peculiarly isolated childhood had so tested the bond between him and his mother. ‘For Rory’, his mother had written on the file ‘in the hope that it will help him understand how it really was…’

This is a compelling account of what Rory uncovered in the papers, letters and diaries; a relationship between two colleagues and the restrictive forces of post-war respectability and prejudice that ended it. It is also an evocation of the progressive, centrifugal force at the centre of all their lives- the BBC itself.

Both tender and troubling, the drama moves from wartime radio broadcasts, to the glamour of 1950s television studios, to the golden era of BBC drama. His father may have directed The Forsythe Saga and Rory may have watched him from the corridors, but he would never actually meet him until much later in adulthood.

Until then Rory’s life was bound to the one-bedroom flat he shared with his mother in Ruskin Park…

Rory Cellan-Jones was the BBC’s principal technology correspondent until 2018. He now writes an influential and fast-growing Substack column on medical innovation and tech. Through this and his 300k+ Twitter followers he spreads the awareness of technological developments in the fields of medicine, health care and- more specifically- Parkinson’s. Together with Jeremy Paxman and several others he hosts a popular podcast on Parkinson’s called Movers and Shakers. He also shares the progress of #SophiefromRomania, his rescue dog.


Jun 19 2024


7:30 pm




Penarth Pier Pavilion
Penarth Pier Pavilion


Griffin Books