“James Herriott has a lot to answer for” – Dorset Island Discs


David Sidwick is about to celebrate his first anniverary as Dorset’s Police Crime Commissioner. He shares his top eight music choices with us.
David Sidwick Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset

David Sidwick was elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset in May 2021. David was born and raised in Dorset, and his working life has been spent in the pharmaceutical industry. For nearly two decades, his company STAC Consultancy facilitated the education of more than 17,500 secondary care consultants
in areas such as chronic pain, epilepsy, dementia and multiple sclerosis.

£5,000 for magic
While on holiday in the US, David and his wife visited a key shop – which offered magic tutorials as a side line (of course it did – Ed). David had always been keen to learn, and he immediately signed up. The owner of the shop then provided David and his wife with tickets for the Magic Castle in Los Angeles – a venue only open to registered magicians, and their specially invited guests. The Harry Potter- esque experience of visiting this clubhouse of the Academy of Magical Arts cemented David’s love of magic – and lead him, years later, to being paid £5,000 for his magic skills. In fairness, it wasn’t a big show: he was working with a training company who were struggling to enliven a course on organisation and planning for pharma sales reps – David pitched the idea of doing it via a magic routine, and they accepted!

Dinner dates
Apart from politicians, David can put on his CV that he has had dinner with Sir Terry Wogan, Sir Patrick Stewart, Raymond Blanc, Dan and Peter Snow, Rick Stein, George Lazenby – and Q!
His favourite dinner date? “Sir Terry Wogan. By a long way. What a lovely, lovely man. He just got slightly squiffy with my wife! Lady Wogan reassured me it ‘happens all the time’.”

And so to David’s eight music choices, along with how and why they stuck in his life:

The Quartermasters Stores
My parents ran an off licence, and their only time off throughout my childhood was Sunday afternoons (2-7pm!). This meant I spent lots of my free time with my grandparents, and treasured Sunday afternoon
trips with mum and dad. The Quartermaster Stores was the song we always sang in the car, and hearing it takes me right back to sitting on the back seat, heading home from a day in the Dorset countryside.

The James Herriott Theme
I grew up determined to be a vet. Until the age of 21, it was all I wanted to be. But just before my final exams, I was very unwell – I did the exams, but underperformed and failed to get the grades. Reassuringly,
I was offered a place at Bristol to study Anatomical Science, with the plan of applying again to switch courses the following year.
However, in the meantime James Herriot appeared on TV, and the world and his wife suddenly wanted to be a vet. Competition was so fierce I never did get my vet placement and after finishing my degree I joined the Pharma industry.
James Herriott has a lot to answer for.

Hallelujah Leonard Cohen
In the year 2000 my wife walked into a bar where I was drinking… and I fell in love. She is a huge Cohen fan, and this will always remind me of her. She’s supported me through three long years of full time campaiging to be PCC.
We fit.
I love her to bits.

The Gambler Kenny Rogers
I love a song with a story, and this is just a great tale of redemption! I’ve learned over the years that I’m just a visual learner; it’s one of the reasons that I often struggle with classical music, it’s difficult to absorb unless I can see it visually too.

For me this just resonates with everything I love about the Dorset countryside. In my Pharma rep days I would drive the length and breadth of the county, hunting down tiny villages to find the local GP surgeries. I developed a deep love of the special, quirky, often hidden parts of our county. It’s that feeling that drives one of my main policing commitments – I’m aware that we really need to get things right for the enormous rural part of our county. Until this year the Rural Crime Team has been effectively a token gesture – it has now trebled in size, and is being properly funded.

Every Breath You Take The Police
Oh, this song just screams STALKER, doesn’t it? I know many perceive it as a love song, and Sting says it’s for his daughter… but to me it’s just a personal representation of one of the most nasty crimes, and one which has only got worse as modern technology has developed. I am determined to change the victim experience of stalking in Dorset – I have installed an independent advisor to help victims, and this year I
asked the police to scrutinise the Stalking Protection Orders, how they’re used and to be certain they are correctly resourced. In times past this was one of those crimes which was often shrugged off as ‘nothing we
can do’ – and that is simply no longer the case.

Bohemian Rhapsody Queen
Okay, I can’t sing a note. I really can’t. But I don’t care – I’m a proud lover of karaoke, and this is the one I sing! No one ever faulted my ambition…
In the movie of the same name, Freddie Mercury’s life is openly intertwined with his drug use, and the song segues nicely as a representation of my work on drug issues. Dorset has one the top ten areas of opioid and
cocaine use in the UK. That’s not a stat I’m proud of, and we’re working from many angles to ensure we don’t stay on the hit list. It’s not a simple solution, obviously, but recently five PCCs working together saw
an operation take £400,000 of drugs off the streets. In Dorset with Operation Viper we’re addressing County Lines, drug dealers, and anti-social drug users, but there’s still so much more to do. Apologies, slightly off my Bohemian Rhapsody track!

The Bright Side of Life Monty Python
Because we all need some JOY! We have to keep looking forward, staying positive. It’s a silly, fun song, but also it’s about a philosophy. I think we need to strive to be Winnie the Pooh, not Eeyore.

And if the waves were to wash all your records away but you had time to save just one, which would it be? Monty Python – if I’m stuck alone on a desert island, I’m going to need some cheering up.

My book
The Lord of the Rings. It’s so much more than the classic tale of good vs. evil. My favourite part of the book(s) – I’m taking the complete collection in one volume and you can’t stop me – is the part the movie franchise entirely skipped. It’s a testament to our countryside, and a cry against industrialisation. The part when the hobbits return to the Shire is one of the most powerful and resonant.

My luxury item
Robinson Crusoe, the board game. I love board games (I have an occasional slot on Hope FM as their resident board game fanatic) – it’s a family activity, and a slight obsession. I have a collection of 120, and I just love playing them. Unusually you can play Robinson Crusoe as a one player game (handy on my island), and I thought it might provide some useful hints and tips on survival too.


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