Barbara Altounyan interviews Sophie Neville

Barbara Altounyan

Barbara Altounyan, who founded the charity, Hospice Biographers, interviewed me for Family-Talk, a wonderful project that she set up to unite families.

Barbara’s father, Roger Altounyan, was not only the inspiration for The Boy Roger in Arthur Ransome’s series of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ books but qualified as a doctor, becoming the allergist who developed the Intal asthma inhaler. He experimented on himself so many times that he died prematurely, aged sixty-five. Barbara was able to interview him just before he passed away. The recording is so precious that she is keen to record the biographies of others.

You can listen to our interview here. It starts rather abruptly but is quite fun – a bit like Desert Island Discs without the music:

Do find out about Family-Talk and think of contacting Barbara yourself. She is able to conduct hour-long interviews on a Thursday and send the recording via We Transfer. Her service is completely free of charge. If you would like to be interviewed, please email Barbara at

Barbara says:

• All recordings are GDPR privacy compliant, ie they are strictly confidential and will not be shared. 

• All interviews are currently conducted over the phone / WhatsApp

• A  professional audio engineer ensures best possible quality sound

• Family-Talk is available to absolutely anyone who wishes to have their life story recorded over the phone. It is great for those who wish to have a heart-warming conversation with someone from a different generation within their own family and the technology is able to connect lots of different people, on one line. UK Citizens can be connected with anyone across the country or abroad. 

Barbara Altounyan quoted in The Times this week

Barbara Altounyan is hugely experienced reporter and a television executive who produced H£ir Hunt£rs, Horizon, Tomorrow’s World and many documentaries, including the docu-drama Hair Soup starring David Suchet as her father immersed in in quest to find a treatment for asthma.

Barbara speaking on Radio 4’s Today show – May 2022

More information can be found on the website: (Barbara says “No one will be able to find us without the hyphen!”)

Hospice Biographers, inspired by Roger Altounyan, also records memoirs free of charge. If you would like to find out more about this nationwide charity for end-of-life patients, please click here

Barbara Altounyan and Sophie Neville at an AGM of The Arthur Ransome Society

Barbara was named after her great aunt Barbara Collingwood who knew Arthur Ransome well. I have used archive photos to profile, her father, Dr Roger Altounyan here

You can watch a profile caught on a film made by Fisons here:

Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

2 thoughts on “Barbara Altounyan interviews Sophie Neville”

  1. What a brilliant interview! Thank you Sophie, for sharing your biography. I do hope there is a ‘Part 2’!

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