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Start the Week

BBC Radio 4

59
Followers
216
Plays
Start the Week
Start the Week

Start the Week

BBC Radio 4

59
Followers
216
Plays
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About Us

Weekly discussion programme, setting the cultural agenda every Monday

Latest Episodes

Global culture

The writer Fatima Bhutto celebrates the new global popular culture emerging from the East. She tells Andrew Marr that the West’s soft power dominance is on the wane as K-Pop, Dizi and Bollywood take the world by storm. The Korean artist Nam June Paik was among the first to foresee the importance of mass media and new technologies, coining the phrase ‘electronic superhighway’. Sook-Kyung Lee is co-curating a global tour of his work, starting at Tate Modern. A new play, Museum in Baghdad, brings together the stories of its British founder Gertrude Bell in 1926 with Ghalia Hussein’s attempts to reopen it in 2006 after looting during the war. The RSC director Erica Whyman says the play questions the role of culture in helping to create a nation. And the writer John Burnside turns to the poets of the 20th century to give voice to an alternative cultural history of the time. He draws on the work of poets, both renowned and unjustly obscure, to give shape and meaning to the world. Producer: Katy Hickman Picture credit: Tate

42 MIN19 hours ago
Comments
Global culture

Lenny Henry

Lenny Henry was 16 when he first appeared on television making people laugh in the 1970s. He tells Kirsty Wark about coming of age in the spotlight at a time of casual chauvinism and blatant racism, all while under his Jamaican mother’s strict instruction to integrate. The novelist Tessa McWatt knows only too well the complexity of fitting in. Born in Guyana, raised in Canada and working in Britain, McWatt explores themes of the outsider in society and conflicting ideas of belonging. The writer and former sportsman Matthew Syed encourages breaking free of the echo chambers that surround us, to develop an ‘outsider mindset’. Cognitive diversity, he argues in his latest book, is the answer to many of the world’s most challenging problems. And the social psychologist Keon West explains the research being done to reduce bias between different groups of people. He argues that mandatory unconscious bias training is not only pointless - but possibly detrimental. Producer: Katy Hickman ...

41 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Lenny Henry

Where is power now?

Against a backdrop of fierce political battles in Parliament and in court, Andrew Marr explores political power and examines those who wield it - from absolutism to anarchism. The political commentator Steve Richards has been in the House of Commons for many nights of political strife. Watching the behaviour of parliament and government today, he considers how different British Prime Ministers have used their many powers. In his new book 'The Prime Ministers' he reflects on the individual characters of leaders. From Harold Wilson to Boris Johnson, he recalls moments when Prime Ministers buckled or thrived under the pressure of their role. At the other end of the power spectrum, the academic Ruth Kinna explores ‘the government of no one’: anarchism. She argues that this much maligned ideology is far more adaptable and effective than we might expect. And she rejects the stereotyped view of it as chaotic and disordered. The theatre director Eleanor Rhode is bringing Shakespeare’s Ki...

41 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Where is power now?

Antony Gormley: challenging conventions

Antony Gormley talks to Tom Sutcliffe about his forthcoming major show at the Royal Academy. The sculptor returns to his enduring interest in the inner dark space of the body and the body’s relation to its surroundings. As well as the famous casts of this own figure, seawater and clay fill one gallery, evoking the depths from which life emerged. The award-winning playwright Laura Wade discusses her revolutionary adaptation of Jane Austen. Her new play, The Watsons, is based on Austen’s unfinished novel, and shows what happens when characters threaten to break free from the original work and take control of the drama. The conductor Charles Hazlewood celebrates the rebellious side of classical music – minimalism. Minimalists in the 20th century, like Steve Reich and Terry Riley, flouted conventions and sought to redraw musical boundaries. But the music was also a direct response to the political and social fervour of the 1960s and 70s. One of the most creative and hedonistic period...

42 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Antony Gormley: challenging conventions

Escaping the past

Andrew Marr discusses how far nations have managed to confront the past. In Learning from the Germans, the philosopher Susan Neiman contrasts the way in which Germany continues to come to terms with its Nazi past, with the failure of the US to deal with slavery and the legacy of racial violence. The historian Stuart James Ward is interested in how far the ghosts of Empire have haunted the debate around Brexit. From the simplistic caricature of hankering after the past to a global vision of the future, both sides have summoned their own image of Empire. As an Australian academic who has spent his career in Denmark, Ward believes he is in a unique position to observe the unfolding political drama. The former MP David Howell argues it’s time to look ahead and not back in his new book, subtitled ‘Escaping the Prism of Past Politics’. Howell has been at the centre of government for four decades and was a member of Margaret Thatcher’s first cabinet. He believes Britain should be forgi...

42 MINSEP 16
Comments
Escaping the past

Epic quests and Greek myths

The playwright David Hare is adapting Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, an epic story of vanity and egotism. He tells Tom Sutcliffe his radical new working keeps the mountain of trolls but becomes a contemporary reflection of toxic masculinity in the age of the selfie. The writer Lucy Hughes-Hallett reincarnates ancient myths and folklore in her collection of short stories, Fabulous. Old tales from Orpheus to Mary Magdalen and Psyche, find new homes in the lives of a people-trafficking gangmaster and a well-behaved librarian. The great story-teller Stephen Fry breathes fresh life into the Greek myths as he prepares to embark on his first UK tour for forty years. From the creation of the Cosmos and the feuding of the Gods, to the extraordinary battles and epic journeys of the heroes, these tales still echo for audiences today. Alison Balsom is a world-renowned trumpeter who moves seamlessly through different periods of music in her curation of this year’s Cheltenham Music Festival. She explains h...

41 MINJUL 1
Comments
Epic quests and Greek myths

The power of poetry

Rowan Williams celebrates The Book of Taliesin – legendary Welsh poems of enchantment and warfare. The former Archbishop of Canterbury tells Andrew Marr how the collection of poems speak of a lost world of folklore and mythology, and the figure of Taliesin is an elusive and exuberant creative poetic fiction. Martin Sixsmith tells the extraordinary story of the Russian poet Sergei Yesenin at the turn of the 20th century. Yesenin lived through the most turbulent times in Russian history, and during an age when poets were stars, and millions could recite his works by heart. The poet Jay Bernard has found inspiration in exploring the black British archive, and the enquiry into the New Cross Fire in 1981 which killed thirteen young people. The poems shine a light on an unacknowledged chapter in British history, and find resonance with the horror of the Grenfell tower fire two years ago. The poet, writer and teacher, Kate Clanchy has seen first-hand poetry’s unique ability to unleash yo...

42 MINJUN 24
Comments
The power of poetry

Money - in your pocket and in the bank

Andrew Marr discusses money, from central banks to personal finances. The historian John Guy looks back to the emergence of London as the financial centre of the world. His latest biography focuses on the life and world of Sir Thomas Gresham, Elizabeth I’s banker – a flawed and ambitious man who dabbled in blackmail, fraud and adultery and left his widow saddled with debt. Few of today’s central bankers could match Gresham’s tumultuous private life, but they do wield enormous power in the markets. Paul Tucker spent more than 30 years as a central banker and regulator at the Bank of England and sounds a warning against increasing the authority of technocrats. Miatta Fahnbulleh is the Chief Executive of the radical economics think-tank, NEF, which aims to build a new economy from the bottom up and put more power in the hands of the people. She looks at the role central banks have to play in a Green New Deal and the impact of debt on the country and its citizens. While government d...

42 MINJUN 17
Comments
Money - in your pocket and in the bank

Beyond the headlines

Diego Maradona was a footballer of unrivalled talent, but off the pitch his story is one of despair and betrayal. Chris King, the editor of a feature documentary on the player, tells Kirsty Wark that the film reveals the life of this flawed icon through his own words and personal archive. Hussein Kesvani also aims to tell a story that goes beyond the usual headlines, exploring the unexpected online worlds of British Muslims. He reveals a new generation of young media-savvy Muslims creating their own diverse cultural identities online. More secrets are unveiled in Shahidha Bari’s book, Dressed, which looks at the hidden power of clothes in our culture and daily lives. She explores the link between what we wear and who we are. The latest exhibition at the British Museum offers visitors the chance to enter a graphic world where art and storytelling collide in its display of Japanese manga. The curator Nicole Rousmaniere argues that manga has long been a way to tell the stories of thos...

41 MINJUN 10
Comments
Beyond the headlines

Jared Diamond on national crisis

Jared Diamond explores how countries survive national crises. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and polymath talks to Andrew Marr about the process seven countries went through at moments of huge upheaval – from Japan and Finland to Australia and Chile. Using the lessons learnt in overcoming personal trauma, Diamond charts the painful process of self-appraisal, selective change and flexibility needed to move forward. Britain is facing its own national crisis, with the public and political parties divided over Brexit, political leadership and the way to move forward. Professor David Runciman and the Associate Director at the IEA Kate Andrews put Jared Diamond’s thesis to the test. They explore how far we can learn from past disasters and whether there are core national values that could help to unite the country. And, as the Conservative leadership contest begins and President Trump arrives in the UK, they discuss the limits to power and the myth of the strong leader.

42 MINJUN 3
Comments
Jared Diamond on national crisis

Latest Episodes

Global culture

The writer Fatima Bhutto celebrates the new global popular culture emerging from the East. She tells Andrew Marr that the West’s soft power dominance is on the wane as K-Pop, Dizi and Bollywood take the world by storm. The Korean artist Nam June Paik was among the first to foresee the importance of mass media and new technologies, coining the phrase ‘electronic superhighway’. Sook-Kyung Lee is co-curating a global tour of his work, starting at Tate Modern. A new play, Museum in Baghdad, brings together the stories of its British founder Gertrude Bell in 1926 with Ghalia Hussein’s attempts to reopen it in 2006 after looting during the war. The RSC director Erica Whyman says the play questions the role of culture in helping to create a nation. And the writer John Burnside turns to the poets of the 20th century to give voice to an alternative cultural history of the time. He draws on the work of poets, both renowned and unjustly obscure, to give shape and meaning to the world. Producer: Katy Hickman Picture credit: Tate

42 MIN19 hours ago
Comments
Global culture

Lenny Henry

Lenny Henry was 16 when he first appeared on television making people laugh in the 1970s. He tells Kirsty Wark about coming of age in the spotlight at a time of casual chauvinism and blatant racism, all while under his Jamaican mother’s strict instruction to integrate. The novelist Tessa McWatt knows only too well the complexity of fitting in. Born in Guyana, raised in Canada and working in Britain, McWatt explores themes of the outsider in society and conflicting ideas of belonging. The writer and former sportsman Matthew Syed encourages breaking free of the echo chambers that surround us, to develop an ‘outsider mindset’. Cognitive diversity, he argues in his latest book, is the answer to many of the world’s most challenging problems. And the social psychologist Keon West explains the research being done to reduce bias between different groups of people. He argues that mandatory unconscious bias training is not only pointless - but possibly detrimental. Producer: Katy Hickman ...

41 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Lenny Henry

Where is power now?

Against a backdrop of fierce political battles in Parliament and in court, Andrew Marr explores political power and examines those who wield it - from absolutism to anarchism. The political commentator Steve Richards has been in the House of Commons for many nights of political strife. Watching the behaviour of parliament and government today, he considers how different British Prime Ministers have used their many powers. In his new book 'The Prime Ministers' he reflects on the individual characters of leaders. From Harold Wilson to Boris Johnson, he recalls moments when Prime Ministers buckled or thrived under the pressure of their role. At the other end of the power spectrum, the academic Ruth Kinna explores ‘the government of no one’: anarchism. She argues that this much maligned ideology is far more adaptable and effective than we might expect. And she rejects the stereotyped view of it as chaotic and disordered. The theatre director Eleanor Rhode is bringing Shakespeare’s Ki...

41 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Where is power now?

Antony Gormley: challenging conventions

Antony Gormley talks to Tom Sutcliffe about his forthcoming major show at the Royal Academy. The sculptor returns to his enduring interest in the inner dark space of the body and the body’s relation to its surroundings. As well as the famous casts of this own figure, seawater and clay fill one gallery, evoking the depths from which life emerged. The award-winning playwright Laura Wade discusses her revolutionary adaptation of Jane Austen. Her new play, The Watsons, is based on Austen’s unfinished novel, and shows what happens when characters threaten to break free from the original work and take control of the drama. The conductor Charles Hazlewood celebrates the rebellious side of classical music – minimalism. Minimalists in the 20th century, like Steve Reich and Terry Riley, flouted conventions and sought to redraw musical boundaries. But the music was also a direct response to the political and social fervour of the 1960s and 70s. One of the most creative and hedonistic period...

42 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Antony Gormley: challenging conventions

Escaping the past

Andrew Marr discusses how far nations have managed to confront the past. In Learning from the Germans, the philosopher Susan Neiman contrasts the way in which Germany continues to come to terms with its Nazi past, with the failure of the US to deal with slavery and the legacy of racial violence. The historian Stuart James Ward is interested in how far the ghosts of Empire have haunted the debate around Brexit. From the simplistic caricature of hankering after the past to a global vision of the future, both sides have summoned their own image of Empire. As an Australian academic who has spent his career in Denmark, Ward believes he is in a unique position to observe the unfolding political drama. The former MP David Howell argues it’s time to look ahead and not back in his new book, subtitled ‘Escaping the Prism of Past Politics’. Howell has been at the centre of government for four decades and was a member of Margaret Thatcher’s first cabinet. He believes Britain should be forgi...

42 MINSEP 16
Comments
Escaping the past

Epic quests and Greek myths

The playwright David Hare is adapting Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, an epic story of vanity and egotism. He tells Tom Sutcliffe his radical new working keeps the mountain of trolls but becomes a contemporary reflection of toxic masculinity in the age of the selfie. The writer Lucy Hughes-Hallett reincarnates ancient myths and folklore in her collection of short stories, Fabulous. Old tales from Orpheus to Mary Magdalen and Psyche, find new homes in the lives of a people-trafficking gangmaster and a well-behaved librarian. The great story-teller Stephen Fry breathes fresh life into the Greek myths as he prepares to embark on his first UK tour for forty years. From the creation of the Cosmos and the feuding of the Gods, to the extraordinary battles and epic journeys of the heroes, these tales still echo for audiences today. Alison Balsom is a world-renowned trumpeter who moves seamlessly through different periods of music in her curation of this year’s Cheltenham Music Festival. She explains h...

41 MINJUL 1
Comments
Epic quests and Greek myths

The power of poetry

Rowan Williams celebrates The Book of Taliesin – legendary Welsh poems of enchantment and warfare. The former Archbishop of Canterbury tells Andrew Marr how the collection of poems speak of a lost world of folklore and mythology, and the figure of Taliesin is an elusive and exuberant creative poetic fiction. Martin Sixsmith tells the extraordinary story of the Russian poet Sergei Yesenin at the turn of the 20th century. Yesenin lived through the most turbulent times in Russian history, and during an age when poets were stars, and millions could recite his works by heart. The poet Jay Bernard has found inspiration in exploring the black British archive, and the enquiry into the New Cross Fire in 1981 which killed thirteen young people. The poems shine a light on an unacknowledged chapter in British history, and find resonance with the horror of the Grenfell tower fire two years ago. The poet, writer and teacher, Kate Clanchy has seen first-hand poetry’s unique ability to unleash yo...

42 MINJUN 24
Comments
The power of poetry

Money - in your pocket and in the bank

Andrew Marr discusses money, from central banks to personal finances. The historian John Guy looks back to the emergence of London as the financial centre of the world. His latest biography focuses on the life and world of Sir Thomas Gresham, Elizabeth I’s banker – a flawed and ambitious man who dabbled in blackmail, fraud and adultery and left his widow saddled with debt. Few of today’s central bankers could match Gresham’s tumultuous private life, but they do wield enormous power in the markets. Paul Tucker spent more than 30 years as a central banker and regulator at the Bank of England and sounds a warning against increasing the authority of technocrats. Miatta Fahnbulleh is the Chief Executive of the radical economics think-tank, NEF, which aims to build a new economy from the bottom up and put more power in the hands of the people. She looks at the role central banks have to play in a Green New Deal and the impact of debt on the country and its citizens. While government d...

42 MINJUN 17
Comments
Money - in your pocket and in the bank

Beyond the headlines

Diego Maradona was a footballer of unrivalled talent, but off the pitch his story is one of despair and betrayal. Chris King, the editor of a feature documentary on the player, tells Kirsty Wark that the film reveals the life of this flawed icon through his own words and personal archive. Hussein Kesvani also aims to tell a story that goes beyond the usual headlines, exploring the unexpected online worlds of British Muslims. He reveals a new generation of young media-savvy Muslims creating their own diverse cultural identities online. More secrets are unveiled in Shahidha Bari’s book, Dressed, which looks at the hidden power of clothes in our culture and daily lives. She explores the link between what we wear and who we are. The latest exhibition at the British Museum offers visitors the chance to enter a graphic world where art and storytelling collide in its display of Japanese manga. The curator Nicole Rousmaniere argues that manga has long been a way to tell the stories of thos...

41 MINJUN 10
Comments
Beyond the headlines

Jared Diamond on national crisis

Jared Diamond explores how countries survive national crises. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and polymath talks to Andrew Marr about the process seven countries went through at moments of huge upheaval – from Japan and Finland to Australia and Chile. Using the lessons learnt in overcoming personal trauma, Diamond charts the painful process of self-appraisal, selective change and flexibility needed to move forward. Britain is facing its own national crisis, with the public and political parties divided over Brexit, political leadership and the way to move forward. Professor David Runciman and the Associate Director at the IEA Kate Andrews put Jared Diamond’s thesis to the test. They explore how far we can learn from past disasters and whether there are core national values that could help to unite the country. And, as the Conservative leadership contest begins and President Trump arrives in the UK, they discuss the limits to power and the myth of the strong leader.

42 MINJUN 3
Comments
Jared Diamond on national crisis