Ashley Hay reviews 'In Love with Betty the Crow: The first 40 years of ABC RN's 'The Science Show'' by Robyn Williams

Ashley Hay reviews 'In Love with Betty the Crow: The first 40 years of ABC RN's 'The Science Show'' by Robyn Williams

IN LOVE WITH BETTY THE CROW: THE FIRST 40 YEARS OF ABC RN’S THE SCIENCE SHOW

by Robyn Williams

$32.99 pb, 288 pp, 9780733335013

When David Attenborough's memoir Life on Air was published in 2002, the magazine I worked for arranged for me to interview him. By then I had been interviewing people for a while and thought myself quite unflusterable. I keyed in the number, listened to the dial tone. And then it was as if the call had been answered by God (interesting, as an atheist). My recording device failed, and I did an awful interview, flummoxed by the sound of That Voice. That Voice had explained so much of my planet and so many of its life forms to me; it was as if it had brought them into being.

I thought of this as I read this new book. A chatty and engaging memoir of another broadcasting life – Robyn Williams's – the sound of his voice, his broadcast voice, also rises from its pages, loud and clear. For forty years, at midday each Saturday, Robyn Williams has delivered The Science Show. His voice has a kind of ecclesiastic ring in my personal audio archives, if we take Attenborough as the deity.

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month.

We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Published in May 2016, no. 381
Ashley Hay

Ashley Hay

Ashley Hay's awards include the Colin Roderick Award and the NSWPLA People’s Choice (for The Railwayman’s Wife) and the Bragg/UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing for ‘The Forest at the Edge of Time’, the original version of which was written for the ABR Dahl Trust Fellowship. Her most recent novel, A Hundred Small Lessons, was shortlisted for the 2017 Queensland Literary Awards and is set in Brisbane, where she now lives.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.