Documentary on One

Heel, Toe, Step Together

A beautiful story from East London - Forget your celebrity 'Strictly Come Dancing' - This is the real deal - The story of an 86yr old dancer teaching a 28yr old how to waltz.

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4.0/5 (44 ratings)

Documentary Maker: Katie Burningham

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Heel, Toe, Step Together


Heel, Toe, Step Together tells the story of two people who met at an East London market one day and the unlikely friendship that blossomed through dance.

Bob Hill, 86, has been dancing on and off since he was 16 and won many competitions with his late wife Iris Hill, who he lived with in Hackney.

Katie Burningham, 28, is a radio producer and self-confessed bad dancer.

Bob and Katie met by chance in a record store one day, shortly after Bob's wife Iris had died. Bob began chatting with Katie about a gramophone that he had just received in the post. It turns out the gramophone had been bought as a surprise present by his wife Iris and only arrived at his doorstep days earlier - but 2 months after Iris had died - a gift from the grave. And so the conversation continued as Katie became more and more intrigued.

After some time, Katie began to call to Bob's house and over time he began to play music on his new gramophone - and dance - and, three years later, Katie is still having dance lessons with Bob.

This documentary brings together recordings of their dancing and explores why it is that Bob, and Katie, need to dance. Touching on themes of loss, loneliness, love and affection, Heel, Toe, Step Together reveals how, through music and movement, friendship can bridge generations.

Heel, Toe, Step Together was recently awarded Gold for Best Feature at the Sony Radio Academy Awards in London.

Heel, Toe, Step Together was presented and produced by Katie Burningham.

It was a Falling Tree Production originally broadcast in December 2010 on BBC Radio 4. However, this is a longer version which was made as part of the European Broadcasting Union’s Master School on Radio Features, with creative advice from Edwin Brys.

First broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on Saturday 4th June 2011 @ 2pm

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.

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