The Sunday Edition

Highlights from Stuart McLean's brilliant career as a documentary producer

On our program this weekend, we will be sharing excerpts from two of Stuart McLean's brilliant documentaries. You can hear those documentaries in full here.
Stuart McLean, the writer and host of CBC Radio's "The Vinyl Cafe," has died. He was 68. (Ben Flock/CBC)
Listen11:18

All of us at The Sunday Edition were saddened to hear of the death of Stuart McLean.

His voice was first heard on the CBC Radio network in this time slot. In the early 80's, he was a documentary producer for the program Sunday Morning, which preceded The Sunday Edition.

On our program this weekend, we will be sharing excerpts from two of Stuart's brilliant documentaries. You can listen to both of those documentaries in full here. 

Although they were produced more than 35 years ago, you'll hear all the Stuart trademarks: startlingly original, descriptive writing, a keen eye for the absurd, and a compulsion to put the voices of ordinary people on the radio.

"Underneath the Olive Tree" 

In November of 1981, Italy was in bad shape. Its economy was collapsing, and it was under assault by a group of terrorists known as "The Red Brigade." Stuart hopped on a plane to Rome. The result was a special one-hour documentary for Sunday Morning.

In November 1981, Italy was in bad shape. Its economy was collapsing, and it was under assault by a group of terrorists known as "The Red Brigade." Stuart McLean produced this special one-hour documentary for Sunday Morning. 53:17

"The Texas Killer Bees" 

The second documentary we're featuring was produced two years earlier, in 1979.

A group of 12 senators, called the Texas Bees, infamous for their creative filibusters, had disappeared.

They were hiding to avoid a gerrymandering vote. Even in the Texas legislature, which had a long record of mayhem and buffoonery, the Bees stood out. And they were perfect subjects for the eye, mind and writing talent of Stuart McLean.

Stuart McLean’s 1979 documentary for Sunday Morning about a group of 12 senators called the Texas Bees, who disappeared to avoid a gerrymandering vote. 17:22

Stuart McLean died on February 15, 2017. He was 68.

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