Photo: Hansa Record

Today in Mailbox: The Czech singing duo Petr and Pavel and their song "Láska" - a mystery solved after ten years. We also reveal the answer to last month's listeners' quiz question, and there is a brand new mystery person for the coming four weeks. Listeners/readers quoted: Neil Critchley, Alan Blaikley, Ian Morrison, Hans Verner Lollike, Bob Boundy, Mary Lou Krenek.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague’ regular programme for your questions, views and comments.

Over the last ten years or so, a number of listeners from around the world have written in to Radio Prague asking whether we happen to know what has become of the singing duo Petr and Pavel. They left Czechoslovakia following the 1968 Soviet-led occupation and later that year released a single called “Láska”, meaning “Love” in England. We were not able to help those listeners as there seemed to be no trace of the artists and we inquired several times, here on Mailbox, whether someone had more information. And finally, just over ten years after the first query was aired on Radio Prague’s Mailbox – Neil Critchley from the UK sent us an e-mail with a couple of YouTube links.

“A while ago you did an article on Petr and Pavel, the music duo who fled Czechoslovakia in 1968 and released ‘Láska’ and ‘Wenceslas Square’ in the UK. Enjoy.“

And shortly afterwards, Alan Blaikley, also from the UK sent us the link as well:

“In response to the enquiries you made about the record Láska by Petr and Pavel released in the UK in 1968 after their escape from the Russian invasion of 1968 here it is. [The song] was written especially by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley and released just before Christmas 1968. Despite being a very moving tune and lyric and a haunting performance by the two boys -even if in broken English- it did not get the airplay it deserved. It is a sweet song of democracy and freedom. It would be good to know what became of Petr and Pavel.”

Thanks to Neil and Alan, we have finally been able to listen to the songs by Petr and Pavel. There is even a short discussion on YouTube with clues as to how to get in touch with the artists.

Moving on, we have again received many answers to our monthly listeners’ quiz, all of them correct this time.

Audrey Hepburn
This is how Ian Morrison from China answered our question:

“The famous British actress whose father was born in 1889 in the central Bohemian village of Úžice to an Austrian mother and a father of British and Austrian descent was Audrey Hepburn, who was born in Ixelles, Belgium, as Audrey Kathleen Ruston in 1929. She shot to stardom with appearances in a number of major movies, including ‘Roman Holiday’ and my personal favourite ‘My Fair Lady’, despite the fact that 90 percent of her singing in the film was in fact dubbed.”

Hans Verner Lollike from Denmark writes:

“So this is what the quiz is all about: 1) Learn things you never knew: Audrey Hepburn (the name you are looking for) has roots in the Czech Republic. Her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston (1889–1980), was born in Úžice, Bohemia, the son of an Austrian mother and a father of British and Austrian descent. 2) If you go far back in your family tree you will most certainly find ‘foreign’ roots. Like myself – the son and grandson of village farmers. One of my great grand-parents came from Germany. The crazy idea of ‘clean’ nationalities is not in any way true.”

Bob Boundy from New Zealand sent us this answer:

“The answer to the February competition is Audrey Hepburn. Her name previously was Audrey Kathleen Ruston and she was born on the 4th of May 1929 in Brussels, Belgium.”

Mary Lou Krenek from Texas adds:

Audrey Hepburn in 'Charade'
“She acquired the name Hepburn when her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston added the surname to the more aristocratic Hepburn-Ruston by mistake after he believed himself descended from James Hepburn, third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

“As a child, she suffered from malnutrition during World War II in the Netherlands. She became a proficient ballet dancer. Her film career began after she moved to London in 1948. Audrey Hepburn went on to star in many successful films eventually earning Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony awards.

“As a humanitarian, Ms. Hepburn was appointed Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work with UNICEF. She was also awarded posthumously the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her contributions to humanity.

“No one graced the screen as well as Audrey Hepburn. She was a beautiful human being. On January 20, 1993, Audrey Hepburn died at her home in Tolochenaz, Vaud, Switzerland from cancer of the appendix. She was buried in a small cemetery on a hill overlooking the village.”

Audrey Hepburn in 'Roman holiday'
Thank you very much for your answers. This time our little prize goes to Valery Luhovski from Belarus. Congratulations and your parcel will be in the post first thing on Monday morning. Those of you who haven’t been lucky this time, can give it another shot in these coming four weeks. All you need to do is send us the correct answer to this question.

We are looking for the name of the German author of children’s books who passed away in February this year aged 89. He was born into a German family in the North Bohemian city of Liberec. His most famous story was made into a film in Czechoslovakia in 1977.

If you’d like to be included in our lucky draw, your answers should reach us by April 4th at You are very welcome to include your comments on our programmes as well as questions regarding life in the Czech Republic and of course, reception reports.

Until next time, happy listening and take care.