The Updates

When Sophie Townsend’s husband was diagnosed with lung cancer, she started the Russell Updates, a weekly email that laid it all bare for friends and family.

2015 / Sophie Townsend / ABC RN, AUS

When Sophie Townsend’s husband was diagnosed with lung cancer, she started the Russell Updates, a weekly email that laid it all bare for friends and family.

The news she had to give them was never good. The updates were not just a way to keep everyone informed, but Sophie’s way of working things out in her own head, and keeping herself afloat.

The Updates was written and produced by Sophie Townsend for 360documentaries on ABC RN.

How did Sophie make this very personal story resonate widely? And what does it mean to be "played by a tall, gorgeous, blonde" on the radio?

Be sure to read the Behind-the-Scenes interview, below.


The Updates was read by Gabrielle Rogers, with the voices of Russell, Claire and Anna Stendell. The sound engineer was Louis Mitchell, and the supervising producer was Natalie Kestecher.


produced by

Sophie Townsend

Sophie Townsend is a senior producer and editor at the ABC’s Radio National, and her feature-making work is internationally recognized.


Featured in


May we recommend…