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James Dean with the Roth's cat. Photo: Sanford Roth Copyright: Francesca Robinson Sanchez

Made in Manchester will tonight remember the Hollywood film star James Dean 60 years after his untimely death at the age of just 24.

MIM has made a special documentary James Dean: The Last Ten Weeks, presented by Hollywood legend and contemporary, Robert Wagner which examines the friendship between Dean and photographer, Sanford Roth. The pair became friends on the set of Giant in the summer of 1955, just before he was killed in a car crash.

The production is based on a number of essays which have been locked away for 50 years.

“Roth and Dean built up a bond which saw the young actor explore new interests. 60 years on, these essays and hundreds of photographs help us to conjure up a new impression of this Hollywood legend in his last days and to imagine what he might have done had he lived,” said producer Ashley Byrne.

Robert Wagner will present the programme, with the essays brought to life by 2 x Olivier nominated actor actor Michael Xavier. Listeners will also hear from James Dean’s younger cousin Marcus Winslow Jnr, Giant co-stars Carroll Baker and Jane Withers; film maker David Puttnam; Dean’s best friend Lew Bracker; former Monkees director Bruce Kessler and Francesca Robinson Sanchez who was left Roth’s essays and unique collection of photographs.

Francesca says: ‘It’s a fabulous collection of essays and photographs which shed a fresh light on Dean and i would one day may be like them to go to a good home.’

Co Producer Ashley Byrne adds: ‘As well as the Sanford Roth material, it’s also lovely to hear from Marcus Winslow Jnr, Jimmy’s little cousin and from Lew Bracker, his best friend who gives us a rounded picture of those last few months and his life more generally. Of course we’ll never know everything about Jimmy Dean but as Marcus says in the programme, who else would still be getting so much attention 60 years after they’d gone? There was and is something unique about this young man who was taken from the world so cruelly six decades ago’

The programme was written and produced by Ashley Byrne and Hollywood journalist Barbra Paskin.

Ashley adds: ‘Barbra has been tremendous as she always is. She conducted many of the interviews including those with his Giant co-stars and with Lew Bracker and Bruce Kessler’. Liam Starkey interviewed Marcus Winslow Jnr while Ashley met David Puttnam.

Francesca Robinson Sanchez is the Programme Consultant with thanks to Nick Nolan.

The Executive Producer is Phil Collinge.

Editors were Iain Mackness and Kev Bailey with research by Andrew Edwards, Liam Starkey and Richard Murie.

Thanks also goes to Jonathan Davies from LJD Productions for his research and advice on this project.

James Dean: The Last Ten Weeks will air on BBC Radio 2 at 10pm tonight Wednesday 30th September 2015 and will be available via the BBC iplayer for 30 days after it is broadcast.

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