I am very pleased to say that the West Yorkshire Archive service have accepted the Back-Chat Collection interviews into their permanent archives thus ensuring their accessibility to the public for many generations to come.

You can hear this interview by simply clicking the West Yorkshire Archive Link where you will find all of the Back-Chat Collection interviews listed in alphabetical order along with captioned photographs.

If you would like to contact The Back-Chat Collection please do email me at carloharrison1947@gmail.com.

To listen to the interviews which are now hosted on the
West Yorkshire Archive Service click here.

Ben Cowell


November 1985, Nottingham


Grew up in Lincoln and Newcastle Upon Tyne, now lives in Wakefield.

Date of Interview

16th October 2021

“I would love to be involved, thank you for thinking of me.”

Ben Cowell (11th July 2021)

Ben Cowell is an outgoing young man who was 36 years old when I interviewed him and has had a lively and interesting life so far.

Ben has some interesting and important topics to talk about so I have split his interview into two parts. In this first part we look at Ben’s family and school life which links nicely into his brief – but impressive – acting career. He played the character of Mark in the much-loved BBC series Byker Grove. He decided to leave acting behind and go to Leeds University and on to a career in the police force and then Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

Ben is gay and we talk openly about homosexuality; ‘coming out’ aged 18; the Gay Police Officers’ Association; realising that you are gay at a young age and life as a homosexual in 2021.

Homosexuality can be a tricky subject to discuss but you will enjoy listening to Ben’s journey.


Interviewer: Carlo Harrison

Cataloguer: Fiona Quinton

You can listen to the entire recording by clicking the start arrow or, you can move the slider to one of times shown for the headings opposite, they are a guide to the many things we chatted about.
Parents – Lucy (Solicitor) – Lester (Learning Mentor
Siblings – Sam (Film Maker) – Alex (Support Worker) – Jo (Hospitality)
School Days – Lincoln – Newcastle – Leeds University
Drama – People’s Theatre
Year Of Promise – Beauty And The Beast
TV Appearances – Cookery Programme – Byker Grove (Mark)
Career Change
Police Force – Gay Officers Association
Coming Out At 18
Gay Life Today


Please take into consideration when listening to these interviews that the meaning of language changes over time and that interviewees have not intended to cause offence by anything said which now may be thought to be unacceptable.

Recording this social history, chatting to different people about a whole host of subjects has been a real pleasure, such an interesting and I think worthwhile project for people to listen to both now and in years to come.

Thank you for visiting this website.

Carlo Harrison