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Start the Week

BBC Radio 4

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Followers
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Start the Week

Start the Week

BBC Radio 4

91
Followers
390
Plays
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Weekly discussion programme, setting the cultural agenda every Monday

Latest Episodes

Dresden - 75 years on

As the 75th anniversary of the Allied bombing of Dresden approaches, the historian Sinclair McKay looks back at the obliteration of a city and its aftermath. He tells Tom Sutcliffe about the terrible suffering of the 25,000 people who were killed in one night. The artist Edmund de Waal is showcasing his latest work in Dresden. The installation ‘library of exile’ is a place of contemplation and dialogue, and celebrates the cultures of migration. De Waal also outlines the importance of Dresden as the centre of European porcelain. In recent decades this former East German city has seen a huge increase in support for far-right groups. The journalist Stefanie Bolzen argues that there are many who feel their lives have not benefited either from the rebuilding of the city after the war or from the unification of Germany since. Sasha Havlicek is the founding CEO of the global counter-extremism organisation, ISD, which studies the online tactics of far-right groups across Europe and the US. She has seen a rise in the support of anti-migrant political parties, as well as increases in hate speech and terror attacks against minority communities. Producer: Katy Hickman

41 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Dresden - 75 years on

Artistic influence: Beethoven, Rembrandt and MeToo

This year is Beethoven's 250th anniversary, and Sir Antonio Pappano is marking the occasion with a new production of Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio. He tells Andrew Marr how this work combined the composer's keen interest in politics with his bold new symphonic style. But Beethoven was never happy with the finished opera, and redrafted it many times. Pappano also tells Andrew about the enormous - and inescapable - influence Beethoven had on later generations. Rembrandt was another artist who had an enormous influence on later generations. But a new exhibition at the Ashmolean in Oxford, curated by An Van Camp, shows the Dutch artist also redrafting and learning his craft. Young Rembrandt assembles drawings and paintings showing Rembrandt's astonishing rise, from unknown teenager to celebrity artist within a decade. Dame Mary Beard looks at a more pervasive artistic influence in her new BBC Two series, The Shock of the Nude. Beard shows how artists from the classical era to the pres...

41 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Artistic influence: Beethoven, Rembrandt and MeToo

Grayson Perry - the early years

The artist Grayson Perry turns to his formative years in a new exhibition of early works, The Pre-Therapy Years. He tells Amol Rajan about the ideas and influences that helped lay the foundations for his work, and about the emergence of his own identity as ‘the Transvestite Potter’. Hashi Mohamed has a very different story of success: he is now a barrister but arrived in Britain aged nine as a child refugee from Somalia. He warns that his own path is denied to the majority of people in Britain. Social mobility is a myth, he says, with power and privilege concentrated among the privately educated population. At just 26 Theresa Lola is already a prize-winning poet and Young People’s Laureate for London. Her first collection, In Search of Equilibrium, is an unflinching study of death and grieving. But she finds hope and solace in words, and believes in the power of poetry to bring about change. Photograph: Grayson Perry as Claire (detail), 1988 Matthew R Lewis Producer: Katy Hickman

42 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Grayson Perry - the early years

Puritans and God-given government

Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate in the mid-seventeenth century lasted a mere six years and was England’s sole experiment in republican government. The historian Paul Lay tells Andrew Marr how Cromwell forged both his foreign and domestic policy according to God’s will - including waging wars in the Americas. Protestant separatists are at the heart of Stephen Tomkins's recreation of the journey of the Mayflower, three decades before Cromwell’s rule. Escaping religious persecution, the Pilgrim Fathers built their version of a brave new world in America. In the 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower the USA has become a world superpower. Lindsay Newman from Chatham House looks at President Trump’s foreign policy decisions, especially in relation to Iran, and examines the political ideology that drives them. It is 70 years since the death of George Orwell. The academic Lisa Mullen explores the contemporary relevance of his writings on political and religious ideology, republic...

41 MINJAN 20
Comments
Puritans and God-given government

No work, rest and play

The economist Daniel Susskind tells Tom Sutcliffe that the threat of technological unemployment is real and imminent. In A World Without Work he considers the economic, political and social impact. He questions what happens to those for whom work affords meaning, purpose and direction. Journalist Anoosh Chakelian went behind the scenes at new magazines set up to rival the Big Issue, as she explored Britain's homelessness crisis. Like the Big Issue, these new journals enable rough sleepers to earn money rather than beg, and creates respectable employment opportunities. But Chakelian worries about a country with so many homeless people that it can create an industry around them. The psychologist Suzi Gage looks at the science behind recreational drugs – debunking common myths and misconceptions. She also looks at how and why they work on the mind and body, and the associations between drug use and mental health. A quarter of adults in England are taking potentially addictive prescrip...

41 MINJAN 13
Comments
No work, rest and play

A house and a home

Andrew Marr discusses the state of housing in Britain and what makes a house a home. Common wisdom states that owning a house makes you a Tory, but is this true? Political scientist Ben Ansell says that Thatcher was right to assume that Right to Buy would create more Conservative voters. But today we see the opposite: the people whose houses have risen most in value are also the most likely to support Labour. Ansell looks back at the 1909 British Liberal Party budget, when politicians tried to take on the landlords who get rich at our expense. The architect David Mikhail helped design a groundbreaking council house estate which won last year’s Stirling Prize, awarded to the best new building in the country. As the shortfall in social housing reaches crisis levels, his Goldsmith Street in Norwich was celebrated for creating sustainable and ambitious homes for people in need. The writer Jude Yawson looks back at the emergence of Grime, a music culture which emerged from the tower blo...

41 MINJAN 6
Comments
A house and a home

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey has been a place of worship for more than a thousand years, and holds a unique place in British – and world – history. In a special edition of Start the Week, recorded in the Abbey, the historian David Cannadine tells Andrew Marr how the building has been at the centre of religious and political revolutions and has maintained a special relationship with the monarchy and the royal court since the Tudor times. It was Henry VIII who converted the abbey into a cathedral, turning this Catholic monastery into a bastion of Anglicanism, before it became directly under the monarch’s control. The historian Lucy Worsley looks back to the 16th century to recreate how Christmas was celebrated during the age of Henry VIII. The Tudor Christmas pre-dates our traditional trees and stockings. But with its heady mix of revelry and religion she discovers the Tudor influences on the customs we still enjoy today. The former Bishop of Oxford Richard Harries explores the impact and pul...

41 MIN2019 DEC 23
Comments
Westminster Abbey

Numbers, nightmares and nanotech

The mathematician Hannah Fry reveals the hidden numbers, rules and patterns that secretly control our daily lives, in this year’s Royal Institution Christmas lectures. She tells Kirsty Wark how maths and algorithms have the power to reveal the truth - and to obscure it. The economist Tim Harford is in search of the truth as he unravels the events that led to real life disasters. In the podcast series Cautionary Tales, Harford asks what we can learn from catastrophes. He wonders why we are so often susceptible to cons. Science has revolutionised the way we live, and in the field of technology the ingenious invention of blockchain has been heralded as truly radical. As an incorruptible digital ledger of transactions, blockchain has uses far beyond crypto-currencies. The Financial Times journalist Izabella Kaminska looks back over the last decade to consider whether blockchain has lived up to its hype. The latest science promising to transform medicine and biology is nanotechnology. S...

42 MIN2019 DEC 16
Comments
Numbers, nightmares and nanotech

Living near water

Flooding remains a risk in many parts of the country this winter. Andrew Marr explores the impact of water on communities. The engineer David Lerner argues for the extension of the policy of daylighting – opening up rivers covered over by the Victorians. He says Britain’s towns and cities have a lot to learn from Zurich, which was an early pioneer in recovering streams from underground. The social and environmental benefits in Zurich are evident. Torrential rain in November forced many people across the country to leave their homes. The writer Edward Platt looks back at the effect of the record-breaking floods of 2013-14 and the toll it took on those caught up in the deluge. He talks to those responsible for trying to keep the water at bay, and asks what can be done to protect the vulnerable. The artist Tania Kovats’s work is preoccupied with our experience and understanding of water and the landscape. From collecting water from a hundred UK rivers to sculptural forms cast in wet...

43 MIN2019 DEC 9
Comments
Living near water

India past and present

Corporate rapacity and government collusion are at the centre of William Dalrymple’s history of the East India Company. He tells Amol Rajan how the company moved relentlessly from trade to conquest of India in the 18th century. But Dalrymple warns against the distortion of history both by those in Britain nostalgic for an imperial past, and Hindu nationalists in India. 2019 marked the centenary of the Amritsar massacre in which more than a thousand Indians were killed by British soldiers. Although the events leading up to the atrocity are now well documented, Anita Anand has uncovered the extraordinary story of revenge which led to the shooting in London of the man responsible for the massacre. In August this year the Indian government revoked Kashmir’s special status, sparking protests in the Muslim-majority valley. But why has this region - once a princely state, until the end of British rule - become such a flashpoint for violence? Professor Sumantra Bose explores the consequen...

42 MIN2019 DEC 2
Comments
India past and present

Latest Episodes

Dresden - 75 years on

As the 75th anniversary of the Allied bombing of Dresden approaches, the historian Sinclair McKay looks back at the obliteration of a city and its aftermath. He tells Tom Sutcliffe about the terrible suffering of the 25,000 people who were killed in one night. The artist Edmund de Waal is showcasing his latest work in Dresden. The installation ‘library of exile’ is a place of contemplation and dialogue, and celebrates the cultures of migration. De Waal also outlines the importance of Dresden as the centre of European porcelain. In recent decades this former East German city has seen a huge increase in support for far-right groups. The journalist Stefanie Bolzen argues that there are many who feel their lives have not benefited either from the rebuilding of the city after the war or from the unification of Germany since. Sasha Havlicek is the founding CEO of the global counter-extremism organisation, ISD, which studies the online tactics of far-right groups across Europe and the US. She has seen a rise in the support of anti-migrant political parties, as well as increases in hate speech and terror attacks against minority communities. Producer: Katy Hickman

41 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Dresden - 75 years on

Artistic influence: Beethoven, Rembrandt and MeToo

This year is Beethoven's 250th anniversary, and Sir Antonio Pappano is marking the occasion with a new production of Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio. He tells Andrew Marr how this work combined the composer's keen interest in politics with his bold new symphonic style. But Beethoven was never happy with the finished opera, and redrafted it many times. Pappano also tells Andrew about the enormous - and inescapable - influence Beethoven had on later generations. Rembrandt was another artist who had an enormous influence on later generations. But a new exhibition at the Ashmolean in Oxford, curated by An Van Camp, shows the Dutch artist also redrafting and learning his craft. Young Rembrandt assembles drawings and paintings showing Rembrandt's astonishing rise, from unknown teenager to celebrity artist within a decade. Dame Mary Beard looks at a more pervasive artistic influence in her new BBC Two series, The Shock of the Nude. Beard shows how artists from the classical era to the pres...

41 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Artistic influence: Beethoven, Rembrandt and MeToo

Grayson Perry - the early years

The artist Grayson Perry turns to his formative years in a new exhibition of early works, The Pre-Therapy Years. He tells Amol Rajan about the ideas and influences that helped lay the foundations for his work, and about the emergence of his own identity as ‘the Transvestite Potter’. Hashi Mohamed has a very different story of success: he is now a barrister but arrived in Britain aged nine as a child refugee from Somalia. He warns that his own path is denied to the majority of people in Britain. Social mobility is a myth, he says, with power and privilege concentrated among the privately educated population. At just 26 Theresa Lola is already a prize-winning poet and Young People’s Laureate for London. Her first collection, In Search of Equilibrium, is an unflinching study of death and grieving. But she finds hope and solace in words, and believes in the power of poetry to bring about change. Photograph: Grayson Perry as Claire (detail), 1988 Matthew R Lewis Producer: Katy Hickman

42 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Grayson Perry - the early years

Puritans and God-given government

Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate in the mid-seventeenth century lasted a mere six years and was England’s sole experiment in republican government. The historian Paul Lay tells Andrew Marr how Cromwell forged both his foreign and domestic policy according to God’s will - including waging wars in the Americas. Protestant separatists are at the heart of Stephen Tomkins's recreation of the journey of the Mayflower, three decades before Cromwell’s rule. Escaping religious persecution, the Pilgrim Fathers built their version of a brave new world in America. In the 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower the USA has become a world superpower. Lindsay Newman from Chatham House looks at President Trump’s foreign policy decisions, especially in relation to Iran, and examines the political ideology that drives them. It is 70 years since the death of George Orwell. The academic Lisa Mullen explores the contemporary relevance of his writings on political and religious ideology, republic...

41 MINJAN 20
Comments
Puritans and God-given government

No work, rest and play

The economist Daniel Susskind tells Tom Sutcliffe that the threat of technological unemployment is real and imminent. In A World Without Work he considers the economic, political and social impact. He questions what happens to those for whom work affords meaning, purpose and direction. Journalist Anoosh Chakelian went behind the scenes at new magazines set up to rival the Big Issue, as she explored Britain's homelessness crisis. Like the Big Issue, these new journals enable rough sleepers to earn money rather than beg, and creates respectable employment opportunities. But Chakelian worries about a country with so many homeless people that it can create an industry around them. The psychologist Suzi Gage looks at the science behind recreational drugs – debunking common myths and misconceptions. She also looks at how and why they work on the mind and body, and the associations between drug use and mental health. A quarter of adults in England are taking potentially addictive prescrip...

41 MINJAN 13
Comments
No work, rest and play

A house and a home

Andrew Marr discusses the state of housing in Britain and what makes a house a home. Common wisdom states that owning a house makes you a Tory, but is this true? Political scientist Ben Ansell says that Thatcher was right to assume that Right to Buy would create more Conservative voters. But today we see the opposite: the people whose houses have risen most in value are also the most likely to support Labour. Ansell looks back at the 1909 British Liberal Party budget, when politicians tried to take on the landlords who get rich at our expense. The architect David Mikhail helped design a groundbreaking council house estate which won last year’s Stirling Prize, awarded to the best new building in the country. As the shortfall in social housing reaches crisis levels, his Goldsmith Street in Norwich was celebrated for creating sustainable and ambitious homes for people in need. The writer Jude Yawson looks back at the emergence of Grime, a music culture which emerged from the tower blo...

41 MINJAN 6
Comments
A house and a home

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey has been a place of worship for more than a thousand years, and holds a unique place in British – and world – history. In a special edition of Start the Week, recorded in the Abbey, the historian David Cannadine tells Andrew Marr how the building has been at the centre of religious and political revolutions and has maintained a special relationship with the monarchy and the royal court since the Tudor times. It was Henry VIII who converted the abbey into a cathedral, turning this Catholic monastery into a bastion of Anglicanism, before it became directly under the monarch’s control. The historian Lucy Worsley looks back to the 16th century to recreate how Christmas was celebrated during the age of Henry VIII. The Tudor Christmas pre-dates our traditional trees and stockings. But with its heady mix of revelry and religion she discovers the Tudor influences on the customs we still enjoy today. The former Bishop of Oxford Richard Harries explores the impact and pul...

41 MIN2019 DEC 23
Comments
Westminster Abbey

Numbers, nightmares and nanotech

The mathematician Hannah Fry reveals the hidden numbers, rules and patterns that secretly control our daily lives, in this year’s Royal Institution Christmas lectures. She tells Kirsty Wark how maths and algorithms have the power to reveal the truth - and to obscure it. The economist Tim Harford is in search of the truth as he unravels the events that led to real life disasters. In the podcast series Cautionary Tales, Harford asks what we can learn from catastrophes. He wonders why we are so often susceptible to cons. Science has revolutionised the way we live, and in the field of technology the ingenious invention of blockchain has been heralded as truly radical. As an incorruptible digital ledger of transactions, blockchain has uses far beyond crypto-currencies. The Financial Times journalist Izabella Kaminska looks back over the last decade to consider whether blockchain has lived up to its hype. The latest science promising to transform medicine and biology is nanotechnology. S...

42 MIN2019 DEC 16
Comments
Numbers, nightmares and nanotech

Living near water

Flooding remains a risk in many parts of the country this winter. Andrew Marr explores the impact of water on communities. The engineer David Lerner argues for the extension of the policy of daylighting – opening up rivers covered over by the Victorians. He says Britain’s towns and cities have a lot to learn from Zurich, which was an early pioneer in recovering streams from underground. The social and environmental benefits in Zurich are evident. Torrential rain in November forced many people across the country to leave their homes. The writer Edward Platt looks back at the effect of the record-breaking floods of 2013-14 and the toll it took on those caught up in the deluge. He talks to those responsible for trying to keep the water at bay, and asks what can be done to protect the vulnerable. The artist Tania Kovats’s work is preoccupied with our experience and understanding of water and the landscape. From collecting water from a hundred UK rivers to sculptural forms cast in wet...

43 MIN2019 DEC 9
Comments
Living near water

India past and present

Corporate rapacity and government collusion are at the centre of William Dalrymple’s history of the East India Company. He tells Amol Rajan how the company moved relentlessly from trade to conquest of India in the 18th century. But Dalrymple warns against the distortion of history both by those in Britain nostalgic for an imperial past, and Hindu nationalists in India. 2019 marked the centenary of the Amritsar massacre in which more than a thousand Indians were killed by British soldiers. Although the events leading up to the atrocity are now well documented, Anita Anand has uncovered the extraordinary story of revenge which led to the shooting in London of the man responsible for the massacre. In August this year the Indian government revoked Kashmir’s special status, sparking protests in the Muslim-majority valley. But why has this region - once a princely state, until the end of British rule - become such a flashpoint for violence? Professor Sumantra Bose explores the consequen...

42 MIN2019 DEC 2
Comments
India past and present
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