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Podcast: Dogpeople

Drawn together from interviews with some of Wheatley Hill's regulars, 'Dogpeople' offers an oral history of the racing track and the legacy it has left behind

In late 2022, I was approached by the brilliant working class writer Louise Powell to help her create an audio documentary funded by Durham Culture County. Drawn together from interviews and wildtrack recordings, 'Dogpeople' offers an oral history of Wheatley Hill Greyhound Stadium, a 'flapping' track in County Durham, which was one of the foremost independent greyhound racing venues in the country. Beloved for its tight-knit community, big races and strong betting ring, Wheatley Hill was a staple of working-class County Durham life from the 1930s until its closure in 2019.

Making the Podcast

Dog racing was, and still is, a huge part of Louise's life. You'd struggle to find someone more connected on the scene and more passionate about its legacy, so together we set about telling that story by recording interviews with community members, going to Sunderland Dogs for some live ambient recordings, and pairing that with historic footage of as many flapping races we could find. Louise also showed me around the site of the old Wheatley Hill track (now derelict) and I used her voice as a thread running throughout the piece.

The podcast was enormously well received by the flapping community and you can listen to it below:

This was designed as a pilot episode for a longer podcast series which preserves the oral history of the independent greyhound racing scene, and I'm delighted that Louise has now received Arts Council funding for the longer series so I can't wait to start production on that in the autumn!

It was an incredible project to be a part of and a topic completely new to me. A big thank you to Louise, her family and gorgeous dog Paddy for welcoming me in to the community, as well as all of the people who agreed to be interviewed (full credits via the Soundcloud link).


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