Christine Palmer

Christine Palmer
Walking,Travel,Television,France,Social/General History

Christine Palmer comes from Derbyshire and worked for the BBC for 25 years.

Christine always describes her BBC career as being from ‘rags to riches’. Having started in local radio she moved to television where she worked as a studio director and documentary maker for BBC News at Pebble Mill, Birmingham.

Christine moved around the BBC fulfilling roles such as producer/director at the BBC Open University Production Centre and Executive Producer at Television Centre in London before returning to the Open University as their BBC Head of Production. Her final years for the BBC were at Television Centre, London as a Creative Director, and Executive Producer on GCSE Bitesize.

Her roles have taken her around the world travelling to many different countries. Christine and her team won a Royal Television Award for a documentary she filmed in Mumbai.

Christine and her husband divide their time between living in a medieval village in France where they run a small business, and on their thirty year old canal boat in the East End of London.

Christine has had five books published. ‘Walking Back to Happiness’ charting her first experience of walking from southern France to Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain and three illustrated children’s books in both French and English - ‘Cowardy, Cowardy Custard - Custard, Custard, Petit Froussard. Her first novel ‘Jack be Nimble’ was published in December 2020.


Updated January 2021


My very personal experience of walking the 750 kilometre Camino from southern France over the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, where the body of St James is allegedly buried. Treading in the steps of pilgrims, who had walked this beautiful route since medieval times, combined with the fact I was rather unprepared in my Nike trainers I found it tough, but the ultimate detox for mind and body. Along the way I met characters whose paths often intertwined with mine. for a few days or a lifetime. Since then I have walked many different pilgrim routes throughout Europe, and when people ask me ‘Why do you walk?’ I reply ‘because I find it spiritually, physically and culturally challenging, plus it’s a lot of fun. Those medieval pilgrims knew a thing or two.


After working for 25 years at the BBC I still can’t decide whether the BBC’s nickname of ‘Auntie’ is an affectionate or derogatory title. Possibly a little of both. It’s a corporation that slaps your legs if you misbehave, frequently tells you to pull your socks up, but protects and nurtures you throughout your career. I started in local radio, broke into television, through the glass ceiling, as Head of Production for the BBC at the Open University, then finally Creative Director at Television Centre in London. As primarily a producer/director of TV documentaries it took me to many different countries, with a secondment to South Africa Broadcasting working in Jo-burg and Cape Town. Filming in Mumbai, India, my team and I won a Royal Education Television Award. In spite of it’s ups and downs and the dramatic changes of recent years my affection for Auntie will always remain.

SHE’S LEAVING HOME - generic - but suitable for Montréal Canada

Born just after the Second World War I am a ‘boom baby’, a product of those rather grey post-war years. I left home at 16 and took a Cunard Liner from Liverpool across the Atlantic, up the St Lawrence river to Montréal arriving four days after my 17th birthday. Clutching my Royal Society of Arts shorthand and typing certificate and faking a very posh accent I obtained a job with a stockbrokers, and a part-time Saturday job as a model in La Maison Ogilvy’s a large departmental store which still exists in down-town Montreal. Montréal was and remains a vibrant University city, and my job took me to New York and other parts of Canada. Two years later I returned by way of New York and the Cunard’s Queen Mary to a country which was embracing dramatic changes - education, health, contraception, burn your bra, ban the bomb, the Beatles. Grey old Britain was fading and a much more psychedelic one had started to emerge.

‘COUP DE COEUR’ ‘A blow to the heart’ - Our Life in France

Our love affair with France started fifteen years ago. It was passionate and all consuming at first, but like most relationships it has experienced it’s ‘ups and downs’ and its frustrations, but coupled with the joy, and friendships which we have experienced, we are still happy to be together.

We live in a medieval village, in a house with a turret. Our terrace over looks rolling hills in a fairly undiscovered part of France - Burgundy. We are one hour from Paris by train, or a two and half hours drive. We bought our house within a day of seeing it, with no previous thoughts of moving to France. Needs must, we started a small business, opened up a Salon de Thé, a small art gallery and shop. When customers started playing our baby grand piano in the Salon de Thé we started putting a hat at the door and offering concerts then donating the money to the village. Musicians, singers, poets, theatrical groups started finding us, and eventually our French friends became involved and with support from our Mayor we formalised a Charity - La Serinette - to help children with their music studies. Throughout my talk I include my own very personal A to Z of France.

'NORWEGIAN RHAPSODY' - the popular culture of Norway

Most of us are familiar with the Swedish Rhapsody written by Hugo Alfén in 1903, two years before the dissolution of the Union between Norway and Sweden. It is a fantasy on popular Swedish folk melodies depicting the moods evoked by the dancing and games throughout the magic night of Midsummer Eve. With the civilised dissolution in 1905 both countries went to some extent their own separate ways, but remained respectful of their shared cultures, but this in turn helped facilitate Norway into weaving a Rhapsody of its own.

So is Norway as it is reputed to be one of the happiest place to live in Europe? Is it as ‘right on’ and democratic as one imagines? I have taken pleasure in researching with the help of a Norwegian friend its popular culture, which is so elegantly entwined with the traditions of the past. From its most celebrated writers such as Jo Nesbo, with his dark criminal novels, and his wonderful children’s books on Dr Proctor’s with his Fart Powder and time travelling bathtub. Its most popular teenage TV programme SKAM, and to understanding what RUSS is all about. Art and its modern architecture with its strong links with the past; together with examing the age old Sami community who proudly continue their traditions of herding reindeers in a modern world. The music, the food, not all dried cod and sardines, Norway chefs have won the prestigious Bocuse D’Or on several occasions. It’s ancient silver, it’s traditional Bunads, beautifully embroided costumes. And ten very special facts you might not have known about Norway. Firstly - what is Janteloven?


Denmark is a rich and vibrant country renowned for its liberalism. Together with its neighbour Norway they are reputedly the happiest places in the world to live.

Famous for its bacon, which was first imported to England in 1867, Denmark also supplies over 100 countries with Lurpak butter, and with a coastline longer than the Chinese Wall it is rich in all things fishy.

Renowned for its art, architecture, elegant design in furniture and clothes, it rivals its neighbours Sweden and Norway for being ‘super cool’.

I examine what it is like living in modern Denmark, and how its popular culture has been influenced by the tradition and customs of the past, and explore if ‘Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen’, the song sung by Danny Kaye in the 1957 film ‘Hans Christian Andersen’, still remains a fairy tale place.


Sweden is the largest of the countries that make up Scandinavia, flanked by Norway and Finland it is connected to Denmark by a bridge. Two thirds of its terrain is forest, perfect for the thousands of Moose, its designated National Animal, to roam freely.

Sweden is the home of IKEA which is known world-wide for its clean and minimalist design, plus the concept that everything produced must be functional, beautiful and easy to take home; the same ethos that embraces the other well-known Swedish product LEGO.

I examine Sweden’s popular culture and why, by virtue of its location, Stockholm is regarded as one of the most beautiful capitals in the world.


As a retired documentary producer/director for the BBC, I continue to enjoy the challenge of researching topics that I find fascinating, in order to create beautiful visual and informative talks.

In Eggs, Icons and Russian Dolls I look at some of the more familiar art we associate with Russia and the Baltic States.

‘Omne vivum ex evo’ ‘All life comes from an egg’ - For hundreds of years across the world, the egg has been a powerful symbol, representing new life, fertility and resurrection. In the Russian Orthodox Church the tradition of decorating eggs at Easter continues. The jewelled Easter eggs made by Fabergé for the last two Russian Tsars are regarded as masterpieces.

Iconography is the tradition of Christian sacred art, and is referred to as ‘windows into heaven’.

Icons have over the centuries inspired and uplifted millions of the faithful. The technique of creating an icon is rich with symbolism, and this continues to be taught in monasteries and schools throughout Europe.

1.2 million Matryoshka, or more commonly known outside Russia as Babushka Nesting Dolls, are made in Russia every year. The story behind their manufacture, from the choice of wood, the combination of hand-craft and mass production is both fascinating and enlightening. The original traditional themes remain, but since the late 20th century they have embraced a larger range, including Russian leaders. Most sets feature the current leader as the largest doll with his predecessors decreasing in size.

nd daily life.


Chris Palmer talks about the history and legends of shoes in and around Europe. Shoes have always been her passion, since she was a child wearing her first pair of ‘Start-rite’ sandals.

Whilst a shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot when the wearer is going through varies activities, Chris believes that shoes are often much more then that.

They have inspired numerous stories, legends, often becoming a statement of power and wealth. They can enhance, enrage as well as comfort and protect. An art-form in their own right, occasionally not even designed to walk in.


Mediterranean food varies by country and region. I confess I am a complete ‘foodie’ and delight in both cooking and eating all types of Mediterranean and Continental Food. I question whether I were to completely adopt the much publicised ‘Mediterranean diet’ it would increase my life span. I dip into Mediterranean food purely for the sheer enjoyment of eating fresh produce that has been grown and harvested in the sun.

However, in 2010 UNESCO, recognised the Mediterranean Diet as an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ and whilst that sounds a little grand, it does celebrate the numerous skills, traditions, and values of sharing knowledge and hospitality that are an important factor in our lives.

My philosophy remains ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’, but that doesn’t stop me enjoying the fabulous food and festivals served up on a plate from around the Mediterranean


Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."

"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”…’ Dr. Suess

A celebration of Christmas traditions through music, literature, art, film, and television.

Christine on this talk will be joined by her husband Graham Battye ex BBC Music producer to assist with the music and readings.

ExpertiseWalking Europe,Living/working abroad/television/popular culture
Cruise Experience as Speaker/Tutor


Author / Writer
History - General
Performance Poetry & Storytelling
History - Art & Culture
Unusual & Interesting - Check them Out.!
Film & TV
History - Social
Architecture & its History
Christmas related talks
Vikings related
People, customs, culture and food