Archive On 4

A look back at programmes and recordings from the BBC archives.

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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2006123020150725 (BBC7)
20150726 (BBC7)

Adam Fowler tracks down the survivors of the 1957 Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

The Poles and the Planet

It is a story of courage, sacrifice, rivalries and friendships, but 50 years after the first triumphant crossing of Antarctica, the story of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition is nearly forgotten.

Set against the scientific frenzy of the International Geophysical Year of 1957 which saw the launch of the space age, Adam Fowler tracks down the survivors of the last great journey on Earth and asks what legacy they have left.

20101113

Archive on Four marks the 70th anniversary of a broadcasting phenomenon - the story of how Yorkshire man J.B.

Priestley became the voice of the nation during the darkest days of the Second World War.

Using original broadcasts, information stored in BBC files and interviews with his son Tom Priestley and step son Nicolas Hawkes, Archive on Four revisits these extraordinary broadcasts and asks why, in spite of their astonishing popularity, Priestley was taken off air.

Presented by Martin Wainwright.

Producers: Catherine Plane and Phil Pegum.

Archive on Four explores the hugely popular World War Two radio broadcasts of JB Priestley

Archive on Four marks the 70th anniversary of a broadcasting phenomenon - the story of how Yorkshire man J.B. Priestley became the voice of the nation during the darkest days of the Second World War.

2011061820110620

Although many Radio 4 listeners grew up tuning in to light orchestral music, it's now largely been forgotten.

Most of us will be still be familiar with at least one very famous piece of light music: 'By The Sleepy Lagoon' - better known as the theme tune to 'Desert Island Discs' and composed by Eric Coates.

When BBC Radio was much slimmer than it is today - made up of just the Home Service, the Light Programme and the Third Programme - listeners tuned in to hear a live concert for the Festival of Light Music.

it began in 1953 and was broadcast every June.

With the disappearance of the Light Programme in 1967 when it split into Radios 1 and 2, light music began to disappear from the airwaves.

Eventually its only home was a single slot 'Friday Night is Music Night'.

So why did such a popular style of music fade away?

The music journalist and broadcaster Paul Morley uses BBC archive to explore light music at its peak, including interviews with some of the major composers of British light music - Eric Coates, Ronald Binge and Ernest Tomlinson.

He traces its decline, and looks at its possible resurgence in 2011, with events like the 'Light Fantastic Festival'.

Paul travels to Preston to meet Ernest Tomlinson and takes a tour around the Light Music Society's remarkable archive of thousands of pieces of light music - all rescued by Tomlinson and his daughter Hilary after the BBC and music publishers threw it away.

Paul also meets Christopher Austin at the Royal Academy of Music and the young conductor John Wilson, who is passionate about light music: for him, this music is not about nostalgia but beautifully written miniatures of orchestral music.

Paul Morley explores the rise and mysterious fall of light orchestral music.

Although many Radio 4 listeners grew up tuning in to light orchestral music, it's now largely been forgotten. Most of us will be still be familiar with at least one very famous piece of light music: 'By The Sleepy Lagoon' - better known as the theme tune to 'Desert Island Discs' and composed by Eric Coates.

When BBC Radio was much slimmer than it is today - made up of just the Home Service, the Light Programme and the Third Programme - listeners tuned in to hear a live concert for the Festival of Light Music. it began in 1953 and was broadcast every June.

With the disappearance of the Light Programme in 1967 when it split into Radios 1 and 2, light music began to disappear from the airwaves. Eventually its only home was a single slot 'Friday Night is Music Night'. So why did such a popular style of music fade away?

The music journalist and broadcaster Paul Morley uses BBC archive to explore light music at its peak, including interviews with some of the major composers of British light music - Eric Coates, Ronald Binge and Ernest Tomlinson. He traces its decline, and looks at its possible resurgence in 2011, with events like the 'Light Fantastic Festival'.

20130907

Stephen Evans, the BBC's Berlin correspondent, tells the story of Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's report recorded aboard a Lancaster Bomber during a raid on Berlin.

In 1943 the RAF contacted the BBC with a dramatic offer: they were willing to send a two-man radio crew on a bombing raid over Berlin. The BBC chose Wynford Vaughan-Thomas for the mission. He accepted, knowing he might never return.

So on the night of 3rd September 1943, Vaughan-Thomas recorded for the BBC live from a Lancaster Bomber during a bombing raid over Berlin.

Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's experiences as a wartime reporter were remarkable; he was at Belsen and at the Normandy landings, reporting as it happened. The recording over Berlin shows his remarkable courage, literally under fire, and his description of the bombing and the views from the plane are rich indeed.

Vaughan-Thomas went on to become one of post-war Britain's most prominent media-intellectuals, a regular commentator and journalist, but those hours aboard the plane clearly remained a defining time in his life. Forty years later, interviewed by Parkinson, he called it "the most terrifying eight hours of my life. Berlin burning was like watching somebody throwing jewellery on black velvet - winking rubies, sparkling diamonds all coming up at you."

Stephen Evans puts Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's recordings in context. He looks at the experience on the ground in Berlin that night, reflects on the place of the broadcast in journalistic history, and dips into a lifetime of reflections from Vaughan-Thomas on a night which changed his life for ever.

20130914

Stephen Evans, the BBC's Berlin correspondent, tells the story of Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's report recorded aboard a Lancaster Bomber during a raid on Berlin.

In 1943 the RAF contacted the BBC with a dramatic offer: they were willing to send a two-man radio crew on a bombing raid over Berlin. The BBC chose Wynford Vaughan-Thomas for the mission. He accepted, knowing he might never return.

So on the night of 3rd September 1943, Vaughan-Thomas recorded for the BBC live from a Lancaster Bomber during a bombing raid over Berlin.

Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's experiences as a wartime reporter were remarkable; he was at Belsen and at the Normandy landings, reporting as it happened. The recording over Berlin shows his remarkable courage, literally under fire, and his description of the bombing and the views from the plane are rich indeed.

Vaughan-Thomas went on to become one of post-war Britain's most prominent media-intellectuals, a regular commentator and journalist, but those hours aboard the plane clearly remained a defining time in his life. Forty years later, interviewed by Parkinson, he called it "the most terrifying eight hours of my life. Berlin burning was like watching somebody throwing jewellery on black velvet - winking rubies, sparkling diamonds all coming up at you."

Stephen Evans puts Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's recordings in context. He looks at the experience on the ground in Berlin that night, reflects on the place of the broadcast in journalistic history, and dips into a lifetime of reflections from Vaughan-Thomas on a night which changed his life for ever.

Featuring Karin Finell, Max Hastings, Roger Moorhouse, Harold Panton, Jean Seaton, Dietmar Seuss and David Vaughan-Thomas.

Producer: Martin Williams.

20151107

20171230

Martha Kearney offers a fresh perspective on history as she opens up the National Archives and delves into the secret government files of 1992 - the year of Black Wednesday, Maastricht Ratification, the queen's "Annus Horribilis", and an election result that almost nobody saw coming.

John Major was still a relatively new fixture in Downing Street - but was already juggling the demands of an election campaign with deep divides in his own party over Europe. His papers from 1992 - including secret correspondence, minutes of top secret meetings and telephone calls, confidential policy advice, and the Prime Minister's own handwritten notes - reveal a story full of resonance with our current political climate.

Joining Martha to look through the papers are then Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, former Labour Lord Chancellor Charlie Falconer and the journalist John Sergeant.

Producer: Robert Nicholson
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

100 Years After Jack Johnson: Boxing And Black Male Identity2010062620100628

On 4th July 1910 Jack Johnson beat Jim Jeffries in the so-called fight of the century.

It was a landmark fight that cemented Johnson's right to call himself the first black heavyweight champion of the world, busting stereotypes of black men as inferior in both body and mind.

100 years on, Gary Younge explores what the archives tell us about four boxers who span the century - Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson.

How have they shaped, and been shaped by, our attitudes to black masculinity?

Joe Louis was the first black boxer to be given a shot at the heavyweight title after Jack Johnson.

We hear his iconic fight against German boxer Max Schmeling in 1938, which symbolised democracy vs facism and made Louis a national hero.

Now one of the best-loved sportsmen of all time, Gary explores why early in his career Muhammad Ali was one of the most hated men in the US.

We hear Ali on fighting form in an interview by David Frost in the run up to 1974's Rumble in the Jungle.

By the end of the 20th century Mike Tyson seemed to confirm fears that black men were violent and out of control.

How far was he in control of his public image? We hear the reaction to Tyson's infamous fight against Evander Holyfield in 1997, in which he bit off part of his opponent's ear.

Gary interprets the archive with the help of experts including Ali biographer Mike Marqusee, Joe Louis' son Joe Louis Barrow and Ellis Cashmore, author of Tyson: Nurture of the Beast.

Producer: Peggy Sutton

A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Gary Younge explores how boxers have shaped attitudes to black men over the past 100 years

18/06/201120110620

Paul Morley explores the rise and mysterious fall of light orchestral music.

1917: Eyewitness In Petrograd20170225

Emily Dicks visits St Petersburg to trace her grandfather's teenage memories of the excitement and fear of the 1917 Revolutions - as preserved on a never-previously-revealed tape.

This extraordinary recording - kept in family archives - describes the lives of ordinary people caught up in the political turmoil between the two Russian Revolutions of 1917.

Henry Dicks was the son of an Estonian-based Englishman, sent to school in Petrograd during the First World War. He recorded his memories in an interview with his son in 1967. The tape covers the period immediately after Rasputin's death and the fall of the Tsar, all the way through to the Bolshevik attack on the Provisional Government's Winter Palace in October 1917, which Henry saw first-hand.

Henry remembers the joy after the Tsar's fall when "the whole population seemed to be in the streets", servants became "much cheekier" and his schoolmasters shed their uniforms.

But then the Bolsheviks strengthened their power and Henry describes the unnerving feeling in metropolitan Petrograd that they were "getting away with it".

One October morning when, as he remembers, "the air was thick with foreboding", Henry watched the attack of the Winter Palace. Once the Bolsheviks had seized power, Henry describes "a kind of terror beginning" and he eventually fled via Finland, where he was marooned in a hotel amid a civil war...

With: Helen Rappaport, Stephen Lovell

Producer: Phil Tinline.

1964 - The Revolution That Nearly Wasn't20141011

Half a century on, Elinor Goodman tells the story of the election that changed the political course of the 1960s - but only just.

October 15th 1964: General Election day. It was a heady time - the Beatles had topped the charts all summer with A Hard Day's Night. And during the last days of campaigning, the Olympic Games in Tokyo were offering a welcome televisual distraction, with Mary Rand our gold-medal poster-girl all over the front and back pages as the polls opened.

For Britain's political leaders they were days of trading claims and counter-claims: in the blue corner, Tory grandee Alec Home - pronounced, aristocratically, as 'Hume' - the incumbent Prime Minister who'd two years previously had to renounce his peerage and fight a by-election in order to accept the premiership. Labour's leader was pipesmoking honest-john Northerner Harold Wilson, whose avuncular addressing of ordinary folk and champion of technology gave him for some a modern appeal in keeping with the age. The Liberals were led by Jo Grimond, statesmanlike and distinctly upper-middle class, whose party had just won a startling by-election. It was a fascinating fight.

Both Wilson and Home were relative newcomers: Macmillan's resignation had propelled Sir Alec, a charming, if diffident foreign-affairs specialist. into the limelight, where he often appeared out of touch with the concerns of ordinary voters. Wilson too had taken the top job unexpectedly when Labour's much loved and admired Hugh Gaitskell died unexpectedly in 1963. What with sex scandals, gaffes and the satirical bite of TW3 and Beyond the Fringe, it was quite a fight, and one Wilson was expected by many to cruise.

And yet, as the results poured in, it looked like it would be a dead heat...

Producer: Simon Elmes.

30/12/200620150725 (BBC7)
20150726 (BBC7)

Adam Fowler tracks down the survivors of the 1957 Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

The Poles and the Planet

It is a story of courage, sacrifice, rivalries and friendships, but 50 years after the first triumphant crossing of Antarctica, the story of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition is nearly forgotten.

Set against the scientific frenzy of the International Geophysical Year of 1957 which saw the launch of the space age, Adam Fowler tracks down the survivors of the last great journey on Earth and asks what legacy they have left.

40 Years In Europe: How Was It For You?20130105

January 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the UK joining the EEC. It was the culmination of a lifetime's ambition for Prime Minister Edward Heath and marked a turning point in the relationship between the British people and our continental neighbours.

In this quirky programme, one-time Europe correspondent John Sergeant asks a variety of people to assess how the subsequent four decades has impacted on their lives. Diplomat Sir Michael Jenkins, one of the first senior civil servants to serve in the new EEC, gives his candid take on what it was like to work in a totally different cultural environment in those early months.

Claire Mooney and her twin brother Danny from Manchester look back through the archives and reflect on why they voted differently in the 1975 EEC Referendum. Bill Newton-Dunn and Michael Welsh talk about their initial bewilderment at being among the first elected Euro MPs in 1979. There's discussion about how closer European involvement impacted on UK culture - people who upped sticks for a life on the Costa Blanca tell us why and Reggie Perrin creator David Nobbs explains how it even inspired him to write a sitcom.

Veteran foreign correspondent Ann Leslie reminisces about changes in our food habits and myths around EU regulations while psychologist Ronete Cohen, who now lives and works in England and Holland, reflects on how the Channel Tunnel changed her life. And as the debate over immigration controls continues, Archive on 4 goes to Lincolnshire to hear how the influx of Polish migrants has impacted on the town of Boston. The final verdict on the UK's role in Europe is left to a Greek, Italian, German and Spaniard over a coffee in Bonn.

Produced by Ashley Byrne

A Made in Manchester production for BBC Radio 4.

50 Years On: Rivers of Blood20180414

Amol Rajan reflects on Enoch Powell's 1968 Rivers of Blood speech and hears it in full.

A look back at programmes and recordings from the BBC archives

In April 1968, Enoch Powell made one of the most incendiary speeches in modern British politics. Ian McDiarmid reads the Rivers of Blood speech in its entirety - the first time it has been broadcast complete on British radio.

The BBC's Media Editor Amol Rajan reflects on the enduring influence and significance of the speech, which was delivered to local Conservative Party members in Birmingham just a few days ahead of the crucial second reading of the 1968 Race Relations Bill.

The text of the speech included observations on immigrants taken from Enoch Powell's Wolverhampton constituents, and ended with a reference to a moment in Virgil's Aeneid when the prophetess Sibyll predicts civil war in Italy with "the River Tiber foaming with much blood".

Only a short section of Powell's speech was actually recorded on the night but, for this programme, the full text is recreated by the actor Ian McDiarmid, who has played Enoch Powell on stage recently in the play What Shadows.

Producer: Nathan Gower
Executive Producer: David Prest
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

999 - Which Service Do You Require?20170624

Ian Sansom dials up the story of the 999 service, 80 years after it was introduced.

999 was the first emergency telephone number in the world when it was launched on June 30th, 1937. Within the first week, more than a thousand calls were made to the service with one burglar arrested less than five minutes after a member of the public had dialled 999. Impressive stuff. But there were teething problems...

In the early days, only those wealthy enough to own a telephone could hope to avail of the service. Exchange room operators complained of stress caused by the raucous buzzers which alerted them to 999 calls. Advancing technology connected with the system began to alter the relationship between public and police. Almost unbelievably in hindsight, the 999 service wasn't made fully available across the nation until 1976.

Exactly 80 years after it was introduced, Ian Sansom dials up the remarkable story of our three digit emergency number. Between rare archive, real life-or-death emergencies and interviews with call handlers on the front line, Ian takes a personal look at the evolution of 999 and asks what the future holds for this pioneering British institution.

Producer: Conor Garrett.

A Brief History Of Anger2015030720161210 (R4)

American satirist Joe Queenan follows up his Brief Histories of Irony and Blame with A Brief History of Anger - spats, tantrums and explosions from the archive. Good anger, bad anger, creative anger, and the occasional childish moment caught on microphone. With contributions from Christopher Hitchens, Conrad Black, Russell Crowe, Joan Rivers, Joan Bakewell, and Johnny Cash. Plus new interviews with John Sergeant, Natalie Haynes and Matthew Parris, and a running commentary of anger from the presenter himself.

" My kids make me angry. My job makes me angry. The producer makes me angry. Then there's my wife, other people's wives, other drivers, airports, and worst of all my football team... And then there are interviewers. Interviewers always make me angry."

The producer is Miles Warde.

A Brief History Of Blame2012090820121225
20170819 (BBC7)

Satirist Joe Queenan reveals that the search for someone to blame is always successful.

Blame the abstract, blame the real, blame the stars, blame the bankers, blame the mother-in-law, blame anyone but yourself - The American satirist Joe Queenan presents A Brief History of Blame, an archive opera in six acts featuring Margaret Thatcher, Niall Ferguson, Tom Wrigglesworth, Richard Nixon, Melvyn Bragg, the Archbishop of Canterbury, plus new interviews with Germaine Greer, John Sergeant and Charlie Campbell. Together they reveal that we are all now living in a babel of blame.

Queenan gives no nonsense answers to six headings, including How Blaming Began. There are explanations for the word scapegoat, discussion of the role of parents in messing things up, and a rare outing from Margaret Thatcher in a performance of Yes Minister which she wrote herself. "I want you to abolish economists, " she demands. "Don't worry if it goes wrong - I'll get the blame, I always do."

"My qualifications for presenting this programme are impeccable," says Queenan. "My father was an alcoholic, my mother an emotionally distant manic depressive. Together we grew up in a charm free housing project in Philadelphia. So don't whine to me about how tough life is."

The producer is Miles Warde, who previously collaborated with Joe Queenan on A Brief History of Irony and An American's Guide to Failure.

Blame the abstract, blame the real, blame the stars, blame the bankers, blame the mother-in-law, blame anyone but yourself....

The American satirist Joe Queenan presents A Brief History of Blame, an archive opera in six acts featuring Margaret Thatcher, Niall Ferguson, Tom Wrigglesworth, Richard Nixon, Melvyn Bragg, the Archbishop of Canterbury, plus new interviews with Germaine Greer, John Sergeant and Charlie Campbell. Together they reveal that we are all now living in a babel of blame.

Queenan gives no nonsense answers to six headings, including How Blaming Began. There are explanations for the word scapegoat, discussion of the role of parents in messing things up, and a rare outing from Margaret Thatcher in a performance of Yes Minister which she wrote herself. "I want you to abolish economists, " she demands. "Don't worry if it goes wrong - I'll get the blame, I always do."

"My qualifications for presenting this programme are impeccable," says Queenan. "My father was an alcoholic, my mother an emotionally distant manic depressive. Together we grew up in a charm free housing project in Philadelphia. So don't whine to me about how tough life is."

The producer is Miles Warde, who previously collaborated with Joe Queenan on A Brief History of Irony and An American's Guide to Failure.

A Brief History Of Cunning20180210

American satirist Joe Queenan explores cunning.

How cunning is Donald Trump?

In Queenan on Cunning, the satirist Joe Queenan explores a word rarely associated with the current President of the USA.

"From Odysseus to Bismarck, via Brer Rabbit and Machiavelli's The Prince, there's a fine tradition of tricksters and hucksters, but where does the Donald fit in the mix?
You need patience, intelligence, forward planning - some of these are Trump-like qualities. Stress on the some. But he's by no means a modern day Odysseus. Not much of a sailor."

With contributions from Adam MacQueen, author of The Lies of the Land; Edith Hall, who wrote a cultural history of Homer's Odyssey; and Tibor Fischer, whose forthcoming novel is called How to Rule the World.

Plus John Sergeant, Kathy Lette, Richard Nixon, Alistair McAlpine, Laura Barton... and a campaigning American president cross-faded with a much loved song from The Jungle Book.

The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.

A Brief History Of Disobedience20160305

"Oh my goodness, look at that sign over there. Keep Off The Grass. Makes me wonder who put it there. Makes me wonder why I should keep off the grass. And it makes me want to go on the grass!"

American satirist Joe Queenan presents A Brief History of Disobedience, the follow up to his programmes on Blame, Shame, Anger and Irony. He travels in time from the Old Testament to Tarrytown, his home in suburban New York. He aims to discover the importance of not doing what we are told. So let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.

With notable contributions from the archive - Gandhi, the Suffragettes, the Greenham Common Peace protestors. Our Heroes of Disobedience include Martin Luther, Geronimo, Woody Guthrie and The Doors. Plus Matthew Parris on Margaret Thatcher, Bill Finnegan on his barbarian days as a surfer and Karen Moline on writing dirty books. And finally, helpful hints about how to be usefully disobedient in everyday life.

Joe Queenan is an Emmy award winning broadcaster and writer.

The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.

A Brief History Of Failure20170211

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal," said Winston Churchill. The American satirist Joe Queenan thinks he might be wrong. In this archive hour follow up to his previous programmes on Blame, Shame, Anger and Irony, Queenan rails against the very idea of failure. His sharpest attack is reserved for the supposed romance of defeat. From Braveheart in Scotland via the heretic Cathars in France to the pretend soldiers in Virginia still re-enacting the American Civil War, Queenan explores whether there may be something noble about losing a war.

"I'm in the south, at one of the many re-enactment battles of the American civil war that go on every year. Thousands have turned up to re-fight a war they lost. We don't do this in the north - it would be odd, and divisive, perhaps even inflammatory. But the memories of a conflict that took place over 150 years down here - they don't go away."

This is the first of two archive programmes from Joe Queenan, with A Brief History of Lust coming next week.

Failure features archive contributions from classics professor Edith Hall; historian Geoffrey Regan; writer Armando Iannucci; former political correspondent and Strictly star John Sergeant; plus music from Laura Marling, Viv Albertine of the Slits and rock and roll's greatest failure, John Otway.

The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.

A Brief History Of Irony2013092820170429 (BBC7)
20170430 (BBC7)
20150110 (R4)

"What is irony ? Why do we need it ? Does it have any socially redeeming features whatsoever, or is it merely nasty ?"

Ian Hislop, John Sergeant, Kathy Lette, Barry Cryer and Madonna join the American satirist Joe Queenan in a search for the meaning and purpose of irony - or saying one thing to mean something else. Juvenal, Swift and John Lennon all find a place in the spotlight, as do the bible, Oliver Cromwell and World War One.

"Some might think it ironic that the BBC has hired an American presenter for this show," says the presenter, "but the latest chapter in irony's history was written in the United States." The reference is to the 2001 destruction of the Twin Towers, and the proclamation that the Age of Irony was dead. "Shattered Nation Yearns to Care About Stupid Bullshit Again," replied the Onion newspaper. We have an interview with the editor about the dangers of stepping into the irony-free zone.

The programme also features Armando Iannucci, Kurt Anderson, Brenda Maddox, Dean Martin, Bert Kaempfert and The Mike Flowers Pops.

The producer is Miles Warde.

Satirist Joe Queenan charts the rise and fall of the 'nudge nudge wink wink' epidemic.

"What is irony ? Why do we need it ? Does it have any socially redeeming features whatsoever, or is it merely nasty ?"

Ian Hislop, John Sergeant, Kathy Lette, Barry Cryer and Madonna join the American satirist Joe Queenan in a search for the meaning and purpose of irony - or saying one thing to mean something else. Juvenal, Swift and John Lennon all find a place in the spotlight, as do the bible, Oliver Cromwell and World War One.

"Some might think it ironic that the BBC has hired an American presenter for this show," says the presenter, "but the latest chapter in irony's history was written in the United States." The reference is to the 2001 destruction of the Twin Towers, and the proclamation that the Age of Irony was dead. "Shattered Nation Yearns to Care About Stupid Bullshit Again," replied the Onion newspaper. We have an interview with the editor about the dangers of stepping into the irony-free zone.

The programme also features Armando Iannucci, Kurt Anderson, Brenda Maddox, Dean Martin, Bert Kaempfert and The Mike Flowers Pops.

The producer is Miles Warde.

A Brief History Of Lust20170218

Does what makes the heart beat faster really make the world go round? Oh yes. Welcome to a new history of lust presented by the American satirist Joe Queenan. From Helen and Paris of Troy to Bill and Monica via Rasputin, Edwina Currie and John Major, this is a tale of life as a bunga bunga bacchanal.

With contributions from historian Suzannah Lipscomb, classicist Edith Hall, plus Agnes Poirier, Joan Bakewell (of course), Caitlin Moran and Richard Herring on Rasputin; a specially composed new poem on lust from Elvis McGonagall; and music from Prince, T Rex, Bessie Smith and Cole Porter.

The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.

A Brief History Of Shame20150627

American satirist Joe Queenan is joined by a stellar cast including Tiger Woods, Gordon Brown and the Duchess of York for Archive on 4's A Brief History of Shame. Queenan tackles key issues - what is shame for? The art of the apology; and then there's the French - before building to a surprising and fiery conclusion.

"When you do something wrong and then you admit that you did it, and people keep after you... that's when society becomes almost pathological. I'm never willing to give the public the benefit of the doubt - and this insane epidemic of shame - both the trivial, and the miserable, the deadly, even the murderous - it's got to be reined in."

Featuring archive of Bill Clinton, Jane Garvey, John Prescott, Jon Ronson, Tim Stanley of the Daily Telegraph, and Sir Peter Viggers, the 'duck house man'; plus new interviews with classics professor Edith Hall and novelist Kathy Lette, and music by Fats Domino, Bessie Smith and Question Mark and The Mysterians.

Shame follows Joe Queenan's previous programmes on Anger, Irony and Blame.

The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.

A Brief History Of The Truth20170722

The truth is like a vegetable your mother makes you eat, nourishing but it tastes terrible

It's time to travel down the rabbit hole of truth as American satirist Joe Queenan explores a murky world of fake news, prejudice and alternative facts.
"Recent politics have shown that the truth is no fun," he explains. "It's like a vegetable your mother makes you eat. Yes it may be nourishing, but it tastes terrible."
With archive contributions from Donald Trump, Doris Lessing, Jeremy Corbyn, Peter Mandelson and Theresa May; plus new interviews with Mark Borkowski, Edith Hall and Julian Baggini, author of a Short History of Truth.
This is Joe Queenan's follow up to previous editions on Blame, Shame, Irony and Anger.

The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.

A Dog's Life2009121920091221

To mark the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, BBC Disability Affairs Correspondent Peter White examines the changing role of the working dog, from the early 1900s to their role in today's society, using extensive and sometimes previously unbroadcast archive.

Perennially 'man's best friend', dogs