After leaving full-time employment at the BBC in 1988, John continued to work for them on a free-lance basis. One long-term role, that he had for several years, was as researcher, writer and presenter of The Learning World, a weekly programme on education for the BBC World Service. He covered a very diverse range of topics, interviewing those involved in education of various kinds both in the UK and around the world. In the UK the programme was broadcast on World Service at about 4 a.m. So if anyone mentioned having heard it, he would say ‘Ah, you must suffer from insomnia!’
Through the World Service archive project, many episodes have been preserved and can be heard again – at a civilised hour – on BBC iplayer radio. One of John’s programmes, first broadcast in December 1990, is about the lives of choirboys at the Hereford Cathedral School. It includes some touching interviews with the boys as well as some lovely singing. You can listen to it here.