Grim reaper statistics and indefatigable brio march together in Glasgow's east end. A hip-hop head called Loki went in search of these conjoined contradictions and found them ready and waiting. In Welcome to Shettleston (Radio Scotland, Monday, 11.30am), Scotland's only notable rapper was an unexpected choice of interviewer but all the more effective for that. The peg for his trio of programmes is the recent report from the city's Centre for Population Health which revealed that a 15-year-old boy from Shettleston has only a 50-per cent chance of surviving to retirement age. But in this first instalment Loki, a native of Pollok who began life as Darren Garvey, sought out Shettleston folk who have made it to 70 and beyond, and his gentle probing was as much a hit with them as their vivid patter was a hit with him. Suitably inquisitive but polite, Loki, in this new persona, is un-strident

and un-gushing to the point of being - well, there's only one word for it - low-key. As a result he allows other people's narratives to flow rather than making himself the centrepiece of conversation. So Frances, her chest wheezy from asthma, told us how for years she cared for her husband Jimmy after he was injured when the local dye works blew up in the 1960s and "13 tattoos were burned off his arms". Like so many, she has found space in widowhood and advancing age to make a life for herself, dancing at the Swally Pally pensioners' club four times a week. And it was there that Loki discovered a vim and vigour probably unmatched anywhere else in the city. One veteran told him he liked "the repartee of the place" while a vintage doll, recalling her early beaux, insisted that: "All the talent used to come from Shettleston, but it's gone downhill since then."

Yet that shocking health statistic was never far away. These valiant oldies saw its evidence daily in the ashen faces of vacant youths whose centre of the universe was the methadone queue. And here was the bleak difference between the past and now: hard lives have always been Shettleston's lot, but those of the pensioners were not without joy.

Humphrys In Search Of God (Radio 4, Tuesday) ended this week not with a blinding flash of conversion for broadcaster John, but with illuminating insights none the less. "Faith is a refusal to give up, " said his final guest, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. He could have been describing the Humphrys belief in sceptical interviewing. Or, indeed, Shettleston.

HEAR THIS: Desert Island Discs (Radio 4, Sunday, 11.15am, repeated Friday, 9am). Kirsty Young braves the horror hedonist, Stephen King.