From refrigeration engineering to volcanoes, punk, television presenting and University chief – Nick Petford to discuss career changes with Lauren Laverne

Date 16.08.2018

The University of Northampton’s Vice Chancellor will be reunited with his old classmates on national radio next week as they recount the twists and turns of their career paths.

Professor Nick Petford will join host Lauren Laverne and two former college pals on BBC Radio 4’s Whatever Happened To…? show, on Tuesday 21 August.

The show reunites Nick with John Russell-Sanders and Dave Coombs, who all trained as refrigeration and air conditioning engineers at Eastleigh Technical College in 1977, and finds out the surprising turns their lives have taken.

The year-long vocational course was designed to produce engineers to install and maintain cooling systems. But Nick, John and Dave had other plans.

Nick, who together with John enjoyed a stint in a punk band in the late 70s, went on to become an expert in volcanology and a television presenter before being named Northampton’s Vice Chancellor in 2010.

John and Dave, meanwhile pursued careers in photography and carpentry.

The programme sees the trio look back in wonder at what happened to them in the intervening years, reflect on the choices they made and how they surpassed the expectations of their parents and teachers.

Whatever Happened To…? airs on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 21 August, from 4pm.

The show will be available online shortly after broadcast on the Radio 4 website.