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Start the Week

BBC Radio 4

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Followers
493
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Start the Week

Start the Week

BBC Radio 4

107
Followers
493
Plays
OVERVIEWEPISODESYOU MAY ALSO LIKE

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Weekly discussion programme, setting the cultural agenda every Monday

Latest Episodes

Rebuilding conservatism in changing times

Nick Timothy was once described as the ‘toxic’ power behind Theresa May’s early leadership. He talks to Amol Rajan about his experience in frontline government. In his new book, Remaking One Nation, he calls for the rebuilding of a more inclusive conservatism and the rejection of both extreme economic and cultural liberalism. As the Covid-19 pandemic forces the government to take more extreme measures, Timothy argues for a new social contract between the state, big companies and local communities. In recent decades politicians have had to deal with what appears to be an extreme pace of change – in new technology, global markets and increased automation. The Great Acceleration, as it’s been called, has left many communities feeling left behind. But in his forthcoming book, Slowdown, Professor Danny Dorling argues that there's actually been a widespread check on growth and speed of change. He sees this as a moment of promise and a move toward stability. But that stability may be short-lived as the fall out from the coronavirus hits individuals, communities and businesses hard. Producer: Katy Hickman

41 MIN5 d ago
Comments
Rebuilding conservatism in changing times

Famous and Infamous

We think of our era as the age of celebrity. Billions of people follow the daily antics of the Kardashian family or the latest pop superstar. But celebrity obsession is centuries old, argues Horrible Histories writer Greg Jenner. He tells Tom Sutcliffe why we are captivated by famous - and infamous - figures, from the scandalous Lord Byron to the unwitting civilians who are hounded by paparazzi today. The Italian Renaissance gave us the world's most famous images: the Mona Lisa, Botticelli's Venus and Michelangelo's David. But Catherine Fletcher argues that this era was far stranger, darker and more violent than we may realise. The real Mona Lisa was married to a slave-trader, and Leonardo da Vinci was revered for his weapon designs. The artist Aubrey Beardsley shocked and delighted Victorian London with his drawings. A new exhibition at the Tate Britain, curated by Caroline Corbeau-Parsons, shows the range of Beardsley's black-and-white images. Some are magical, humorous, some sexu...

41 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Famous and Infamous

Cultural icons from Shakespeare to Superman

Shakespeare has always been central to the American experience, argues the leading scholar James Shapiro. He tells Tom Sutcliffe how Shakespeare has been invoked – and at times weaponised – at pivotal moments in the history of America, from Revolutionary times to today’s divisionary politics. The film critic Mark Kermode celebrates another global phenomenon: cinematic superheroes. The genre stretches back more than eight decades and taps deeply into timeless themes and storytelling traditions. Kermode also shows how spy-heroes such as Bond have shaped our political identity. For the poet Don Paterson, the classic television series The Twilight Zone was the starting point for his latest collection. Elements of horror, science fiction and fantasy provide a backdrop to his exploration of the mid-life crisis. The political theorist Teresa Bejan returns to the world of Shakespeare to explore what appears to be the most modern of dilemmas: Twitter spats and put-downs. Seventeenth-centu...

42 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Cultural icons from Shakespeare to Superman

Morality, money and power

Morality has been outsourced to the markets and the state, argues the former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks. He tells Andrew Marr that society has become deeply divided, and that today’s challenges will never be met until we remember the importance of personal morality and responsibility. But this does not mean self-care, self-love and selfies - instead Sacks says we should focus on communities and caring for others. For a decade Mervyn King was the most influential banker in Britain as Head of the Bank of England. In 2008 he oversaw the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression. In his new book, King looks back at his career, exploring the difference between risk and uncertainty. He suggests ways to make decisions for an unknowable future. If you wanted a decision from David Cameron during his time as Prime Minister you would have had to go through ‘the gatekeeper’, Kate Fall. In her memoir of her time at the centre of political power, Fall recalls the highs an...

42 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Morality, money and power

Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel is the two-time winner of the Man Booker prize. In a special edition of Start the Week with Andrew Marr, she discusses the final book in her Cromwell trilogy. The Mirror and The Light shows 16th-century England beset by rebellion at home, traitors abroad and Henry VIII still desperate for a male heir. In the centre sits Thomas Cromwell, a man who came from nowhere and has climbed to the very heights of power. His vision is an England of the future, but it is the past and the present mood of the King that will prove his downfall. Reader: Ben Miles Photograph: Jeff Overs Producer: Katy Hickman

42 MINMAR 2
Comments
Hilary Mantel

Leila Slimani on Sexual Politics

Leila Slimani is the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt. From stories of poverty, exploitation and sexual addiction she now turns her attention to sexual politics within a deeply conservative culture. She tells Amol Rajan why she wanted to give voice to young Moroccan women suffocating under the strictures of a society which allowed them only two roles: virgin or wife. The writer Olivia Fane questions whether liberal society is really that liberating. In ‘Why Sex Doesn’t Matter’ she argues that women have been sold the idea of sexual freedom, but that this has curtailed the way people think about love and desire. The journalist Sally Howard asks why, after forty years of feminism, women still do the majority of the housework. While straight British women are found to put in 12 more days of household chores than their male partners, in the US young men are now twice as likely as their fathers to think a woman’s place is in the...

41 MINFEB 24
Comments
Leila Slimani on Sexual Politics

Love of home

Dan Jackson celebrates the distinctiveness of north-east England. He tells Andrew Marr how centuries of border warfare and dangerous industry has forged a unique people in Northumberland. With recent changes in political allegiance in towns and countryside across the region, Jackson questions whether the area can reassert itself after decades of industrial decline, indifference from the south, and resurgence north of the border. The economist Colin Mayer is looking at how to harness the power of patriotism and regional pride to revitalise areas like the North East. He sees a much greater role for the private sector in fostering community cohesion. But patriotism can be a dangerous force in disputed and diverse areas. Kapka Kassabova travels to two of the world’s most ancient lakes set in the borderlands of North Macedonia, Albania and Greece. This ancient meeting place in the southern Balkans has its own unique history of people living in harmony, and then erupting into catastrophi...

42 MINFEB 17
Comments
Love of home

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...

41 MINFEB 10
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 MINFEB 3
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 MINJAN 27
Comments
Grayson Perry - the early years

Latest Episodes

Rebuilding conservatism in changing times

Nick Timothy was once described as the ‘toxic’ power behind Theresa May’s early leadership. He talks to Amol Rajan about his experience in frontline government. In his new book, Remaking One Nation, he calls for the rebuilding of a more inclusive conservatism and the rejection of both extreme economic and cultural liberalism. As the Covid-19 pandemic forces the government to take more extreme measures, Timothy argues for a new social contract between the state, big companies and local communities. In recent decades politicians have had to deal with what appears to be an extreme pace of change – in new technology, global markets and increased automation. The Great Acceleration, as it’s been called, has left many communities feeling left behind. But in his forthcoming book, Slowdown, Professor Danny Dorling argues that there's actually been a widespread check on growth and speed of change. He sees this as a moment of promise and a move toward stability. But that stability may be short-lived as the fall out from the coronavirus hits individuals, communities and businesses hard. Producer: Katy Hickman

41 MIN5 d ago
Comments
Rebuilding conservatism in changing times

Famous and Infamous

We think of our era as the age of celebrity. Billions of people follow the daily antics of the Kardashian family or the latest pop superstar. But celebrity obsession is centuries old, argues Horrible Histories writer Greg Jenner. He tells Tom Sutcliffe why we are captivated by famous - and infamous - figures, from the scandalous Lord Byron to the unwitting civilians who are hounded by paparazzi today. The Italian Renaissance gave us the world's most famous images: the Mona Lisa, Botticelli's Venus and Michelangelo's David. But Catherine Fletcher argues that this era was far stranger, darker and more violent than we may realise. The real Mona Lisa was married to a slave-trader, and Leonardo da Vinci was revered for his weapon designs. The artist Aubrey Beardsley shocked and delighted Victorian London with his drawings. A new exhibition at the Tate Britain, curated by Caroline Corbeau-Parsons, shows the range of Beardsley's black-and-white images. Some are magical, humorous, some sexu...

41 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Famous and Infamous

Cultural icons from Shakespeare to Superman

Shakespeare has always been central to the American experience, argues the leading scholar James Shapiro. He tells Tom Sutcliffe how Shakespeare has been invoked – and at times weaponised – at pivotal moments in the history of America, from Revolutionary times to today’s divisionary politics. The film critic Mark Kermode celebrates another global phenomenon: cinematic superheroes. The genre stretches back more than eight decades and taps deeply into timeless themes and storytelling traditions. Kermode also shows how spy-heroes such as Bond have shaped our political identity. For the poet Don Paterson, the classic television series The Twilight Zone was the starting point for his latest collection. Elements of horror, science fiction and fantasy provide a backdrop to his exploration of the mid-life crisis. The political theorist Teresa Bejan returns to the world of Shakespeare to explore what appears to be the most modern of dilemmas: Twitter spats and put-downs. Seventeenth-centu...

42 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Cultural icons from Shakespeare to Superman

Morality, money and power

Morality has been outsourced to the markets and the state, argues the former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks. He tells Andrew Marr that society has become deeply divided, and that today’s challenges will never be met until we remember the importance of personal morality and responsibility. But this does not mean self-care, self-love and selfies - instead Sacks says we should focus on communities and caring for others. For a decade Mervyn King was the most influential banker in Britain as Head of the Bank of England. In 2008 he oversaw the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression. In his new book, King looks back at his career, exploring the difference between risk and uncertainty. He suggests ways to make decisions for an unknowable future. If you wanted a decision from David Cameron during his time as Prime Minister you would have had to go through ‘the gatekeeper’, Kate Fall. In her memoir of her time at the centre of political power, Fall recalls the highs an...

42 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Morality, money and power

Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel is the two-time winner of the Man Booker prize. In a special edition of Start the Week with Andrew Marr, she discusses the final book in her Cromwell trilogy. The Mirror and The Light shows 16th-century England beset by rebellion at home, traitors abroad and Henry VIII still desperate for a male heir. In the centre sits Thomas Cromwell, a man who came from nowhere and has climbed to the very heights of power. His vision is an England of the future, but it is the past and the present mood of the King that will prove his downfall. Reader: Ben Miles Photograph: Jeff Overs Producer: Katy Hickman

42 MINMAR 2
Comments
Hilary Mantel

Leila Slimani on Sexual Politics

Leila Slimani is the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt. From stories of poverty, exploitation and sexual addiction she now turns her attention to sexual politics within a deeply conservative culture. She tells Amol Rajan why she wanted to give voice to young Moroccan women suffocating under the strictures of a society which allowed them only two roles: virgin or wife. The writer Olivia Fane questions whether liberal society is really that liberating. In ‘Why Sex Doesn’t Matter’ she argues that women have been sold the idea of sexual freedom, but that this has curtailed the way people think about love and desire. The journalist Sally Howard asks why, after forty years of feminism, women still do the majority of the housework. While straight British women are found to put in 12 more days of household chores than their male partners, in the US young men are now twice as likely as their fathers to think a woman’s place is in the...

41 MINFEB 24
Comments
Leila Slimani on Sexual Politics

Love of home

Dan Jackson celebrates the distinctiveness of north-east England. He tells Andrew Marr how centuries of border warfare and dangerous industry has forged a unique people in Northumberland. With recent changes in political allegiance in towns and countryside across the region, Jackson questions whether the area can reassert itself after decades of industrial decline, indifference from the south, and resurgence north of the border. The economist Colin Mayer is looking at how to harness the power of patriotism and regional pride to revitalise areas like the North East. He sees a much greater role for the private sector in fostering community cohesion. But patriotism can be a dangerous force in disputed and diverse areas. Kapka Kassabova travels to two of the world’s most ancient lakes set in the borderlands of North Macedonia, Albania and Greece. This ancient meeting place in the southern Balkans has its own unique history of people living in harmony, and then erupting into catastrophi...

42 MINFEB 17
Comments
Love of home

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...

41 MINFEB 10
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 MINFEB 3
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 MINJAN 27
Comments
Grayson Perry - the early years
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