Archive On 4

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

TitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
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

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.

20130316

Twenty years ago, Charles Wheeler and David Taylor, his Washington based producer, were told that Richard Nixon had secretly sabotaged the Vietnamese peace talks in the autumn of 1968, to continue the war and ultimately strengthen his chances of claiming the presidency. It was an act of political espionage that cost thousands of American lives.

Back in 1994, Wheeler and Taylor conducted their own investigation, tracking down those involved to piece the story together. Then they waited for the classified material to be released to confirm one of the greatest acts of political subterfuge in American history.

Charles Wheeler died in 2008, before the release of key White House tapes relating to the affair. Now, using these newly released recordings, as well as many of the interviews they recorded at the time, David Taylor pieces together this intriguing story.

On a White House tape, secretly recorded on November 2nd 1968, LBJ denounces Richard Nixon as a traitor, a man with blood on his hands. His Secretary of Defence, Clark Clifford, tells Johnson the candidate's actions threaten American democracy. Johnson fears the country is too fragile to learn the truth about the Republican candidate's exploits and remained silent about the affair until his death in 1973.

Producer: David Prest

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

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

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

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.

A Brief History Of Blame2012090820121225

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.

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 Irony2013092820150110 (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.

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 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 are also now man's best colleague.

From guide dogs to guard dogs, hearing dogs to healing dogs, Peter examines the ways in which we have become so dependent on canines.

Over the years we have progressed from guide dogs to dual purpose dogs, to dogs that can detect imminent epileptic fits, smuggled drugs and explosive devices - even dogs that can do your washing.

The programme features a mix of historical material, new interviews and previously untransmitted archive of the trainers, the owners and those that place their lives in the paws of their dogs.

A Girl's Own Story20141115

The history of youth culture, whether described by the mainstream press, academia or in films and novels, has most often been written by middle aged men and focused on the experience of young men. Young women and teenage girls typically have to be satisfied with walk on parts as the love interest for the main male protagonists, or as passive consumers of pop culture, or as possible victims of the latest media scare story. Teenage boys who become part of subcultures - whether mods, teddy boys, rockers or ravers - have had a very visible presence both in the streets and on the front pages; by comparison girls have remained largely unseen and unheard. Now, however, the internet has created a revolution in the place of young women in our culture, granting millions of them the chance to represent themselves to the world in all sorts of ways that Ruby Tandoh argues are both tremendously exciting and profoundly empowering. She'll look back at the development of the place of girls in youth culture over the decades, examining the importance of the private space of the bedroom in providing a crucible in which identities are actively formed, and find out about those young women in movements like punk and Riot Grrrl who blazed a trail for today's girls as they take the reins of cultural production through their vlogs, blogs and zines. Most importantly Ruby will meet some of those at the forefront of the current revolution describing the success of their various online projects, whether in fashion, photography, literature, lifestyle or politics - and talk with ordinary girls to hear first hand accounts of lives lived as young women today.

NB

Interviewees include Fabiola Ching, 17 year old editor at Coalition zine; Gabi from GabiFresh.com; Eleanor Hardwick, staff photographer at Rookie Mag; sixth form girls at a Coventry school; Pauline Black, lead singer of The Selecter, and former Riot Grrrl Olivia Laing. Archive dates back to the 1920s and comes up to date with more recent interviews featuring Caitlin Moran and Beth Reekles, whose secured a major publishing deal after her novel 'The Kissing Booth' received over 19 million reads.

A Guide To The Modern Snob20160604

It's 170 years since William Makepeace Thackeray wrote his gazetteer of early Victorian social life, The Book of Snobs. Most of our views on snobbery come from this single text. Now, writer DJ Taylor wants to update this user's guide to the snob for the 21st century. He is joined in his search for the modern snob by snobs and snob observers from all walks of life, as well as by voices from the archive.

From the Raj to reality TV, from Westminster to the gentlemen's outfitters of Savile Row, Taylor argues that, at bottom, most of us are snobs and that snobbery is an essential part of the face we offer to the world.

Comedian Al Murray explores the role of snobbery as a comedic device, from Fawlty Towers to his own Pub Landlord. Jess Phillips MP reveals the snobberies of Parliament - and says we would all benefit if the Palace of Westminster was mothballed and replaced with a more up-to-date institution. And, with broadcaster and self-professed beer snob Hardeep Singh Kohli, Taylor asks why more and more people are using snobbery as a marker of identity, a badge of pride.

Produced by Hannah Marshall

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.

A History Of The N-word20140621

There are some words in English that are so controversial that they are shortened to a single letter lest they cause offence. Perhaps the most inflammatory is the N-word. The proxy barely disguises the racial insult, "nigger", which has topped lists of ugly and hateful words since it was first uttered in the seventeenth century. It has regularly wounded black people, its target, down the ages. When, for instance, the African American boxer, Muhammad Ali, was asked why he resisted the draft in the Vietnam War, he is alleged to have said: "No Vietnamese ever called me nigger."

Ellah Allfrey looks at its evolution from its origins as a mispronunciation of the Spanish "negro" in the 17th century. She illuminates how and why the capitalised "Negro" became the more acceptable version of the word in the 1920s (the landmark adoption of Negro by the New York Times was in 1930); through to the subsequent re-appropriation of the N word in rap and hip-hop culture. But even when coming from the mouths of black people the N word continues to cause offence. There have been calls for the word to be banned. But is this possible or desirable?

A Laureate's Legacy - The Poetry Archive2009051620090518
bd=20091225 (r4)

b00kc071Andrew Motion explores and tells the story of the proudest legacy of his time as Poet Laureate, The Poetry Archive - hundreds of poems, read by their authors and all available online, free to everyone.

Motion's stint as Poet Laureate ended with predictable discussions about his successor and what he did or didn't do.

But the lasting legacy of his laureateship and the great achievement of his tenure is his creation, with sound producer Richard Carrington, of the remarkable online Poetry Archive, begun in 1999 and growing.

It includes contemporary poets reading their work, including Seamus Heaney, UA Fanthorpe and Jackie Kay and historic recordings by poets including Hilaire Belloc, Siegfried Sassoon, WB Yeats and even Tennyson and Browning.

As well as the poems there are sections for children and teachers, interviews with poets, poets in residence and useful information about genres, forms and metres.

If you want to know what an anapaest is, or a pantoum, the Poetry Archive can help.

Motion and Carrington talk about why they created the archive, and state that there is more to it than simply preserving poets reading their work.

Motion develops his theme that poetry is primarily an aural art, and what this reveals.

The poet's voice is fundamental: the windswept moor is in the voice of Ted Hughes; Charles Causley's Cornish accent and dialect are important.

The sound of a poem is an aspect of its meaning.

At the recording session when Carol Ann Duffy reads her book Rapture for the archive, Richard Carrington speaks about his role: not to coax a performance so much as to help the poets to be themselves.

Andrew Motion and Richard Carrington lead us around the archive, playing gems that we might otherwise have missed.

They talk, too, about what is missing, and appeal to people who might have recordings.

For example, they do not know how Thomas Hardy, AE Housman and DH Lawrence sounded because as far as we know they never made recordings.

But they might have, and one day they might turn up.

Andrew Motion tells the story of the proudest legacy of his time as Poet Laureate.

Andrew Motion explores and tells the story of the proudest legacy of his time as Poet Laureate, The Poetry Archive - hundreds of poems, read by their authors and all available online, free to everyone.

Motion began the Archive in 1999 with sound producer Richard Carrington, and it is still growing in size.

A Mystery In The Village2011021220110214
A Night To Remember2010041720100419

Election nights have always been full of high drama but it wasn't until 1950 that we began to see in all its brutal glory, exactly what effect our verdict can really have on our politicians.

60 years ago, the BBC tentatively embarked upon its very first televised coverage of British General Election results.

It helped to shine a light on the personalities of the powerful and made major stars of some quite unlikely political anoraks, academics and journalists.

Political commentator Anthony Howard reflects on the highs and lows of election nights over the years as he replays some magic moments and finds out from some of the major players what it was like to be at the centre of history in the making.

Archive of legendary presenters like Richard Dimbleby, Robin Day and Alistair Burnett is mixed with classic excerpts of some of the great political characters of election nights past.

Anthony Howard himself has been appearing on TV election night specials for more than four decades and he reflects on his first appearance alongside a very young Nigel Lawson (then a journalist himself) in 1964.

A Night to Remember looks at how each election would bring ever more dramatic theme tunes and more and more sophisticated graphics.

Peter Snow looks at how the swingometer became a regular feature while Sue Lawley reveals how she was once accused of stealing it!

And then there's the cock ups and quirky moments, from Richard Dimbleby being forced to prove he's not wearing pyjamas to the break in proceedings in the mid 60s for the all-male BBC team to admire the young ladies in the studio.

Anthony Howard celebrates 60 years of election results broadcasting on TV.

A Strong Song Tows Us - Another History Of English Poetry * *2009022820090302

Lee Hall, writer of Billy Elliot and The Pitmen Painters, uncovers a hidden history of English poetry.

Stretching back to the Dark Ages and emerging in 1960s Newcastle, Lee reveals an alternative tradition of English poetry as the preserve of ordinary working people.

Sunderland cork cutters, shipyard workers and pit men encounter Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg and Ezra Pound.

And how a meeting between a 16-year-old schoolboy and one of the great modernists of English literature, Basil Bunting, contributed to the flowering of the north east as an international destination for the whole Beatnik generation.

Lee Hall discovers an alternative poetry tradition as the preserve of ordinary people.

A Sympathetic Eye20151114

Welcome to the Sixties and the earliest days of a new television channel, BBC2, determined to explore the ordinary and extraordinary fringes of a rapidly changing society.

With its new documentary strand Man Alive, it set out to bring "human affairs, not current affairs" to our TV sets, with all the candour and emotion that statement promised.

In this programme Simon Farquhar examines how television, social hierarchies and norms were rapidly evolving in front of our eyes.

As the generation gap yawned, class divisions became blurred, traditional relations between men and women were challenged, and questions were asked about attitudes to sex and sexuality, Man Alive documented it all with a sympathetic eye and its trademark question: How do you feel?

Contributors include Sir David Attenborough, Dame Esther Rantzen, Twiggy, David McGillivray, Vivienne Barton and Dr Jill Singer.

Producer: Adam Bowen.

A Tibetan Odyssey: 50 Years In Exile * *2009030720090309

On the 50th anniversary of the 1959 uprising in Tibet, Isabel Hilton hears the stories of Tibetan communities in exile.

She speaks to the Dalai Lama, as well as refugees in India and Britain, who recount their personal tales and discuss their hopes for the future.

Isabel reflects on the journey made by the Dalai Lama's followers over the last 50 years and considers the challenges for these displaced people as they strive to preserve their culture and regain their autonomy.

Isabel Hilton hears the stories of Tibetan communities in exile.

A Tribute To Robert Robinson2011082020110831
20140920 (BBC7)
20140921 (BBC7)
20160416 (BBC7)
20160417 (BBC7)

We all know Robert Robinson as the chairman of such broadcasting classics as Ask the Family and Brain of Britain but in a career spanning many decades, he also made travel programmes, Points of View, the Today programme and Stop the Week which ran on Radio 4 from 1974 to 1992. In Archive on 4: A Tribute to Robert Robinson, Laurie Taylor takes a look at the life and work of one of Britain's broadcasting legends in the company of some of the former contributors to Stop the Week; Ann Leslie, Matthew Parris, Sarah Harrison and Nick Tucker. There are also contributions from Will Wyatt, Victor Lewis-Smith and Hunter Davis and a wealth of archive that reveals a complex man, a consummate wordsmith and one of the first TV celebrities.

Laurie Taylor takes a look at the life and work of one of Britain's broadcasting legends.

We all know Robert Robinson as the chairman of such broadcasting classics as Ask the Family and Brain of Britain but in a career spanning many decades, he also made travel programmes, Points of View, the Today programme and Stop the Week which ran on Radio 4 from 1974 to 1992.

In Archive on 4: A Tribute to Robert Robinson, Laurie Taylor takes a look at the life and work of one of Britain's broadcasting legends in the company of some of the former contributors to Stop the Week; Ann Leslie, Matthew Parris, Sarah Harrison and Nick Tucker.

There are also contributions from Will Wyatt, Victor Lewis-Smith and Hunter Davis and a wealth of archive that reveals a complex man, a consummate wordsmith and one of the first TV celebrities.

A Working-class Tory Is Something To Be2010100220101004

David Davis MP delves into the BBC sound archive to explore the history of a crucial political group: the working-class Tories.

Ever since British mass democracy began, the working-class vote has played a crucial part in returning the Conservative Party to power.

And yet, for many years, there was barely a handful of working-class Conservative MPs in Parliament.

But the rise of the working class Tory culminated by the 1980s with the central presence in the Thatcher Cabinet of Norman Tebbit, and the introduction of such policies as council house sales.

Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher and John Major all came from 'humble' backgrounds, in stark contrast to their aristocratic predecessors.

So where is the working-class Tory today? On the one hand, Britain appears to some a much less hierarchical society.

On the other, we have our first Etonian Tory PM in almost half a century.

David Davis is a Tory from a working-class background - and is the man Cameron beat in 2005 for the Party leadership.

In this programme, he explores the rise and fate of the working-class Tories, as charted in the BBC sound archive.

And he talks to former and current working-class Tory Cabinet Ministers like Lord Tebbit, Conservative Party Chairman Baroness Warsi, and Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

He discovers why, in Oldham in 1899, one of Britain's toughest trade union leaders ran alongside Winston Churchill as a Tory candidate.

Davis listens to a rare interview with Edith Pitt, a young Birmingham woman who left school at 13, became a Conservative during the Depression of the 1930s, and went on to serve in Government.

And he explores the attitudes of senior Tories to the '30s hunger marchers - of whom his grandfather was one.

And how the Depression shaped the politics of future Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, many of whose Geordie voters were working-class.

But he also examines the crucial divide at the heart of working-class Toryism.

Macmillan's supporters backed him as a wealthy man who knew how to run things.

But there was another kind of working-class Tory, driven more by aspiration than deference.

Davis discovers how Norman Tebbit, who himself grew up poor in the 1930s, considered Macmillan a failure as Prime Minister.

And how, when the upwardly mobile Tebbit became a Cabinet Minister, he found Macmillan disparaging him as a Cockney interloper in the party elite.

And he rediscovers Reginald Bevins, a Liverpudlian of 'modest' background who left Labour to join the Tories and ended up in Cabinet under Macmillan.

He watches an interview in which Bevins recounts his despair at the choice of the aristocratic Alec Douglas-Home as Macmillan's successor.

Two of the great comic creations of the 1960s - Albert Steptoe and Alf Garnett - were defiant working-class Tories.

With historian Dominic Sandbrook, Davis watches episodes of 'Steptoe and Son' and 'Till Death Us Do Part' to unpick how the working-class Tory was seen in the age of Harold Wilson.

He explores how the appeal of Tory Enoch Powell to Labour voting dockers complicated the picture in the early 1970s.

And how all this looked from Europe.

And he asks Lord Tebbit, Eric Pickles, Baroness Warsi, election expert John Curtice and former Tony Blair speech-writer Philip Collins, who comes from a family of working-class Tories, what part they think this durable tribe now plays in Cameron's Britain.

With: Philip Collins, John Curtice, Juliet Gardiner, Ross McKibbin, Eric Pickles, Martin Pugh, Dominic Sandbrook, Lord Tebbit, Baroness Warsi.

PRESENTER:

David Davis was born in 1948 to a single mother, and was brought up on a council estate in south London.

He was adopted by a Polish Jewish print-worker with strong trade union links; his grandfather was a committed Communist.

He attended state school and Warwick University, and was the National Chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students.

He became a Tory MP in 1987, and was Shadow Home Secretary from 2003 to 2008.

PRODUCER - PHIL TINLINE.

David Davis explores the history of a crucial political group: the working-class Tories.

Adventures In Alienation20150523

For most of us, having to leave home, at least once in our lives, is inevitable, necessary and not unwelcome. The idea of modern, secular homelessness is banal, in contrast to the imposed exile that so many are obliged to endure.

The writer Amit Chaudhuri left India for England as part of his journey to becoming a writer. He resists the labels of exile or emigre or immigrant. Through these 'Adventures in Alienation', he encounters the experiences of others - among them Kirsty Gunn, James Wood and voices from the BBC Sound Archive - and examines his own understanding of what it means not to belong.

Produced by Rachel Hooper.

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

After The Dictator2011102920111031

As Libyans absorb the impact of the death of Gaddafi, Owen Bennett-Jones explores what happens next after dictators leave power.

Some, like Gaddafi and Romania's Ceausescu, are killed outright.

Some, like Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic and Liberia's Charles Taylor, end up in international courts.

Yet others, like Stalin and Mao, pass away peacefully in bed.

So how does the manner of the dictator's downfall shape their country's chances of recovery?

Presenter: Owen Bennett-Jones' long reporting experience includes his time in Romania after the fall of Ceausescu in 1989.

Producer: Simon Watts.

With Gaddafi dead, Owen Bennett-Jones explores what happens after dictators fall.

Agatha Christie's Life In Her Words2009091220090914

Crime writer Val Mcdermid listens to recordings made by Agatha Christie which have never before been broadcast.

A panel of guests, including dramatist Kevin Elyot, biographer Laura Thompson, archivist John Curran, who has recently deciphered Christie's notebooks, director Enyd Williams and writer Michael Bakewell, discuss their approach to dramatising her novels for TV and radio and the light that these recordings shed on Christie's working methods.

Agony * *2009022120090223

Jenni Murray presents a history of personal advice, from the mythical, kindly agony aunts of women's magazines to the public confessional of the radio phone-in.

The advice column began life in the women's magazines.

It was the role of the kindly, but mythical aunt to re-enforce the social codes of the day, dispensing jaunty, practical, nearly always morally serious advice to their readers.

Radio brought a new outlet for those doling out advice.

It started in the buttoned-up 1940s with paternalistic lectures from Charles Hill, the Radio Doctor (and later chairman of BBC) on subjects such as tummy trouble and melancholia and bloomed into the frank and sometimes shocking phone-ins.

Today, the 'advice industry' has expanded from radio to TV, the internet and advice columns in the newspapers, where readers can offer their own comments.

Throughout the history of agony we have moved from social etiquette to sexual etiquette in terms of the questions that are being asked, and agony aunts have both reflected and influenced trends.

The increasing candour of the programmes reflects a parallel shift in British emotional engagement and the rise of therapy culture, which, some would argue, is not necessarily something to be celebrated.

The programme tracks these developments, exploring the phenomenon of the agony aunt and examining how the way advice is delivered has changed to suit the times.

Jenni Murray presents a history of personal advice, from the agony aunts to the phone-in.

Ajp At The Bbc2010021320100215
20140510 (BBC7)
20140511 (BBC7)

Joe Queenan recalls the long and turbulent relationship between the BBC and the first television don, historian AJP Taylor.

Taylor's broadcasting career spanned five decades, beginning on BBC radio and then switching to the new medium of television, where his unscripted lectures brought serious history out of the university lecture halls and into the living rooms of millions of people for the first time. His broadcasts were as provocative as they were popular, at one point arousing bitter condemnation in the House of Commons, and his relationship with the corporation was often far from cordial.

It dropped the sulky don, as he became known, from the airwaves on numerous occasions - once for refusing to speak any further in a live discussion programme. For his part, Taylor campaigned vigorously for an independent competitor to the BBC, and frequently mocked it in the press. Still, the relationship served both well over the years, providing Taylor with the mass audience he craved and the BBC with many hours of entertaining and enlightening broadcasting from one of the greatest academics of his day.

Queenan, a long-term admirer of Taylor, tells the story of the historian and the corporation through written and broadcast archives.

Taylor's broadcasting career spanned five decades, beginning on BBC radio and then switching to the new medium of television, where his unscripted lectures brought serious history out of the university lecture halls and into the living rooms of millions of people for the first time.

His broadcasts were as provocative as they were popular, at one point arousing bitter condemnation in the House of Commons, and his relationship with the corporation was often far from cordial.

It dropped the sulky don, as he became known, from the airwaves on numerous occasions - once for refusing to speak any further in a live discussion programme.

For his part, Taylor campaigned vigorously for an independent competitor to the BBC, and frequently mocked it in the press.

Still, the relationship served both well over the years, providing Taylor with the mass audience he craved and the BBC with many hours of entertaining and enlightening broadcasting from one of the greatest academics of his day.

The long and turbulent relationship between the BBC and historian AJP Taylor.

Alan Lomax - Songs Of Freedom20150131

To mark the centenary of the birth of folklorist Alan Lomax in 1915, Billy Bragg presents a new and original thesis. Billy argues that the legendary "song hunter" was a vital, but overlooked figure in the Civil Rights Movement, whose recorded archive would become the authoritative repository of black folk culture in America.

Alan Lomax is a towering figure in the history of music, afforded a front page obituary by the New York Times following his death in 2002. A pioneering musicologist, folklorist and broadcaster, in the 1930s Lomax extensively recorded American folk and blues musicians. Over the course of his career he collected over 3000 hours of music and in-depth interviews.

While Lomax's influence in sparking the folk music revival of the 1960s is well known, in this programme Billy Bragg tells a story of far greater significance. His central thesis is that Lomax's mission was to empower black Americans by awakening them to their folk culture. The politically charged nature of Lomax's work resulted in him being hounded out of the US during the Red scare and the FBI kept a file on him for 30 years.

Interviews include Lomax's former assistant the folk singer Shirley Collins, singer and Civil Rights documentarian Candie Carawan, Lomax's biographer John Szwed and Lomax's daughter Anna.

This programme was made with the help of Alan Lomax's Association for Cultural Equity and the Library of Congress who have supplied a wealth of stunning archive material - including Lomax's field recordings, oral history interviews and groundbreaking radio broadcasts.

Presenter: Billy Bragg

Producer: Max O'Brien

A Juniper production for BBC Radio 4.

Alexei At The Seaside With The Unions2010091120100913

Alexei Sayle's parents were, in Liverpool, unusual; both Communists, his mother from a Lithuanian Jewish family, his father a railway union official.

They gave their son Gorki's first name.

For more than a decade from the late 1950's Alexei accompanied his parents to trade union conferences, mostly in seaside towns.

These were important times in British and international industrial politics.

There were national strikes in shipbuilding and engineering; the redundancy without pay or notice of 6,000 car workers; the London bus strike; the fight for equal pay; responses to de-colonisation; the Aberfan disaster; Barbara Castle's 'In Place of Strife'.

On Saturday 11th Sept , with a repeat on Monday 13th - the day the 2010 TUC Conference opens in Manchester - Alexei selects the choicest pieces of archive to conjure the atmosphere of these important events.

Set against this is his personal story of these years, his own interaction as a child with the characters involved, and his own development, politically, personally, even physically.

And he brings his inside knowledge to bear...revealing how, for instance, the biggest bruisers were, at the closing balls, the most deft of dancers, and how comrades from France and Eastern Europe were nonplussed by their encounter with, for instance, Brown Windsor Soup.

Producer: Julian May.

Alexei Sayle on his boyhood seaside holidays - at trade union conferences in their heyday.

An Unofficial Iris2009062720090629
20140531 (BBC7)
20140601 (BBC7)
20150829 (BBC7)
20150830 (BBC7)

Bidisha listens to archive interviews and dramatisations to revisit the life and work of novelist Iris Murdoch.

Debate about Murdoch has continued since her death in 1999.

Her legacy as a writer has been overshadowed by the publication of her husband John Bayley's memoir about her decline into Alzheimer's disease and the subsequent film adaptation, starring Judi Dench and Kate Winslet, and directed by Richard Eyre.

Bidisha listens to archive conversations between Murdoch and writers AN Wilson, As Byatt and Susan Hill, and discovers a renaissance of interest in the writer as her emphasis on morality and goodness in a godless world seems to resonate today.

Bidisha examines the life and work of fellow novelist Iris Murdoch

Author Iris Murdoch has a complex reputation thanks to her husband's memoirs.

Debate about Murdoch has continued since her death in 1999. Her legacy as a writer has been overshadowed by the publication of her husband John Bayley's memoir about her decline into Alzheimer's disease and the subsequent film adaptation, starring Judi Dench and Kate Winslet, and directed by Richard Eyre.

Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Archive2012081820140607 (BBC7)
20140608 (BBC7)

Anthony Burgess is best known as the author of A Clockwork Orange, published 50 years ago.

Burgess was born in 1917 in one of the poorest areas of North Manchester. It was entirely unpredictable that such a major literary figure and polymath would spring from such a humble background.He remained in Manchester until he graduated from the University, but never went back to live there and was careful to disguise his Northern accent.

Paul Morley - a fellow Northern exile - visits some of the key landmarks of Burgess's early life - Xaverian College where he was taught by strict Catholics from the Xaverian Brothers; the Free Trade Hall where he heard the Hallé Orchestra; Central Library where he began a lifelong process of self-education.

Paul also considers Burgess's continuing passion for writing classical music; his first creative ambition was to be a composer. He wrote over 200 pieces of pieces of classical music, including full-length symphonies and a ballet. Very little of his music was performed during his lifetime, but it is now attracting interest from musicians and academics.

Burgess's legacy includes not only 33 published novels, two autobiographies and a large amount of journalism but a previously unheard archive of about 800 audio cassettes and home movies. Paul Morley visits The International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester, which is cataloguing this rich, diverse and remarkable archive.

Contributors include Dr Andrew Biswell, biographer of Anthony Burgess and Director of The International Anthony Burgess Foundation; Paul Philips, author of a book about Burgess's music; and Dr Kevin Malone an expert on the music Burgess himself wrote for his own dramatized version of A Clockwork Orange.

Paul Morley on the unknown Anthony Burgess - his northern roots and his work as a composer

Art School, Smart School20141122

Brian Eno, Grayson Perry and others reflect on the state of the art school.

British art schools have produced some of the world's most successful artists, designers, filmmakers and musicians. Britain has built up a strong reputation for creativity around the world and politicians are interested in capitalising on our creative brand.

Brian Eno was at art school at a particularly exciting time. In the sixties, art colleges were independent and experimental; students were challenged to rethink what art and art education were about. Brian relates his memories of Ipswich College of Art under the radical educationalist Roy Ascot, and reflects on the importance of this experience. But he also sounds a warning note - he says art schools are under huge pressures and the effects are threatening creativity.

This programme brings together artists, musicians, art tutors and archive recordings to explore the last half century of art education and the state of Britain's art schools today.

We hear the perspectives of high profile figures in art and design - Grayson Perry, Richard Wentworth, Eileen Cooper, Peter Kindersley, and Jay Osgerby to name a few.

Britain depends on its art schools if it's to sustain its reputation for creativity. But are art schools becoming too much like universities and excluding those very people who will produce the innovations of the future?

Produced by Isabel Sutton

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Ask The Fellows That Cut The Hay2010041020100412
20140830 (BBC7)
20140831 (BBC7)

Alan Dein celebrates the centenary of George Ewart Evans and his tales of Suffolk.

In this week's Archive On Four, historian Alan Dein celebrates the centenary of his mentor George Ewart Evans, collector of Suffolk farming tales. Evans began by chatting to his neighbours over the fireside in the 1950's and transcribing stories about poaching shepherding, smuggling and ditching.

The talk was of a hardscrabble life, of leaky roofs and meals of pea soup and pollard dumplings and beef only at Christmas with occasional festivities like the Whitsun fair.

With the help of BBC producer David Thomson, Evans recorded many of these tales and they were broadcast on the Third Programme.

Evans came from a Welsh mining village and he sympathised with the labourers' stories about the tyranny of the trinity of the parson, squire and farmer. He was a sympathetic listener who asked allowed his community to speak for itself and he captured the stories of people whose traditions had been unbroken for generations, who worked on the land before mechanisation and who believed in magic and folk wisdom and had intuitive understanding of working with animals.

Evans' eleven books about the working lives and folk stories of Blaxhall are a portrait of every facet of his village and paved the way for books and programmes, both fiction and not fiction, about British agricultural life.

Alan Dein talks to people who remember him in the village of Blaxhall and to his son Lord (Matthew) Evans and youngest daughter Susan as well as historian Owen Collins.

A WHISTLEDOWN PRODUCTION FOR BBC RADIO 4.

In this week's Archive On Four, historian Alan Dein celebrates the centenary of his mentor George Ewart Evans, collector of Suffolk farming tales.

Evans began by chatting to his neighbours over the fireside in the 1950's and transcribing stories about poaching shepherding, smuggling and ditching.

Evans came from a Welsh mining village and he sympathised with the labourers' stories about the tyranny of the trinity of the parson, squire and farmer.

He was a sympathetic listener who asked allowed his community to speak for itself and he captured the stories of people whose traditions had been unbroken for generations, who worked on the land before mechanisation and who believed in magic and folk wisdom and had intuitive understanding of working with animals.

Atlantic Crossing20140419

When Christine Finn's in-flight entertainment was accidentally tuned to cockpit radio on a transatlantic flight, the voice of air traffic control as they reached Irish airspace seemed to be welcoming her as well as the pilot.

As a creative archaeologist, she wanted to unravel the connections between those who fly the Atlantic and those who guide them safely over, especially when she discovered that datalink - effectively text messaging - is increasingly being used, so that voice communication is on the wane.

Listening to archive of transatlantic flights from the first by Alcock and Brown in 1919, Christine discovered that the west coast of Ireland looms large in the history. She visited Shannon airport in County Clare, scene of many departures and reunions and, in the 1950s and 60s - before the jet engine - a stop-over for most of the popular icons of the day as their planes re-fuelled after the 3000 mile flight; every US President since JFK has visited Shannon, and most stars from Marilyn Monroe to Fred Astaire.

And at the North Atlantic Communications Centre in nearby Ballygirreen, Christine met the faces behind the voices she heard coming out of the dark on her own Atlantic Crossing.

Producer: Marya Burgess.

Attention All Shipping2012021820160109 (BBC7)
20160110 (BBC7)

Peter Jefferson presents an elegy to the Shipping Forecast he used to read.

"I love it. It's the nearest thing to poetry that I ever got to read on the radio - wonderful cadences" - Charlotte Green, Radio 4 announcer and newsreader is just one of dozens of professional broadcasters who've been transfixed by the strangely elegiac nature of the curt and abbreviated language of the formal statement of weather conditions around our island. For Archive on 4, Charlotte's former colleague, Peter Jefferson presents an elegy to the Shipping Forecast, travelling via the archive through the history and romance of the sea areas that daily make their weather known to seafarers.

The sea is calm tonight.

The tide is full, the moon lies fair

Upon the Straits; - on the French coast the light

Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,

Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.

But Matthew Arnold's poem 'Dover Beach' also perfectly encapsulates the spirit in which many Radio 4 listeners embrace the Forecast; gazing into the depths of the night, a seascape of indigo swept by a distant lighthouse beam. So is the Shipping Forecast as much a hymn to our former seafaring island as formal meteorological bulletin, to be shared and enjoyed by landlubbers who've long escaped all contact with the sea and ships....?

Peter travels to Exeter where the Forecast is compiled from the Met Office's supercomputer's myriad pieces of data... and talks to sailor and radio-lover Libby Purves, national poet of Wales and composer of an ode to the Forecast, Gillian Clarke and to photographer Mark Power, who shot a stunning sequence of black-and-white images of the sea areas.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

"I love it. It's the nearest thing to poetry that I ever got to read on the radio - wonderful cadences" - Charlotte Green, Radio 4 announcer and newsreader is just one of dozens of professional broadcasters who've been transfixed by the strangely elegiac nature of the curt and abbreviated language of the formal statement of weather conditions around our island. For Archive on 4, Charlotte's former colleague, Peter Jefferson presents an elegy to the Shipping Forecast, travelling via the archive through the history and romance of the sea areas that daily make their weather known to seafarers.

Attention Must Be Paid - Arthur Miller's Centenary20151017

"Attention must be paid to such a person," says Linda of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman'. Miller himself spent his long life paying close attention to the society and times in lived in. He scrutinised the American Dream in 'Salesman', in 'The Crucible' revealed its hysteria and in 'All My Sons' its corruption.

One hundred years, to the day, after the birth of Arthur Miller his biographer, Christopher Bigsby, mines the BBC's and his own archives, tracing the life and work of this towering American figure.

When Miller turned 80 Bigsby, with the radio producer Julian May, spent a weekend at Miller's Connecticut home and, on the porch with the birds singing, recorded him recalling his life. Miller talks about his early days as the son of an illiterate Polish immigrant in Harlem, surviving the Depression and his initial struggles as a writer. He remembers his first sight of Marilyn Monroe and his hearing before the Un-American Activities Committee which informed 'The Crucible'.

As well as these monumental events this programme includes his insights into lesser known aspects of his life. How his earliest performed dramas were written for radio in the 1940s, for stars such as Orson Welles, recordings of which Bigsby found. There is, too, the story of how be became a music collector, and how he was a carpenter.

There are contributions from Dustin Hoffman, Warren Mitchell and Brian Dennehy, who all played Willy Loman, and Ying Ruocheng, who played the role in Beijing. Henry Goodman speaks about working on his late play, 'Broken Glass'. We hear from Harold Pinter, Nicholas Hytner and John Malkovich. And there is previously unbroadcast material from Miller's brother and sister, and his wife, the photographer, Inge Morath.

Barbara2010090420100906

An appraisal of Barbara Castle in the centenary of her birth.

Barbara Castle - the Red Queen, clever, sexy and single-minded she was the most important female politician the Labour party has produced.

2010 is the centenary of her birth and in this archive hour , her official biographer Anne Perkins, examines her life and legacy.

The further we move from the 20th century, the more remarkable her achievements seem.

In one of the ironies of politics, she paved the way for Margaret Thatcher.She embodied the spirit of the starry-eyed landslide Labour government of 1945 and was a unique participant in the history of the left.

We hear of her early life growing up in a Yorkshire family -more bourgeois than she'd admit - devoted to the Independent Labour Party and William Morris; tales of climbing out of college windows at Oxford with her friend, the pioneering broadcaster Olive Shapley; her devotion to the open air which led to the founding of the Pennine Way - she tramped the inaugural walk in a tweed skirt and brogues, alongside Hugh Dalton.

Then there were her dogged campaigns for equal pay and child benefit.

And that's before we get to the breathalyser and the Unions.

Her passionate skills of oratory leap out of the archive, crackling with energy and fire.She was a feminist but was always puzzled by what she saw as the "stridency" the movement took on in the seventies and initially resisted the idea of all-women shortlists.

She wasn't averse to using her great personal charm to negotiate her way out of some of the most monumental political battles of the era - dressed impeccably and no stranger to the hairdresser's.

Did she stand out precisely because she was that rare creature : a colourful woman amongst all the grey suits ? Or was it her potent mix of lightning wit, passion, diligence, red bouffant and fierce intellect that helped carve out a place in history for her.

And could she have achieved all she did if she'd had children?

We hear intimate archive interviews with Barbara Castle recorded before her death, and new interviews including Baroness Shirley Williams , Baroness Betty Boothroyd ,Janet Anderson , and the veteran political commentator Geoffrey Goodman.

Producer Lindsay Leonard.

A long-overdue appraisal of Barbara Castle in the centenary of her birth.

An appraisal of the Labour politician Barbara Castle, in the centenary of her birth.

Bards Of The Back Straight2012060220160326 (BBC7)

Poet Paul Farley explores how the language of poetry and sports commentary compare.

4 Extra Debut. Poet Paul Farley explores how the language of poetry and sports commentary compare. With Sir Peter O'Sullevan. From June 2012.

A journey through the BBC archives.

Beat Mining With The Vinyl Hoover20090330

Broadcaster Toby Amies digs into the archives to discover the value and significance of old vinyl.

He uncovers a network of dealers and buyers, supplying a community of 'crate diggers' and 'beat miners' and a world in which samples from records bought for a few pence in a car boot sale can provide the basis for a million-selling hit.

Broadcaster Toby Amies digs into the archives to discover the significance of old vinyl.

Bernstein, My Mentor20151010

No other conductor has made such an impact on Marin Alsop as Leonard Bernstein. He taught her at several points along her path to becoming a professional conductor and imparted his humanistic perspective on life and his love of sharing great music with others. He instilled in her his beliefs, his values, his dedication to education, as well as his understanding of conducting. Her sense of gratitude to Bernstein is part of the subject of this programme.

We hear Marin talk very personally about her memories of working with the maestro at the famous Tanglewood music center in Massachusetts and watching him conduct concerts in New York.

We also hear the reflections of Leonard's daughter, Jamie Bernstein, who remembers - as a child - watching the Young People's Concerts that Bernstein presented to vast televisions audiences across America while director of the New York Philharmonic.

John Mauceri and Matthew Barley who, like Marin, benefitted from Bernstein's teaching and mentoring offer their perspectives on his huge capacities as a teacher, conductor and composer.

The programme considers the music Bernstein himself composed, in particular West Side Story, Kaddish and Mass. Marin discusses what makes Bernstein's music so rewarding and complex, so innovative, experimental and widely appreciated. She admires his commitment to harmony, to tonal music - the place where he felt music communicated most deeply to people.

Presented by Marin Alsop

Produced by Isabel Sutton

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Bertrand Russell - The First Media Academic?2012011420150221 (BBC7)
20150222 (BBC7)

Robin Ince listens back to some of the BBC archive of philosopher Bertrand Russell.

Bertrand Russell was one of the greatest thinkers of the last century. His contributions to the field of mathematics and philosophy are still widely acknowledged as some of the most important of their kind. But, as Robin Ince discovers, he was also arguably one of the first great media academic stars, who brought his own brand of rationalism and intellect to an audience far beyond the academic and political circles he routinely mixed with. His relationship with the BBC goes back almost to the beginning of its own history, and his many broadcasts and appearances on radio, in particular, brought his ideas to a whole new audience. He delivered the very first Reith Lectures back in 1948, and was a regular panellist on the hugely popular "The Brains Trust". His thoughts on themes ranging from education, through to nuclear armament and religion, were regularly broadcast on the BBC, right up to the end of his life. Robin Ince takes a listen back to some of Russell's great contributions to broadcasting and looks at the life of arguably the first great media academic.

Producer: Alexandra Feachem.

Bertrand Russell was one of the greatest thinkers of the last century. His contributions to the field of mathematics and philosophy are still widely acknowledged as some of the most important of their kind. But, as Robin Ince discovers, he was also arguably one of the first great media academic stars, who brought his own brand of rationalism and intellect to an audience far beyond the academic and political circles he routinely mixed with. His relationship with the BBC goes back almost to the beginning of its own history, and his many broadcasts and appearances on radio, in particular, brought his ideas to a whole new audience. He delivered the very first Reith Lectures back in 1948, and was a regular panellist on the hugely popular "The Brains Trust". His thoughts on themes ranging from education, through to nuclear armament and religion, were regularly broadcast on the BBC, right up to the end of his life. Robin Ince takes a listen back to some of Russell's great contributions to broadcasting and looks at the life of arguably the first great media academic.

Bill Buckley - Mr Right * * *2009060620090608

Michael Portillo presents some of conservative writer, intellectual and wit William F Buckley's most glittering exchanges with the leading politicians and personalities of his day.

Buckley helped to move conservatism from the outer fringes to the very centre of American political life.

Waspish, provocative, sometimes infuriating but never dull, his weekly programme Firing Line became the world's longest-running TV show with a single host.

From 1966 to 1999, everyone from presidents to poets, politicians and punks submitted to Buckley's weekly interrogations.

A Paladin Invision production for radio 4.

A selection of conservative writer and intellectual William F Buckley's finest moments.

Black Aquarius20150425

Matthew Sweet explores the dawning of the age of Black Aquarius - the rise (and sudden end) of the weirdly great wave of occultism in British popular culture in the 1960s-70s.

From underground journals like the Aquarian Arrow and specialist bookshops appearing in cities all over Britain to the bestselling novels of Dennis Wheatley, moral panics about upper-crust Satanic cults in the tabloid press and the glut of illustrated books, magazines and TV drama. It was a wildly exuberant seam of British pop culture, but where did it come from, and why did it all take off then?

Flowering from the more arcane parts of the hippy movement perhaps, but mutating into something quite different - why was there such a huge mainstream, crossover appeal for the British public? At one point, Dennis Wheatley had five books in the bestseller list simultaneously. Was this a continuation of the Sixties cultural battleground of restrictive morality being secretly titillated, or was it something darker?

This era matched the first, late Victorian craze for the occult in its intensity and popularity, and certainly drew from some of that era's obsessions - astral planes, dark dimensions, unearthly energies - but the second wave was filtered through 'the permissive society', through a hugely eclectic counterculture, swinging sexual liberation and (for this was all about Chelsea mansions, exotica and sports cars too) new kinds of consumption and lifestyle.

Producer: Simon Hollis

A Brook Lapping production for BBC Radio 4.

Blair Versus Hitchens: The Religion Debate2010121120101213

Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens debate whether religion is a force for good.

Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens discuss the proposition that religion is a force for good in the world.

Recorded in front of a live audience in the Canadian city of Toronto, the debate is chaired by Rudyard Griffiths, and forms part of the twice yearly series of Munk Debates.

Blithe Margaret2012122920151017 (BBC7)
20151018 (BBC7)

Stephen Fry on the mysterious life of the much-loved comedy great Margaret Rutherford.

Margaret Rutherford was a benign battleaxe, chin wagging like a windsock, famous as Miss Marple, Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit and for her roles in Passport to Pimlico, The Importance of Being Earnest and an Oscar-winning performance in The VIPs. Stephen Fry looks back at the life and work of one of our finest comedy actors and one of Britain's best-loved box office stars.

The comic and dramatic roles Margaret played were as nothing to the astonishing true crime stories that shaped her life and career. Murder was to play a part in her life, beyond the role of Miss Marple. She was also a regular visitor to a young offenders' institution and had a family secret that she never revealed.

The programme includes archive of Margaret herself, film director David Lean, writer Rumer Godden, comedian Frankie Howerd, actor Robert Morley, her husband Stringer Davis, and informally adopted daughter Dawn Langley Simmons. We also hear from Andy Merriman (author of Margaret Rutherford: Dreadnought with Good Manners) and actress Damaris Hayman.

And Stephen talks to one of Margaret's distant relatives. Somewhat surprisingly, it's the Rt.Hon.Tony Benn.

Producer: Tamsin Hughes

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

Bob Dylan And Me2011052120110523
20140906 (BBC7)
20140907 (BBC7)

A cast of musicians, writers and poets reflect as Bob Dylan turns 70.

Marking the musician's 70th birthday on May 24th 2011 and drawing on archive, much of which has never before been broadcast, a group of writers, poets, musicians and fans have been asked to reflect on what Bob Dylan means to them.

Bob Dylan and Me offers a series of essays, richly woven together with songs and archive interviews.

Cerys Matthews talks about Bob Dylan's personal impact on her life and music. Paul Morley reflects on Dylan's ability to acquire fame by staying aloof. Professor Christopher Ricks looks at Dylan's years with God. Eddi Reader reflects on the women in his songs.

Billy Bragg takes on Bob's troubadour tradition. Beat poet Michael McClure gives a personal view on the man. Natasha Morgan talks about the night she saw Bob Dylan's first British appearance in 1961.

Also featured in the programme will be a number of rare Bob Dylan interviews, many not broadcast on British radio before.

We will hear Dylan's radio debut from 1962 on WBAI, "I was with the carnival off and on for six years," and he tells KQED San Francisco in 1965, " Do you think of yourself primarily as a singer or a poet?" "Oh I think of myself as more a song and dance man y'know"

Sound Design by Alice K. Winz

Producers: David Prest and Caroline Hughes.

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

Cerys Matthews talks about Bob Dylan's personal impact on her life and music.

Paul Morley reflects on Dylan's ability to acquire fame by staying aloof.

Professor Christopher Ricks looks at Dylan's years with God.

Eddi Reader reflects on the women in his songs.

Billy Bragg takes on Bob's troubadour tradition.

Beat poet Michael McClure gives a personal view on the man.

Natasha Morgan talks about the night she saw Bob Dylan's first British appearance in 1961.

We will hear Dylan's radio debut from 1962 on WBAI, "I was with the carnival off and on for six years," and he tells KQED San Francisco in 1965, " Do you think of yourself primarily as a singer or a poet?" "Oh I think of myself as more a song and dance man y'know"

Sound Design by Alice K.

Winz

Breaking The Mould2011010820110110

Shaun Ley recalls the dramatic rise and fall of the SDP during the 1980s.

The party never quite made a breakthrough, but did it change British politics? Is the SDP's legacy its impact on the other main parties?

In January 1981 four former cabinet ministers announced that they were about to leave the Labour Party.

Over the subsequent two years, dozens of MPs joined them; it appeared as if the fledgling party might, as Roy Jenkins put it, "break the mould".

But the electoral breakthrough never happened, partnership with the Liberals ended in acrimony, and in a final humiliation, the SDP polled fewer votes than the representative of the Monster Raving Loony Party in a by-election.

It was a failure.

Or was it? In 'Breaking the Mould', Shaun Ley draws on sound archive and fresh contributions with key players to consider whether the SDP has had a bigger impact than is generally recognised.

Was the SDP "a Labour saving device", because it gave Labour a severe shock, without which it would never have modernised sufficiently to win office again? And did the SDP's ideas eventually triumph, not just in the Liberal Democrats, but also in the counsels of New Labour and even inside Conservative Party headquarters? Was the triumph of the SDP exemplified by the formation of the Coalition Government in 2010? - the present Government includes former SDP-ers, and not just among the Liberal Democrats.

Producer: Rob Shepherd.

Shaun Ley recalls the SDP's rise and fall.

Does the SDP still live on in other parties?

Bremner On Bush - A Final Farewell2009011020090112

Rory Bremner considers the rhetorical evolution of George W Bush.

Rory Bremner considers the rhetorical evolution of George W Bush, from gaffe-prone candidate to grandiose war president.

He considers whether Bush grew to become an effective orator and who was responsible for writing the words he spoke and examines some of his key speeches and phrases.

Featuring contributions from political commentators and former Bush speechwriters.

Bring Your Darlings Back To Life20150620

Hidden away, beneath old newspapers, books of stamps and expectant sellotape lie the best pieces of work. They are the darlings, the stories, the ornaments, the gems we are told to cut.

Producers, script writers, authors, editors have all had the rule thrown at them. These scenes may be fantastically written, funny, evocative - but they don't belong. They obscure the plot, blind us from the truth.

It's a rule of writing passed around like an illegal cigarette. You must murder your darlings. Kill Your Darlings. With contributions from Larry King, PJ O'Rourke, Kurt Cobain, journalists Jon Savage and Cal Fussman - what if you could bring those darlings back to life?

The saying Murder your Darlings has been attributed to Fitzgerald, Nabokov, Stephen King and Hemingway. But the real author comes from Cornwall. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. Better known under the pseudonym Q, he is the forgotten figure of 20th century literature.

In 1914 he delivered a series of twelve lectures on writing at Cambridge University, and one in particular on style:

'Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it - wholeheartedly - and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.'

But who was Q?

How do you tell a story? What is it that takes prominence - the character or the plot? Producers ask themselves whether to retain the idiosyncrasies of how people talk - the pauses and silences - or whether to cut them out because they need to lose three minutes? It's often the smallest details that help us see these characters.

Producer: Barney Rowntree

A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4.

Broadcasting Freedom20140726 (BBC7)
20140727 (BBC7)

Bonnie Greer explores how black broadcasters put radio at the heart of the race debate.

Bonnie Greer reports on the fascinating story of how black, pioneering broadcasters broke radio's racial taboos, putting radio at the heart of the national debate on race and laying the groundwork for the civil rights' movement. From 2000.

Bonnie Greer is a London-based playwright and author. Bonnie turned her own appearance on Question Time with Nick Griffin into a libretto of opera - and has indeed sat on the boards for the British Museum, the Royal Opera House, the Serpentine Gallery, even the Bronte Society.

This programme saw her trek throughout different locations in America to talk to those instrumental in the Civil Rights struggle as expressed through audio broadcast media.

Burroughs At 10020140215

"Here comes Johnny Yen again, With the liquor and drugs, And the Flesh Machine."

Even for those that don't know William Burroughs, he's easy to find. He's in the lyrics to Iggy Pop's Lust For Life and on the cover of Sgt. Pepper. The bands Steely Dan and The Soft Machine take their names from his books. He even coined the term "heavy metal".

Drug addict, homosexual crusader, gun nut, beat writer, the Godfather of Punk, countercultural icon - Burroughs was many things. Marking the author's centenary, rock legend Iggy Pop presents a unique hour on the quintessential American iconoclast.

William Seward Burroughs II was born to an upper middle-class St. Louis family in February 1914. In 1940s New York, with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, he started the Beat Movement. His addiction to heroin would motivate a turbulent journey that came to a tragic climax in Mexico City, where he shot and killed his wife during a drunken "William Tell" routine. The tragedy threw Burroughs into "a lifelong struggle, in which I have had no choice except to write my way out".

Whizzing from Mexico to South America to Tangier to Paris to London, then finally back to the States, Burroughs forged an influential body of work. With Junkie, Queer, Naked Lunch, the "Cut-Up Trilogy", the "Red Night Trilogy", paintings, audio recordings and films, Burroughs became the only name worth checking in the counterculture.

Iggy Pop reflects on Burroughs' extraordinary life with close friends and artists that felt his influence. Contributors include James Grauerholz, Will Self, Victor Bockris, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Genesis P-Orridge and John Waters.

Producer: Colin McNulty

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

Capering With Ken Campbell *2009103120091102

Ian Mcmillan explores the world of the actor and director Ken Campbell, who died in 2008.

Campbell's acting credits included Fawlty Towers, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Brookside, Law and Order and In Sickness and In Health, as well as performing one-man shows.

He also directed theatrical events, including the nine-hour Illuminatus trilogy, a 22-hour production of The Warp and Macbeth in pidgin English.

His daughter, Daisy, gives Ian Mcmillan a tour of Ken's home in Essex, where he didn't have a bedroom and had a parrot run in every room.

He also talks to Campbell's manager Colin Watkeys, theatre director Richard Eyre, fan and collaborator Ian Potter and fellow actors Julia Mckenzie and Jim Broadbent

Captive Media: The Story Of Patty Hearst20140322

On 17 May 1974, in the district of Compton in Los Angeles, the longest gunfight in the nation's history was broadcast live on American network television. It was a scene worthy of the studios of nearby Hollywood. It also marked the beginning of the end for the Symbionese Liberation Army, a radical leftist guerrilla group that sprang to fame three months earlier by kidnapping heiress Patricia Hearst, granddaughter of the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.

Within hours of Patty's kidnapping the media arrived outside the Hearst mansion, where they would camp out for months, in a self-styled 'press city'. Lengthy communiqués issued by the SLA on cassette tapes, often spoken by Patty herself, were broadcast in full. The family posted a sign that read 'Please don't feed reporters'.

After 57 days in captivity, media and public sympathy for the captive heiress turned to shock as she declared herself a member of the SLA, denounced her family and was pictured wielding a gun as the gang robbed a bank in San Francisco. Eighteen months later Patty was arrested and convicted.

Forty years on, Benjamin Ramm explores how this story was driven by exhaustive daily media coverage. He asks to what extent it changed the way news was reported and anticipated many of today's debates about the ethics and appetites of rolling news.

Interviewees include Linda Deutsch, renowned court reporter; John Lester, a news anchor who became the Hearst family spokesman; Bill Deiz, who reported the LA shootout using new camera technology; Ken Levine, a radio DJ who received an SLA communiqué and a visit from the FBI; Al Preciado, who led the SWAT team at the shootout; and former member of the SLA, Mike Bortin.

Producer: Rebecca Maxted

A Sparklab production for BBC Radio 4.

Carl Sagan - A Personal Voyage2009041120090413
20110423 (R4)

Physicist and broadcaster Brian Cox presents a tribute to his science hero, Carl Sagan, the man who many people describe as the greatest populariser of science of all time.

His landmark television series Cosmos was seen by more than 600 million people worldwide and inspired a generation of young scientists to regard the universe with wonder and awe.

Physicist and broadcaster Brian Cox presents a tribute to his science hero, Carl Sagan.

Physicist and broadcaster Brian Cox presents a tribute to his science hero, the American astronomer Carl Sagan, the man who many people describe as the greatest populariser of science of all time.

His landmark television series Cosmos was seen by more than 60 million people worldwide and inspired a generation of young scientists to regard the universe with wonder and awe.

Carry On Britain20100104

Carolyn Quinn looks at the Carry On films and asks what they tell us about British society between the late 1950s and the late 1970s.

Castaway - 70 Years Of Desert Island Discs20120128

Kirsty Young tells the story of the long-running programme as it celebrates its 70th anniversary and investigates what has made it such an enduring part of the radio schedule. In addition to hearing some classic clips from some amazing castaways, Kirsty talks to BBC historian Professor Jean Seaton, former castaway Mary Portas and is also joined by her predecessors, Sue Lawley and Sir Michael Parkinson and, from the archives, by Roy Plomley himself.

Producer: Isabel Sargent.

Kirsty Young tells the story of the long-running radio programme.

Cerys Goes Under Milk Wood20141025

Cerys Matthews unlocks an archive of rare interviews, made by her uncle Colin Edwards, with Dylan Thomas's closest friends and family. The recordings date from the early 1960s, a decade after the poet's death, when his reputation was becoming clouded by scandal.

Cerys believed the recordings lost or destroyed. In fact, over a hundred hours of interviews were bequeathed to the National Library of Wales by her uncle's widow and some of them are broadcast here for the first time.

This personal journey into the archive is both a celebration of the life of Dylan Thomas and a glimpse into the life of her uncle - 'an eccentric, radical journalist and film-maker'. Here Cerys goes Under Milk Wood - into the communities in which Dylan Thomas lived.

We hear Dylan's mother, Florence, describe how the eight-year-old Dylan would write poems about the kitchen sink. Dylan's school friend Charles Fisher recalls how he 'collected words like rare butterflies'. Dylan's daughter, Aeronwy , reflects on his daily rituals and drinking habits. One of his closest friends Bert Trick, a Marxist grocer from Swansea, describes Dylan's profane sense of humour. And we hear from theatre director Philip Burton and poet Robert Lowell about meetings with Dylan towards the end of his life.

'Listening to these tapes I started to understand the strange contradictions at the heart of Dylan Thomas. The boozer with the self-discipline to write verse, the child with a visionary voice, the buffoon who took life so seriously,' says Cerys.

Some of Cerys's favourite Dylan Thomas poems and writings are set to music in the programme. Jeff Towns, Terry Jones, Andrew Lycett, Gwen Watkins and David Thomas also contribute.

Produced by Sarah Cuddon

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

Churchill's Secret Cabinet2013070620160213 (BBC7)
20160214 (BBC7)

A humble wooden cabinet reveals secrets about how Churchill developed his oratorical style

Clement Attlee once claimed that Churchill led Britain to victory in the Second World War through his words. But what influenced these words and their delivery?

The answer lies in a newly discovered wooden cabinet containing not only Churchill's private collection of gramophone records, but also rare recordings of his unknown speeches.

In this Archive on 4, historian Andrew Roberts joins archivists, historians, musicians, even Churchill's own family, to discover how these rapidly disintegrating discs - some of them over a hundred years old - offer new clues about his oratorical style. Their survival depends on the fast action of the Cambridge archivists in a race against time to digitise them, before they quite literally turn to dust.

Already, the work in progress has turned up some surprising revelations - including a glimpse into Churchill's very own desert island discs. The apparently unmusical Churchill turns out to be someone who treasures songs of satire, humour and intense patriotism. We discover recordings of black swans enjoyed by a nature loving Churchill we rarely see, and then there are those fascinating newly discovered recordings of Churchill's own voice - including the first known recording of him, from the early 20th century.

From these records, Andrew Roberts gleans valuable insights into that famous titan of British oratory - how it was not just his words, but his unique musical delivery that came to reflect and even embody the hopes of a nation.

Producer: Kati Whitaker.

A Juniper production for BBC Radio 4.

Coups And Coalitions: The Two Elections Of 197420150207

May's general election is the most open in decades. In Archive on 4, Steve Richards goes back to 1974, to explore the last time Britain faced such political flux, and its lessons for today.

1974 saw two elections in eight months. The first was so indecisive it produced a minority government. Like today, politics was going through a long, painful change. Neither major party had a commanding leader or a dominant political argument.

And then all this was brought to a head by the worst economic crisis since the War.

Steve talks to veterans about what followed, as many feared democracy itself hung in the balance.

Conservative MP-to-be Douglas Hurd was at Prime Minister Edward Heath's side as his struggling Government was driven to call an early election, only to lose power.

His party colleague, Norman Tebbit, already an MP, was biding his time before declaring his contempt for what he saw as Heath's discredited compromises.

Dennis Skinner was a junior Labour MP, close to the miners' union - in sharp contrast to his party colleague, Shirley Williams. In 1974, she became Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection - to spearhead the minority government's push against inflation.

Meanwhile, as today, smaller parties were on the rise.

David Steel had to race back to London to make sure his leader, Jeremy Thorpe, didn't take the Liberals into coalition with the Tories.

And Gordon Wilson was one of several new SNP MPs who arrived at Westminster - feeling, he tells Steve, like commandoes in hostile territory.

They explore the lessons of all this for today, as Britain faces a return, for the first time since 1974, to an era of deep electoral uncertainty.

PRODUCER: PHIL TINLINE.

Cradle To Grave20150801

The history of the National Health Service told through the story of one hospital, the QEII, which was opened by the Queen in Welwyn Garden City in 1963.

Fifteen years earlier, on July 5th 1948, the National Health Service had been launched, taking control of nearly 480 000 hospital beds in England and Wales, with 125,000 nurses and 5,000 consultants as well as GPs, dentists and other health professionals. Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan described it as "the biggest single experiment in social service that the world has ever seen undertaken".

The QEII - the first all-purpose, district general NHS hospital - opened with some 100 beds to meet the needs of a rapidly increasing population, many from London who had relocated to the new Garden City.

In the summer of 2015, the old hospital was closed down as part of a centralisation of health services by East and North Herts NHS Trust, with in-patients services moved out to the Lister Hospital at Stevenage and outpatients services moved into the new QEII hospital on the same site.

Cradle to Grave captures the sounds of the old QEII hospital during its last days and gathers the memories of hospital staff and patients, past and present. Other contributors include Dr Geoffrey Rivett who, as well as starting his career as a hospital doctor in the new health services, has written a definitive history of the NHS.

Produced by Sara Parker

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

Dark Horse: An Alec Guinness Archive2014041220150627 (BBC7)
20150628 (BBC7)

Alistair McGowan investigates the enigma of a private man who became a global star.

Alistair McGowan reveals the private side of a purportedly 'retiring' artist - a man who forged one of the most stunningly successful theatrical and cinematic careers of the last century with intelligence, guile and a deep understanding of the creation of image.

One of the most extraordinary aspects of the film, television, stage and radio career that made Sir Alec the most successful British character actor of the 20th century was his apparent talent for anonymity. Laurence Olivier, Alec Guinness' mentor and co-star, famously described him as 'a dark horse' in a leading article in Time Magazine.

A remarkably good mimic, Sir Alec preferred, it seemed, to define himself by the roles he played. Was he really the scholarly, unworldly artist he appeared to be? He was a diarist, raconteur, and polished Hollywood operator, who turned self-deprecation into an art-form, took pride in not being recognised and disliked showmanship.

Alistair McGowan examines the many contradictions in the life of this enigmatic man through archive of interviews with the actor himself and those who knew him well.

Producer: Frank Stirling

A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.

On the 100th anniversary of Sir Alec Guinness' birth, and in the year when the British Library makes his newly acquired letters and diaries available to the public, Alistair McGowan reveals the private side of this purportedly 'retiring' artist - a man who forged one of the most stunningly successful theatrical and cinematic careers of the last century with intelligence, guile and a deep understanding of the creation of image.

David Bowie: Verbatim20160130

With previously unheard interviews, studio out takes and a collection of musings from throughout the years, the story of David Bowie's extraordinary life and career told in his own words.

By his own count, David Bowie inhabited seven different personas throughout his career and, while each one of those creations channelled wildly different musical influences that were often difficult to identify, Bowie was always able to articulate with great conviction which musical universe he was inhabiting at each turn - even if he often contradicted himself.

"I usually don't agree with what I say very much. I'm an awful liar", he claimed in 2002, while summarizing his many changes in style.

Producer: Des Shaw

A Ten Alps production for BBC Radio 4.

Dear Adolf - Letters To The Fuhrer20120929

Christopher Cook examines a unique set of recordings from the vaults of the American Jewish Committee that strove to define America's war aims and values.

For 6 weeks, in 1942, the airwaves of NBC hummed with the voices of Hollywood stars such as James Cagney, Raymond Massey and Helen Hayes addressing the Fuhrer in the guise of ordinary citizens. Ever since the trauma of Pearl Harbour, thousands of letters had poured into radio networks and newspaper offices expressing support, anger and defiance at the new war America was now fighting. These letters earned themselves the sobriquet of 'Dear Adolf's' and Pulitzer prize winning writer Stephen Vincent Benet drew on their inspiration for six fictional missives to Hitler.

But the backstory of these and other broadcasts from the AJC is as compelling as the star names chosen to speak for the people of America. Formed in 1906, the American Jewish Committee was a response to the plight of Eastern European Jewry then suffering a wave of pogroms. Avowedly 'unpolitical', in so far as it eschewed the major movements then gripping the Jewish world (Socialism, Zionism and Communism) it sought to defend Jewish life both in the U.S. and the heartlands of Eastern Europe and to engage in inter faith dialogue at home. At its heart was advocacy of a loyal American Jewish citizenry and a desire to overcome prejudice.

By the late 1930's the A.J.C. took to the airwaves to use the power of radio. Producing thousands of radio messages and programs aimed at fighting bigotry on the homefront and promoting democratic values for a diverse number of programmes. This was a time of rising anti-semitism, domestically and abroad with the German American Bund holding mass rallies in Madison Square Gardens and the siren voice of radio demagogue Father Coughlin railing against 'internal enemies'.

Series like Dear Adolf and a gripping dramatization of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, made just months after its destruction, are just a few of the archival gems of the A.J.C. spanning two decades of attempts to counter prejudice and imbue ordinary American's with the spirit of tolerance.

Producer: Mark Burman.

Destroyer Of Worlds20150711

How Britain discovered the world's first atomic bomb only to lose it to the Americans when the U.S. reneged on an Anglo-American agreement to share atomic research.

A dawn of two suns - the world's first atomic bomb explosion tested in the New Mexico desert on July 16 1945 - inaugurated the atomic age, forever defining the global struggle for supremacy. At the time, the so called 'Father of the atomic bomb', Robert Oppenheimer, famously quoted Hindu scriptures with the apocalyptic words "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds".

This programme examines the little known story of British involvement in the top secret Manhattan Project to make an atomic bomb and how Britain, once the lead in nuclear weapons, was eventually marginalised.

It is a story of a British/US rivalry which ended in Britain being squeezed out of the project. But it is also the story of Churchill's failure to secure a position on the global high table of nuclear powers, a failure many regard as a betrayal.

While Britain may have regretted the loss of their atomic leadership, this programme also examines the views that one of the reasons for Britain's isolation - American fears about the security risk of British participation - was well justified. After all Klaus Fuchs, a member of the British delegation, was arguably the most significant of the wartime atomic spies.

But, speaking to the widow of an until recently unknown American atomic spy, the programme also uncovers evidence that the so-called 'best kept secret', the Manhattan Project, was far more deeply penetrated than we have previously realised.

Produced by Kati Whitaker

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

Dickie Attenborough: A Life In Film20150822

In a career that encompassed acting, producing and directing, Richard Attenborough was a mainstay of the British film industry; in fact, for at least 20 years, he was arguably the British film industry. At the time when Attenborough began directing films, starting with Oh What a Lovely War in 1969, British film was reaching an all time nadir. Attenborough helped to bring it back from the brink.

Inheriting a steadfast belief in citizenship and social responsibility, Dickie or Dick (as he was known by his friends) threw his phenomenal energy and determination into making films like Gandhi and Cry Freedom, the latter telling the story of the anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko and the journalist Donald Woods. He didn't set out to make box office hits, yet Gandhi played for weeks at the Odeon Leicester Square and won eight Oscars including best actor for Ben Kingsley.

Kingsley, Anthony Hopkins, David Puttnam, William Goldberg and the late John Mills all join in celebrating Attenborough's skill as a director of actors, his stamina and his huge commitment to the British film industry. A year on from his death, Susan Marling (who met and recorded with Attenborough before he died) asks what his legacy has been.

Produced by Isabel Sutton

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Divorce - British Style2011031220110314

40 years after the Divorce Act came into force, what was the impact on British society?

40 years ago, a legal change ushered in one of the most profound and rapid changes in British society.

The Divorce Act of 1969 came into force in 1971, introducing the concept of no-fault divorces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Scotland followed with its own reform not long after.

The results were dramatic.

The rate of divorce - which had been around 30,000 a year in the 1960s, rocketed in the first year of the new act to over 110,000.

It continued to rise, hitting a high of over 160,000 couples in the mid-80s, before dropping back down as more couples cohabit rather than marry.

Still, four out of ten marriages are estimated to end in divorce, and the UK has one of the highest divorce rates in Europe.

Rosie Boycott, herself a veteran of the feminist battles of the 1960s, revisits the personal stories and surprising debates of the 1950s, 60s and 70s documenting and reflecting on the profound social change unleashed by the new divorce legislation.

Producer: Daniel Tetlow.

Doctor Who - The Lost Episodes2009122620091228
20141227 (BBC7)
20141228 (BBC7)

What happened to the 108 missing episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s?

Shaun Ley investigates why the tapes were wiped and how dedicated fans hunted down copies of other episodes in film collections from Cyrpus to New Zealand.

While we may have lost those early programmes, Shaun hears how some home recordings ensured all audio survived.

Producer: Chris Ledgard.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2009.

Shaun Ley investigates what happened to 108 missing episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s, why the tapes were wiped and how dedicated fans hunted down copies of other episodes in film collections from Cyprus to New Zealand.

And while we may have lost those early programmes, Shaun hears how home recordings ensured all the audio survived.

Shaun Ley investigates what happened to 108 missing episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s.

Domesday Reloaded2011051420110516

Historian Michael Wood surveys the rise, fall, and rehabilitation of the most ambitious digital survey, ever carried out.

The project took the name of William the Conqueror's Domesday book and was completed in time for the 900th anniversary of its namesake,

The anniversary prompted BBC TV producer Peter Armstrong to propose an equally ambitious project.

Using money left over from the successful country wide roll-out of the BBC Micro computer to schools, he hit upon the idea of compiling something similar to the Domesday Book.

He wanted to collect pictures and text, gathered by children everywhere, in a digital format, and ultimately deliver a computer resource for every library and school.

The country was divided into 3x4 mile squares, and for two years community groups from schools, Scout and Guide troops, Women's Institutes and Tourist Information Centres, were corralled into diligently gathering information about local life in the 1980s.

After a huge press launch over a million people took part in the survey, and their stories were astonishingly diverse.

14,000 schools took up the challenge and approached the project in many different ways.

From the small Scottish school who undertook a full census of the wildlife on their island, to the (newly) ex-miners' children who wrote poetry about their hopes for a non-coal powered future.

The stories and photographs were eventually loaded onto the Domesday machine and the technology was demonstrated to at the highest level, from the Queen, to the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and to President Mitterand.

However, when the final machine - a slightly Heath-Robinson combination of a BBC Master, a tracker-ball pointer (this was pre-mouse) and a large 12 inch video disc player (this was pre-CD Rom) - was unveiled in November 1986, it was frustratingly expensive.

At almost £5,000, the machines were outside the price range of nearly all libraries and schools.

So most of the people involved in gathering the data and snapping the photos never even saw the fruits of their labour.

As time went by, the BBC scrapped its interest in interactivity, and the project decayed.

All the data so painstakingly collected was locked up in obsolete technology - a good example of the Digital Dark ages of the 1980s.

By 2002 the hidden Domesday data started to gain cult status and was a treasure trove for digital archaeologists, many of whom have laboriously excavated the data from the disintegrating discs.

Now, 25 years after the original project, that digital archaeology is resurrecting a history of Britain never seen before and data from the 1986 Domesday project is now being made available via the internet at www.bbc.co.uk/domesday.

Michael Wood unlocks the secrets of the 1986 BBC Domesday project.

Dramatising New Labour2010071720100719

What can we learn about New Labour from the way it has been portrayed in drama?

The dramatists have delved into the troubled relationship between Blair and Brown, the events leading up to the Iraq war and its aftermath, the junking of old Labour values, the personalities, the sex scandals, and of course, spin.

They have characterised New Labour and its leading players in comedy, satire, drama, docu-drama and bio-pics.

Some Labour politicians even think they have seen a Blair-like figure materialise in Dr Who.

Whilst some dramatists base their work on detailed factual research, others lean heavily on their imagination.

But all hope to convey an essential truth about New Labour and its leading players, and indeed sometimes to plug a gap left by conventional journalists.

In this programme Professor Steven Fielding examines these dramas and their impact.

He asks what contribution the dramas have made to the way we see New Labour.

Do they confuse the viewer about what really happened and what is made up? What is it like for politicians to see themselves portrayed? Do they reveal a deeper truth? How far have they been genuinely revelatory?

The interviewees are former Downing Street spin doctors Alastair Campbell and Lance Price, writers and directors David Hare (Absence of War and other New Labour plays), Alistair Beaton (A Very Social Secretary and The Trial of Tony Blair), Neil McKay (Mo), Peter Kosminsky (The Project and The Government Inspector) and Stephen Frears (The Deal and The Queen), and current and former Labour MPs Clare Short, Adam Ingram, Andrew Mackinlay and Stephen Pound.

The producer is Jane Ashley

Steven Fielding is Director of the Centre for British Politics at the University of Nottingham.

Professor Steven Fielding looks at how New Labour has been dramatised on stage and screen.

El Tren Fantasma2010103020101101

Ride the Ghost Train from Los Mochis to Veracruz, and travel across country, coast to coast, from the Pacific to Atlantic, on an acoustic journey through the heart of Mexico on board one of the most exciting, beautiful and dynamic engineering projects the country has ever known, but which has now passed into history.

It's more than a decade since the Mexican State Railway System operated its last continuous passenger service across the country.

Sound recordist Chris Watson spent a month on board the train with some of the last passengers to travel this route.

In this sound portrait, based on his original recordings, we recreate the journey of the 'ghost train'; evoking memories of a recent past, capturing the atmosphere, rhythms and sounds of human life and wildlife along the tracks of one of Mexico's greatest engineering projects.

Our journey begins on the west coast at Los Mochis.

From here the track rises to an altitude of around 2,500 metres (over 8,000 ft) travelling through truly spectacular scenery as it sweeps through the Copper Canyon.

The Tarahumara people, descendants of the Aztecs, still live a simple life in these canyons, as they have done for thousands of years.

From here, we descend into Chihuahua City, and pause in the goods yard of the station, eavesdropping on an industrial symphony of metallic sounds.

Further south, near the city of Durango, we swap railway coach for stage coach and travel to La Joya, the ranch once owned by the actor, John Wayne.

Then it's back on the train, and onwards to the silver mines of Zacatecas.

The dangers of working here are legendary.

The ghost train travels on..

a gentle breeze sighs through the pine forest along the track side, and then, further south, the sounds of the Mariachi bands greet the train as it travels through Mexico city.

In the vast landscape of shanty towns, the tracks are used as commuter routes by the locals.

Cattle are even driven along them.

But such practices can be fatal; in these suburbs, the trains don't stop.

Then there's a diversion to El Tajin; here the descendants of the Mayans spin from tall poles and play games where the winner faces a sacrificial death.

The end of the journey approaches; the ghost train thunders on towards the east coast, the Gulf of Mexico and our destination, Veracruz, where ship hooters in the harbour compete with the deafening screech of the train horn.

The recordings used in this programme were originally made by Chris Watson whilst in Mexico with a film crew for the BBC Television programme, Great Railways Journeys: Mexico.

Sadly, since these recordings were made, the artist Phil Kelly has died (August 2010).

Narrator Chris Watson

Producer Sarah Blunt.

An acoustic journey by train across Mexico is recreated using archive recordings.

Embracing Idleness2013021620150919 (BBC7)
20150920 (BBC7)

The writer, Oliver Burkeman, wanders through the archives, thinking about the pros and cons of idleness.

In these goal obsessed, triple-dip recession conscious days, the merest hint of idleness can send politicians and headline writers into a state of near apoplexy. Front-benchers from all political parties seem to be tripping over themselves in a bid to establish the supremacy of their moral devotion to the 'hard working families' and upstanding citizens of 'alarm clock Britain'.

Oliver Burkeman steps back from the fray to unravel the complications of idleness and even discover some of its merits. As a non-idler who confesses to that feeling of smugness at having achieved tasks before breakfast time, Oliver nonetheless questions whether our target driven culture can ever bring any sense of contentment or happiness. The crux of the conflict seems to be that although idleness may be the dream, we spend most of our lives actively rejecting it.

And so we admire, despise and envy the idler, all at once. Oliver consults a diverse range of characters from the archive to untangle some of the complications. These include Bagpuss, Rab C Nesbitt, Tony Hancock, Waynetta Slob and Ronald Reagan, who all help Oliver examine idleness and its relation to childhood, creativity, boredom, social class and subversion.

There are also wonderful insights from 'real people'. There's the testimony of a schoolboy from 1960s Birmingham, dreaming of the island life. Unbothered by the noise of everyday life (including The Queen chasing him for rates) he is able to compose opera by seeking inspiration from nature. A gloriously grand Colonel's wife flagrantly tells of her life of luxury, being fed and watered by her husband with bath time Brandy and Ginger Ales, iced coffees, only occasionally talking to the children through the intercom if she is particularly bored. Then there's the fisherman who believes that idleness and death go hand in hand and that the introduction of the Welfare State could only turn him into a sluggard. And there's the moving testimony of a former miner, who began work in the pits during his school holidays in 1925, and then paradoxically found the greatest moments of happiness and freedom during the months of idleness brought about by the General Strike.

Oliver also meets with the founder of The Idler magazine, Tom Hodgkinson, for a whistle stop history of idleness and the philosophical debate, to discover how the work ethic became so inculcated. Tom argues that at least part of the reason for this is because, by their very nature, pro-idlers are bound to be less zealous in spreading the idleness word.

There's also an appealing aside, when Oliver observes that in the right person, idleness and that special insouciance that can go with it, is simply 'cool'.

With fantastic music, enquiry, and laughter, join Oliver Burkeman, Embracing Idleness.

Producer: Sarah Langan.

Oliver Burkeman uses the archive to explore the controversial subject of idleness.

England Expects2010052920100531

Presenter David Goldblatt relives 60 years of hope and hurt in England's World Cup campaigns, and how through the World Cups England can trace its relationship with itself and the rest of the world.

This programme uses archive from the North West Sound Archives, including interviews with Alf Ramsey, Bobby Robson, Stanley Matthews and Brian Clough.

It will also look at the role that devolution has had on the English psyche, reflected at international matches with the Union Jack flag in decline, being replaced by the St George's Cross.

In Brazil 1950 England thought themselves invincible, only to find themselves humiliated by a USA team made up of part-timers.

England's football world was shaken, just as the country was coming to terms with a shift in its post-war political position in the world.

The role of the managers will be examined in this programme, starting with Walter Winterbottom, who wasn't allowed to select his own team.

His successor changed that and insisted on having complete control over who played.

That manager was Alf Ramsey and with him we see England finally achieve their goal, World Cup winners in 1966.

Ramsey was the first manager to clash with the media, a familiar pattern that would subsequently repeat itself.

The high of 1966 was followed by disappointments: the dark years of the 1970s when the team failed to qualify for the next two World Cups, and the country struggled with economic problems at home, as well as increasing violence at football matches.The 1990 World Cup in Italy saw a game in the process of transformation.

On the eve of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, England Expects will reflect on 60 years of the nation's participation in the greatest sporting event in the world.

Producer: Carol Purcell.

David Goldblatt relives 60 years of hope and hurt in England's World Cup history.

Epic Fail20150404

Journalist Grace Dent presents her own field guide to failure, told through some of our most cherished and ear-popping examples of infamous fails. Featuring contributions from writer Jon Ronson, philosopher Andy Martin and Stephen Pile, author of "The Book Of Heroic Failures".

Farewell To Winston20150124 (BBC7)
20150125 (BBC7)

Nicholas Witchell remembers the winter's day on 30th January 1965 when the sleet fell - and a generation who had lived and served through the Second World War lost an iconic leader.

The grandeur of Churchill's state funeral saw a procession through the City of London, plus the coffin's final voyage down the River Thames to the Royal Festival Hall and on to Waterloo Station. From there the coffin was taken by train to its final resting place at Bladon Parish Church, Oxfordshire.

With excerpts from the original BBC commentary by Richard Dimbleby and Raymond Baxter, the programme recollects the thoughts and feelings of the wartime generation. With interviews with those were in the crowd or part of the procession. Features: Winston S Churchill, Nicholas Soames, Lord Deedes, Lady Soames, and Peter Dimmock.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January 2005.

Nicholas Witchell remembers the grandeur and impact of Winston Churchill's state funeral.

Nicholas Witchell remembers the grandeur and impact of Winston Churchill's state funeral on 30 January 1965. From January 2005.

Fitzroy Maclean: To Russia With Love2010122520101227

Brian Wilson looks at the life of Sir Fitzroy Maclean, Churchill's man in the East.

Sir Fitzroy Maclean was Churchill's man in the East, a member of the SAS and close friends with Field Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia.

Brian Wilson presents the archive of his remarkable and colourful life.

Five And The Fascists2009090520090907

In 1929 five leading European conductors - Toscanini, Klemperer, Furtwangler, Erich Kleiber and Bruno Walter - met at the Berlin Festival at the height of the Weimar Republic, shortly before Hitler took power.

Robert Giddings explores the confrontation between creativity and Fascism through the decisions made by these five musical giants.

Robert Giddings on the confrontation between creativity and Fascism in interwar Germany.

Flexible Friend Or Foe2010013020100201

How did a little sliver of plastic take over the world? Journalist Max Flint explores the arrival of the credit card into British life and the huge role it plays today.

The credit card was launched by Barclays in the UK in 1966. The Barclaycard was marketed at first as a 'shopping card', rather than a credit card, to thwart the British public's resistance to getting into debt. Barclaycard's first on-screen ad was called Travelling Light; it was targeted at women and featured the famous Barclaycard Bikini Girl who, oblivious to the shocked looks of passers-by, is seen making her way down a busy shopping street buying clothes and records, wearing nothing but a lilac-coloured bikini and carrying her Barclaycard in the bikini bottom. The advert finished with the line, 'Barclaycard: all a girl needs when she goes shopping.'

Barclaycard executives admit that the name of the first face of Barclaycard has now been lost in the mists of time. The Bikini Girl and subsequent marketing has now given rise to the biggest cause of personal bankruptcies in the UK. That first card is now accompanied by some 1,700 other credit cards in Britain alone, and we have the unenviable record as the world's most intensive credit card country, with 67 million cards for 59 million people. With the launch of the first card began a technological battle between fraudsters and card companies, and the war is yet to be won.

The American credit companies invaded us in the mid-90's and goaded Britain into unheard-of levels of debt. The thrill of the till has created a spending spree which is untempered by all the warnings from the archive news clips in this programme, taken from over the last 40 or so years, all of which tell us all what we already know - that this can't continue.

The credit card was launched by Barclays in the UK in 1966.

The Barclaycard was marketed at first as a 'shopping card', rather than a credit card, to thwart the British public's resistance to getting into debt.

Barclaycard's first on-screen ad was called Travelling Light; it was targeted at women and featured the famous Barclaycard Bikini Girl who, oblivious to the shocked looks of passers-by, is seen making her way down a busy shopping street buying clothes and records, wearing nothing but a lilac-coloured bikini and carrying her Barclaycard in the bikini bottom.

The advert finished with the line, 'Barclaycard: all a girl needs when she goes shopping.'

Barclaycard executives admit that the name of the first face of Barclaycard has now been lost in the mists of time.

The Bikini Girl and subsequent marketing has now given rise to the biggest cause of personal bankruptcies in the UK.

That first card is now accompanied by some 1,700 other credit cards in Britain alone, and we have the unenviable record as the world's most intensive credit card country, with 67 million cards for 59 million people.

With the launch of the first card began a technological battle between fraudsters and card companies, and the war is yet to be won.

The American credit companies invaded us in the mid-90's and goaded Britain into unheard-of levels of debt.

The thrill of the till has created a spending spree which is untempered by all the warnings from the archive news clips in this programme, taken from over the last 40 or so years, all of which tell us all what we already know - that this can't continue.

Max Flint explores the arrival of the credit card into British life and its role today.

For One Night Illegally - The History Of The Bootleg *2009041820090420

Writer and broadcaster David Hepworth charts the story of secret recordings, artist out-takes and demo tapes that make up the world of bootleg recordings, from Bob Dylan's Great White Wonder in 1969 to the file sharing internet sites of the 21st century, via the Beatles, the Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Sex Pistols and Led Zeppelin.

David also talks to contemporary artists including Ryan Adams who have come to embrace the bootleggers, and hears from bootleggers of the 1960s and 70s who pitted their wits against security guards, the Feds and the record companies to get their unofficial releases out to the public.

A Bite Yer Legs production for BBC Radio 4.

Writer and broadcaster David Hepworth charts the story of bootleg recordings.

Four Women Poets Today20140920

Twenty one years ago, four relatively unknown poets spoke with Peggy Reynolds about the impact of gender and nationality on their poetry and on their sense of themselves as poets.

Today, Carol Ann Duffy is the first-ever Poet Laureate, Gillian Clarke is the National Poet of Wales, Liz Lochhead is the Makar or National Poet of Scotland, and Eavan Boland is a highly distinguished scholar-poet who divides her year between Stanford and Dublin.

In the light of these developments - not to mention the constitutional changes and wild economic fluctuations of the last 21 years - Peggy Reynolds speaks with each of them again, asking them to reflect on their creative and professional journeys and on the state of women's poetry - and poetry in general - today.

Finally, she asks them to cast forward and predict what they might say if there were a similar programme in 21 years time. Their replies surprise her.

Producer Beaty Rubens.

Freeman's World2011021920110221
Freud Vs Jung2012012120160521 (BBC7)
20160522 (BBC7)

Lisa Appignanesi explores the intense relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung's names may be linked in the public imagination but the two men were friends and collaborators for only a few short years. In 1912 they had a final, catastrophic split and never worked together again. Lisa Appignanesi tells the story of the titanic struggle which shaped our map of the unconscious. Did the bisected science fail to fulfil its promise and how much can be laid at the door of the primal argument between its dominant father and rebellious son?

From Donald Winnicott To The Naughty Step2013050420141018 (BBC7)
20141019 (BBC7)

Anne Karpf on psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, among the first to broadcast to new mothers.

Seventy years ago the psychoanalyst and parenting expert Donald Winnicott first broadcast his idea of the 'good-enough mother'; the mother who wasn't perfect and was free, to some extent, to fail. From 1943-1962 he gave some 50 BBC broadcasts. Aimed directly at mothers, they had a profound impact on popular ideas about motherhood. Winnicott's pioneering talks came after the rigid, traumatising regime advocated by Frederick Truby-King - babies fed every four hours, left uncuddled in prams outdoors. Anne argues Truby-King is the spiritual father of the much discussed contemporary ideas of Gina Ford, of Supernanny and the naughty step.

By contrast, Winnicott believed that "It is when a mother trusts her judgement that she is at her best." In his work he took the radical step of talking to mothers directly through the radio.

Winnicott explained a baby's development in vivid, non-clinical language; he avoided exciting guilt or anxiety in 'the ordinary devoted mother' without access to help or therapy. He broadcast anonymously but received sacks of letters. When his talks were published, they sold over 50,000 copies, and influenced Dr Spock.

Winnicott invented a new language in which to talk about babies and with the help of the BBC he created a new way to talk to parents about parenting. His broadcasts touched on many subjects: stepparents, saying no, feeling guilty, the development of a child's sense of right and wrong, why babies cry, weaning, the baby as a person, and what we mean by a normal child.

His brilliance was to build up mothers by breaking down the idea of motherhood. By unburdening women of inherited notions of perfection he helped them to become better mothers. He argued that failing was in fact a necessary part of parenting, and through the failure of the parent the child realises the limits of its own power and the reality of an imperfect world. And he questioned the assumption that professionals always new better and broke taboos about parenting.

With a proliferation of parenting manuals and TV shows today, Winnicott's message seems to have been lost. Many parents and in particular mothers still feel guilty about not living up to an ideal for their children. Anne Karpf is argues that today mothers need Winnicott more than they ever did.

From Easy To Cryptic - 100 Years Of The Crossword2012112420121226

Lynne Truss decodes interviews and puzzles to find the secrets of this hardy mind teaser.

Famous for her own love of word play, Lynne Truss decodes a bountiful archive of clues, answers, interviews and puzzles to celebrate the centenary of this resilient mind teaser. The first crossword appeared in the New York Times in 1913, devised by a Liverpudlian called Arthur Wynne. He was the first of many setters whose cryptic clues and clever answers encapsulate the cultural and social agenda of their age. MI5 interrogated the Telegraph's first setter in 1944 when his crossword solutions suggested he knew too much about military operations. Lynne learns that code breakers selection for Bletchley Park was based on their prowess for cracking crosswords.

In an internet age of gaming and quick access to information, Lynne Truss learns why scientists argue that the hardy crossword keeps the mind agile and listens to the sounds of the setter and crossword solver at work, pondering the trickiest clue.

From Inside: The Guildford Four20141004

The inside story of the Guildford Four, based on the previously unheard letters home of Paul Hill, written during his fifteen-year wrongful incarceration for the Guildford Pub Bombings.

Paul Hill was one of the Guildford Four, who were subsequently found to have been wrongly convicted of IRA pub bombings in 1974. After a lengthy campaign, their convictions were quashed and they were released in 1989.

Martin McNamara presents this collection of passionate, evocative, angry and poignant letters written by Paul Hill to members of his family, especially his mother, sister and uncle. His words give a real sense of an ordinary young man caught in a terrible miscarriage of justice, trying to reassure his mother, growing up at a distance from the world and his loved ones. They eloquently chart the nightmare of being jailed for something he did not do.

After his release Paul Hill donated hundreds of the letters he sent to his family to the Archive of the Irish in Britain at the London Metropolitan University.

At the original trial, where the convictions were based solely on confessions, the judge regretted that he could not impose the death penalty. From his cell, Paul Hill watched the world change: the birth of his child, the Thatcher years, punk, the miners' strike, the death of John Lennon, Glasnost.

The programme includes interviews with Hill himself from his adopted home in the USA, and with Joshua Rozenberg, who was the BBC legal correspondent during the period of Hills incarceration and release.

Reader...Jonjo O'Neill

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

From Midpoint To Endpoint - Talking With John Updike * *2009040420090406

Mark Lawson traces the career of John Updike from 1969, after he had been pictured on the cover of Time magazine and brought to international recognition by his best-selling novel Couples, to a final interview recorded months before Updike's death in January 2009.

Mark draws on his own interviews with Updike - including the one made in October 2008 which proved to he his last - appearances on programmes including Desert Island Discs and the writer's readings of his own stories and memoirs.

Updike talks about writing, sex, death, God, golf, American presidents from Kennedy to Obama, 9/11 and changes in literary culture.

Mark Lawson traces the career of late US novelist and poet John Updike

From The Self To The Selfie20150919

The current craze for taking Selfies has attracted vast tracts of criticism mostly from the pre-selfie generation. These posted self portraits are seen as narcissistic, superficial, infuriating and possibly dangerous for vulnerable young people.

Here Lauren Laverne takes an elegant and thoughtful look at the origins of the selfie and its cultural context. She talks to art historian Andrew Graham Dixon, philosopher Simon Blackburn (commenting on shampoo whose promise is that we are 'worth it'), beauty editor Sali Hughes and fashion designer Henry Holland, together with psychologist Oliver James and author and journalist Hadley Freeman.

It seems that selfies have their roots in our shifting attitudes to celebrity and to the self. In an ever more democratic landscape of media and communications they are about our increasing desire to star in the show of our own lives.

They are also forging a revolution in industries such as fashion and beauty and, some argue, putting the power back in the hands of the people. The show includes archive from the earliest Amateur Hour on US radio through the self-help campaigns of the 80s and the Kardashian-fuelled selfie phenomenon of the present.

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Frost On Nixon2012121520130907

Watching Richard Nixon's first inauguration ceremony in January 1969, and hearing the prayer of the Reverend Billy Graham who stood by him at that ceremony, it seemed that here was an honest man of integrity. Yet much detail has emerged since that time demonstrating that the 37th President of the United States was less than upstanding in his dealings with his Democrat opponents and the American people.

But who was Nixon the man? What was he really like? Do all those allegations and solid facts alluding to his dirty tricks - the wire-tapping, the break-ins, the pay-offs, the "Commie" slurs, the Machiavellian manoeuvrings - add up to a thoroughly dishonest and dislikeable man?

Many of the Nixon insiders, some of whom were jailed and several of whom were sacked by their boss after the Watergate scandal, were not critical of Nixon - and others, such as Bob Haldeman, while not admitting to a love of Nixon, still claimed to respect him after the event.

Many observers and colleagues point to Nixon's awkwardness and aloofness, citing that he came across in this way because he was a diffident man who was not a natural politician. His speeches were often mawkishly sentimental and manipulative, simplistic in their appeal to an American down-home conservatism and a hatred of Communism. Yet he won two elections - the second a landslide despite the parlous state of a country being riven in two because of the Vietnam war.

In this programme, the man who got close to Nixon when in 1977 he taped nearly 29 hours of interviews with Nixon, Sir David Frost, searches through the BBC archives and the White House tapes to try to discover just what kind of man Richard Nixon was.

Producer: Neil Rosser

A Ladbroke production for BBC Radio 4.

George Blake - The Confession2009080120090803

Former Panorama reporter Tom Bower introduces the documentary he made in the late 1980s about double agent George Blake.

For 18 years, Blake served as a trusted and senior MI6 officer.

But secretly, in 1952, he became a double agent, betraying MI6 operations and personnel to the KGB.

Over the course of nine years, at a critical period of the Cold War, he destroyed most of MI6's activities in Eastern Europe.

'I don't know what I handed over', he admitted, 'because it was so much'.

b00ly0nx

Getting To Know My Father2011073020110801

For Radio 4, Today presenter, Justin Webb goes on a personal journey through the archive to get to know his father; journalist and BBC man Peter Woods.

Justin met him only once, when he was six months old, but despite not knowing him Peter was omnipresent when he was growing up.

Whether reporting from Berlin when the wall was built, or presenting the BBC's first colour news programme, he dominated the news.

Using the archive to piece together his career, from the 1950s tabloid journalism through to his comedy cameos in the 1980s, Justin tells the story of his father's on-screen life, and that of his secret son whose career was happening in parallel.

Getting To Know My Father takes the listener back to 1960s Fleet Street, '70s newsrooms, and the halcyon days of the alpha-male journalist and the hard-living culture that eventually interfered with Woods' career, as Justin's colleague, John Humphreys reveals:

'How can I put this politely? Peter was very very different from you, Justin.

He was colourful.

You never quite knew how he was going to behave.

And it did depend a little bit, I'm afraid, on how recently he'd had an encounter with the bottle".

Meeting other people who knew Peter back in his prime: comedian Michael Palin; broadcaster Angela Rippon; and former Fleet Street editor Brian Hitchen, Justin finds out what kind of man his father was:

"He was very streetwise, and very cunning.

During the Suez crisis he conned the commanding officer of the parachute regiment that he could do a jump- he'd never done one before".

Brian Hitchen, Daily Mirror colleague.

Building a picture of his father Justin contemplates on the man he never knew, and who never tried to contact him.

Will Peter reveal himself through the archive and will Justin like the person that is uncovered?

Producer: Gemma Newby

A Wise Buddah production for BBC Radio 4.

Justin Webb goes through the archive to get to know Peter Woods; the father he never knew.

Justin met him only once, when he was six months old, but despite not knowing him Peter was omnipresent when he was growing up. Whether reporting from Berlin when the wall was built, or presenting the BBC's first colour news programme, he dominated the news. Using the archive to piece together his career, from the 1950s tabloid journalism through to his comedy cameos in the 1980s, Justin tells the story of his father's on-screen life, and that of his secret son whose career was happening in parallel.

'How can I put this politely? Peter was very very different from you, Justin. He was colourful. You never quite knew how he was going to behave. And it did depend a little bit, I'm afraid, on how recently he'd had an encounter with the bottle".

"He was very streetwise, and very cunning. During the Suez crisis he conned the commanding officer of the parachute regiment that he could do a jump- he'd never done one before". Brian Hitchen, Daily Mirror colleague.

Building a picture of his father Justin contemplates on the man he never knew, and who never tried to contact him. Will Peter reveal himself through the archive and will Justin like the person that is uncovered?

Gloria And Me2013110220150314 (BBC7)
20150315 (BBC7)

Glenn Patterson traces the cultural journey of Van Morrison's much-covered song Gloria.

Growing up in Belfast, the writer Glenn Patterson assumed that everything that moved him musically came from afar. To begin with, it was England and Glam Rock, but gradually strange sounds began to infiltrate from even further afield. A school friend introduced him to Patti Smith. Patti Smith introduced him to 'Gloria'. It was a convoluted route by which the song finally reached him - only a couple of miles from where it was written.

At a gig in the USA in 1988, Bruce Springsteen shouted "lets take it back to where it all started" as he launched into a version of Gloria. It's a song that's been covered by everyone from Simple Minds to Ricky Lee Jones to The Doors.

Glenn talks to Mickey Bradley, bass player with the Undertones, who remembers Gloria being one of the first songs the band learned to play. The simple three chord structure makes it deceptively straightforward - although Glenn's attempt to learn it might disprove that theory - but the song has always held a strange magic for him. Even now, he says, he would fight his corner to say it's one of the best songs Van Morrison has ever written.

Mickey and his fellow Undertones were learning to play Gloria while listening to Nuggets, an album of garage rock highlights put together by Patti Smith's guitarist, Lenny Kaye. His relationship with Gloria starts with the Patti Smith band and both he and Patti talk about why they picked this song to re-work.

And Glenn unearths a rare recording of the famously taciturn Van Morrison discussing the song, with a young Rolling Stone journalist, Cameron Crowe.

Produced by Rachel Hooper

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio Four.

Glenn Patterson traces the cultural journey of Van Morrison's song Gloria.

Going To The Flicks - 012011011520110117

Barry Norman is one of Britain's best loved film broadcasters, but for this series he is not so much interested in the films as in exploring how the experience of going to the cinema in Britain has changed over the last one hundred years.

In fact, his first surprise is the discovery that people are far more likely to recall the general experience of going to the cinema than the individual films they saw.

He draws on BBC archive as well as recordings from the University of Lancaster which have never been broadcast before, and also new interviews to find out how people's experience of this most popular form of entertainment has changed over the decades.

The Silent Era, it turns out, was not all that silent, with plenty of chatting and tea-drinking going on, not to mention children reading out the titles to their illiterate parents and grandparents.

Barry then moves on to hear how overwhelmed many viewers were by the sheer luxury of the cinemas built in the inter-war years and how these pleasure palaces offered a few hours of escape from lives which were harsh or sometimes simply dull.

He himself recalls going to the pictures in the 1950s, which was the golden age of Saturday morning cinema for children.

In the 1960s, with the advent of television, Barry finds out about the ultimately failed attempts to introduce novelties such as Cinerama and The Smellies to cinema and hears confessions about just what went on in the back row!

With contributions from film expert Annette Kuhn and architectural historian Richard Gray, this first part of Barry Norman's memoir of Going to the Flicks is a heady mix of nostalgia and surprise.

Producer : Beaty Rubens.

Barry Norman on the changing experience of cinema going over the last century.

Going To The Flicks - 022011012220110124

Continuing his two-part survey of the changing experience of British cinema-going over the last century, Barry Norman starts with cinema at a low ebb in the 1970s and moves up to the exciting innovations of the present.

Barry Norman is one of the best-loved critics of film in Britain but for this series he explores not the pictures on the screen but the changing experience of participating in one of the most popular cultural activity of all - simply going to the cinema.

He starts in the 1970s, when film was at a particularly low ebb and ticket sales had fallen to an all-time low.

In conversation with Sir David Puttnam, he recalls his own pessimism about the future of cinema at the time.

Moving onto the 1980s, Barry explores the impact of an American import - the Multiplex - on Britain.

He then moves onto the challenge of videos and DVDs in the 1990s and is ultimately surprised to find how positive the picture now looks as British cinemas embrace 3D and other innovations and attendance figures continue to rise.

Featuring archive never broadcast before, this series attempts for the first time ever to survey the changing experience of cinema-going in Britain over the last century.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Charting the rise from the 1970s low ebb to today's exciting innovations.

Gone With The Wind: A Legacy20141213

Author, journalist and academic Diane Roberts examines the impact of one of the most successful Hollywood movies of all time, 75 years after its release.

Using previously un-broadcast extracts from archive interviews with cast and crew, conducted by the veteran Hollywood correspondent Barbra Paskin, Diane looks at how the book and film came about, the reaction it received across America, and its lasting legacy.

It's been called racist, discriminatory, retrograde, and offensive - but, as we discover, the importance of Gone With The Wind lies in part in the conversation it provokes about an ugly and often overlooked chapter in American history.

We hear how issues around race dominated the film's premiere in Atlanta and even spilled over on Oscar night. Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to win an Academy Award but she was racially segregated from her co-stars at the ceremony - made to sit at a separate table at the back of the room.

Gone with the Wind had a $3.7m budget - unheard of at the time. It grossed over $390m globally at the box office and it was filmed and presented on a scale not seen in modern productions. There were a massive 554 speaking roles and a supporting cast of 2,400 people.

This programme includes archive of Evelyn Keyes who played Scarlett's sister Suellen, Ann Rutherford who played Careen, the film's make up artist Frank Westmore, script clerk Lydia Schiller and Editor Hal Kern. We also hear from Barbra Paskin who conducted the original interviews, and from Professor Helen Taylor, author of the book Scarlett's Women: Gone with the Wind and Its Female Fans.

Produced by Ashley Byrne

A Made in Manchester production for BBC Radio 4.

Government Is Not The Solution20120310

Amid global economic turmoil, high government debts and the rise of the Tea Party, hostility to overweaning, overspending government power appears to be on a roll in America today.

As Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum all struggle to win the US Republican Party's Presidential nomination, each is doing their best to convince the Party's membership that he is the man to rein in 'Big Government'.

But, as Jonathan Freedland explores, this hostility has its roots at the very beginning of the United States.

In this programme, he traces how Americans' suspicion of centralised power began with the 1770s rebellion against British rule - and how it became the basis of the way America is governed, through the 'separation of powers'.

Jonathan unearths a rich seam of archive which shows how this has coloured American politics over recent decades, even as the size of government has grown.

He explores how it fuelled opposition to the New Deal, Civil Rights and the War in Vietnam.

And he asks how American Presidents have found ways to push against the constraints of the Constitution and drive their policies through.

Historian Professor Desmond King argues that from Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan and beyond, Presidents have repeatedly declared 'War' on everything from the Depression to drugs, poverty to inflation.

This was always a canny bid to play on American patriotism and the President's role as Commander-in-Chief - to make social reform sound as urgent and necessary as fighting a foreign foe.

But has this strategy now run out of firepower? And if so, is America's relationship with the very idea of central government now more vexed than ever?

Producer: Phil Tinline.

Jonathan Freedland traces the history of American hostility to 'Big Government'.

Greece: An Unquiet History20120331

Maria Margaronis asks if the spectre of the Greece's unstable past is haunting its current nightmares. Culturally at Europe's heart, geographically at its edge, Greece has always been pulled and pushed by the contradictory needs of the big powers.

Maria looks back through the defining chapters of the country's history beginning her journey in Thessaloniki-once a vibrant Ottoman city city of Jews, Muslims and Christians at the moment of its conquest by the young Greek state a century ago. She then travels through lands populated by refugees from the Asia Minor disaster in 1922 and on into villages burned by German occupation forces in the 1940s, arriving in the Athens of the colonels' junta of 1967-74. Along the way she explores both public and private memories of Greece's turbulent recent history.

The recent financial crisis has made Greeks once again deeply divided about Europe, enlisting history on both sides of the argument. Is Greece still the guarantor of human rights, freedom and progress, or has it become a new repressive force, suspending democracy to safeguard its own and Europe' s interests? Consciously or unconsciously, history is informing that debate.

Producer: Mark Burman.

Writer Maria Margaronis asks if the spectre of Greece's past haunts its current nightmares

Hate Against Hope2010030620100308

Alan Dein hears how London's East End Bangladeshi community forged new alliances to oppose racism in the 1970s and 80s.

The East End had been a centre of racial struggle and opposition since the 1930s, when Oswald Mosely's Blackshirts had paraded through the then largely Jewish streets around Brick Lane.

By the 1970s a new wave of predominantly Bangladeshi immigrants faced racism again from the National Front and its sympathisers.

As provocation and attacks increased, this community made new alliances with local anti-fascist activists, culminating in large-scale movements such as Rock Against Racism.

Once again Brick Lane and the streets beyond became a battleground.

How the anti-racist struggles in London's East End in the 1970s and 80s relived the past.

Heroes And Hacks2013051120140816 (BBC7)
20140817 (BBC7)

Journalist Eamonn O'Neill examines his profession through the legacy of Watergate.

Monicagate. Camillagate. Hackgate. Plebgate.

It's 40 years since the world was introduced to the original "gate" via the televised Senate Watergate Hearings. In this Archive on 4, journalist Eamonn O'Neill investigates the Watergate legacy. The film All the President's Men, with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, inspired an entire generation of journalists. "Deep Throat," "inside sources" and "follow the money" became buzzwords for a supposedly golden age of journalism.

But was it really hard-bitten reporting that brought down the leader of the free world? Or is that it a convenient myth, aided by Hollywood, indulgently lifting the expectations of journalists?

40 years later in Britain, the golden age seems to be long gone, thanks to the excesses of "Hackgate." It was Watergate in reverse, a scandal that brought down journalists, leaving politicians largely intact.

Eamonn examines the nature of modern investigative journalism, through archive from Watergate and other political scandals since. He talks to Washington Post journalists, including Bob Woodward, about their heroic status. He meets the new breed of "heroic" investigative journalists, including Heather Brooke, who helped expose the MPs expenses scandal, and Nick Davies, who exposed the phone hacking scandal for The Guardian.

Eamonn also looks at fate of the investigative press in a post-Leveson environment, searching for the line between hero and hack.

Producer: Colin McNulty

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4.

Hobsbawm: A Life In History2012041420121001

Historian Prof Eric Hobsbawm is interviewed by Simon Schama about his work and his extraordinary life. With archive clips from Eric's previous TV and radio appearances.

Eric Hobsbawm is interviewed by Simon Schama to discuss his work and his extraordinary life.

Professor Eric Hobsbawm is one of our most eminent historians. His four-volume history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, starting with 'The Age of Revolution' and ending with 'The Age of Extremes', is considered a masterpiece, an accessible classic which is still read by students today.

Hobsbawm was born in Alexandria in 1917, months before the Russian Revolution. He grew up in Vienna and Berlin, before moving to England, where he studied history at Cambridge. At 94 years old, he is President of Birkbeck College, and is still writing. His most recent book, published in 2011 is 'How to Change the World', in the light of the global financial crisis, it is a timely collection of essays reassessing Marx and Marxism.

Simon Schama meets Eric at his home in Hampstead to discuss his turbulent childhood, orphaned at 14, he moves to Berlin to stay with relatives who are too concerned with scratching a living in the collapsing Weimar Republic to notice that the teenage Eric is hiding a Communist Party printing press in his bedroom.

In 1933 he moved to England, a country he found incredibly boring after the excitement of Berlin, however, it is the English education system that makes him a historian, when he wins a scholarship to Cambridge, later founding Communist Party Historians Group, and the journal Past and Present, which influenced a whole generation, including a young Simon Schama.

Eric Hobsbawm is an unrepentant Marxist, whilst acknowledging the failure of twentieth century Communism, he has not given up on Marxist ideals. As he tells Simon Schama, he would like to be remembered as 'somebody who not only who kept the flag flying, but who showed that by waving it you can actually achieve something, if only good and readable books'.

Their discussion is illustrated with BBC archive clips from Eric's previous tv and radio appearances

Producer: Jessica Treen.

Historian Prof Eric Hobsbawm is interviewed by Simon Schama about his work and life.

Houses V Fields2012052620130608
20150620 (BBC7)
20150621 (BBC7)

Anne McElvoy explores the eternal struggle: Is a green field better than a human home?

Which is a better use of our land? A beautiful green field, or a human home? We have long tied ourselves in knots trying to answer this question. Anne McElvoy ploughs the BBC archive to unearth the tangled roots of one this country's great, eternal inner conflicts.

Anne listens to a stinging mid-century polemic against new 'ribbon developments'. And she finds out which writer was so incensed at suburban sprawl that she burned cardboard models of suburbs in her garden.

But she also hears interviews with those who had managed to flee the slums and who were enraptured by the fresh air on new estates. One ex-EastEnder is agog simply at the fact that she has running water upstairs.

In this new, planning-friendly world, Prime Minister Winston Churchill broadcast to the nation on the virtues of the new emergency pre-fabricated houses - complete with "excellent baths". He expresses impatience with those who would "plan every acre" to ensure the landscape was not spoiled.

But she also hears the rough reception that greeted the Minister who ventured to Stevenage to extol the virtues of the coming new town.

This opposition to new building on ancient fields came to a new crisis in the 1980s when the boom in the south east led to extraordinary tensions. Environment Secretary Nicholas Ridley backed plans to build new settlements in the Home Counties. Protestors burned him in effigy in a Hampshire field.

And with the Coalition Government trying to encourage development while empowering local communities, Anne asks Planning Minister Nicholas Boles how he is trying to resolve the struggle between houses and fields.

With Nicholas Boles, John Carey, Juliet Gardiner, Tristram Hunt, Roger Scruton, Christine Whitehead

Producer: Phil Tinline.

And with the Coalition Government now introducing fresh plans to encourage development while empowering local communities, Anne asks Planning Minister Greg Clark how he is trying to resolve the struggle between houses and fields.

With John Carey, Greg Clark, Juliet Gardiner, Tristram Hunt, Roger Scruton, Christine Whitehead

Which is a better use of our land? A beautiful green field, or a human home? We have long tied ourselves in knots trying to answer this question. Now, as the Government seeks to encourage more house-building, Anne McElvoy ploughs the BBC archive to unearth the tangled roots of one this country's great, eternal inner conflicts.

In the years after the First World War, the southern English countryside was held up as the symbolic heart of the nation.

And yet at the same time, that other great embodiment of Englishness - the owner-occupied house - was becoming the ever more achievable dream of a growing population. And so hundreds of thousands of new homes were built, at great speed, every year. Often these appeared along the sides of the many new arterial roads that snaked out into the fields beyond the towns. Anne listens to the anguished regret of writers like EM Forster and John Betjeman at the vanishing of their childhood pastures. She listens to a stinging polemic against the new 'ribbon developments'. And she finds out which writer was so incensed at suburban sprawl that she burned cardboard models of suburbs in her back garden at dusk.

But she also hears interviews with those who had managed to flee the slums of the cities and who were enraptured by the cleanliness and fresh air of their new homes on new estates. One ex-EastEnder is agog simply at the fact that she has running water upstairs. The destruction of the Second World War spurred a post-war drive to clear the slums, ease city overcrowding amid the bombsites and create a fresh life for a population who had borne the brunt of the fighting.

In this new, planning-friendly world, as Anne hears, Prime Minister Winston Churchill found himself broadcasting to the nation on the virtues of the new emergency pre-fabricated houses - complete with "excellent baths". He expresses impatience with those who would "plan every acre" to ensure the landscape was not spoiled, and stresses that land will be made available for new houses. And all this less than three months before D-Day.

But she also listens to the rough reception that greeted the Town and Country Planning Minister who ventured to Stevenage two years later to extol the virtues of the coming new town. To rousing cheers, one local demands to know why the Minister doesn't ask the freeholders in the Commons to give up their holdings - "before they come for ours?"

This opposition to new building on ancient fields came to a new crisis in the 1980s when the boom in the south east led to extraordinary tensions between Environment Secretary Nicholas Ridley. He backed plans to build new settlements in the Home Counties - but faced furious locals who protested outside his Cotswolds home and burned him in effigy in a field.

As Anne explores, this is not a left-right division. Just as those on the right are split between champions of dynamic development and the conservers of the countryside, those on the left must choose between better housing for working people and the needs of the environment. And with the Coalition Government now introducing fresh plans to encourage development, she asks the Minister for Decentralisation and Cities, Greg Clark, how he is setting about trying to resolve the intractable struggle between our homes and our fields.

How Britain Went To War20140726

Peter Hennessy, the leading historian of Whitehall, examines Britain's secret war planning and preparations before 1914, explores the difficulties over the plans within government, and asks what difference the plans made when war came.

Drawing on official papers, sound archive, and interviews with historians, Hennessy takes us inside Whitehall during the years before 1914. He discusses what was in the minds of Asquith, his ministers and their officials and top soldiers and sailors, as they prepared for a possible conflict and as they finally took Britain into a major war in August 1914.

He explores the tensions between senior military and naval officers, between the Admiralty and the War Office, and within the Cabinet, where ministers resisted state planning, and he shows how the resulting debates and divisions shaped the war plans and influenced their effectiveness.

But as he also shows, these years also saw the creation of Britain's first Secret Service Bureau (forerunner of MI5 and MI6) and the first ever 'War Book', a detailed set of instructions for government departments to follow during the transition from peace to war - a vital element of Whitehall planning that has continued ever since.

Producer: Rob Shepherd.

How To Archive Yourself2011040920120804

Technology makes keeping a record of our lives easy. Toby Amies asks what is it all for?

In October 1998 Gordon Bell went paperless. This is Gordon Bell, of Microsoft, who has been described as "the Frank Lloyd Wright of computers". He has archived everything he has written and now records the minutiae of his life digitally as part of a project called MyLifeBits, an experiment designed to assist and maybe even supersede memory. But now that we can record so much of our lives are we missing out on the living of them?

The wealth, range and affordability of devices to record your own life - from the 'basic' camera phone, hand-held internet connection, and even biological and genetic sequencing, has expanded exponentially over recent years.

Take a look at the next event you are enjoying - viewing the Mona Lisa, watching David Byrne at the Royal Festival Hall, enjoying a friend's birthday cake candles being blown out - and count how many people are watching and how many are recording the moment.

But what is all this for? Why are we doing it? And is an archive an archive if it is not structured, indexed, given meaning? Talking to passionate archivist Robert Fripp, from King Crimson, dispassionate archivist Geoff Dyer, and Sue Aldworth, an artists whose whole house is her archive, presenter and self-archivist Toby Amies argues that the virtual moment has now become a vital part of the moment, not a dilution of it and that by being part of this new explosion of archiving we are playing our part in a shift of consciousness. He believes that the virtual is becoming as important, or as real, as the real and that this is part of the slow move into a future where technology and humans intersect in a different way.

He examines the explosion in the archiving of human existence, wondering whether we are in the age of the super diary or at a launching point for the transference of our consciousness into the digital universe, for good.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall.

How To Archive Yourself2011040920110411

In October 1998 Gordon Bell went paperless.

This is Gordon Bell, of Microsoft, who has been described as "the Frank Lloyd Wright of computers".

He has archived everything he has written and now records the minutiae of his life digitally as part of a project called MyLifeBits, an experiment designed to assist and maybe even supersede memory.

But now that we can record so much of our lives are we missing out on the living of them?

The wealth, range and affordability of devices to record your own life - from the 'basic' camera phone, hand-held internet connection, and even biological and genetic sequencing, has expanded exponentially over recent years.

Take a look at the next event you are enjoying - viewing the Mona Lisa, watching David Byrne at the Royal Festival Hall, enjoying a friend's birthday cake candles being blown out - and count how many people are watching and how many are recording the moment.

But what is all this for? Why are we doing it? And is an archive an archive if it is not structured, indexed, given meaning? Talking to passionate archvist Robert Fripp, from King Crimson, dispassionate archivist Geoff Dyer, and Sue Aldworth, an artists whose whole house is her arhive, presenter and self-archivist Toby Amies argues that the virtual moment has now become a vital part of the moment, not a dilution of it and that by being part of this new explosion of archiving we are playing our part in a shift of consciousness.

He believes that the virtual is becoming as important, or as real, as the real and that this is part of the slow move into a future where technology and humans intersect in a different way.

He examines the explosion in the archiving of human existence, wondering whether we are in the age of the super diary or at a launching point for the transference of our consciousness into the digital universe, for good.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall.

Technology makes keeping a record of our lives easy.

Toby Amies asks what is it all for?

But what is all this for? Why are we doing it? And is an archive an archive if it is not structured, indexed, given meaning?

Relentless self-archivist Toby Amies argues that the virtual moment has now become a vital part of the moment, not a dilution of it and that by being part of this new explosion of archiving we are playing our part in a shift of consciousness.

Drawing a line from Pepys to Facebook, from Proust to Twitter, he examines the explosion in the archiving of human existence, wondering whether we are in the age of the super diary or at a launching point for the transference of our consciousness into the digital universe, for good.

How To Be, Or Not To Be, A Politician20130921

Serving Cabinet Ministers and other experienced politicians share their secrets and recall moments when they wish they had done things differently. Anne McElvoy looks at advice from Ancient Rome and talks to today's politicians. She hears their views on how to be a successful politician and some of the classic pitfalls to avoid.

Interviewees include Iain Duncan Smith. Boris Johnson, Peter Hain, Shirley Williams, Louise Mensch, Hazel Blears, Kenneth Clarke, Edwina Currie, Alan Johnson, Miranda Green, Melissa Lane

Producers:

Catherine Donegan

Jane Ashley.

How To Go Straight20160319

What makes an ex-convict renounce a life of crime? With staggering levels of re-offending, this is a vital question for our criminal justice system. One little-known radio programme has been providing some answers, through some powerful and intimate personal stories. "Outside In" is a collaboration between the BBC and National Prison Radio, presented by former prisoners. It focuses on the stories of ex-criminals who have turned their lives around. Sitting in the studio and talking to fellow ex-cons, they reveal themselves in a way that is rarely heard elsewhere. They talk about the turning points when they decided to resist returning to their old ways, sometimes after several drearily repetitive spells inside. Often the real change is developing a sense of self-worth. For a lifetime they have been told they are worth nothing. To go straight, they have to believe they are worth something.

Outside In presenter Hilary Ineomo-Marcus introduces some of the most powerful moments from the programme. He talks to Andrew Wilkie from National Prison Radio who explains why hearing these stories in cells across the country is helping to change minds. And we hear from some of the talented former prisoners who have performed on the programme - singing and rapping with a fierce conviction.

Producer: Shabnam Grewal.

How To Make An Archive On 420150718

Ever wondered how to make an Archive on 4? Here's your chance to find out!

Alan Dein enters the strange world of instructional records where you can teach yourself just about anything - from yodelling to training your budgie to talk.

It all started in 1901 when Polish émigré Jacques Roston harnessed the new technology of sound recording to teach foreign languages, signing up such luminaries as George Bernard Shaw and JRR Tolkien to lend their support.

By the 50s and 60s you could buy LPs on how to do just about anything - from keep fit to playing a musical instrument, relaxation and passing your driving test.

Perhaps the most surprising are those which help you to train your pet budgerigar to talk - with help from Sparkie, Britain's favourite budgie, who supposedly had a vocabulary of over 500 words.

With help from Sparkie, Alan Dein tells the story of instructional records and, along the way, reveals a few of the secrets of how to make an Archive on 4.

Producer: Laurence Grissell

Hurry Up Please, It's Time2010022720100301

From Falstaff at The Boar's Head to John Self at The Shakespeare in Martin Amis's Money, English literature and the pub are intertwined.

It started in a pub - Chaucer's pilgrims setting out from The Tabard in Southwark - and has been waiting to be chucked out ever since.

Robert Hanks presents an elegy for pubs in literature and an exploration of what the smoking ban, the gastro pub and the five quid pint are going to do to writing.

Roberts Hanks explores the pub in literature.

I Did Not Interview The Dead * *2009070420090706

In 1946, psychologist Dr David Boder travelled across the American zones of war-torn Europe to record 120 interviews that remain unique.

In Yiddish, Polish, German, Spanish and English, mostly Jewish young men, women and orphan children were asked to tell their personal stories of survival and loss in the world of Nazi concentration and death camps.

Boder also gathered from them the songs of the ghettos.These recordings are arguably the first ever oral histories and the only contemporary interviews with people who had survived the worst but whose immediate fate was unkown.

Alan Dein listens to those still making sense of their terrible experiences.

I'm In Charge2010121820101220
20140503 (BBC7)
20140504 (BBC7)

Bruce Forsyth and Paul Jackson on the London Palladium, which opened on Boxing Day 1910.

The London Palladium has always occupied a unique place in Bruce Forsyth's heart: "No theatre on this earth has ever superseded the Palladium in my affections; it's just so special... as intimate as a family's front room."

It was one night at the Palladium back in 1958 when Bruce Forsyth's career changed forever - a celebrated appearance with the late comedian Dickie Henderson led to Bruce being offered the highly sought after job of compère of the weekly TV variety show, 'Sunday Night at the London Palladium'. Together, the show and its new presenter, turned out to be a sensation - the highlight of the week for Britain's viewing millions and the topic of conversation in factories, offices, schools and shop floors on Monday mornings.

On the eve of the Theatre's 100th birthday - the Palladium first opened its doors to the public on Boxing Day 1919 - Bruce takes Paul Jackson on a tour of the theatre that every star of their day aspired to performing in. If you made the Palladium, you had it made. From Ella Sheilds and Dan Leno to the golden era of American stars like Frank Sinatra and Danny Kaye who had the crowds queuing round the block; from George V and George VI, to Pinky and Perky and Mocombe and Wise, the London Palladium has played host to them all.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

The London Palladium has always occupied a unique place in Bruce Forsyth's heart: "No theatre on this earth has ever superseded the Palladium in my affections; it's just so special.

as intimate as a family's front room."

It was one night at the Palladium back in 1958 when Bruce Forsyth's career changed forever - a celebrated appearance with the late comedian Dickie Henderson led to Bruce being offered the highly sought after job of compere of the weekly TV variety show, 'Sunday Night at the London Palladium'.

Together, the show and its new presenter, turned out to be a sensation - the highlight of the week for Britain's viewing millions and the topic of conversation in factories, offices, schools and shop floors on Monday mornings.

On the eve of the Theatre's 100th birthday - the Palladium first opened its doors to the public on Boxing Day 1919 - Bruce takes Paul Jackson on a tour of the theatre that every star of their day aspired to performing in.

If you made the Palladium, you had it made.

From Ella Sheilds and Dan Leno to the golden era of American stars like Frank Sinatra and Danny Kaye who had the crowds queuing round the block; from George V and George VI, to Pinky and Perky and Morcambe and Wise, the London Palladium has played host to them all.

Bruce Forsyth and Paul Jackson visit the London Palladium which opened on Boxing Day 1910.

I'm On The Train2010071020100712

Does the daily experience of the embattled commuter define the British national character almost better than anything else? Consider the need for endurance and stoicism, the acceptance of the ritual of the queue and the ability to completely blank out one's neighbours?

As part of the London season this is the starting point for writer and broadcaster Ian Marchant as he eavesdrops upon the experiences of generations of hapless commuters.

Acknowledging the first commuter line which was built in the 1830s, this feature documentary bears testimony to the cumulative toll exacted by that daily dose of suspended animation, tepid coffees and half-completed crosswords.

Ian reflects on the way in which mobiles and laptops have transformed our experience of public and private space.

Addressing the daily round of anxious clock-watching, dashed hopes, and frequently failed expectations, Ian shares his theories on the existence of a new time zone to describe the experience of wasted hours: British Nothing Time.

BNT, he convincingly demonstrates, is intricately woven through the best years of our lives

He will look at how generations have dealt with the need for diversion looking at the heydayof the crossword, its recent eclipse by Sudoku, the tonnage of newspapers glanced at and discarded, and the onward march of gadgets, from transistor radios to iPods.

With these changes have come a renegotiation of what is private and public, as people loudly regale a whole carriage with the intimacies of their supposedly private lives.

He'll also find out about the relationships that have formed and foundered on the train, and about the train as a creative space - an astonishing number of first novels were not only drafted but also completed on the 07.48 and the 17.55.

And, as we'll hear, the commute is no innocent activity: its existence has fuelled the disappearance of the clear lines between town and country.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

For Radio 4's London Season, writer Ian Marchant explores the daily rail commute.

Imagining The Audience2014060720160109 (R4)

Imagine a world without polling and audience research - who did the early BBC think it was talking to?

Imagine too those early broadcasters, standing in front of microphones, clearing their throats before they spoke to... well, who? The unknown, unseen audience. If they were a little unsure of themselves, it would be little surprise, since they had only the vaguest sense of who was listening - or if anyone was at all. And if they couldn't see the whites of their listeners' eyes, how would they know, as MP Lady Astor laments in 1937, whether they were "dozin' off"?

Matthew Sweet unearths some of the earliest archive recordings in existence and uncovers a complicated relationship between the BBC and its vast, invisible audience. From football by numbers to tap dancing on the radio; from tips on how to plant your dahlias to the aspirational fantasies of overwrought housewives.

The new medium was excitingly and scarily new and it threw up all sorts of unexpected questions. How should people listen at home? ("Try turning out the lights, so that your eye is not caught by familiar objects in the room" said the BBC.) What should "listeners" be called? ("Radiauds" suggested a correspondent to the Radio Times.) And how could an organisation made up almost entirely of middle class people in dinner jackets speak authentically to a flat cap-wearing, working class audience?

Matthew looks back at the first editions of the Radio Times, rifles through the private memos of BBC staff and talks to people who remember listening to the radio as children in the 1930s. What he finds contradicts the stereotype of the austere, Reithian BBC.

Produced by Hannah Marshall

Executive Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

In Event Of Moon Disaster20130330

Last year, as American election day drew nearer, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney told the media he'd only prepared one speech: a 1,018 word victory address. He never got to make it of course.

Thankfully President Nixon was never called upon to deliver the speech entitled 'In event of moon disaster' and fate prevented John F.Kennedy from delivering a speech on trade policy in Dallas in November 1963.

In this Archive Hour former speech writer and Times columnist Daniel Finkelstein listens to the world's greatest speeches that never saw the light of day, from Winston Churchill to David Miliband.

Through the many voices of impressionist Jon Culshaw, Radio 4 will bring forgotten speeches to life, exploring the context and the ramifications had circumstances not intervened.

Producer Caitlin Smith.

In The Beginning Was The Nerd2009100320091005
20150328 (BBC7)

Stephen Fry recalls the unnecessary panic that surrounded the so-called Millennium Bug.

Stephen Fry recalls how, in the build-up to the year 2000, the world prepared itself to face a terrifying scare - The Millennium Bug.

Who or what was to blame for such an expensive and unnecessary panic? With the help of the BBC Archive, Stephen travels back to the dawn of the digital age to argue that a major cause was our attitude to the technology and the people we held responsible for it.

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

In The Bluff20160220

There is, argues poet Paul Farley, something very particular about the bluff that sets it apart from other members of the deception family. More theatrical than a straight-forward, two-dimensional lie, it can be called, it can be doubled, and often times remains mysterious - we never actually find out whether indeed a particular bluff was just that. It permeates our everyday conversation, with nods of the head and affirmative grunts suggesting that yes indeed we have read Proust, and are of course conversant with Scandinavian philosophy; it proves a vital weapon on the sports field and the poker table; and in international relations and military strategy remains an invaluable resource. Paul takes to the poker table himself, and speaks to experts from a variety of fields, including Jonathan Agnew and Bridget Kendal, to delve deeper into the psychology and application of the bluff. Along the way he frequently has need to suggest a degree of knowledge in subjects that in fact remain largely a mystery to him.

In The Dark Tower - Louis Macneice At The Bbc20140809 (BBC7)
20140810 (BBC7)

Poet Paul Muldoon recalls a fellow Belfast wordsmith who innovated radio production.

Poet Paul Muldoon recalls a fellow Belfast wordsmith who innovated radio production, loved rugby and drank hard. From January 2007.

Inner Voices - The Burton Diaries2012081120150321 (BBC7)
20150322 (BBC7)
20130303 (RW)

Melvyn Bragg reassesses the life of Richard Burton through his private diaries.

The archive of Richard Burton is a rich treasure. The performances are by common consent amongst the most compelling of any age, given in a voice that many have felt to be an aural equivalent of heaven. Hamlet, Under Milk Wood, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Equus stand out, and then there are the blockbusters: Wild Geese, Where Eagles Dare, Anthony and Cleopatra, Night of the Iguana and The Robe. Add to that the poetry readings - Dylan Thomas of course but also Shakespeare and the English Classics. It is a feast for the ears.

Yet it is a remarkable testament to the man and to his life that, just as magnetic as the body of work, is another collection. Through several periods of his life, most notably from the mid-1960s to the early '70s (his 'superstar years') he kept a diary, sometimes handwritten, mostly typed out and assembled in thick notebooks. The diaries provide a unique view of the world in which he moved, among actors and directors, writers and poets, millionaires and royalty. They also give an insight into his approach to acting, his insecurities, his drinking and his volatile relationship with Elizabeth Taylor at a time when they were the most famous couple in the world.

Twenty-five years ago, shortly after Burton's death, Melvyn Bragg was given access to the diaries to write his definitive biography of Burton, Rich. Now, to mark the publication of the complete diaries, Bragg presents an Archive on 4 which examines Burton's life through broadcast interviews and the previously inaccessible lens of his diaries. Bragg returns to Burton to reassesses the man in the light of his own experience and in the light of the private and confessional thoughts that Burton wrote, alone, throughout his life.

Burton was the gifted son of a Welsh miner. He met a remarkable teacher and made the journey to Oxford and on to superstardom - but he was seldom really happy. He was a hellraiser who often behaved appallingly and was accused of squandering an extraordinary talent on drinking and bad movies. If that was all he was then he'd be just a footnote in 20th century culture. But Burton was also a man of wonderful erudition, passion, insight and self- knowledge. He fought his way through life through force of will, love, and voracious reading. It is this side of the man that makes him such a remarkable presence. It is also a side of him captured in a rich vein of BBC archive and interviews.

The diaries show him on top of the world, in love, in despair, and fighting the alcoholism that had killed his father and he knew was killing him. This programme puts the flesh and the voice back into our collective understanding of one of the great cultural figures of the 20th century.

Richard Burton was the Welsh miner's son who became a superstar of stage and screen. Melvyn Bragg reassesses Burton through the private diaries that he kept for much of his life.

Iraq Tales: What The Army Learned20130309

Chris Parry delves into the US army's unique oral history archive of the Iraq war. Recorded during the war, these oral histories chronicle what the men and women who fought the war thought about it. What was going right? What was going wrong? And what lessons are they learning for the future?

The US army has sent military history detachments into every battle since the Second World War. Now, on the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Archive on 4 has been given unprecedented access to the recordings for the early months of the Iraq war. The interviews reveal fascinating new insights into the conflict, based on contemporaneous views from the front-line, unaffected by hindsight.

A former leading strategist for the British military and Rear Admiral, Parry himself analysed and produced the official lessons for the British armed forces immediately after the war. In this programme he explains how the US Army uses these combat histories to derive lessons from conflicts.

He also tracks how its Center for Military History ensures that the lessons are applied and, with these oral histories, evolve into military doctrine. With access to everyone from the commanding general of coalition land forces to the logisticians and transport corps supporting the campaign, this programme presents a gripping picture of a modern army at war.

Producer: Giles Edwards.

Island Dreams * *2009021420090216

Poet Gwyneth Lewis explores the idea of the island and island life, and the ways in which it continues to capture the British imagination.

She uses drama, talks and documentary from the BBC audio archive to illustrate its appeal, from reality TV programmes to Desert Island Discs and the Shipping Forecast, and also cites the many instances of island settings in classic literature, including Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Peter Pan and Lord of the Flies.

Including contributions from literary critic Dame Gillian Beer, historian Robert Colls, a group of people who tried to set up an island utopia in the 1960s and the very last man to leave the island of St Kilda in the Outer Hebrides.

Gwyneth Lewis explores the idea of the island, and its appeal to the British imagination.

Ivor Cutler At 902013081020150207 (BBC7)
20150208 (BBC7)

'I have a harmonium and it's going to explode in two minutes' - Ivor Cutler imagined at 90

"I have a harmonium and it's going to explode in two minutes", were the opening words spoken on the Andy Kershaw Show in 1980 by a gentle voiced Scotsman called Ivor Cutler.

Championed by everyone from the Beatles to Billy Connolly, Ivor Cutler was a poet, humorist and absurdist whose appearances on BBC radio and television span over 5 decades. As well as producing a vast body of records, books and plays, Ivor was a notable eccentric, often seen cycling around London in plus fours, handing out homemade stickers and badges to strangers.

To mark what would have been Ivor's 90th birthday, BBC Radio 4 holds a 'party', to celebrate his life and BBC archive in particular. Except a full house, with performers, fans, collaborators and even his long-term partner, Phyllis King, introducing their favourite poems, songs and memories of Ivor. Weirdness from the archives, pleasure for fans, and a singular introduction to those encountering him for the very first time.

Highlights include Bramwell and King re-enacting a morse code performance of "The Little Black Buzzer".

Presenter: David Bramwell is a writer, musician and, recently, presenter of Sony Award winning "The Haunted Moustache". He is the founder of the "Catalyst Club"; a place for enthusiasts to speak on any subject close to their heart. Ivor Cutler is a subject close to his, having kept correspondence with him in the 1980's.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall.

Jay Rayner Pigs Out20151226

Jay Rayner gets serious and sybaritic about pigs - starting with medieval Britain swarming with wild boars and ending with 21st century pigs cannibalised for human spare parts.

Jay muses on recent rumours surrounding a certain Prime Minister and a pigs head. Does the pig-image make it all the more taboo? This is the extraordinary and, at times, shocking tale of our relationship with the allegedly filthy animal.

The archive groans and grunts with pig - much of it anthropomorphic, some fact and some fiction.

Remember the Tamworth Two who escaped a Wiltshire abattoir in 1998 and went on the run? They were renamed Butch and Sundance and their intelligence was celebrated by the world's press. Rescued by a popular tabloid, they escaped the slaughterhouse. Jay Rayner, on the other hand, has dutifully been to see pigs killed and dealt with the carcasses.

Animal lovers beware - this portrait of our fellow omnivores is controversial. Jay is a non-observant Jew who loves pork - he cooks it, eats it, reviews it, reveres it.

Jay also considers pig as man's best friend, delighting in the poetry of Dylan Thomas and in another pig fancier, Winston Churchill. The upper classes have always loved their pigs.

In the hands of George Orwell however, the intelligence of the pig makes for some dark meat. And Jay hears from comedian Aatif Nawaz who explains why his mother can't even say the word 'p*g.'

Plenty here about the pigs' fitness for cannibalizing human spare parts too. Our porcine friends share some startling similarities to humans, including the size and pumping capacities of their hearts.

Produced by Sarah Cuddon

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

Jfk, Bobby And Dad2011090320110905

In 1965, two years after the assassination of John F Kennedy, and three years before the murder of Senator Bobby Kennedy, a man named Kenneth O'Donnell taped around 200 hours of audio interviews at various locations with a journalist named Sander Vanocur.

Vanocur was White House correspondent for NBC News in the 1960s, and O'Donnell was no ordinary raconteur.

He spent years at the heart of the Kennedy administration as JFK's Special Assistant and was best friend to Bobby Kennedy from Harvard until Bobby's tragic death.

He was also the father of Helen O'Donnell, who in this Archive on Four takes the listener on a journey through these tapes, which have never before been broadcast.

They are full of insight into the Kennedy story, and for Helen, full of insight into the father she lost when just a teenager.

Producer: Isobel Williams

A Bite Yer Legs production for BBC Radio 4.

JFK aide Kenneth O'Donnell's daughter Helen presents her father's interview tapes.

Joan Littlewood And The People's Theatre2014092720160507 (BBC7)
20160508 (BBC7)

Richard Eyre pays tribute to maverick left-wing theatre director Joan Littlewood.

"Such a woman might easily have been burned as a witch." Kenneth Tynan

When Sir Richard Eyre was head of the National Theatre he wrote to Joan Littlewood asking if he could put on a production of her masterpiece, Oh What a Lovely War. He got a postcard in reply. Something to this effect: Dear Richard...I don't know what you're doing in that building...you should blow it up.

To her core, Joan Littlewood was an anti-establishment figure. This programme illustrates her determination to create a theatre for everybody, touring villages and towns in Northern England for nearly a decade and then - when the company settled in East London - sending letters to the local trade unions to advertise the theatre to working people.

Did she succeed in attracting the audiences she wanted? Sir Richard Eyre gives his take on this question, along with Professor Nadine Holdsworth and critic Michael Billington.

The programme pieces together a selection of the best archive from Joan's career. The actors she trained - Victor Spinetti, Avis Bunnage, Brian Murphy - explain why working for Joan was different to working with other directors. Murray Melvin, still going strong and curating the archive at Stratford East, introduces us to the Theatre Royal where Joan directed her company for over 20 years.

Here at the Theatre Royal, Joan created the shows which made her name - Brendan Behan's The Hostage, Shalegh Delaney's A Taste of Honey, Frank Norman's Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be, and of course Oh What a Lovely War. The programme gives a taste of these shows and how they succeeded in being controversial, innovative, and entertaining at the same time.

Produced by Isabel Sutton

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

John Barbirolli - Angel Of The North *2009050920090511

James Naughtie remembers English conductor Sir John Barbirolli, in his own words as well as in the recollections of colleagues and through archive recordings.

Barbirolli had Italian and French blood in his veins but he was a proud cockney who became a champion of English music.

When he died in 1970, Britain lost a figure who seemed part of our musical life.

Barbirolli is remembered affectionately for his work with the Halle Orchestra in Manchester with whom he forged a unique bond from 1942 onwards and brought new vigour and worldwide renown to the oldest professional orchestra in Britain.

James chairs a discussion between Sir Mark Elder, current music director of the Halle, David Lloyd-Jones, conductor and founder of Opera North, and writer Andrew Farach-Colton.

John Cage - Composing Controversy20120901

John Cage was one of the Twentieth Century's most controversial and exciting musicians. On the centenary of his birth, English composer and protégé Gavin Bryars explores Cage's archive appearances to examine what lay behind the American's artistic personality and to consider how the reception of his work and ideas has changed.

Throughout his sixty-year career, John Cage was a composer whose radical aesthetic outlook and unashamed iconoclasm challenged audiences, critics and fellow composers alike. Cage's most infamous achievement is undoubtedly 4'33", a piece which calls for its performer to remain silent on stage for the prescribed time, but - as the archive interviews and performances reveal - Cage was continually rethinking what the word "music" could mean and forever defending his work in the face of confused crowds, hostile critics and - amazingly - an angry community of Buddhist monks!

Gavin talks to Jean Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, who takes inspiration from Cage's ideas of letting "sounds be themselves", as well as Brian Eno, a composer fascinated by the notions of process-based music that he traces back to Cage. Dancer Carolyn Brown recalls the legendary Happenings of the 1950s, where painting, music and dance collided, and Stewart Lee offers his take on Cage's command of timing, comic or otherwise.

For Gavin Bryars, a 1966 performance in London by John Cage and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company was a life-changing moment, inspiring him to pursue a career as a composer. For a new generation who could never have such proximity to the man and his ideas, the archive of interviews and performances that remain offer a window into the world of a true icon.

Producer: Phil Smith

A Somethin' Else Production for BBC Radio 4.

Composer Gavin Bryars explores the ideas, personas and reception of his mentor John Cage.

John Lennon: Verbatim20151003

John Lennon: Verbatim marks the iconic Beatle's 75th birthday on October 9th with a soundscape incorporating rarely heard archive interviews, poetry readings, studio outtakes and alternative recordings of some of his most acclaimed compositions. It's a personal insight into the creative genius of one of the 20th centuries most diverse artistes.

Long before public figures mastered the art of the sanitised sound bite to protect their privacy, Lennon always spoke openly and honestly about his art and his personal life, whether talking about his earliest childhood memories, the highs and lows of The Beatles or his solo career. Lennon loved radio because he found it more relaxing than coping with the confrontation of a television film crew, so his radio sessions were often very revealing and entertaining.

Collated from conversations recorded between 1962 and 1980, it's an opportunity to hear, in John's own words, the honesty and passion that fuelled his genius.

Produced by Des Shaw

A Ten Alps production for BBC Radio 4.

John Tavener20140208

Sir John Tavener became a popular composer of classical music. Sir Nicholas Kenyon explores how he achieved this, through archive and through conversation with Lady Tavener, in her first interview since her husband's death, and with Tavener's friends. These include the cellist Steven Isserlis, the oboist Nicholas Daniels, and Martin Neary, Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey at the time of Princess Diana's funeral, when Tavener's Ode to Athene accompanied her coffin from the Abbey and brought his music to a wider public.

Producer Marya Burgess

Julian Huxley And The Invention Of The Public Scientist2011050720110509

Through the life and work of Julian Huxley Jim Al-Khalili explores the idea of the public scientist.

Huxley was a member of the BBC's Brains Trust and a founder of UNESCO.

He also invented the Childrens Zoo at London Zoo.

He wrote accessible books on evolution.

But how did being a media figure, committed to the public understanding, square with the world of academic science? And where does Huxley's influence lie to this day? Without Huxley no Brian Cox?

Through the life of Julian Huxley Jim Al-Khalili explores the idea of the public scientist

Kindertransport20150926

The story of the Kindertransport, told through the voices of the unaccompanied children sent to Britain from Nazi Europe.

In late 1938, the British government agreed to grant asylum to children from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, as long as they came alone and would not be a burden on public funds. 10,000 arrived, most of them Jewish, and the BBC was there to record their stories. A team went to Dovercourt Camp in Kent and recorded the innocent, hopeful voices of the newly arrived children for "Children in Flight" a remarkable radio documentary. "We are all waiting to go to homes in England where we can stay till our parents will leave Germany," a girl called Kathe told the BBC team. "All the children hurry to see if there is a letter from home which tell them of their families," Irene said.

In 1999, historian David Cesarani went in search of these children for a Radio 4 documentary, to find out how they had adapted to life in Britain, and to the eventual realisation of the terrible fate of most of their parents. Few had understood what their departure from home really meant. "I thought it was a temporary thing, it was a temporary parting," Eva Urbach told Dr. Cesarani. "We did not realise the seriousness." With a new wave of refugees dominating the news, the story of the Kindertransport has again become a vital part of the national discussion. Radio 4 is repeating the 1999 broadcast to provide the human story of this tale of survival and heartbreak.

Producer: Hugh Levinson.

Lawrence Of Arabia: The Man And The Myth2012120820160430 (BBC7)
20160501 (BBC7)

Allan Little considers the legacy of Lawrence of Arabia.

David Lean's epic film Lawrence of Arabia was premiered in London fifty years ago. It perpetuated but also critiqued the myth of TE Lawrence, the Imperial desert adventurer, and proved a turning point in the representation of the Empire on screen.

Allan Little examines the film and Lawrence's own account of his desert campaign on which it was based, Seven Pillars of Wisdom. He considers how they may be read in the light of the modern Middle East.

With archive of those who knew and served with Lawrence, recollections of his brother and his biographer, contributions from Arab scholars and Lawrence's own words, Allan Little makes a case for Lawrence as a man of great foresight - both as the 'father of guerrilla warfare' and as a strategist who championed the Arab cause.

The programme includes recordings from Jordan, where a team of archaeologists from Bristol University is currently excavating the remains of The Great Arab Revolt and Lawrence's part in it.

Producer: Susan Marling

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Leaders Under The Lights2010031320100315
20150606 (BBC7)
20150607 (BBC7)

It's 50 years since Vice President Richard Nixon and Senator John F Kennedy made history with the first ever presidential TV debate.

The idea was quickly adopted around the world.

But how much do voters really learn from these encounters, and do they ever make the difference between winning ald losing?

The BBC's political correspondent Reeta Chakrabarti unearths some memorable moments from the archives and talks to politicians, television producers, academics and journalists about the heated negotiations, meticulous preparation and sometimes painful gaffes which have had millions glued to their sets at election time.

She also asks what Britain's party leaders can learn, as they prepare to face each other on TV for the first time.

Reeta Chakrabarti unearths some memorable moments in presidential TV debates.

It's 50 years since Vice President Richard Nixon and Senator John F Kennedy made history with the first ever presidential TV debate. The idea was quickly adopted around the world. But how much do voters really learn from these encounters, and do they ever make the difference between winning ald losing?

The BBC's political correspondent Reeta Chakrabarti unearths some memorable moments from the archives and talks to politicians, television producers, academics and journalists about the heated negotiations, meticulous preparation and sometimes painful gaffes which have had millions glued to their sets at election time. She also asks what Britain's party leaders can learn.

Lern Yerself Scouse20150328

Writer Paul Farley cooks a pot of Scouse for a party of eminent Liverpudlians to explore the complex flavours and disputed origins of the Scouse accent. In the company of Willy Russell, Gillian Reynolds, Michael Angelis and Roger McGough, Paul explores a rich archive of Scouse voices, charting some of the recent mutations in the accent.

Produced by Emma Harding

Listen Without Mother20140405

Fi Glover gets stuck in to generations of mothers in the radio archive - Ambridge's Jennifer Aldridge and her shockingly illegitimate baby, Kim Cotton the first official surrogate mother, Nicola Horlick the billionaire hedge fund supermum, and Lesley Brown the UK's first test tube mum. Fi also consults motherhood experts like Penelope Leach, Dr Miriam Stoppard and Gina Ford.

This personal journey into the BBC archives critically tracks the changing concept and practice of motherhood over the last five decades. We hear how tone and advice have changed over the years and how - eventually - mothers learned to laugh at themselves and not be brow-beaten.

The divine source, the domestic goddess, the earth mother, the do-it-all superwoman, the yummy, slummy, chummy and dummy mummy. And the mother of all mother images - the beautiful, servile, immaculate Virgin Mary. They've all got a lot to answer for. Each new generation brings with it a new version of the Mother. And, over the decades, even the stark biological facts have changed with surrogacy and IVF. We've seen the rise and acceptance of single motherhood and gay motherhood. Perhaps the single, overriding maternal emotion - guilt - is the one thing that each defining epoch never solves.

The advent of Mumsnet in 2000 brought with it the benefit of a kind of plurality. You could share without being identified or judged. Or could you?

With contributions from Dr Miriam Stoppard, Gillian Reynolds, Irma Kurtz and Justine Roberts.

Produced by Sarah Cuddon

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

Lives And Politics20130518

What makes a politician tick? How has the business of politics changed over time? Two remarkable archives, eighty years apart, offer some revealing answers.

In the 1930s, Colonel Josiah Wedgwood sent a questionnaire to a wide selection of politicians ranging from the greatest Minister of State to the lowliest backbencher, putting questions no one had the temerity to ask before - including how much they earned, their religious views, their trade or profession and what they most disliked about Parliament. The answers offered a snapshot of their times, class and personalities.

This portrait of political life has lain in the Archives of the History of Parliament Trust for 80 years. Now the Trust is repeating the exercise in a set revealing of audio interviews with veteran politicians who've spent their lives in Westminster. This programme compares and contrasts the two accounts.

The current generation remembers the War, the new Welfare State and Britain's declining global role. They worked through an era of industrial strife, economic uncertainty, social change, Thatcherism, Northern Ireland and mass media. Their careers saw a shift in how we regard politicians - from deference to suspicion.

What beliefs made them enter politics - and do they still retain them now? How did they deal with party, constituency, ministerial office? How did experiences of life outside Westminster - personal and professional - affect them and has something been lost in the gradual professionalisation of politics?

Matthew Parris looks at what has changed and what has remained constant about politics, and examines how individuals felt they could make a difference.

Presenter: Matthew Parris

Producer: Mike Greenwood

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Lives In A Landscape20151128

In 2005, Radio 4 broadcast the first in a series of observational documentaries about contemporary Britain. It was called Lives in a Landscape. It would focus on stories of individuals facing challenges, excitements and big changes in their lives, and those of their families and communities.

Using the programme's archive, Alan Dein looks at what's changed - and unchanging - about Britain's social and physical landscape, from the lonely, depopulating island of Canna in Scotland, to the Cornish village that was about to be sold, lock, stock and barrel.

The first ever Lives featured two very different sets of people: on one hand was Brian, ex-miner from Barnsley turned ratcatcher; on the other, a group of wealthy Londoners who'd met Brian on a Countryside Alliance march. They would go ratting together, they promised each other. And so they did; but what emerged were revelations that had nothing to do with long-tailed rodents.

From the wealthy suburb of Clapham, just a few months before the financial crash, to the Hackney riots of 2011, Lives in a Landscape has observed changes on the streets of the capital. It's tracked the controversial installation of wind turbines in a Welsh beauty spot, the passionate pigeon-racers of inner-city Edinburgh and the fortunes of a Zimbabwean refugee musician trying to rebuild his formerly starry career in downtown Belfast. Other enthusiastic performers include the teenage schoolboy band Socio from Grimsby who face an uncertain future as the close friends prepare for their grown-up lives, and the Bath pub-crooner whose livelihood is threatened by heart disease...

Alan Dein sets out to explore ten years of change as charted by one hundred editions of Lives in a Landscape.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Lord Clark - Seeing Through The Tweed *2009112820091214

Kenneth Clark is remembered as a tweedy patrician who lectured on the arts from a position of immense privilege.

But Richard Weight argues that Clark was in fact a toff with a democratic mission, and that the BBC's Civilisation, first broadcast in 1969, was the culmination of a career that reveals much about 20th-century Britain.

Richard Weight reassesses Kenneth Clark and his landmark BBC TV series, Civilisation.

Lunch Is For Wimps2012042820130302
20150711 (BBC7)
20150712 (BBC7)

Remember the lunch hour? You could leave your desk, meet friends in the pub, eat a three course meal, have a lunchtime affair even...That hour was your own: it didn't belong to your employer. No more. Now, one in five people in the UK never eat lunch. Only one in one hundred regularly take a full hour's break. How has such a huge social change happened? Why on earth did we let the lunch hour go so easily?

Matthew Sweet draws on archive recordings to explore what we have lost, and what the hidden costs might be. Wall Street's Gordon Gekko once said "lunch is for wimps" - why do we seem to have accepted his conclusion? When Churchill enjoyed several courses, washed down with wine and brandy, at midday in Downing Street it was thought to help, rather than hinder, his leadership of the country. Matthew talks to social historian Juliet Gardiner, and to historian Sir David Cannadine about Churchill's heroic dining. Sociologist Harriet Bradley offers insights into the rise of presenteeism and the impact of recession on our lunch time habits. Writers Tim Parks implores us to take a break for the sake of our health.

Matthew goes back to Hull, where he grew up, and remembers ham sandwiches at home with his mum, and factory whistles sounding out around the city, signalling the start of the lunch hour. He meets factory and office workers and asks why have we allowed ourselves to become so overwhelmed with the pressures of the working day that we don't have time to stop for a break?

Includes archive recordings from 1937 describing workers flocking to corner houses for lunch, Ernest Bevin urging wartime factory owners to give their workers proper meals and revelations from the 1980s about liquid lunches and office affairs.

Produced by Hannah Marshall

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 4.

Matthew Sweet draws on archive recordings to explore what we have lost, and what the hidden costs might be. Wall Street's Gordon Gekko once said "lunch is for wimps" - why do we seem to have accepted his conclusion? When Churchill enjoyed several courses, washed down with wine and brandy, at midday in Downing Street it was thought to help, rather than hinder, his leadership of the country. Matthew talks to social historian Juliet Gardiner, and to historian Sir David Cannadine about Churchill's heroic dining. Sociologist Harriet Bradley offers insights into the rise of presenteeism and the impact of recession on our lunch time habits. Writers Tim Parks implores us to take a break for the sake of our health.

Producer: Hannah Marshall

A Loftus Audio Production for BBC Radio 4.

When did you last take a lunch hour? Matthew Sweet explores the demise of the midday break

Lynne Truss - Did I Really Ask That?20090530

Lynne Truss shares her personal treasure trove of interviews with world famous writers.

Between 1980 and 1990, Lynne was a part-time arts journalist, meeting and interviewing many giants of the theatre, including Arthur Miller, Tom Stoppard, Simon Gray, Athol Fugard and Anthony Minghella.

For over 20 years these cassettes gathered dust in her garage, but now Lynne airs them and finds out, with horror and humour, what her younger self was like as an interviewer, and what she learnt from meeting these great talents.

Malcolm X In Oxford20141206

Stephen Tuck discovers what brought Malcolm X to Oxford in 1964 just weeks before his assassination, and how the speech he made there was one of the most important of his life.

For Malcolm X, Oxford was 'hot' - but why? What was it that attracted him there when he was turning down so many other invitations to speak abroad and when he was preparing to step up the struggle against racial inequality at home in the United States?

These questions lead Stephen Tuck into the remarkable story of Malcolm X's last year of life when he travelled in Africa, the Middle East and Europe - a year during which this black nationalist American Nation of Islam advocate began evolving into a campaigner for international civil liberties.

But what also emerges is an untold story of racial discrimination and protest in Oxford, and how we choose to remember the struggle for racial equality as happening elsewhere - in the Southern States of America, or South Africa - rather than in the Britain of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Tuck uses archive from the original debate and the personal testimonies of those who knew Malcolm X, as well as some of the people who were there at the Oxford Union or at the edge of Britain's own racial fault line fifty years ago, to reveal how Oxford affected Malcolm X and how Malcolm X changed Oxford.

Produced by Adam Fowler

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

Malled - 60 Years Of Undercover Shopping20150221

Will Self visits an out-of-town mall of the mind. Air conditioned, driveable, mild-mannered and secure, the mall was the perfect sheltered shopping emporium. There were faint echoes of the grand bazaars of the east, but filled with reassuring western brands. Some were so tailor-made for malls that they thrived there like tomatoes under glass - think Krispy Kreme and Gap.

The seeming innocuity of these spaces created rich source material for Generation X talents like Douglas Coupland and director Kevin Smith, and what would 'Dawn of the Dead' be without the prerequisite shopping mall?

Replaced by internet shopping - and yes - our long-forgotten high street, there's been a marked downturn in enclosed mall development in the west. These environments now feel as mid-century as motels and strip lighting. Yet, as quickly as we turn our backs on this brand of retail homogeneity, Asia and South America are embracing it with vigour. Of the 25 largest malls in the world, only three are now situated in North America.

Will Self explores the early utopian ideals of these space and argues that despite their historic links to uniformity and submissiveness, malls now represent a space where rules can be broken and true self-expression can find a home.

Media And The Middle East2014091320140918

The rockets and missiles fly, from Israel into Gaza, from Gaza into Israel. It's the latest iteration of the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbours which has flared since the very founding of the Jewish state in 1948.

Accompanying the conflict has been an unprecedented level of media coverage. And almost nothing is uncontested. Every sentence, every word of a news report is parsed for signs of bias by individuals and organisations dedicated to ensuring a fair deal for their point of view. Coverage is measured in minutes and seconds of airtime. Media organisations stand accused, by both sides, of prejudice, systemic bias and deliberate distortion.

Why does this particular conflict, above all others, attract the attention it does? And why does it create such strong emotion, even among those with no connection to the region?

John Lloyd, a contributing editor at the Financial Times, examines the evolution of coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict from the founding of Israel to the present day.

With contributions from journalists and those who monitor them, Lloyd asks why there is such focus both on the conflict itself and on those who report it. He traces the way reporting has developed from the early television age, through the introduction of 24-hour news channels to the inception of social media. And he examines the challenges of reporting fairly and accurately on a conflict in which every assertion is contested.

Producer: Tim Mansel.

Misunderstanding Japan20150808

What images come into your head when you think of Japan?

Dr Christopher Harding explores how Western media representations of Japan, from the very first Victorian travellers through to Alan Whicker and Clive James, have revisited the same themes.

Often portrayed as workaholics driven by a group mentality, with submissive women and bizarre crazes, Dr Harding asks whether many of these stereotypes have led to the country being misunderstood by people in the West.

Have the Japanese had a role in perpetuating some of these stereotypes in an effort to set themselves apart?

What do our images, feelings, fears and fantasies about Japan tell us about ourselves?

Producer: Keith Moore.

Mods!20100109

Phil Daniels presents a look back at the Mod movement, exploring its beginnings in the Soho underground of the late 1950s through to the seafront clashes with the Rockers in the 1960s, and examining the Mods' influence on music, film, fashion and popular culture.

A Brook Lapping production for BBC Radio 4.

Phil Daniels presents a look back at the Mod movement of the 1960s.

Monkey Planet20131130

Will Self asks where apes end and human apes begin.

Fifty years since Pierre Boulle wrote 'La Planete des Singes' (or 'Monkey Planet' as the English translation was known), Will Self considers where great apes end and human apes begin.

Boulle's novel, which became the basis for the movie 'Planet of the Apes' is a playful inversion for a man whose faith in humanity had been erased by the experiences he described in 'Bridge Over the River Kwai', his other best-seller.

Boulle genuinely wondered whether human beings were any better than apes, placing him in a long line of satirists from Swift onwards who drew parallels between the beast in man and the man in beast.

In the modern era, experiments like Project Nim explored the idea that a chimpanzee infant raised like a human baby could be taught to communicate, and be 'civilized' by its contact with humans. The tragic end of Nim, shipped off to an animal experimentation camp when he, inevitably, became too violent to control in a domestic setting, did not entirely end the human fantasy (see Michael Jackson and Bubbles) that chimps are just like hairy children who will never answer back.

Will Self, whose novel 'Great Apes' portrayed a world in which apes run the show and make as bad a job of it as humans, explores the connection between man and his closest living relative, from Darwin to Nim and King Kong to the PG Tips chimps.

With Volker Sommer, Janet Browne, Kim Bard, Charlotte Macdonald and Frans de Waal.

Producer: Caitlin Smith.

Monsieur Non2010061220100614

Julian Jackson explores the contradictory and complex nature of the man who was happy to say 'yes' to making London his wartime HQ and rallying point, but 'Non' when twenty years later Britain was petitioning to join the Common Market.

In fact it's not too far-fetched to suggest that De Gaulle's apparent perversity was at least partly responsible for Britain's long-standing ambivalent feelings towards Europe and the EU over the last fifty years...

Speaking from a BBC studio on 18th June 1940, General Charles de Gaulle issued an extraordinary rallying cry to his countrymen who had just capitulated to Hitler and declared an armistice with the German Fuhrer.

Attacking the actions of Marshal PÃ(c)tain, whatever happens," he intoned, "the flame of French resistance must not and shall not die." From London in a steady stream of eloquent and heartfelt broadcasts across the remaining years of the war, de Gaulle kept the spirit of defiance in the face of the Nazi occupier burning strongly.

London was henceforth the headquarters of the Free French forces and the power base for de Gaulle.

But the general had an uncanny knack of rubbing his hosts up the wrong way, and Churchill and he were often at loggerheads.

But his time in London was the making of the statesman, one of Europe's greatest twentieth century figures.

Julian Jackson, a specialist in modern French history and author of one of the best books on the French soldier-politician, traces the roots of the conundrum that was General Charles de Gaulle who died forty years ago this year.

Producer: Simon Elmes."

More Than Just Whale Music2012032420150926 (BBC7)

Since Irving Teibel created his Environments label in the US in the late 1960s, recorded natural sound has been a commercial proposition, sought by city-dwellers to re-kindle elemental connections. And his recordings of rain falling in pine forests or sleepy lagoons, thunderstorms, waves crashing and birds singing were deemed significant enough for NASA to send into space on Voyager in 1977. A decade later in the UK, Duncan Macdonald launched WildSounds - initially to teach people to distinguish different birdsongs, but soon adding 'atmospheres' from the Amazon or the African veldt.

Christine Finn explores the appeal of recorded natural sound and how it's been manipulated by musicians since the first live broadcast of birdsong in 1924, when the cellist Beatrice Harrison duetted with a nightingale in her garden. When sound engineer Quentin Howard was launching Classic FM in 1992, he used a loop of birdsong recorded in his garden. Radio Birdsong drew appreciative comments from listeners who claimed it relaxed them. Psychologist Eleanor Ratcliffe is investigating why natural sounds hold this appeal.

Finn explores the boundaries between natural sound and ambient music, and hears from musician Kit Watkins how living in the mountains of Virginia caused him to use the natural sounds around him in his compositions; she meets Matthew Herbert, whose album One Pig uses natural sound of a different kind to trace the life of a pig, from birth to plate.

Finn discovers there's a lot more to recorded natural sound than just whale music, but also finds that whale music, far from simply wafting among New Age crystals, played a major role in launching the conservation movement of the 70s.

Christine Finn explores the world of recorded natural sound and those who relax to it.

Morecambe And Wise: The Garage Tapes20100504 (BBC7)
20150103 (BBC7)
20150104 (BBC7)

Jon Culshaw uncovers an audio archive of long-lost early Morecambe and Wise material.

Jon Culshaw uncovers an extraordinary audio archive of early Morecambe and Wise material, including a number of long lost tapes.

This is a genuine archive find of real importance. A few years ago, Doreen Wise, widow of Ernie, cleared the old family garage of piles of tapes and 78 recordings.

At the end of last year, Independent radio company Whistledown were contacted by Eric and Ernie's agents, and producer David Prest offered to look at the material.

"It was an extraordinary sight - a couple of old fruit boxes full of reel to reel tapes and a musty old red suitcase brimming with 78 records," says producer David Prest.

The most important finds are a number of long-lost episodes of Eric and Ernie's first radio show, "You're Only Young Once" which was made for the BBC between November 1953 and June 1954.

These feature songs, sketches, their trade mark banter and guest cameo appearances from other well-known perfomers including Bob Monkhouse.

The tapes in Ernie's garage are believed to be "run off" copies recorded at 33/4 ips by studio engineers immediately after the recordings, and probably never played since, as well as acetate copies which Doreen paid the studio engineer a few shillings for.

"Much of the value of the material is in what it shows about their comedy development. The early radio series are very naturalistic, and feature historical sketches and songs which precede the 1970s BBC TV shows by almost 15 years", says David.

Other treats include: Andre Previn's speech to Eric and Ernie at a Variety Club lunch in 1974, rare recordings of their Great Yarmouth and Blackpool shows from the mid-late sixties.

Also included are many original master tapes of songs, written for the duo, which show their skill in the recording studio.

The producers are David Prest and Stewart Henderson, and this is a Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

Morning Everyone20150613

As England prepare for another Ashes battle, Rory Bremner looks back on the career of Richie Benaud - the Australian cricketer and commentator whose death earlier this year saw an extraordinary outpouring of love and affection from players, friends and fellow journalists and commentators.

Former players talk about his remarkable abilities on the field - as Australia's leading leg spinner of the 50's and 60's, a dogged batsman, and a superb tactician and captain.

At the end of his playing career, he turned to journalism and eventually to television presentation and commentary, where he became the undisputed master of understatement. He was once described as the 'Sir David Attenborough of Australia'.

We hear his recollections, and his own commentaries, of some of the great moments of international cricket - from the 1961 Tied Test to Botham's Ashes and Edgbaston 2005 - and discuss his love of wine, France and his special role as President of the French Cricket Association.

We also touch on his diffidence to those who mimicked his style and delivery - although he did once remark, "Rory Bremner I have no problem with; he is a satirist and a very funny one too".

Produced by Will Yates and David Prest

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4.

Mp For Penrith And The Border20150912

Rory Stewart is an MP with an unusual profile. By the time he was 30 he had worked for the Foreign Office in Indonesia and Montenegro; he had walked across Asia, ending his journey in war-torn Afghanistan; he had then helped to govern two provinces in Southern Iraq before taking up a position at Harvard. Many found it surprising that his next move was to get himself elected to Parliament.

At a time when politicians are having to win back the trust of the people and find new ways of engaging the public, we follow Rory Stewart between Westminster and his constituency to hear his perspective on the role of a Cumbrian MP. He offers his views on the effectiveness of our democracy, the relationship between politicians and the media, and his hopes for the future of the UK.

The rural constituency of Penrith and the Border is far removed from Westminster. Rory feels a deep sense of affinity for the countryside and the farmers who have lived in the region for generations. But he is also deeply engaged in foreign affairs and chaired the Defence Select Committee from 2014 until the election.

Rory believes that an MP's job is unusual, that it demands sacrifices, and that family life must be fitted around these demands - but he also feels strongly that local people should be given much more power to resolve local issues.

We hear Rory Stewart at work in his constituency, attending meetings, appearing on politics programmes, and finally campaigning for reelection in May 2015. We travel with him between Cumbria and Westminster and hear his reflections on politics along the way.

Produced by Isabel Sutton

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Murdoch At 802011030520110307

There are two impressions of Rupert Murdoch.

One: that he is an ruthless businessman with a rapacious personality and only interested in power.

The other: that he is the champion of the free market that opened up British media from the stifling grip of unions.

To mark the 80th birthday of the world's most controversial media baron, Steve Hewlett will attempt to get the inside story of the man behind the headlines, by talking to some of his harshest rivals, as well as his closest collaborators.

Amongst those Steve speaks to are former Union leader Brenda Dean, Kelvin MacKenzie who edited Rupert Murdoch's Sun, Roy Greenslade who recalls the battle for Wapping, Asa Briggs who talks about his time at Oxford as Murdoch's tutor, and actor Barry Humphries who paints a fearsome picture of Murdoch's drive.

In 1931, Murdoch was born to a wealthy media family in Melbourne, Australia.

As a young man, his Oxford education was cut short with his father's death, upon which he became managing director of Australia's News Limited in 1953.

Under his leadership, the company acquired newspaper after newspaper until Murdoch became the dominant force in Australian media.

Murdoch then turned his gaze to Britain with the purchase of The News of the World and the launch of The Sun.

In 1981, he gained significant prestige with his purchase of The Times and The Sunday Times, papers that had been unprofitable thanks to increased industrial action.

Murdoch, ever the innovative businessman, began electronically automating his newspaper production, which resulted in a confrontation that climaxed at Fortress Wapping in 1986.

Today, his News Corporation has significant media holdings around the globe.

Producer: Colin McNulty

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4.

As Rupert Murdoch turns 80, Steve Hewlett assesses his impact.

Mustn't Grumble: The Noble British Art Of Complaining2015011720151204 (R4)

Complaining is a vital component of British life, whether it's formal letters to a utility company, bank or broadband provider, or it's an ice-breaker at a bus stop, bemoaning the dreary weather. In 'Mustn't Grumble', writer and broadcaster Bidisha sets out to identify why complaining is so important to us, and also precisely how we go about it. She visits an international language school to hear how students learning English react to lessons in 'hedging' (the art of introducing a complaint with apology - "I'm terribly sorry but..", "Forgive me for mentioning it but.."); she also meets literary professor Phil Davis to track complaint through the fictional pages of history, former comedian and classicist Natalie Haynes to found out how the Ancients did it, and journalist Lynne Truss to find out why we never complain to a hairdresser. Along the way she also meets a professional complainer, Jasper Griegson, who's sent thousands of letters of complaint over the years, sometimes in verse, sometimes in medieval script, to find out the best methods of complaining. Bidisha also wonders, finally, whether complaining is actually good for us - whether the occasional gains we may achieve are worth so much of our energy and spirit. The programme will make use of the ample archive of complaint, from Juvenal to 'Points of View', Samuel Pepys' diaries to Alf Garnett and Tom Wrigglesworth.

Nations Of The Cross - 1 - Arrivals And Departures *2009011720090119

The area was already changing before the bulldozers arrived.

Alan Dein hears true stories from those who live around London's King's Cross station.

Millions of us have passed through it but few of know anything about the turbulent lives and the history that is crammed in around London's King's Cross.

Today it is being changed beyond recognition by massive redevelopment.

For the past three years, Alan Dein and a team of oral historians have been capturing the voices of those who remember a King's Cross already receding before the bulldozers arrived.

Nations Of The Cross - 2 - End Of The Line *2009012420090126

Once it became a transport hub, King's Cross attracted those with nowhere else to go.

Alan Dein hears true stories from those who live around London's King's Cross station.

Long before the railways, King's Cross was an area known for licentiousness, poverty and despair.

But once it became one of the capital's transport hubs it increasingly attracted the lost, the lonely and those with nowhere else to go.

New Orleans: The Crescent And The Shadow20150829

Harry Shearer lives in New Orleans. In this Archive on Four he looks back at what has happened in the city during the ten years since the devastating floods of 2010. Harry reveals evidence which shows that the levees broke due to poor engineering and should have been able to withstand the rising waters caused by Hurricane Katrina. Rather than being solely a natural disaster, he looks at how man-made errors created a situation which quickly spiralled out of control.

Harry also reveals what happened once the floodwaters had subsided. Did people come back to the city? Was the housing adequate for their needs? And have lessons been learned?

Harry Shearer in the city of New Orleans, whose spirit and culture have successfully withstood almost three centuries of disasters.

Nixon At 10020121215

Watching Richard Nixon's first inauguration ceremony in January 1969, and hearing the prayer of the Reverend Billy Graham who stood by him at that ceremony, it seemed that here was an honest man of integrity. Yet much detail has emerged since that time demonstrating that the 37th President of the United States was less than upstanding in his dealings with his Democrat opponents and the American people.

But who was Nixon the man? What was he really like? Do all those allegations and solid facts alluding to his dirty tricks - the wire-tapping, the break-ins, the pay-offs, the "Commie" slurs, the Machiavellian manoeuvrings - add up to a thoroughly dishonest and dislikeable man?

Many of the Nixon insiders, some of whom were jailed and several of whom were sacked by their boss after the Watergate scandal, were not critical of Nixon - and others, such as Bob Haldeman, while not admitting to a love of Nixon, still claimed to respect him after the event.

Many observers and colleagues point to Nixon's awkwardness and aloofness, citing that he came across in this way because he was a diffident man who was not a natural politician. His speeches were often mawkishly sentimental and manipulative, simplistic in their appeal to an American down-home conservatism and a hatred of Communism. Yet he won two elections - the second a landslide despite the parlous state of a country being riven in two because of the Vietnam war.

In this programme, the man who got close to Nixon when in 1977 he taped nearly 29 hours of interviews with Nixon, Sir David Frost, searches through the BBC archives and the White House tapes to try to discover just what kind of man Richard Nixon was.

Producer: Neil Rosser

A Ladbroke production for BBC Radio 4.

No Destination20140614

Fifty years ago, at the height of the Cold War and at the time of increasing tensions between East and West, Satish Kumar hit headlines around the world when he walked 8,000-miles from New Delhi to Moscow, Paris, London and Washington D.C. delivering packets of 'peace tea' to the leaders of the world's four nuclear powers.

Satish Kumar relives his extraordinary journey - made without any money - that took him from the grave of Mahatma Gandhi to the grave of John. F. Kennedy. Along the way, he was thrown into jail and faced a loaded gun - as well as meeting some of the most remarkable people of the twentieth century.

In 1973 he settled in England, taking on the editorship of Resurgence magazine, and becoming the guiding light behind a number of ecological spiritual and educational ventures.

Poet Lemn Sissay reads extract from Kumar's autobiography - described as "One of the few life-changing books I have ever read".

Presented by Satish Kumar

Book Extracts read by Lemn Sissay

Produced by Shelley Williams

A Reel Soul Movies Production for BBC Radio 4.

No More Heroes2014090620160514 (R4)

The concept of the hero is an incredibly powerful one. But what are heroes, and why are we so drawn to them? Angie Hobbs examines the hero, and asks if we are in danger of devaluing the term.

Stories of heroes resound through the ages, from Achilles in The Iliad, to Lawrence of Arabia. Tales of heroic exploits can be inspiring, but the reality of being a hero can be a lonely one, and many find it difficult to adjust to normal life. Is a hero someone who displays physical or moral courage? What is the relationship between heroism and recklessness? Have we confused heroism and celebrity? And how is the term used and misused by politicians, charities and the media?

To find out what the hero means to us today, Angie speaks to Germaine Greer, Sir Max Hastings, Canon Vernon White, Rory Stewart MP, Colonel Tim Collins and Dame Ellen MacArthur

Presenter: Angie Hobbs

Producer: Jessica Treen.

On Northern Men *2009072520090727

Kay Mellor explores northern male stereotypes in fiction.

Kay Mellor explores the way that northern English masculinities have been portrayed in British film and television, reconciling issues of blatant sentimentality with the real-life social parallels that inform the canon of the past 50 years.

She examines fictional portrayals that have changed and diversified, yet stayed much the same in many ways.

From the crucial age of the Angry Young Man, marked out in This Sporting Life, she considers the contrasts and similarities between the trapped northern masculine identities portrayed in Kes and Billy Elliot.

Kay discovers that the disintegration of traditional northern male stereotypes in fiction leads us also to more diverse explorations, for example, the weak men in Coronation Street, Last of the Summer Wine and Keeping Up Appearances, British-Asian northern masculinities in East is East, the dysfunctional and proud Frank Gallagher in Shameless, and interpretations of homosexual masculinities in Queer as Folk and Jimmy McGovern's The Street.

The programme traces the relationship between changing variables of social class, heroism, 'northernness' and fictional portrayals of masculinity in film and television, using supporting material from the radio archive, and remembers some of the humour and creativity that emerges from struggle and the portrayal of difficult lives.

One Way Ticket - The Beeching Cuts Revisited!2012050520150815 (BBC7)
20150816 (BBC7)

Michael Portillo assesses the lasting impact of the Beeching cuts on Britain's railways.

When Dr Richard Beeching unveiled his little book 'Reshaping Britain's Railways' in the early 1960s the nation was left in shock at the scale of the cutbacks he was suggesting.

Britain's railways were losing millions every year. The rise of the car didn't help matters and the Government decided it was time to look afresh at the railways.

The original plan was to close 5,000 miles of railway and 2,000 stations. Around 70,000 people would eventually lose their jobs.

It's acknowledged that Dr Beeching's cuts were seismic but what impact did the decisions made in the early 60s have on future rail policy in the UK? And how much of Beeching's vision for the railways, including more focus on Inter City services, has been realised?

Here Michael Portillo revisits the archives and the events of 1963, hears from some of those working in the industry at the time and looks at how some lines were eventually resurrected and revitalised while others weren't.

As part of the programme Michael travels along the scenic Settle to Carlisle line which lost many of its stations during the Beeching cuts, he hears from rail expert Christian Wolmar and speaks to Richard Spendlove - writer and creator of TV series Oh Dr Beeching who at the time of the cuts was a Station Master in Cambridgeshire.

He also hears from former Transport ministers and secretaries about how the Beeching cuts impacted on Government rail plans and policy over the past five decades.

Finally given the recent huge rise in rail usage, the programme assesses what Dr Beeching would have made of the state of Britain's railways today.

Produced by: Ashley Byrne

A Made in Manchester Limited Production for BBC Radio 4.

Open Sesame2010020620100208
20140823 (BBC7)
20140824 (BBC7)

Konnie Huq looks back at four decades of Sesame Street, the experimental American children's television show which mixed radical educational techniques with extraordinary subject matter and subversive humour.

Konnie Huq looks back at 40 years of Sesame Street, the experimental children's TV show.

Open That Door: Gay Comedy In The Last 30 Years2010092520100927

It's 30 years since comedian Simon Fanshawe first stood up on stage to perform his style of comedy dealing openly with gay issues.

Until the advent of Alternative Comedy, the subject of gay sexuality and lifestyles had been dealt with by veiled allusion, nudges and camp.

To cross the boundary between innuendo and overt declaration was to court career suicide.

Yet suddenly, comedians like Fanshawe and Julian Clary proclaimed their sexuality and made it the subject of their comedy performances.

Since then, Gay Stand Up has evolved out of the margins into a staple of mainstream entertainment.

In a single generation, gays have gone from being the stick with which the Right beat the loony Left to the sign of political modernity, the litmus test of liberality, the essential credential of change.

Against the backdrop of sweeping legislative and social emancipation, gays have emerged from an underground counter-culture into mainstream public life.

Simon revisits his roots in Stand Up comedy to chart this cultural journey with interviews and archive of performers old and new.

He talks to leading comedians and writers about how they tackle gay themes.

Julian Clary describes what it was like being "out" in the early days; Barry Cryer talks about writing material for performers such as Frankie Howerd and about the impact of Alternative Comedy in changing performance styles and audience attitude.

Graham Norton and Rhona Cameron discuss the development of their careers into the mainstream via stage, radio and tv.

He talks to performers of a younger generation like Paul Sinha, visits contemporary stand up venues to find out what's entertaining audiences and examines how "straight" comedians are once more dealing with gay themes.

Producer: Mike Greenwood

A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4

Optimism - Our Enemy20160402

Journalist Bryan Appleyard presents a polemic that tilts at the current cult of optimism, of positive thinking and the relentlessly upbeat mantras of corporations.

Optimism is trumpeted in books, from the walls of yoga studios, the podiums of leadership conferences and in political life, especially in the United States. The optimistic cast of mind is key, apparently, to marital success, health and progress at work.

Pessimism is stigmatised. But if we could only dump our current and historical imperative to look on the bright side of life, Bryan argues, we'd all be a lot happier.

We weren't always so positive. Bryan points to post-war Britain, when we embraced a pessimism, a philosophy of endurance and amiably black humour. This was reflected in our cinema which, contrary to many Hollywood movies, embarked on a dark celebration of the fragilities exposed by the war, with films such as Brief Encounter.

We hear from the philosophers Roger Scruton and John Gray on the pleasures of pessimism. Writer Barbara Ehrenreich traces the origins of the American positive thinking industry from Norman Vincent Peale's sermons to multimillion-selling books such as Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends and Influence People and Rhonda Byrne's The Secret. Psychologist Tali Sharot explains how optimism and pessimism drive our economy and Dragons' Den's Deborah Meaden reveals the dangers of blind optimism in business.

Bryan, a committed pessimist, also considers how learning to be more optimistic could enhance his life. He meets sales, marketing and personal growth strategist Bruce King for a class in positive thinking.

With archive including Noel Coward, Tony Blair, Peter Cook and Frank Muir.

Producer: Paul Smith

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Orson Welles And The War Of The Worlds: Myth Or Legend?20131026

This week marks the 75th anniversary of the most infamous hoax in the history of radio - Orson Welles' production of H G Wells' The War Of The Worlds.

The drama, disguised as a dance music programme punctuated by a series of fake news broadcasts telling of a Martian invasion, played out at a time when the USA was in the grip of pre-WW2 invasion anxiety, fearing that Nazi Germany would make an attack on mainland America. Public reaction was seemingly extreme with widespread panic and isolated groups of people fleeing their homes.

The police raided the Mercury Theatre Company offices after the broadcast and seized copies of the script. The scandal ensured that Welles became a household name and led to his famous Hollywood career. Adolf Hitler cited the crisis as evidence of 'the decadence and corrupt condition of democracy'.

The event was reported all over the world and has become part of broadcasting legend. But just how real was the panic? Some now believe that the newspapers of the time, fearing the growing power of radio, exaggerated events in order to discredit the new medium.

Nevertheless, when the War Of The Worlds dramatisation was repeated in Ecuador in 1949 it lead to a dramatic and tragic series of events when the radio station was burned to the ground.

This programme also reveals how Welles and his collaborators may have been influenced by a lost 1926 BBC programme called Broadcasting From The Barricades, in which Ronald Knox caused a similar stir with a programme of music from the Savoy, interrupted by reports of revolution in the streets and the hotel being flattened by mortars.

Presented by Christopher Frayling

Producer: Nick Freand Jones

A Hidden Flack production for BBC Radio 4.

Christopher Frayling examines the true story behind the most notorious hoax in radio.

Our Obsession With Weather2010110620101108
20141129 (BBC7)
20141130 (BBC7)

The author Iain Sinclair presents a timely illustrated essay on that uniquely British obsession - the weather. Why has the seemingly-mundane weather forecast been an obsession for listeners and viewers since the early days of broadcasting? What does it tell us about our national character and the role of broadcasting in our lives?

The first weather forecasts lasted five minutes and resembled a military briefing. Today they last a couple of minutes but viewers barely pay any attention, they recall little of what the forecasters said. Weather forecasters call for more time but does anyone place too much faith in the BBC's weather forecast anymore?

We'll hear from the forecasters - Michael Fish, Bill Giles and Sian Lloyd - what does it mean to be at the forefront of the British public's interaction with their favourite subject?

Along the way we'll hear evocative archive of extreme weather events like: floods of '53, hard winter of 63, red rain in '68, summer of '76 and the gales of '87.

Messing with the weather is a tricky business. The latest style of TV graphics, the infamous tilting map called the fly over, caused disapproval up and down the country. Why was our Pleasant Land coloured brown not green? Proud Scots protested that their country appeared diminished- surely another example of bias from the South East of England?

Iain will ask what role the weather plays in our culture - any writer purposefully tuned to the language of the moment will be obliged to employ the weather as a moral sub-text, a framing device, a ceiling of depression - weather as prediction. Weather as a liquid mirror in which the writer, reads our future. A curious link develops between the great winds of 16 October 1987 and the collapsing financial markets on "Black Monday."

Producer: Barney Rowntree

A Somethin Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Iain Sinclair finds out why the weather forecast has always been a national obsession.

The author Iain Sinclair presents a timely illustrated essay on that uniquely British obsession - the weather.

Why has the seemingly-mundane weather forecast been an obsession for listeners and viewers since the early days of broadcasting? What does it tell us about our national character and the role of broadcasting in our lives?

The first weather forecasts lasted five minutes and resembled a military briefing.

Today they last a couple of minutes but viewers barely pay any attention, they recall little of what the forecasters said.

Weather forecasters call for more time but does anyone place too much faith in the BBC's weather forecast anymore?

Messing with the weather is a tricky business.

The latest style of TV graphics, the infamous tilting map called the fly over, caused disapproval up and down the country.

Why was our Pleasant Land coloured brown not green? Proud Scots protested that their country appeared diminished- surely another example of bias from the South East of England?

Iain will ask what role the weather plays in our culture - any writer purposefully tuned to the language of the moment will be obliged to employ the weather as a moral sub-text, a framing device, a ceiling of depression - weather as prediction.

Weather as a liquid mirror in which the writer, reads our future.

A curious link develops between the great winds of 16 October 1987 and the collapsing financial markets on "Black Monday."

Iain Sinclair asks what the weather means to us?

Pete Seeger At 90 * *2009050220090504

Vincent Dowd celebrates the life and work of American folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, as he turns 90.

Drawing on BBC archives and new interviews, Vincent explores Seeger's continuing efforts to improve the world through the power of song.

He hears Seeger's views on a range of issues and his hopes for the future under the leadership of Barack Obama, at whose inauguration he performed.

Featuring some of the musicians who have interpreted Seeger's songs, including Marlene Dietrich, Joan Baez and Bruce Springsteen, and an unplugged version of This Land is Your Land by Seeger himself.

Peter And The Wolf20141220

Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf has been recorded more often than any other piece of classical music - over 400 times in more than a dozen languages.

The narration has been spoken by everyone from David Bowie to Eleanor Roosevelt, Boris Karloff to Christopher Lee, Bill Clinton to Sting. The orchestras have been conducted by Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokowski, André Previn and countless others. It has helped introduce generations of children to the instruments of the orchestra and the concept of telling a story through music. But there have only been four recordings ever issued in the Russian language and none in any of the other Soviet languages.

In Russia, Peter has a completely different reputation.

Peter and the Wolf had its public premiere on 5th May 1936 at the Central Children's Theatre in Moscow, in front of an audience of 'Young Pioneers' dressed in their red ties. Performances were preceded by talks on topics such as civil defence, national unity and the responsibilities of children to the Soviet State. Peter and the Wolf has radically changed its meaning since 1936. It's a musical work which everyone has heard of and most people know, but which has never been closely examined with the seriousness it deserves.

Christopher Frayling assesses the enduring appeal of this tale. Has it been ghettoised as 'children's music'? Why are celebrities queuing up to narrate it? Why does it have such a low reputation in Russia-and why does it have such a high reputation everywhere else?

Produced by Barney Rowntree and Nick Jones

A Hidden Flack production for BBC Radio 4.

Pinter On Air2009013120090202

Ian Smith, author of Pinter in the Theatre and a friend of the late playwright, rediscovers the vital role that a series of successful radio and television dramas played in making Harold Pinter's name.

He draws on a recently released archive of letters written to Pinter by listeners and viewers of these plays.

They strikingly reveal how audiences well beyond London's West End responded to the broadcasts, many of them written not for the stage but specially for radio or TV.

Ian also uses Pinter's early revue sketches and a letter from Sid James to examine how Pinter's work was not just funny, but foreshadowed much mainstream British TV comedy, from Steptoe and Son to Smith and Jones.

He explores the way in which BBC Radio's Third Programme nurtured the teenage Pinter's enthusiasm for culture and subsequently hired him as an actor and how, in the wake of the flop of his first major stage play at the end of the 1950s, it was BBC Radio that sustained him as a writer.

Ian delves into the BBC archive to listen to the early Pinter classics which flowed from these commissions, such as A Slight Ache.

He reunites some of the cast of one of Pinter's early hits, A Night Out, to find out what it was like working on one of the very first Pinter scripts.

Finally, he examines how, in the 1960s, television repeatedly won Pinter an audience of millions for his work.

He watches some of Pinter's original plays for TV, including Tea Party and The Basement, and hears from some of those most closely involved in making them.

Ian discovers that these pieces allowed Pinter to push his highly original dramatic strategies to their limits, and how they were a vital part of his breakthrough as one of Britain's greatest dramatic writers.

Featuring contributions from Sir Peter Hall, Barbara Bray, Michael Bakewell, Christopher Morahan, Dominic Sandbrook, Benedict Nightingale, Michael Rosen, Eileen Diss, Philip Saville, Auriol Smith, John Rye and Hugh Dickson.

The role that radio and TV dramas played in making Harold Pinter's name.

Playing The Dane2010102320101025

In anticipation of his own stage Hamlet in 2011, Michael Sheen looks back at classic productions of the play and the many different interpretations of a young actor's most coveted role.

The last few years have seen a glut of high-profile Hamlets in the British theatre, culminating recently with Rory Kinnear at the National Theatre in London and John Simm at Sheffield Crucible.

Michael Sheen, who is due to play the role at the Young Vic in 2011, asks why Shakespeare's play remains very much the thing for 21st century audiences.

He considers the rich archive of Hamlets from the theatre, cinema and radio archives, starting with Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree in 1908 and journeying to the present-day, taking in the interpretations of John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, Jonathan Pryce, Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant, as well as female Hamlets, Sarah Bernhardt and Frances de la Tour.

Michael explores the challenges of a role that has become a rite-of-passage for leading actors, arguing that Hamlet is the most dangerous play that exists, but that our culture has made it safe.

He examines the changing political, social and psychological interpretations of the role that holds a mirror up to history, from the Edwardian stage through Freud, Modernism and two World Wars, to Thatcherism and New Labour.

Michael is joined by other famous Hamlets, who reflect on the challenges of bringing something fresh and unexpected to some of the most famous lines in English literature.

Produced by Emma Harding.

In anticipation of his own Hamlet in 2011, Michael Sheen explores every actor's dream role

Please Give Generously2010022020100222

Fergal Keane examines the history of charity appeals and the relationship between charity organisations and the media.

Be it a malnourished child in Africa, a neglected dog or a day centre desperately in need of new equipment, it seems that there is no end to the number of people, animals or organisations that could benefit from a charitable donation.

And if charities can harness the power of the media with a hard-hitting advert, a celebrity endorsement or an emergency appeal, then it is likely that their cause will reap far greater financial rewards.

Fergal charts the history of the relationship between charity and the media, and considers the way the message is conveyed, the impact of celebrity endorsement, the quality of charity programmes and the responsibility and risks to the media in encouraging us to make a donation.

The history of charity and the media goes back to the earliest days of broadcasting.

The BBC's first charity appeal was in 1923, when it broadcast an appeal on radio for the Winter Distress League, a charity representing homeless veterans of the First World War.

The appeal raised 26 pounds.

In 1927 the BBC set up the Appeal Advisory Committee, whose role, to this day, is to decide on the BBC's choice of charity partners and to oversee campaigns including The Radio 4 Appeal, Comic Relief and Emergency Appeals such as the Haiti Earthquake Appeal, which was broadcast recently.

Commercial broadcasters have also played their part in raising money for charity.

In 1988 ITV launched its own all-night charity appeal, in the guise of the ITV Telethon.

The 27-hour TV extravaganza saw all of its regional broadcasters come together to raise money for disability charities across the UK and the programme was repeated again in 1990 and 1992.

In 2009, Sky Sports ran an interactive red button campaign during the Champions League final so that viewers could donate to a David Beckham-endorsed campaign to raise awareness of malaria.

Programme contributors:

Diane Reid, BBC Charity Appeals Advisor

Lucy Polson, UK Representative for the charity SOS Sahel

Caroline Diehl, chief executive of the Media Trust

Jenni Murray, broadcaster

John Grounds, director of Child Protection Consultancy.

Fergal Keane looks at the relationship between charity and the media.

Political Patriarchs2010120420101206

The influence of the political father has long been a defining aspect of politics, but how has this relationship changed actual decisions made and what impact do these ghostly forebears have on the supposedly meritocratic Westminster scene today?

David Cameron described his father, after his death this autumn, as one of the biggest influences on his politics.

Ed Miliband's victory speech cited his Marxist father's influence on his thinking and determination - and David has quoted him repeatedly.

In Political Patriarchs Westminster columnist Anne Mcelvoy charts some of the most influential relationships of leading politicians and their fathers, from the Chamberlain family business of Joe and Austen, to Winston Churchill shaping his ambitions according to his father Randolph - and the fathers who have shaped politics to the present day.

In it, she uses the BBC archive, surprisingly rich in this subject, and does new interviews with people like Margaret Thatcher's biographer Charles Moore about the formative influence of her father Alderman Roberts, cut with her own recollections of her father as the guiding spirit of her beliefs.

She also charts the Left's intriguing attachment to its own brand of heredity in dynasties like the Foots, Benns and the Milibands.

The programme also explores the culture and psychological roots of the father-child inheritance and asks if political offspring consciously try to redress the failings of their fathers in a different context.

Producer: Rebecca Stratford.

Anne Mcelvoy assesses the influence of the political father.

Politics Between The Covers2009112120091123

From The West Wing to The Thick of It, politics lends itself to high drama.

Politicians themselves often write thinly-disguised versions of their own experiences as fiction, and films and TV are awash with fictionalised versions of the political world.

Does it really represent a truthful portrayal of the machinations of government, and to what extent can powerful fiction influence those in positions of power?

Mark Lawson delves into the seamier side of politics to consider the fascinating line where fact meets fiction.

Delving into the seamier side of politics to consider the line where fact meets fiction.

Portraying Real Lives2014032920160514 (BBC7)
20160515 (BBC7)

Maxine Peake explores the challenges of playing factual characters.

Actress Maxine Peake meets with actors and, in a series of one to one conversations, discusses the challenges of portraying the real-life character as opposed to the fictional.

Maxine Peake has tackled many factual roles, including Tracey Temple in Confessions of a Diary Secretary, Joan le Mesurier in Hancock and Joan, the title role in The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, Anne Scargill in Queens of the Coal Age, Stephen Hawking's secretary in the 2015 film The Theory of Everything, and her infamous portrayal of Myra Hindley in See No Evil.

Most actors will only face a critical backlash if their portrayal of King Lear or Jimmy Porter does not meet expectation, but what happens if their subject is real? How does this change the actor's approach to the character research, is it better or worse to meet them, does this restrict the boundaries or increase the empathy? And what happens if that character is regarded as evil in the public psyche?

In discussion with friends and colleagues such as Michael Sheen, Sally Hawkins, Patricia Hodge, Monica Dolan, Shaun Evans and Anne Scargill we discover how different the approach can and has to be.

Producer: Elizabeth Foster.

First broadcast as part of BBC Radio 4's Character Invasion.

As a part of Radio 4's Character Invasion, , actress Maxine Peake meets with actors and, in a series of one to one conversations, discusses the challenges of portraying the real-life character as opposed to the fictional.

Priestley's Postscripts2010052220100524
20140913 (BBC7)
20140914 (BBC7)

Martin Wainwright explores the hugely popular WWII 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. 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 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.

Prisoners Of Conscience Revisited20131214

Twenty five years ago, the film-maker Rex Bloomstein began producing human rights appeals for BBC television. 'Prisoners of Conscience' ran for five years and Bloomstein asked many high profile figures, including James Callaghan, Judi Dench and Tom Stoppard, to tell the stories of prisoners of conscience from all over the world.

More than sixty cases were featured - journalists, politicians, academics, writers, clerics as well as ordinary people - all imprisoned unjustly or for their beliefs.

Now Bloomstein revisits some of those stories and discovers what has happened since. When were the prisoners released? How did they recover? And what have they done since?

Malawian poet Jack Mapanje recalls being arrested by police officers who admitted even they didn't know why he was being detained. Mapanje spent three years in prison for a crime that has never been revealed to him.

Bloomstein also hears from South Korean academic Professor Suh Sung who was arrested for being a North Korean spy. The torture to confess endured by Sung, drove him to attempt suicide by setting himself on fire. There's also the Palestinian scientist Dr. Jad Ishaq whose life was changed forever after being held in an Israeli detention centre; and Maryam al-Khawaja, niece of the Bahraini pro-democracy activist Salah al-Khawaja, who is in prison again in Bahrain after the Arab Spring. Other interviewees include the Vietnamese democracy campaigner Dr Nguyen Dan Que, the Cuban poet Ernesto Diaz Rodriguez and human rights lawyer Philippe Sands.

Rex Bloomstein also investigates the current landscape for prisoners of conscience in a post 9/11, war-on-terror world and asks what has really changed.

Producers: Simon Jacobs and Rex Bloomstein

A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.

Profumo Confidential20130525

In 1963 Tom Mangold covered the Profumo Affair for the Daily Express. Minister of War John Profumo had admitted to an affair with Christine Keeler, who was allegedly also having an affair with a Russian Spy. The scandal led to the Minister's downfall, hastened the departure of the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and led to the suicide of 'society osteopath' Stephen Ward, who had friendships with all the players and a louche life-style, and was hounded to trial on the flimsiest allegations of living on immoral earnings.

Hours before that trial verdict was due, Tom Mangold visited Stephen Ward, only to find him writing suicide notes. Shortly after Mangold left, Ward killed himself.

In Profumo Confidential, Tom Mangold stands back from the assignment of his life half a century ago, to explain and to reveal new facets of the event which more than any other etched the shape of a generation and changed the face of Britain for ever.

A few weeks ago Mangold acquired some remarkable new documents - the private notes of the right hand man to Lord Denning whose report on the scandal was published fifty years ago. The notes offer an extraordinary insight behind the scenes of the Denning investigation - as well as containing a vivid snapshot of Britain in the early sixties, as one ageing generation fought desperately to keep the swinging sixties at bay.

Mangold has also obtained the full manuscript of Ward's unpublished autobiography and, in this programme, Stephen Ward appears to speak from the grave - condemning the establishment hypocricies closing in on him.

The programme also features a full and exclusive broadcast interview with Mandy Rice-Davis, Christine Keeler's erstwhile companion.

Producer: Adam Fowler

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

Racial Equality Enshrined20151205

On the 50th anniversary this month of Britain's first Race Relations Act, Ritula Shah considers the role of legislation in ending racial discrimination. She is joined by Lord Lester of Herne Hill who helped draw up the original legislation in 1965.

We hear how a handful of determined and passionate liberals gathered evidence of the need for anti-racist legislation in Britain, while the newly-arrived immigrant communities in London, Bristol and Birmingham campaigned unflinchingly for their equal rights, pressing leaders to take action.

But for all the jubilation when the law was enshrined, it was, in Lester's words, 'pathetic'. The legislation applied only to certain public places and excluded housing and employment. Also, it was almost impossible to enforce.

In 1968, the Act was refreshed and improved, and yet the Commonwealth Immigrants Act of the same year revealed the law's two faces-- repelling stateless East Africans with British passports on the one hand and pushing for racial equality on the other.

In 1976, the Act was amended once again, addressing more subtle forms of 'indirect' discrimination, but it would take an inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 before the law tackled its own enforcement- targeting racism within the police force.

Over the course of 50 years, the law has been polished and refined to create a fairer and more equal society. But, Ritula asks, with fears about immigration on the rise, will the experience of the past half century help us navigate the challenges ahead?

A Cast Iron Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Radio Hollywood *2009111420091116
20100405 (R4)

Sponsored by a well-known 'toilet soap', the Lux Theater brought the silver screen to the airwaves, with specially adapted versions of new Hollywood products including The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen and The Wizard of Oz.

Professor Jeffrey Richards takes us back to the place where cinema and radio united and produced an unlikely lovechild.

From its first production in 1935, The Legionnaire and The Lady with Clark Gable and Marlene Dietrich, The Lux Radio Theater strove to have the same stars as the films.

Over its 19-year history, it boasted the biggest names in Hollywood - Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Frank Sinatra, Spencer Tracy and many more.

Sometimes the original players were not available, so the Theater offered audiences a glimpse of an alternative universe, as listeners discovered what these films would have been like with different actors.

On a few occasions the radio version boasted a more stellar cast, for instance when Cary Grant stood in for Montgomery Clift in I Confess.

At the start of each show Cecil B De Mille offered 'greetings from Hollywood', gave a short introduction to the film and told listeners a little about the stars.

Twenty-five minutes later, he would turn up in the interval for some 'movie news', which was a barely-concealed advertisement for Lux and its frothy lather, and would return at the end for an informal and, of course, unscripted chat with the actors, in which they would invariably reveal their preference for a well-known toilet soap.

These productions were performed live with full orchestra, and the audience's reaction was often audible, which occasionally put the actors off their lines.

They also had to be half an hour shorter, and were therefore much pacier than the originals, while retaining key dialogue - so phrases like 'this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship' and 'round up the usual suspects' are still present and correct in Casablanca.

But being live presented its own problems, with stars sometimes falling ill the day before, or, on one occasion, arriving at the studio 10 minutes after transmission had begun.

How the Lux Theatre brought the silver screen to the airwaves in an unlikely alliance.

Radio Sales2009031420090316 (R4)
20100111 (R4)

Brian Hayes looks back over 80 years of advertising on radio in the UK. Amid the changing fashions he finds some of the most finely-crafted, punchy, emotional and entertaining radio, as well as some of the most amateurish.

Radio presenter Brian Hayes examines some of the best and worst of independent radio - the adverts.

He looks back over the last 80 years of advertising on radio in the UK, the rise and fall of the jingle, how ads have used humour and the changing voices of radio adverts.

Brian also looks back to the earliest radio advertising in the UK - on Radio Luxembourg during the interwar period - which drew on expertise from the US and was remarkably sophisticated for its time.

The programme features contributions from DJs who have relished their role of on-air salesmen, including Tony Blackburn.

Radio presenter Brian Hayes examines the history of radio advertising in the UK.

Brian Hayes looks back over 80 years of advertising on radio in the UK.

Amid the changing fashions he finds some of the most finely-crafted, punchy, emotional and entertaining radio, as well as some of the most amateurish.

Radiolab20130413

, an American public radio programme, has been on the air for over ten years. Its co-creators, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich (who are also the presenters), say it's somewhere inbetween science and the humanities. It certainly breaks down the conventions of science and, for that matter, most broadcast journalism. Made by WNYC, New York Public Radio, it has fans around the world - two million people download their podcasts each month. The show itself has won a prestigious Peabody award.

Neither Jad nor Robert have a scientific background and they aren't afraid to demonstrate how they try to understand a scientific study or theory and sometimes can't get a handle on it. They engage in what appears to be effortless banter, deftly handling topics that might seem intimidating at first sight.

Scientists taking part include Oliver Sacks and Richard Dawkins. They don't come over as authority figures and often reveal their personal stories. British neuropsychologist Paul Broks, who is a regular contributor, says "I like the idea that they leave things hanging. Popular science programmes usually wrap things up too tightly, but science isn't like that".

Although they are a generation apart, Robert and Jad appear to be equals. They take on subjects like sperm, colour, the nature of numbers, stress, the afterlife, symmetry, the evolution of altruism and race.

While respecting the science, they're not afraid to have fun and complain that 'there's not enough joy in public radio'. So their hour-long shows recreate experiments, employ radio drama, singing and occasionally, audience participation.

Producer: Judith Kampfner

A Corporation for Independent Media production for BBC Radio 4.

Raise Your Glasses - A History Of The After-dinner Speech2011081320110815
20151010 (BBC7)
20151011 (BBC7)

Arthur Smith scours the archives for the best and worst after-dinner speeches in history.

He also tries to find out if there's a winning formula for the perfect speech.

Arthur Smith searches for the best and worst after-dinner speeches in history.

Arthur Smith scours the archives for the best and worst after-dinner speeches. Is there a winning formula? From August 2011.

Ray Gosling: Sum Total20140503

Ray Gosling was a voice - a great voice to hear on the radio, or to read on the page, or to draw you into a TV screen. Until his death in 2013, he was also a contradiction. As a young man he stood up for the underdog, and challenged local council slum clearance plans in the St Annes district of his adopted home, Nottingham. And he was always a significant campaigner for gay rights in the UK. But in 1979 he voted for Margaret Thatcher, regretting it afterwards. He was eccentric and - for some - difficult to work with. But he remained popular in the street, and on the public transport he always used. It often seemed his broadcasting work might dry up, but he kept re-inventing himself. Never having cared about money, he went bankrupt after his partner died in the late 1990s, then lost his house, but made award-winning TV documentaries about his predicament. When his career finally imploded in 2010, after making false admissions of "mercy" killing on television, people far and wide wondered: why? While this programme cannot claim to know the real answer, it identifies the inner conflicts and flaws that made Ray Gosling's talent - his voice - so original in the first place.

In this programme, writer and publisher of Ray's work, Mark Hodkinson, talks to people who knew Ray Gosling best, including his sister Juliet, his friends in Nottingham, London and Manchester, and people who worked with him, in the BBC and ITV. We hear about his bohemian and rackety life, starting as a teddy boy in the 1950s and a habitue of Soho in the 60s - and his relationships with, among others, Brian Epstein, T.S. Eliot, Joe Orton, Beryl Bainbridge, Francis Bacon and Colin MacInnes. And we rediscover Ray's voice in the words he spoke and wrote, from his earliest published work in books like Sum Total to the broadcast work in which he found the extraordinary in "ordinary" people and places, in programmes he made for BBC radio including Who Owns Britain, Gosling In The High Street, and Semi Detached From Reality, and television, including Two Town Mad, On Site, Bankrupt and Ray Gosling: OAP.

Read My Lips: Why Politicians Speak The Way They Do20150214

Tony Blair's former Chief of Staff Jonathan Powell explores the principles which underlie some of the most famous political speeches of the last century. Why do politicians reiterate things three times? Why do they never say "sorry"? How much work goes into the most innocuous phrase? Interviews include American pollster Frank Luntz, and impressionist Rory Bremner.

Rebel Rebel20140517

Jonathan Agnew, the BBC's cricket correspondent and host of Test Match Special, looks back at the rebel cricket Tours to Apartheid era South Africa. Between 1981-1990 teams 'representing' England, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Australia all toured South Africa, despite a well established sporting boycott being in place.

The Tours were often shrouded in secrecy and rumour with many of the cricketing authorities and players in South Africa unaware the tours were actually taking place until the teams landed. Those players that decided to tour were richly rewarded with rumours some of the more high profile names were offered as much as $250,000 to tour, but the decision to play came with consequences. The tours caused a public outcry with headlines on the front and back pages, questions and debates in parliaments, players were banned from cricket and some, especially the West Indian players, were totally ostracised by their communities and had to make a new life elsewhere.

Rebel Rebel tells the story of these tours and finds out from those who decided to play was it, with the benefit of hindsight, worth the risks to their careers and reputations. Interviewees include Sir Vivian Richards, John Emburey, Clive Rice, Richard Ellison, Franklyn Stephenson, Nigel Felton and Andre Odendaal.

Producer: Mark Sharman

A TBI Media production for BBC Radio 4.

Rebuilding Britain For The Baby Boomers2011112620130126
20160130 (BBC7)
20160131 (BBC7)

Maxwell Hutchinson on the architects who rebuilt Britain after the Second World War.

Maxwell Hutchinson analyses the great push to re-build post war Britain.

In the 1990's architect and broadcaster Maxwell Hutchinson began recording interviews with the men who re-built Britain after World War 2. These idealists - then in their eighties- told how they'd returned from war to a country ravaged by the Luftwaffe, determined to design a country fit for heroes. Many were graduates of the left-leaning Architectural Association and brought their radical ideas, influenced by le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, to building social housing for slum clearance families ; hospitals for the infant NHS; schools for the children of the Butler Education act; and bold new tower blocks that would transform the city skyline. Most of them worked for local authorities and saw their profession as a public service. These "duffle-coated pip-squeaks" as they were known, included Sir Phillip Powell ,Sir Andrew Derbyshire , Ivor Smith, Peter Smithson , the father of Brutalism; Lord Esher and Jim Cadbury Brown. Many have since died. Using these interviews, plus newsreel and contemporary archive , this programme captures that idealism and reflects the later disillusionment when modernism - and architects - fell out of fashion.

2011 was the fiftieth anniversary of Parkhill Flats, Sheffield. It was seen as the embodiment of the modernist movement - streets in the sky to replace the grim terraces bulldozed after the war to give families indoor lavatories, central heating and airy balconies. At first the families couldn't believe their luck - they loved their modern new homes. But as the building began to show cracks, and the community spirit failed to translate from slum-terrace to deck access, Parkhill Flats became a by-word for all that was rotten in the state of post war architecture. It wasn't long before residents starting chucking their rubbish over the balconies, and the flats became the new slums. Peter Smithson, once blamed the residents of his much criticised development, Robin Hood Gardens (a sister project to Parkhill) for letting the building go to rack and ruin; for "painting their doors purple" and not applying "the minor arts of occupation".

Parkhill Flats - the largest listed building in Europe - is undergoing extensive renovation by the trendy developers Urban Splash; so the story of this emblematic building, which Sheffielders love and loathe in equal measure, is still a talking point. Maxwell Hutchinson goes back to Parkhill to see the renovation, talk to former residents and find out if the post-war dream of the young architects who designed this colossal building can be revived.

Maxwell Hutchinson analyses the great push to re-build post war Britain on the fiftieth anniversary of the emblematic Parkhill Flats.

In the 1990's architect and broadcaster Maxwell Hutchinson began recording interviews with the men who re-built Britain after World War 2.

These idealists - then in their eighties- told how they'd returned from war to a country ravaged by the Luftwaffe, determined to design a country fit for heroes.

Many were graduates of the left-leaning Architectural Association and brought their radical ideas, influenced by le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, to building social housing for slum clearance families ; hospitals for the infant NHS; schools for the children of the Butler Education act; and bold new tower blocks that would transform the city skyline.

Most of them worked for local authorities and saw their profession as a public service.

These "duffle-coated pip-squeaks" as they were known, included Sir Phillip Powell ,Sir Andrew Derbyshire , Ivor Smith, Peter Smithson , the father of Brutalism; Lord Esher and Jim Cadbury Brown.

Many have since died.

Using these interviews, plus newsreel and contemporary archive , this programme captures that idealism and reflects the later disillusionment when modernism - and architects - fell out of fashion.

2011 is the fiftieth anniversary of Parkhill Flats, Sheffield.

It was seen as the embodiment of the modernist movement - streets in the sky to replace the grim terraces bulldozed after the war to give families indoor lavatories, central heating and airy balconies.

At first the families couldn't believe their luck - they loved their modern new homes.

But as the building began to show cracks, and the community spirit failed to translate from slum-terrace to deck access, Parkhill Flats became a by-word for all that was rotten in the state of post war architecture.

It wasn't long before residents starting chucking their rubbish over the balconies, and the flats became the new slums.

Peter Smithson, once blamed the residents of his much criticised development, Robin Hood Gardens (a sister project to Parkhill) for letting the building go to rack and ruin; for "painting their doors purple" and not applying "the minor arts of occupation".

Parkhill Flats - the largest listed building in Europe - is undergoing extensive renovation by the trendy developers Urban Splash; so the story of this emblematic building, which Sheffielders love and loathe in equal measure, is still a talking point.

Maxwell Hutchinson goes back to Parkhill to see the renovation, talk to former residents and find out if the post-war dream of the young architects who designed this colossal building can be revived.

Redcar: Made Of Steel2010073120100802

As the last blast furnace on Teesside is mothballed, Felicity Finch - who plays Ruth in The Archers - returns to her home town of Redcar to mark the end of 170 years of steelmaking in the area.

Iron and Steel from Teesside helped build the world - the name is stamped on structures from the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Canary Wharf.

At one time there were more than a hundred blast furnaces lining the River Tees from Stockton to Redcar.

Now, with the decommissioning of Redcar's Corus plant, it means the end of an industry which defined the region and defined it's people.

It also means a bleak future for jobs on Teesside.

It was the discovery of huge deposits of iron ore under the Cleveland Hills in the 1840's which prompted a mini-Klondyke and brought migrant workers from across the country and the continent to dig for "rusty gold".

Communities sprang up virtually over-night and Middlesbrough became known as "Ironopolis" , and was christened by Gladstone, "An Infant Hercules".

The deposits of iron ore ran out in the middle of the tewntieth century - but by then, the steel making industry was well established.

The last of the Cleveland iron miners were recorded for posterity 20 years ago by a local film maker, Craig Hornby, who was curious to know more about his own history and heritage.

The men - then in their 80's and 90's - told stories of life underground in an industry which had been over-shadowed by coal mining.

Hornby was determined that their story should be heard - and released a film - about their lives and the way they'd helped build Teesside, which played to packed houses across the region.

Archive of the old iron miners from Hornby's film "A Century in Stone" is included in the programme.

Felicity Finch - who spent her childhood years in Redcar - revisits the region to see how much it's changed ; she climbs Eston Nab with Craig Hornby, visits the iron-rush settlement of California - named after the US gold rush city - and goes underground to see the old iron workings; she hears from workers at Corus who started - and finished - their careers at the Redcar blast furnace; and discovers how much identity is tied up with heavy industry in Teesside - a region often overshadowed by it's more assertive neighbours , Yorkshire to the south Durham and Newcastle to the north.

Felicity Finch on the end of 170 years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Regulating The Press20121117

As the British press braces itself for the Leveson Report, Steve Hewlett explores past attempts to regulate it - or encourage it to regulate itself.

Steve begins by discovering how offending publishers were treated in the seventeenth century, when if you were flogged down Fleet St to the pillory you were getting off relatively lightly.

With the help of original documents from the period, he traces how, once licensing was lifted in 1695, the ideal of the free British press was born, only for real journalists and publishers to find themselves encumbered by taxes, libel laws and political influence.

In the 1920s, the rising divorce rate gave journalists ample opportunity to report the salacious sexual details revealed in the consequent flurry of court cases.

After a long period when governments had largely given up trying to regulate the press, the hardline Home Secretary, Sir William Joynson-Hicks moved a law to ban such unpleasantness.

However, it was only after the Second World War that there was a new series of attempts not to regulate the press by law, but to find a way to avoid that - by fostering self-regulation.

Steve finds out why the post-war period saw no less than three Royal Commissions on the Press - only for these to be followed by widespread objections in the 1980s that the press was out of control.

Instances like the publication of a rape victim's photograph and some of the reporting of the Hillsborough disaster, along with political objections to the invasion of privacy, were followed by yet another Inquiry, led by Sir David Calcutt.

And so, in 1990, the Government announced that the press was being given one final chance to make self-regulation work - or legal controls would follow.

But that never happened. The Calcutt Report led to the setting up of the Press Complaints Commission, but was then shelved - a fact that has not gone unnoticed by Lord Justice Leveson.

Producer: Phil Tinline.

Remembering Sue Townsend, Aged 68 3/420150321

"Went out to feed the pig, and saw Townsend being driven along the lane, in her vulgar purple Rolls Royce. She waved, I didn't wave back." @AdrianMole, Jan 19, 2012

In 1970, Sue Townsend was a single mother of three with three jobs. While her children were asleep she secretly wrote semi-autobiographical prose and poetry, which she showed no-one.

In 1980, a young actor asked Sue Townsend if she had anything he could use in an audition for 'Huckleberry Finn' - she gave him some handwritten entries of a diary of Nigel Mole

By 1990 Sue Townsend had become the bestselling author of the 1980's in terms of individual books - out-stripping Jeffrey Archer, Jackie Collins and Barbara Taylor Bradford

A year on from her death, the legacy of one of the country's greatest comic writers is explored through her own interviews and through her many works (from her 1979 play 'Womberang' to her 2012 bestselling novel 'The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year'). Excerpts include unpublished and previously unperformed TV soap, 'The Spinney'

Also on hand are: her first and last publishers, Geoffrey Strachan and Louise Moore; theatre director and co-writer Carole Hayman; friend and agent Jane Villiers; and the man who since 1978 stood by her but consistently shunned her limelight, her husband - the normally silent Colin Broadway

Presented by Pearce Quigley, the most recent Adrian Mole on the BBC - the "representative voice from Middle England" who in 2007 was commissioned to present a feature on Tony Blair's ten years as prime minister.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

Remembrance2011111220151107 (BBC7)
20151108 (BBC7)

Denys Blakeway tells the story of the Act of Remembrance.

There are now no living survivors of the First World War, yet Remembrance Day has gained a new and powerful significance in the nation's life. Today we not only commemorate the war dead on Remembrance Sunday, we also mark the anniversary of the actual moment in 1918 when the guns stopped firing with a two minute silence.

This custom, which ceased in 1939, was reinstated in 1995, meaning that today we remember the war dead more actively than any previous post war generation, and arguably more than at any time since the First World War itself. As Professor Jay Winter says, Remembrance is "the spinal column that connects 1918 with 2011".

While the ceremonial rituals of Remembrance have remained constant, their social and emotional meaning has changed over the years, mirroring the massive shifts in British society since their creation more than ninety years ago. Remembrance is now pivotal to British identity, as shaped by the collective memories of two great conflicts. The Second World War especially has infused our culture with feelings of pride, moral worth and British exceptionalism. The Remembrance ceremony has become a crucial moment to sustain this sense of ourselves, despite the more controversial legacy of modern wars.

In this programme, Denys Blakeway explores the Act of Remembrance through recordings of the ceremony, and the debates surrounding it, and asks why Remembrance Day has become so important in the life of the modern British nation, despite the relatively few who have fallen in recent conflicts.

With Professor David Cannadine, Professor Jay Winter, Dr. Adrian Gregory, Dr. Dan Todman, author Juliet Nicholson and forces chaplain, Padre Mark Christian.

Producer: Melissa FitzGerald

A Blakeway Production for BBC Radio 4.

There are now no living survivors of the First World War, yet Remembrance Day has gained a new and powerful significance in the nation's life.

Today we not only commemorate the war dead on Remembrance Sunday, we also mark the anniversary of the actual moment in 1918 when the guns stopped firing with a two minute silence.

This custom, which ceased in 1939, was reinstated in 1995, meaning that today we remember the war dead more actively than any previous post war generation, and arguably more than at any time since the First World War itself.

As Professor Jay Winter says, Remembrance is "the spinal column that connects 1918 with 2011".

While the ceremonial rituals of Remembrance have remained constant, their social and emotional meaning has changed over the years, mirroring the massive shifts in British society since their creation more than ninety years ago.

Remembrance is now pivotal to British identity, as shaped by the collective memories of two great conflicts.

The Second World War especially has infused our culture with feelings of pride, moral worth and British exceptionalism.

The Remembrance ceremony has become a crucial moment to sustain this sense of ourselves, despite the more controversial legacy of modern wars.

With Professor David Cannadine, Professor Jay Winter, Dr.

Adrian Gregory, Dr.

Dan Todman, author Juliet Nicholson and forces chaplain, Padre Mark Christian.

Return To Subtopia20160507

The distinguished architectural writer Gillian Darley retraces the story of "Subtopia", one of the most significant architectural debacles of the post-war era, and considers its long shadow.

Her story starts with Ian Nairn, the maverick young architectural journalist, who invented the word "Subtopia" in the mid-1950s, when the Architectural Review ran a campaign against unsightly clutter and the blurring of distinctions between town and country.

Nairn drew upon a recent road journey he had made, stating that the outcome of "Subtopia" would be that "the end of Southampton will look like the beginning of Carlisle; the parts in between will look like the end of Carlisle or the beginning of Southampton."

He continued uncompromisingly: "The whole land surface is becoming covered by the creeping mildew that already circumscribes all of our towns. Subtopia is the annihilation of the site, the steamrollering of all individuality of place to one uniform and mediocre pattern."

Gillian Darley brings together lively original archive featuring Nairn himself, Gilbert Harding, Sir Hugh Casson, Sir John Betjeman and others, to re-trace the story.

She talks on location in Southampton with the architectural photographer Gareth Gardner about his new project to re-trace and photograph once more the locations which Nairn visited. In studio, she explores the original and contemporary picture with the architect Janice Murphett, and the architectural writer, Gavin Stamp.

And she wonders whether, if the short-lived and unhappy Ian Nairn were alive today, what would he feel about the British landscape?

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Riding Into Town2013040620140809
20141011 (BBC7)
20141012 (BBC7)

The excitement and romance of the wild west was a powerful force on the imaginations of the British from the 1930s until the '70s. Samira Ahmed reflects on the love of the Western.

The American Film Institute defines western films as those "set in the American West that embody the spirit, the struggle and the demise of the new frontier". The term Western, used to describe a narrative film genre, appears to have originated with a July 1912 article in Motion Picture World Magazine.

In this personal exploration, Samira Ahmed will see how Westerns nourished post-war British children and how they explored the politics and fears of their day. Samira says, "I remember sitting at an uncle's house in Hillingdon, possibly celebrating Eid, with lots of Hyderabadi relatives, and we were all - kids and adults alike - gathered round the TV watching the end of the original True Grit."

The programme considers the central cast of characters in the western form. Samira explores her interest in the weird and wonderful women and their ranches full of outlaws, such as Marlene Dietrich in Rancho Notorious: "I especially loved the strong Indian and Mexican women - Katy Jurado in High Noon, as opposed to anaemic Grace Kelly. And there were always strong women in Westerns, holding their own in a deeply macho world. Then there were those secretly gay, camp, polysexual or just plain wacko Westerns - Johnny Guitar, the French critics' favourite, and The Singer Not the Song featuring Dirk Bogarde's highly unlikely Mexican bandido in black leather jeans and gloves."

Producer: Kevin Dawson

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

Samira Ahmed considers the British relationship with the western.

Rising Voices20160423

On Easter Monday 1916, the teacher and poet Patrick Pearse stood on the steps of the General Post Office in Dublin and delivered the Proclamation of the Irish Republic to a bemused public. It was a moment prepared for not just through military drills and revolutionary conspiracy. From late in the previous century a cultural revival was underway in Ireland.

For Archive on 4, renowned journalist and broadcaster Fergal Keane explores the roots of a cultural revival which stoked the fires of revolutionary fervour among a small group of poets, musicians, and political activists, many of whom went on to lead and fight in the Rising.

Using rarely broadcast archive of men and women who witnessed and fought in the Rising, Fergal examines the sources of their revolutionary ambitions.

He discovers a Dublin bristling with ideas, where a new passion for Irish language, music and mythology sat alongside the literary revival of W.B Yeats and Lady Gregory. Fiery plays like Cathleen Ni Houlihan evoked emotions of noble sacrifice. The city crackled with debates on feminism, pacifism and equality.

Fergal explores the work of the men known as the Rising's Poets - Pearse, Plunkett, MacDonagh - and uncovers themes of blood sacrifice, Celtic mythology and Catholic mysticism. He examines the seismic shift in Ireland after the Rising, immortalised in W.B Yeats' poem 'Easter 1916' and Sean O'Casey's play 'The Plough and the Stars', which challenged notions of romantic idealism and led to riots.

With contributions from Prof Declan Kiberd, Dr Lucy Collins and Prof Roy Foster, and archive recordings from the BBC and the Irish National Bureau of Military History, Fergal demonstrates how language, poetry, drama and song helped to shape both the Rising and its legacy.

Royal Tours20160409 (BBC7)
20160410 (BBC7)

Denys Blakeway looks at the history and purpose of the royal tour.

4 Extra Debut. Denys Blakeway looks at the history and purpose of the royal tour, exploring the travels of Queen Elizabeth II. From April 2006.

Rp Rip2011080620110808
20160723 (BBC7)
20160724 (BBC7)

"It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him." George Bernard Shaw.

A hundred years ago, Shaw ridiculed the British obsession with class, recognising that its most powerful expression was not in what someone said, but how he or she said it.

An imperative for anyone at public school or studying at Oxbridge, was speaking in RP, a 'non' accent which denoted all that was masterful in the British Empire.

But changes are afoot.

Cheryl Cole's push from American X Factor because of her Geordie accent has exasperated many Brits, who love her AND her accent and think the Yanks are missing out.

Using a wealth of archive, we hear how the drive to hide linguistic, geographical roots often went hand in hand with a desire to be seen as part of the metropolitan set.

The fear of being labelled as provincial, unfashionable or rustic would develop into "RP" - Received Pronunciation.

With access to archives of soldiers during the First World War, Melvyn discusses the rarity of hearing different accents at the time.

He points out that RP was the 'non' site-specific accent of the officer class while everyone else was identified by their regional accents.

The BBC burst on the scene with Lord Reith who insisted that RP be used for BBC broadcasting, arguing that it had greater 'clarity' and was better suited for broadcasting.

We hear about the post war levelling and the move away from RP.

The popular music scene developed an accent of it's own - John Peel went to public school, but cultivated a soft scouse accent, instinctively recognizing this as an acceptable voice in popular music - adopting a non-standard UK accent - with 'Jafaican' as one of the burgeoning metropolitan accents - suggesting individual freedom

Producer: Kate Bland

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Melvyn Bragg observes the decline of RP alongside an increasing pride in regional accents.

"It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him." George Bernard Shaw.

But changes are afoot. Cheryl Cole's push from American X Factor because of her Geordie accent has exasperated many Brits, who love her AND her accent and think the Yanks are missing out.

Using a wealth of archive, we hear how the drive to hide linguistic, geographical roots often went hand in hand with a desire to be seen as part of the metropolitan set. The fear of being labelled as provincial, unfashionable or rustic would develop into "RP" - Received Pronunciation.

With access to archives of soldiers during the First World War, Melvyn discusses the rarity of hearing different accents at the time. He points out that RP was the 'non' site-specific accent of the officer class while everyone else was identified by their regional accents.

We hear about the post war levelling and the move away from RP. The popular music scene developed an accent of it's own - John Peel went to public school, but cultivated a soft scouse accent, instinctively recognizing this as an acceptable voice in popular music - adopting a non-standard UK accent - with 'Jafaican' as one of the burgeoning metropolitan accents - suggesting individual freedom

Rugby's Greatest Try2013011920151031 (BBC7)
20151101 (BBC7)
20130218 (RW)

Cerys Matthews tells the story behind the greatest try ever scored.

Gareth Edwards's try in January 1973 was the greatest ever scored. Cerys Matthews uses archive interviews and contemporary reports to tell the remarkable story of the try itself, and what it still tells us about the spirit and heart of Wales. Often referred to as simply 'that try', the world acknowledges it to be the greatest ever, and it's the standard against which every other great try is compared.

New Zealand had just completed an unbeaten tour of the home nations, and their final challenge was against an invitational Barbarians side at Cardiff. The game was brought alive within 2 minutes as Gareth Edwards dramatically dived in the corner to complete an electrifying move of counter-attacking rugby. It sent the crowd into rugby heaven, and never fails to delight even now.

But this try symbolised much more than the sport itself, for it was also a poetic expression of the Welsh identity. In a game of brute force, here was a glimpse of grace and beauty - something that was entirely in keeping with the lyricism that could be found at the heart of industrial Wales. In this programme, singer Cerys Matthews will reveal why this try is so celebrated to this day in Wales and will unearth the untold story behind it.

With its origins in industrial south Wales, rugby was adopted in the 19th century as an integral part of the Welsh working-class culture, with workers from heavy industries well suited to the tougher aspects of the game. But Welsh rugby also prided itself on a certain 'Welsh way' of playing with an emphasis on attractive, innovative and free-flowing rugby. This poeticism on the field of play reflected a wider tradition within these communities of expressing oneself through poetry, song and literature.

But to truly appreciate the importance of this try, we need to understand the role played by coach Carwyn James. A miner's son from socialist west Wales, Carwyn was a sensitive, politically active and cultured man, a revolutionary rugby coach, a lecturer and later a broadcaster. He had a passion for drama, literature and poetry and was even fluent in Russian. He drew extensively on this hinterland as a way better to understand a game which, in Wales, has its roots firmly established in its culture and tradition. He was, however, an outspoken outsider who never coached the national side.

The All Blacks had lost their first ever test series against the British and Irish Lions in 1971, and were unexpectedly defeated by Llanelli in '72 - both teams coached by Carwyn James. Twelve Lions were playing for the Barbarians in Cardiff in '73 and Carwyn, the unofficial coach, managed to evoke the spirit of '71. The try was classic Carwyn James and archetypal of the 'Welsh way' - counter attacking and full of expression, and stirred them on to an historic win.

Cerys Matthews tells the remarkable story of Gareth Edwards's famous try in January 1973 and explores what it says about the relationship between Wales and rugby.

Rural Rides2013011220150411 (BBC7)
20150412 (BBC7)

Mark Steel's review of reporters' journeys round Britain, starting with William Cobbett.

Mark Steel's review of reporters' journeys round Britain, starting with William Cobbett, the great English journalist and radical campaigner who was born 250 years ago. Mark talks to veteran horseman Dylan Winter and analyses a classic radio and TV genre that owes more than it realises to Cobbett - the tradition of going out and taking a look at Britain.

The formula is a simple one: a hired hack goes on a whistle-stop tour of a part of the country that's unfamiliar to him (it's usually a him) and then publishes his ill-informed impressions together with any wild generalisations he cares to base upon them.

In print, it starts with Cobbett's 'Rural Rides' and ends with the likes of Bill Bryson, Beryl Bainbridge and of course Mark Steel, taking in along the way such scribblers as James Boswell, J.B.Priestley and George Orwell. In radio it's Tom Vernon ('Fat Man on a Bicycle'), Ray Gosling, the many incarnations of 'Down Your Way'... and Mark Steel (again). In TV it runs from Alan Whicker to Clare Balding and Griff Rhys Jones.

When it's done well, Cobbettry can celebrate the differences between us. It can give us an insight into people and places we might be interested to know more about; it can illuminate the human condition by shining a light on particular examples.

When it's done badly - as it often is - Cobbettry can be feeble, patronising and full of cliches. In his own prejudiced and over-simplified whistle-stop tour, Mark Steel demonstrates that Cobbett's legacy has been a mixed blessing.

Producer: Peter Everett

A Pennine production for BBC Radio 4.

Satire: The Great British Tradition2010050820100510
20120204 (R4)

Roger Law, co-creator of Spitting Image, looks at what the archives can teach us about the evolution of British satire. Do we really have more of a taste for it than other nations, and where did it all start?

We'll look at the way in which British satire developed on television with great examples from the BBC archives. Roger revisits his early days at the Establishment Club set up by Peter Cook, and talks to Gerald Scarfe and others who helped form the satirical approach of the 1960s.

Roger reveals some of the juicy details behind Spitting Image and its satirical forays. Roger describes one occasion when they depicted the Duke of York, then a bachelor about town, as a nude pin-up with 2lbs of glistening Cumberland sausages between his legs, The Queen consulted the Director of Prosecutions believing that they had simply gone too far. He replied, 'Ma'am if we prosecute;they will appear in court with the puppet...and the sausages.' It was the end of the issue.

So just what is satirically possible today? Law will interview a wide variety of the awkward squad such as Steve Bell of the Guardian to see how far is too far. Where do they draw the line? From editors of newspapers to cartoonists and stand-up comedians, we'll find out how today compares with the inglorious past.

Archive on Four on the evolution of satire in Britain presented by Roger Law.

Roger Law, co-creator of Spitting Image, looks at what the archives can teach us about the evolution of British satire.

Do we really have more of a taste for it than other nations, and where did it all start?

We'll look at the way in which British satire developed on television with great examples from the BBC archives.

Roger revisits his early days at the Establishment Club set up by Peter Cook, and talks to Gerald Scarfe and others who helped form the satirical approach of the 1960s.

Roger reveals some of the juicy details behind Spitting Image and its satirical forays.

Roger describes one occasion when they depicted the Duke of York, then a bachelor about town, as a nude pin-up with 2lbs of glistening Cumberland sausages between his legs, The Queen consulted the Director of Prosecutions believing that they had simply gone too far.

He replied, 'Ma'am if we prosecute;they will appear in court with the puppet...and the sausages.' It was the end of the issue.

So just what is satirically possible today? Law will interview a wide variety of the awkward squad such as Steve Bell of the Guardian to see how far is too far.

Where do they draw the line? From editors of newspapers to cartoonists and stand-up comedians, we'll find out how today compares with the inglorious past.

Co-creator of Spitting Image Roger Law celebrates the evolution of satire in Britain.

Schumacher's Big Society2011062520110627

David Cameron's Big Society? Well, actually, economist E.

F.

Schumacher thought of it first, forty years ago, and his daughters have recently been invited to No 10 to discuss their father's ideas.

This summer marks the birth centenary of Fritz Schumacher, seminal author of the newly re-published "Small is Beautiful - Economics as if people mattered".

And a long-lost recording of one of his public lectures given at the Findhorn spiritual community in Scotland in October 1976, has just been lovingly restored.

The recording, now broadcast for the first time, is a revelation.

Quite simply, just months before his sudden death, Fritz is on fire! He is relaxed, inspirational, extraordinarily witty, and highly prescient.

"The economic party is over," he says, "we're just left with the washing up.

At the height of our achievements, we're bankrupt.

Our civilisation is experiencing the second fall of man and must get up again."

Jonathon Porritt examines how the philosophy of this German exile, described as "one of the few original thinkers of the 20th Century", is now being taken seriously in British government circles, even to the extent of unwittingly helping today's Prime Minister shape his ideas for Big Society.

It also reveals how Cameron's predecessor, Margaret Thatcher, was a Schumacher fan - but only up to a point - and how Schumacher championed the now fashionable concepts of well-being measurement, localism, and volunteerism

Contributors include: Satish Kumar of the Schumacher College and George McRobie (with whom he pioneered the Intermediate Technology Development Group), Findhorn members who were present at his1976 talk, economist Wilfred Beckerman (author of Small is Stupid), and members of Schumacher's family.

Producer: Chris Eldon Lee

A Culture Wise production for BBC Radio 4.

Did EF Schumacher's landmark book Small is Beautiful inspire David Cameron's big idea?

Scott Of Slimbridge * *2009091920090921

From the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centre in Gloucestershire, Frank Gardner reflects on the career of Sir Peter Scott - ornithologist, author, painter, sportsman, war hero and broadcaster, whose television programme Look ran for over 25 years.

Born 100 years ago, the son of Scott of the Antarctic, he was dubbed the patron saint of conservation.

He was the first to campaign for the preservation of endangered species and to warn against the destruction of natural habitats.

A Ladbroke production for BBC Radio 4.

Frank Gardner reflects on the career of ornithologist and broadcaster Sir Peter Scott.

Sculptress Of Sound: The Lost Works Of Delia Derbyshire2010032720100329

The broadcaster and Doctor Who fan Matthew Sweet travels to The University of Manchester - home of Delia Derbyshire's private collection of audio recordings - to learn more about the wider career and working methods of the woman who realised Ron Grainer's original theme to Doctor Who.

Delia's collection of tapes was, until recently, in the safekeeping of MARK AYRES, archivist for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Matthew meets up at Manchester University with Mark, along with Delia's former colleagues from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, BRIAN HODGSON and DICK MILLS - plus former 'White Noise' band member DAVID VORHAUS - to hear extracts from the archive, discuss their memories of Delia and the creative process behind some of her material.

Her realisation of the Doctor Who theme is just one small example of her genius and we'll demonstrate how the music was originally created as well as hearing individual tracks from Delia's aborted 70's version.

We'll also feature the make up tapes for her celebrated piece 'Blue Veils and Golden Sands', and hear Delia being interviewed on a previously 'lost' BBC recording from the 1960s.

Matthew's journey of discovery will take in work with the influential poet Barry Bermange, as well as her 1971 piece marking the centenary of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

This Archive on 4 is brought up to date with an individual track from 'The Dance' from the children's programme 'Noah'.

Recorded in the late 1960s this remarkable tape sounds like a contemporary dance track which wouldn't be out of place in today's most 'happening' trance clubs.

Producer: Phil Collinge.

Matthew Sweet celebrates the life and work of composer Delia Derbyshire

Self On Ballard2009092620090928
20140517 (BBC7)
20140518 (BBC7)
20101127 (R4)
20101129 (R4)

The writer Will Self, who came to know J.G.

Ballard well in his final years, journeys upriver through the life and imagination of the seer of Shepperton.

From his suburban anonymity, Ballard charted the realms of innerspace and the madness of the modern world with a cool eye and visionary prose.

Written and presented by Will Self.

With readings by Anna Massey.

Producer: Mark Burman

(repeat).

Writer Will Self pays tribute to the extraordinary imagination of J G Ballard.

Will Self explores the imagination and work of writer JG Ballard, who he came to know in his final years.

Will draws on the many telling interviews that Ballard gave throughout his working life and on Self's own tapes of his encounters with him.

From his life of suburban anonymity, Ballard charted the realms of innerspace and the madness of the modern world with a cool eye and visionary prose.

Writer Will Self, explores the work of one of Britain's greatest literary talents.

The writer Will Self, who came to know J.G. Ballard well in his final years, journeys upriver through the life and imagination of the seer of Shepperton. From his suburban anonymity, Ballard charted the realms of innerspace and the madness of the modern world with a cool eye and visionary prose. Written and presented by Will Self. With readings by Anna Massey.

Sellers In The Attic2010072420100726
20150905 (BBC7)
20150906 (BBC7)

Comedy writer and historian Glenn Mitchell examines exclusive and lesser known recordings of Peter Sellers and reveals a fascinating wealth of recently discovered recordings presenting a new insight into the life of this comic legend.

After Peter Sellers died thirty years ago in July 1980, the initial rush of glowing eulogies swiftly made way for often highly condemnatory accounts of his personality and behaviour.

Some of these are, admittedly, accurate, others take incidents in isolation without regard for the context of the events described, while in some instances the claims rely on inaccuracies and misassumptions.

Fortunately there has been more perspective among recent chronicles but the trend has continued to portray Sellers's personal life as one with few, if any, redeeming features.

As regards his work, many accounts have concentrated on the obvious aspects - the Panther films, Dr.

Strangelove, perhaps also The Goon Show, but Peter Sellers left far more than that.

Mitchell, the writer and presenter of this programme, was only 21 when the actor died but has been collecting Sellers material from an early age.

In this personal take on the subject, Mitchell chronicles Sellers' career in parallel with his own lifelong interest in the actor's work.

He will examine various recordings, explaining in each instance its place within the canon, and how it may have shaped - or been shaped by - Sellers' life and career.

The programme also explores the softer, compassionate side to the legendary actor's nature, the aspect of the man which once led to him talking a complete stranger - who was perched on a high bridge - out of committing suicide.

Among the recent finds is a personal recording Sellers made for a television producer whose daughter lost her sight.

The never before broadcast recording includes readings of the poet William McGonagall with various comments throughout.

Not only is it vintage Sellers but it reveals a remarkable and malleable side to his personality, catching him at a very relaxed moment in his life contrasting with his often cited volatile nature.

Mitchell's own focus will be on the lesser-known Sellers material he has amassed, including home-movie prints, soundtracks, rare interviews and out-takes.

The programme also profiles written archives from his first BBC TV and Radio auditions.

Ultimately Sellers in the Attic will tell his remarkable story - on the 30th anniversary of his death - by revisiting the less obvious items from his vast legacy, including such gems from the BBC archives as his 1970 performance of the macabre music-hall monologue The Ballad of Sam Hall, recorded at Wilton's in East London.

Glenn Mitchell examines exclusive and lesser-known recordings of Peter Sellers.

After Peter Sellers died thirty years ago in July 1980, the initial rush of glowing eulogies swiftly made way for often highly condemnatory accounts of his personality and behaviour. Some of these are, admittedly, accurate, others take incidents in isolation without regard for the context of the events described, while in some instances the claims rely on inaccuracies and misassumptions.

As regards his work, many accounts have concentrated on the obvious aspects - the Panther films, Dr. Strangelove, perhaps also The Goon Show, but Peter Sellers left far more than that.

Mitchell, the writer and presenter of this programme, was only 21 when the actor died but has been collecting Sellers material from an early age. In this personal take on the subject, Mitchell chronicles Sellers' career in parallel with his own lifelong interest in the actor's work. He will examine various recordings, explaining in each instance its place within the canon, and how it may have shaped - or been shaped by - Sellers' life and career.

Among the recent finds is a personal recording Sellers made for a television producer whose daughter lost her sight. The never before broadcast recording includes readings of the poet William McGonagall with various comments throughout. Not only is it vintage Sellers but it reveals a remarkable and malleable side to his personality, catching him at a very relaxed moment in his life contrasting with his often cited volatile nature.

Mitchell's own focus will be on the lesser-known Sellers material he has amassed, including home-movie prints, soundtracks, rare interviews and out-takes. The programme also profiles written archives from his first BBC TV and Radio auditions.

Sex In The Classroom20110101

During the First World War, when syphilis rates rocketed, the UK government had to take matters into their own hands seeking to educate the public about venereal disease in films that were shown around the country.

The first of these 'Whatsover a Man Soweth,' was a moral tale to show men the dangers of consorting with loose women.

The approach was that fear was the best prophylactic.

Ever since, politicians have reluctantly found themselves at the centre of a debate and constantly reacting to events - the emergence of the teenager, the arrival of the pill, AIDS, gay rights, public health versus individual morality - what should we know about sex, who should teach us; when does innocence become ignorance?

Sex education in the classroom was virtually unheard of before World War II but the impact of STD's on the country's young men forced the government into action.

Early lessons focused on biology and information on birth control was deemed only appropriate for married people.

The birth of the teenager and the sexual revolution of the 1960s brought discussion into the open and much time was spent debating what children should be taught and at what age.

In the last 50 years there have been a series of controversial decisions and debates as the rates of teenage pregnancy in Britain have continued to rise.

In this edition of Archive on 4 Mariella Frostrup, the mother of two young children and an advice columnist, looks at how we are coping in an age where a different threat is forcing the debate - the easy availability of information about sex outside the classroom including porn.

Are we finally becoming more grown up about talking to our children about sex or is it still taboo?

Producers Sara Conkey and Rachael Howorth.

Shhhhhhh2015072520151225 (R4)

Examining the nature of silence might not seem the most obvious thing to do on the radio, the medium most wholly given over to noise and which was in its day seen as a direct threat to the realm of silence in our personal and public lives. It might seem, too, that silence is a singular thing, an absence that offers little to any would-be investigation. But it's a subject that's fascinated Lucy Powell ever since she was set a koan by a Zen master, who asked her what the sound is before the bird sings. Now she sets out to answer that problem through an analysis of archive recordings from religious scholars, authors, comedians and poets, as well as conducting fresh interviews with the likes of conductor Edward Gardner, neuro-scientist Jan Schnupp and Buddhist nun Tenzin Palmo, who spent seven years on silent retreat in a Himalayan cave. She hears a freshly composed improvisation on the theme of silence from the classical duo 'Folie a Deux Femmes' and argues that in fact silence is a rich, multiple property that can vary dramatically depending on the context within which it is placed.

Producer: Geoff Bird

Presenter: Lucy Powell

Skill, Stamina And Luck20160227

In 1982, a publishing phenomenon began with the first appearance of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. It would be the first of a series that would sell some 17 million copies in 30 different languages. Which (JK Rowling notwithstanding) might sound unlikely for a set of children's books involving wizards, goblins and elves.

What was it that set them apart? They were part of a much wider literary innovation known as interactive fiction. You don't merely read them, page by page, cover to cover. You were asked to make decisions all the way along about what would happen next, where you would go, who you would even fight, which page to turn to. And you often had to keep a notebook and pair of dice close to hand while doing so. You might fail along the way and have to start again (or more likely you'd keep your finger in the previous page until you were satisfied you'd made the right choice). Essentially, they were puzzle books.

This sort of text based adventure would make its way very quickly into the digital realm as a very important early genre of computer game.

Naomi Alderman charts the rise and rise of the interactive story, from its beginnings in obscure avant-garde French literary groups through to the virtual worlds of modern video games, and the cult literary form today of Interactive Fiction.

So Much Older Then2010012320100125

Veteran journalist Katharine Whitehorn reviews archive recordings that span her lifetime.

Journalist Katharine Whitehorn, now in her 80s, reviews archive recordings that span her lifetime in order to arrive at some conclusions about old age.

How long should we work and what should we do when we retire? Does age make us wise or merely boring? Should a woman fight the effects of age with facelifts and high heels? And when is it time to go?

An All Out production for BBC Radio 4.

Soccer, Springboks And Segregation * *2010032020100322

As South Africa prepares to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Allan Little examines the role that sport has played in the republic's internal politics and in forming its international reputation.

South Africa is a country often divided both within itself and from the rest of the world.

For decades sport was tarnished by class and racial divides.

Two sporting cultures existed - one for whites, one for blacks - each with its own pantheon of heroes, triumphs and tragedies.

Archive on 4 explores the role of sport in South Africa's history, from the Gleneagles Agreement that saw the Republic banned from worldwide competition, to the rebel tours in cricket and rugby and the athletes who were forced to leave their homeland in order to compete on the world stage.

Allan Little was there when South Africa won the Rugby World Cup; so too was Nelson Mandela, who was wearing Francois Pienaar's shirt - a highly significant gesture, symbolising the fact that he was not so much a white Afrikaner but the captain of a team the whole nation could support.

Allan charts the events that put South African sport on the front pages and assesses how the end of apartheid, the introduction of the controversial race quota systems in sport and the hosting of international tournaments like the rugby and football World Cups have affected the country's sport and society.

Allan Little examines the role of sport in the politics of South Africa.

Soho!2009071820090720
20150214 (BBC7)
20150215 (BBC7)

The singer Suggs returns to London's Soho, where he spent much of his unconventional childhood and where his jazz singer mother still lives.

He was introduced to the delights of the Colony Club as a six-year-old, and as a musician he continued to haunt the district.

Recording on location and mining the BBC archive, Suggs investigates how this unique community, complete with red-light district and village school, functions today, and whether it is still, or indeed ever was, a source of inspiration or merely a creative vacuum.

For decades, Soho was regarded as Britain's capital of sleaze and vice, but also a place where artists, writers, musicians and actors came to drink and philosophise.

Tales of the area and its inhabitants abound, from painter Francis Bacon and George Melly at Muriel Belcher's infamous Colony Club to Jeffrey Bernard and Keith Waterhouse at the Coach and Horses and Dylan Thomas at The French House.

Soho was the birthplace of British pop, with the skifflers, jazzers and early rock 'n' rollers all making their names in the coffee bars of the 1950s.

It was also the home of refugees of every type, includng political dissidents, foreigners and homosexuals, from Casanova to Karl Marx, and Quentin Crisp to George Melly.

Yet in the 1950s, a new phrase was coined: 'Soho-itis'.

It was said that if you enter Soho you will never get any work done, and you will never, ever leave.

Many books, poems, songs and indeed careers were washed away with drink, but some artists, musicians and writers did survive the late nights, the fights and the booze, and took great inspiration from the place.

Suggs returns to Soho to find out how this unique community functions today.

The singer Suggs returns to London's Soho, where he spent much of his unconventional childhood and where his jazz singer mother still lives. He was introduced to the delights of the Colony Club as a six-year-old, and as a musician he continued to haunt the district. Recording on location and mining the BBC archive, Suggs investigates how this unique community, complete with red-light district and village school, functions today, and whether it is still, or indeed ever was, a source of inspiration or merely a creative vacuum.

For decades, Soho was regarded as Britain's capital of sleaze and vice, but also a place where artists, writers, musicians and actors came to drink and philosophise. Tales of the area and its inhabitants abound, from painter Francis Bacon and George Melly at Muriel Belcher's infamous Colony Club to Jeffrey Bernard and Keith Waterhouse at the Coach and Horses and Dylan Thomas at The French House. Soho was the birthplace of British pop, with the skifflers, jazzers and early rock 'n' rollers all making their names in the coffee bars of the 1950s. It was also the home of refugees of every type, including political dissidents, foreigners and homosexuals, from Casanova to Karl Marx, and Quentin Crisp to George Melly.

Yet in the 1950s, a new phrase was coined: 'Soho-itis'. It was said that if you enter Soho you will never get any work done, and you will never, ever leave. Many books, poems, songs and indeed careers were washed away with drink, but some artists, musicians and writers did survive the late nights, the fights and the booze, and took great inspiration from the place.

Speaking As A Member Of The Public2014101820151128 (BBC7)
20151129 (BBC7)

Danny Wallace's history of the vox pop. Are the opinions of random people of any value?

Man on the Street. Tom, Dick and Harry. The Man on the Clapham Omnibus. The Voice of the People. For decades, "ordinary people" have been stopped in the street to give interviewers their opinions on diverse subjects in the ubiquitous format of the vox pop. Why?

Comedian and writer Danny Wallace revisits decades of television and radio archives to listen again to the multitude who happened to be walking down the street when a reporter needed a random opinion about soap flakes or capital punishment.

It all began in 1930s America, with the programme Vox Pop in Houston, Texas where a presenter literally ran a microphone cable out of the radio station window to interview people on the street. However, the technique didn't become a regular feature of British broadcasting until the 1960s. Now, it's impossible to turn on the news without hearing at least one neatly randomised set of opinions from members of the Great British Public.

Danny considers why the vox pop is so omnipresent, what "the public" actually means and why we need the views of so many ordinary people on radio and TV. BBC voxing queen Esther Rantzen looks back on the thousands of people she buttonholed for That's Life. Comedian Charlie Higson considers why comedy ran away with the format. Deputy Director of BBC News Fran Unsworth makes a serious case for the use of seemingly random opinions in news programmes. Deputy Political Editor James Landale, tells Danny about a strange vox he conducted that recently went viral. We also hear from Greg Packer, native New Yorker who's been voxed so many times that the Associated Press had to ban him from being quoted.

Produced by Colin McNulty

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

Spilling The News2011041620110418

"If you come to work in Washington, you'd better put your big boy pants on."

This is Admiral Thad Allen's reflection on being caught in the middle of a political battle following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Admiral Allen was the National Incident Commander overseeing a plan which was set up after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989.

This was the first time the plan had been used, and at its core was the idea that BP would carry out the clean up, overseen by the federal authorities.

But BP's role quickly became a political challenge.

"British Petroleum" - as many began to call it - were vilified by the media.

The chief executive, Tony Hayward, became a deeply unpopular figure, particularly after he said - "I would like my life back".

In Spilling The News, Steve Hewlett examines the political and media response to the spill.

He charts how a tragic industrial accident and serious environmental threat became a bitter war of words, often fought over national lines.

Producer: Chris Ledgard.

Steve Hewlett examines the response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Spoken Like A Woman2013020220150718 (BBC7)
20150719 (BBC7)

Anne Karpf explores the way women have shaped the sound of British radio.

In the earliest days of radio, women commented on 'household matters', talked about their garden or their travels - writers Vita Sackville-west and Rebecca West were regulars - and became Children's Hour 'Aunts'; but certainly never read the news. On the other hand, the young BBC employed a number of brilliant young women behind the microphone who shaped the earliest days of programme-making.

But when they finally broke into the male bastion of mainstream broadcasting, largely as a result of the second world war, women's particular affinity with the microphone was quickly recognised, notably on the World Service where the female voice was soon found to be more effective at reaching listeners at the other end of the Empire than that of their male counterparts.

In this programme, Anne Karpf explores, with the help of the sound archive, the way women's voices have shaped the sound of British radio, from Auntie Kathleen of Children's Hour and those formal talks of the early BBC, via the forces' sweethearts like Jean Metcalfe and Marjorie Anderson, to today's topliners like Martha Kearney and Bridget Kendall.

Producer Simon Elmes.

Sport On Film2010112020101122
20141123 (BBC7)

Colin Shindler looks back at what's been won and lost when sport hits the big screen.

Colin Shindler is a film writer and passionate sports fan and he's still convinced that it's possible to marry the two obsessions on the big screen. However the archive is littered with gallant and some not so gallant failures amidst the few dazzling chariots of fire. Just this year we've had Invictus, recreating the success of the South African Rugby team and the relationship between their captain Francois Pienaar and President Mandela as well as The Damned United and the story of Brian Clough's fall from grace at the hands of the then mighty Leeds United.

Colin has plans for a cricketing film but as he prepares his new screenplay Colin looks at some of the reasons sport gets tripped up by the requirements of film and he talks to people who've had some success as performers, producers and directors in taking what can be taken from sport and making it dramatic, compelling and yet never losing sight of the need to produce an engaging story and engaging characters.

Lord Putnham, Hugh Hudson, Michael Sheen, Rachel Portman and the former England cricketer Mike Selvey offer up advice and help Colin make sense of the archival lessons about sport in film.

Producer: Tom Alban.

Stadium Rock At 5020150815

On 15th August 1965, The Beatles played Shea Stadium in New York. It was a pioneering gig, the promoter counted record takings - and the fans had a terrible time. They were penned on a sports field, where the Fab Four seemed miles away and were largely inaudible. For The Beatles, the show turned into a joke, with John Lennon playing a keyboard with his elbows towards the end of the set.

Half a century later, stadium rock is a very serious business. Tremendous advances in sound, lighting, design, video, choreography and computer technology have created a global musical experience unimaginable 50 years ago - the stadium or arena show. And it's become more vital for the balance sheet as recording revenues plummet.

In this 'Archive on 4' music journalist Kate Mossman charts the journey from Shea Stadium to the present - with tales of get-lucky promoters, bands whose imaginations ran riot, the rise of the stadium anthem, and the art of reaching out to tens of thousands of fans.

Producers: Melanie Brown and Paul Kobrak.

Stephen Fry Does The Knowledge2011082220111119

Stephen Fry is of course a black cab driver, known for his prodigious knowledge.

Taking the taxi journey as metaphor, Stephen tries to pin down what the knowledge is, with the help of cab drivers quiz contestants, quizmasters philosophers, memory champions and educationalists.

And he looks at the idea of 'general' knowledge, as in general knowledge games and General Certificates of Education.

There are excerpts from a variety of quiz shows, starting with the very first British example, less of a quiz and more of a spelling bee.

Though quiz shows aren't the be-all and end-all of the subject they do show how our perception of knowledge has changed, from the deeply serious to the wilfully trivial.

In an era when popular culture is taken very seriously, the question of 'what's worth knowing?' needs careful thought.

Magnus Magnusson, for example argues for knowledge for its own sake.

Technology - the way Knowledge is shared - is also a theme.

Is The Knowledge, as famously earned by London cabbies, threatened by Satellite Navigation? What happens to how we value knowledge in an age when technology offers us such wide horizons?

Stephen discovers fascinating pre-Google knowledge sharing systems including the much loved Daily Telegraph Information service and the nineteenth century Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.

He argues that how we share knowledge doesn't alter its nature and that a study of the subject -epistemology, to give it its correct name - is ultimately a philosophical matter.

The programme's nonetheless entertaining with apposite contributions from Alan Bennett, Magnus Magnusson, Nicholas Parsons, John Peel, Bertrand Russell, Fred Housego and the philosopher Mary Margaret McCabe.

Producer: Nick Baker

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

Stephen Fry's metaphorical taxi journey to discover what knowledge really means.

Studs Terkel - Back In The Wax Museum20081129 (BBC7)
20151114 (BBC7)
20151115 (BBC7)

Alan Dein looks back at the life of the late American oral historian Studs Terkel.

Alan Dein looks back at the life of the American oral historian Studs Terkel, who died earlier this month. Includes unique archive material from Terkel's own collection of recordings covering almost 50 years of interviews and broadcasts.

Tears Of A Clown2014110120160402 (BBC7)
20160403 (BBC7)
20160528 (R4)

Robin Ince looks at the enduring cliché of the Sad Clown. What is the relationship between stand-up comedy and mental health?

"A room filled with comedians standing in silence is rarity, especially after midnight during the Edinburgh Fringe, but this was a scene across the bars and venues when the news of Robin Williams' suicide broke. The death of a comedian resurrects the numerous images of the comedian surrounded by laughter they have created, yet miserable themselves.

"But how true is this image of the melancholy comedian? While the lives of Kenneth Williams, Tony Hancock and Spike Milligan are raked over with new books and documentaries appearing on a yearly basis, hundreds of comedians seemingly live and perform without facing anxiety that reaches clinical levels.

"Is the image of the sad comedian a comfort for an audience: "they made us all laugh and brought so much joy, but don't worry, they were wracked with existential agony for the rest of their lives"?

"Is pain required to create comedy, or would Spike Milligan have created as much, if not more, absurd and delightful comedy had he not been so frequently institutionalised?

"Do plays and documentaries on comedians focus so much on the bleak side of their existence that they create a false vision of perpetual despair?

"Is the act of being a comedian more of a cure than a burden? While others may have no valve to release their festering thoughts, the stand up can transform their ludicrousness or burdensome thoughts into jokes. They are able to laugh at, and with, themselves and even make money out of it too.

"Is comedy just like every other profession, or is there a need for some loss or pain in childhood to create the outsider who wishes to spend each night making themselves face one of the top three fears of human beings, public speaking?

"Romantic vision, bitter truth, debatable myth - can we really work out the formula that makes a comedian?

"Give me the child until they are seven, and I will show you the entertainer?"

-Robin Ince, Aged 45 and 3/4.

Robin Ince looks at the enduring cliche of the sad clown.

Robin Ince looks at the enduring cliche of the Sad Clown. What is the relationship between stand-up comedy and mental health?

Ted Hughes: Memorial Tones2011121020140621 (BBC7)
20140622 (BBC7)

On the 6th December a memorial stone to the poet Ted Hughes will be unveiled in poet's corner at Westminster Abbey. To mark the occasion Melvyn Bragg presents a special edition of Archive on 4. With poets, writers and those who knew him well, Melvyn will look back over Ted Hughes' life and work to fashion a memorial in sound to accompany that of stone.

The programme will centre on the many facets of Hughes' own voice; not only reading and discussing his work but in his many radio talks and his advocacy of other poets. It will make a critical appreciation of Hughes work; from his first poetry collection, A Hawk in the Rain, in 1957 to his last, Birthday Letters, in 1998.

But Melvyn will also speak to those who saw at first hand a life touched by both great success and searing tragedy.

Producer: James Cook.

Melvyn Bragg celebrates the Yorkshire poet through a memorial at Westminster Abbey.

On the 6th December a memorial stone to the poet Ted Hughes will be unveiled in poet's corner at Westminster Abbey.

To mark the occasion Melvyn Bragg presents a special edition of Archive on 4.

With poets, writers and those who knew him well, Melvyn will look back over Ted Hughes' life and work to fashion a memorial in sound to accompany that of stone.

The programme will centre on the many facets of Hughes' own voice; not only reading and discussing his work but in his many radio talks and his advocacy of other poets.

It will make a critical appreciation of Hughes work; from his first poetry collection, A Hawk in the Rain, in 1957 to his last, Birthday Letters, in 1998.

Melvyn Bragg celebrates the life and poetry of Ted Hughes.

Tell Me A Storycorps2009032120090323

Writer Simon Garfield tells the tale of StoryCorps, the project created in the US in 2003 by radio producer David Isay which has seen thousands of ordinary Americans enter Storybooths to record their responses to the simple question, 'Tell me about your life'.

Simon compares StoryCorps with traditional oral history and asks if, that now we all possess the means to record our lives, those recordings are still of value and worth keeping.

Tennant Looks Back At Osborne20160430

Sixty years ago, one small play shocked British theatre to its core and started a cultural revolution. John Osborne, a writer from an unfashionable Midlands city, put ordinary lives on stage and made them an extraordinary comment on post-war Britain. As he prepares to star in a new production for Radio 4, David Tennant explores John Osborne's own papers to uncover how he put his own life and relationships into Look Back in Anger.

Along the way, we look back at the anger which greeted the play from many critics. The BBC's theatre critic Ivor Brown called it, "unspeakably dirty and squalid. It is difficult to believe that a colonel's daughter, brought up with some standards, would have stayed in this sty for a day." He went on to fume, "I felt angry because it wasted my time." He was one of many who hated the play.

David Tennant hears interviews with John Osborne, reads his personal letters, as well as archive of critic Kenneth Tynan and director Tony Richardson. He also plays extracts from previous productions, including a classic with Richard Burton as Jimmy Porter.

Contributors include playwright David Hare, critic Michael Billington, and actors Gary Raymond and George Devine.

Producer: Jo Wheeler

Executive Producer: David Morley

A Bite Media production for BBC Radio 4.

Test Match Special: Ball By Ball20070526 (BBC7)
20151003 (BBC7)
20151004 (BBC7)

Rory Bremner looks back at fifty years of BBC Radio coverage of Test Match cricket.

Rory Bremner looks back at fifty years of BBC Radio coverage of test match cricket in this country.

The programme has seen a rich variety of commentators, including the poetic elegance of John Arlott, the japes of Brian Johnston and the exuberance of Jonathan Agnew. For some the atmosphere has resembled that of an elite club, but for thousands of others the experience has been as vivid a depiction of summer as the smell of cut grass.

The 1981 Ashes Series2011072320110725

In 1981 Mike Brearley - 39 years old, retired and greying - took over the England team in the middle of a six-match series, already one-nil down against the Australians.

His predecessor as captain was still in the side, but the side had not won a game for a year and that captain's poor performances were partly to blame.

On his first two days back Australia ran up another huge total and Brearley's own side collapsed.

Amidst baying newspaper headlines England were 500 - 1 against winning the game.

Yet Brearley's team achieved a victory to rival any in sport, which galvanised the nation and saw many who had never been interested in cricket before glued to the events on the pitch as Ian Botham led the team to the front pages.

Brearley himself goes back to the archives to tell the inside story of what remains one of the most remarkable summers of sport there has ever been.

As the Royal wedding, the rise of the SDP and the inner city riots all came and went, the cricket united the nation.

We hear from the players of both sides including Botham, Border, Willis and Lillee, as well as the memories of Sam Mendes, Donald Trelford, Scyld Berry and Gideon Haigh.

Mike Brearley tells the story of one of the most remarkable summers of cricket ever seen.

The Anniversary Anniversary2009101720091019
20140712 (BBC7)
20140713 (BBC7)
20091225 (R4)

Without any anniversary peg to speak of, Dominic Sandbrook sets out on a mission to understand the compelling appeal of the anniversary. Behind our obsession with remembering everything from battles, birthdays to pop albums, he finds a cultural hunger lurking behind the simple excuse for telling old stories.

Producer Tom Alban

Shortened rpt on Monday at 3pm

Contributors

Unknown:

Dominic

Sandbrook

Producer:

Tom

Alban

Dominic Sandbrook ponders the compelling appeal of anniversaries.

4 Extra Debut.

Dominic Sandbrook ponders the compelling appeal of anniversaries. How often is our attention enticed by them?

From October 2009.

Dominic Sandbrook explores the compelling appeal of the anniversary.

How often on the radio, on television or in print is our attention enticed by the simple fact that an event, a birth or a death happened a year, or five or ten, fifty, even several hundred years ago?

There is a huge category of archive material dedicated to particular happenings or personalities which would never have been produced without the prompt of an anniversary.

Remembering war predates broadcasting, but in the past the remembering was cast in stone, unchanging even as the memories of those involved frayed and faded.

In broadcasting, that increasing remoteness results in the memories being endlessly reworked with a different slant and attitude.

Ten years after the end of Second World War, the response was limited but jovially triumphal.

Sixty years on and there is a far greater energy in remembering and rediscovering, particularly of the details that didn't seem to matter at the time.

A perfect example is The Radio Four series Coming Home.

Dominic also looks at artistic, literary, sporting and musical anniversaries.

In music there seems to be a constant stream of anniversary commemorations, fuelled by the recording industry.

For example, there is the 200th anniversary of Mozart's death or the 250th anniversary of his birth; and, if that's not enough, then there are similar anniversaries for each of his operas.

At the very heart of all this is the simple business of marking the turning of the years, best illustrated by the birthday, that most domestic of anniversaries.

Dominic Sandbrook scrutinises our obsession with anniversaries.

The Art Of Filibustering20150103

Girdles, saunas, catheters and running shoes. Historically these otherwise unrelated items have all played their part in the Filibuster, the tactic of frustration, obstruction and feat of stamina that can be traced back to Roman times

Anne Treneman, political sketch writer of The Times, explores the art of the Filibuster and how in the USA where it is called 'The Soul of the Senate' it is under threat of extinction

Ann, who was born in the USA, but lives and works here in the UK, explores its rich history, hears stories of the great Filibusters like Strom Thurmond the senator from South Carolina who spoke for 24 hours 18 minutes to filibuster the 1957 Civil Rights Act

More recently Wendy Davis from Texas made headlines for her 13 hour Filibuster against changes to the states Abortion laws, she took the stand in pink running shoes, was fitted with a girdle mid-speech. It's considered to be the first social media filibuster

Opponents of it in the US sense its time has come, Ann will hear from both sides of the debate

Filibusters are never as heroic as James Stewart's in the 1939 film 'Mr Smith Goes to Washington'. They rarely have the rhetoric of Smith standing up for the people and the greater good, they are more likely to have the contents of the phone book or excerpts from children's stories.

Ann spends much of her time peering from the press gallery into the commons chamber witnessing the best, and worst of British democracy in action, and although 24 hour Filibusters never happen, talking a bill out does. Using archive from here and the USA, Radio 4 will explore the Art of the Filibuster, along with its history, and of course its future.

Presenter: Ann Treneman

Producer: Richard McIlroy.

The Art Of The Lyricist20160326

As "My Fair Lady" marks its 60th anniversary with hit songs such as "I Could Have Danced All Night" and "On the Street Where You Live", Clarke Peters explores the career and legacy of its lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and investigates the art of lyricists in general through the BBC archive.

Alan Jay Lerner often said that he sweated for weeks to write a lyric for a song. His words highlighted the struggle that he and the other legendary wordsmiths of musical theatre had as they sought to hone the right words to fit their collaborator's music - words which would sometimes translate into the vernacular and speech of generations afterwards - expressions like "Get me to the Church on Time" (Lerner) or "Everything's Coming Up Roses" (Sondheim).

Using the anniversary of "My Fair Lady" as its basis, the programme explores the art of Alan Jay Lerner and the other musical theatre lyricists which fill the BBC archives. Many of the songwriting greats are there - Yip Harburg, writer of "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?", Dorothy Fields (lyric writer of the hit show "Sweet Charity") and the great Oscar Hammerstein. There are there are the artists who delivered both words and music - including Irving Berlin and Stephen Sondheim. And there are the surprises- figures like PG. Wodehouse who, as well as writing the famous "Jeeves" books, also wrote lyrics for musical theatre.

There are also new interviews with the lyricist Charles Hart (writer of words for "Phantom of the Opera" and more recently "Bend it like Beckham"), Millie Taylor, Professor of Musical Theatre at Winchester University and Alan Jay Lerner expert Dominic McHugh.

Clarke Peters who's sung in many musicals and written the book for "Five Guys Named Moe" presents this journey of crafting the words for the perfect musical theatre song. He explores the pleasures and pitfalls of a lyricist's life and, in the company of Lerner and many others, takes the listener through from first thought to the opening night.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

The Art Of The Obit20160213

To mark the tenth anniversary of R4's obituary programme Last Word, Matthew Bannister presents an archive hour celebrating this stalwart of the newspaper and broadcasting world.

Matthew finds out about the delicate work of preparation, as he talks to leading obituary figures about how they choose which lives to cover. He examines some landmark obituaries, and reads from The Times full page obit on Hitler, an indicator of how the often delicate balance between honesty and sensitivity is achieved. Matthew also reveals some of his own behind-the-scenes stories - like the time he made uncomfortably close contact with the corpse.

We find out about future developments, as some of the leaders in the obituary field reveal moves into the world of the pre-recorded farewell obituary video. Musician Dave Swarbrick recalls how it felt to see his premature obit in print, and Matthew explores why working in the world of the obit is always surprising and unexpectedly life-affirming.

Producer: Neil George.

The Benjamin Broadcasts2014052420141101 (BBC7)
20141102 (BBC7)

Michael Rosen discovers Walter Benjamin's radio works for children. Read by Henry Goodman.

The German-Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin is best known as the author of seminal texts such as "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" and for his influence on Theodor Adorno and the "Frankfurt School" of philosophy. But behind the much-mythologised figure of Benjamin the philosopher, there lies the little-known historical reality of Benjamin the broadcaster...

When the Gestapo stormed Walter Benjamin's last apartment in 1940, they stumbled upon a cache of papers which the fleeing philosopher had abandoned in his hurry to escape Paris. Amongst these papers were the scripts for an extraordinary series of radio broadcasts for children covering everything from toy collecting to the politics of tenement housing, from the psychology of witch hunts to human responses to natural catastrophes. Designed to encourage young listeners to think critically, to question sources and to challenge clichés, Benjamin's broadcasts stand in stark contrast to the fascist propaganda which would come to take their place.

Benjamin committed suicide in 1940, when his flight out of Europe was blocked at the Spanish border. He died believing that most - if not all - of his writings were lost.

Here Radio4 listeners have an exclusive chance to discover them in this Archive on Four documentary presented by Michael Rosen, and with Henry Goodman as the voice of Walter Benjamin. It's the first ever English recreation of his pre-war broadcasts to children.

Producer: Kate Schneider

A Made in Manchester Production for BBC Radio 4.

The Book Burners2009020720090209

To mark 20 years since the fatwa was issued against Salman Rushdie over the publication of The Satanic Verses, Mike Wooldridge talks to those who took part in the protests and burned the book.

When The Satanic Verses was published, one of the book burners, Inayat Bunglawala, was a second-year student at Queen Mary University in London.

He, like many others, reasoned that the Thatcher government had banned Peter Wright's Spycatcher and had gone to court to prevent its distribution, so surely Rushdie's novel, which caused such offence to hundreds of millions of Muslims, deserved a similar fate?

When, on the 14 February 1989, the Iranian Islamic leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie's death, the protestors were elated.

London's Hyde Park saw 70,000 Muslims gather for what became one of the largest protests.

Bradford was also the centre of much opposition.

But 20 years on, do the young men who took part in the demonstrations and the book burning still believe that their actions were justified, and would they do it again?

Reflections on the fatwa that was issued against Salman Rushdie in 1989.

The Bradford Fire: A Day That Will Live With Me Forever20100501

May 11th 1985 is a day which will live with Gabby Logan forever.

The third division trophy had just been paraded around Valley Parade by the triumphant Bradford City players and the game against Lincoln City was a formality the home side had to go through before they could really start celebrating.

Gabby's dad, Terry Yorath, was assistant manager of Bradford City that season and aged 12, she attended the match with her family. The fire which later swept through one of the stands in just four minutes, started about four rows from where Gabby and her brother and sister would usually sit.

56 people died in the disaster while more than 260 were injured. The majority of those who perished were either young children or the elderly. In some cases, several generations of the same family were wiped out.

The horrific TV images of the fire taking hold shocked a nation and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Prince Charles and Princess Diana all visited Bradford in the days following the tragedy.

It was the worst fire disaster in British football history and In this Archive on 4, Gabby hears from survivors who were forced to make split second decisions to escape as well as the lengths people went to in order to save others.

In the weeks and months following the fire, £3.5 million pounds was raised by The Bradford Disaster Appeal Fund - the highlight being a special version of the 1960s Gerry and The Pacemakers hit "You'll Never Walk Alone". The Crowd's cover version would later go to Number One.

The disaster led to major changes in football safety as well as pioneering medical products for burns injuries and the establishment of the Bradford Burns Unit. Gabby reflects on how, 25 years on, lives are still being saved as a result of this often forgotten disaster.

The producer is Ashley Byrne, and this is a Made in Manchester production for BBC Radio 4.

Gabby's dad, Terry Yorath, was assistant manager of Bradford City that season and aged 12, she attended the match with her family.

The fire which later swept through one of the stands in just four minutes, started about four rows from where Gabby and her brother and sister would usually sit.

56 people died in the disaster while more than 260 were injured.

The majority of those who perished were either young children or the elderly.

In some cases, several generations of the same family were wiped out.

In the weeks and months following the fire, £3.5 million pounds was raised by The Bradford Disaster Appeal Fund - the highlight being a special version of the 1960s Gerry and The Pacemakers hit You'll Never Walk Alone".

The Crowd's cover version would later go to Number One.

The disaster led to major changes in football safety as well as pioneering medical products for burns injuries and the establishment of the Bradford Burns Unit.

Gabby reflects on how, 25 years on, lives are still being saved as a result of this often forgotten disaster.

25 years on, Gabby Logan remembers the day 56 people died in the Bradford City fire."

The Camera Never Lies20160521

Does documentary ever really tell the truth?

BAFTA award winning filmmaker Molly Dineen examines the concept of truth and the creation of narrative in documentary film making. Robert Flaherty's 'Nanook of the North' is considered the first documentary ever made, and much of it was specially set up for the cameras. We think that modern 'Scripted Reality' is a new phenomenon, but does it have its roots in the earliest days of documentary? We look at the making of a documentary, from idea, to casting, filming and editing to find out how documentary makers craft their story.

Molly Dineen looks at nearly 100 years of documentary making from the archives, as well as looking back on her own career. Her first film 'Home from the Hill' followed retired Solider Hilary Hook returning to England after a career in Kenya, and she has also filmed the London Zoo in crisis, in her BAFTA award winning series 'The Ark', modern celebrity in her portrait of ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, and a Prime Minister in waiting in the 1997 Party Political Broadcast for the Labour Party. Molly's observational style sees her immersing herself in the worlds she shoots, but we also take a look at modern 'Fly on the Wall' programming, speaking to TV producer Jonathan Stadlen about his series 'GP's: Behind Closed Doors'. There's more factual programming around now than ever; but is this a good thing? Are the schedules clogged with cheap programming that sacrifices the truth for style, using fast cutting, music and voice over rather than allowing people to speak for themselves?

We also hear from Kim Loginotto, whose films examine the lives of women worldwide, Radio Producer Simon Elmes and TV Critic AA Gill.

Presenter: Molly Dineen

Producer: Jessica Treen.

The Character Crunch2010061920100621

Now the dust has settled on the election, Rory Bremner is looking at the new crop of politicians that have arrived in Westminster - and he's worried.

He concerned about the loss of larger than life characters in British politics, and not just because he's the country's leading satirical impressionist.

He's wondering why the instantly recognisable generation of Blair, Brown, Blunkett and Prescott has given way to the Milibands, Andy Burnham, Andrew Lansley and George Osborne.

When he considers the new coalition partnership of Cameron and Clegg, he's wondering - what really is the difference between them?

Rory is convinced that possessing too much character is now seen as a liability by the main parties, and this has led to a depersonalisation of politics - or a 'character crunch', as he calls it.

He delves back into the archive to consider some of the great political characters of the past - Churchill, Bevan, Macmillan, Thatcher - and considers the shift from ideologically driven figures to a more managerial, professional class of politicians.

Did things begin to change with a greater concentration on presentation and style in the 1980s? Or did the election of Tony Blair change the political world forever, as the other parties strove to find their equivalents?

Rory wonders if satirists such as himself must take some of the blame - a point he puts to former Spitting Image producer John Lloyd.

He also hears from historian Professor Peter Hennessy, journalists Julia Langdon, John Rentoul, Anthony Howard and Andrew Rawnsley as well as politicians Neil Kinnock, Tony Benn and new MP Rory Stewart who many believe could be one of our great political characters in the future.

Producer: Simon Jacobs

A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.

Rory Bremner laments the loss of big personalities and characters in British politics.

The Choke2015051620160219 (R4)

The journalist, author and Olympian Matthew Syed blew it big time at the Sydney 2000. A GB medal prospect in table tennis he was thrashed by an opponent he had beaten many times before- he choked. He's been keen to understand ever since why sometimes the brain robs an individual of the ability to do routine tasks - in his case to hit a ping pong ball on the table.

You don't have to be a world class sportsman to choke think of that job interview you fluffed or that wildly attractive person at a party that left you unable to do what you do everyday- speak coherently.

In The Choke Matthew will explore the neurological and psychological trajectory of a choke illustrated with some dramatic examples where the pressure told at the worst possible time- musicians, politicians, businessmen, actors and sportsmen all feature in this examination of when we fail to do what comes naturally to us.

The Christiania Effect2011092420110926

Christiania celebrates its 40th birthday this year - quite an achievement for a place where an abrasive attitude to the Danish Government has meant it's always been about two weeks away from being shut down.

The BBC has visited Christiania regularly over the past four decades and, in The Christiania Effect, writer and broadcaster David Goldblatt goes to the commune and examines some of those reports to tell the history of this bold experiment in free living.

He has also gained access to a unique oral history of Christiania where long time members of the commune tell their own personal and sometimes surprising version of events.

In the programme David hears how an abandoned barracks in the heart of Copenhagen became a centre for liberal drugs laws, hands-off parenting and free-form architecture.

He learns how it evolved from a dark and dangerous area for social drop-outs to being a focus of Copenhagen's tourist industry and a place that many of the city's residents would fight hard to defend.

And he hears how it became a magnet for promoters and performers like Bob Dylan, Beck and the Arctic Monkeys.

As well as looking back at its history David assesses the future of this unique community and asks what mainstream society can learn from this unique counter-cultural experiment.

David Goldblatt visits Christiania in Denmark known for drugs, anarchy and now turning 40.

The Crime Of The Century20130713

In the early hours of August 8th 1963, the Royal Mail train from Glasgow to London was held up in the Buckinghamshire countryside by a gang of London thieves. After assaulting the train driver, the criminals stole over two and a half million pounds, something in the region of £40 million in today's money.

The twists and turns of the case, and its main characters, ensured that the robbery stayed in the public eye for the decades that followed.

There was the discovery of an abandoned hideout, the high-profile captures, escapes from maximum security prisons, bundles of cash left in phone boxes, and extradition battles that went on for years.

Gang members Bruce Reynolds, Buster Edwards and Ronnie Biggs became celebrities.

However, on the Great Train Robbery's 50th anniversary, novelist Jake Arnott takes a deeper look at the gang behind the headlines, and considers how the legacy of this crime has become a curse for the criminals.

In his last recorded interview before his death this February, Bruce Reynolds describes his early life of crime and what it took to plan the audacious raid.

From his care home in North London, Ronnie Biggs spells out how he randomly got involved in the heist and kept the story running for years as a fugitive in Brazil.

Also taking part are criminologist Laurie Taylor, former head of Scotland Yard John O'Connor, Bruce's son Nick Reynolds, BBC reporter Reg Abbiss, Daily Express reporter Colin MacKenzie and former Buckinghamshire policeman John Woolley.

Producer: Colin McNulty

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

The Day Before 9/1120110910

Unease on the world markets, rumours that a key anti-Taliban leader had been assassinated and New York buzzing with its primary elections for city mayor, September 10th 2001 seems like a relatively normal news day.

But looked at in hindsight it becomes freighted with meaning.

Presented by Paddy O'Connell, who was in New York covering Wall Street at the time, the programme features television and radio output from the 24 hours before the attacks.

A portrait of New York, America and the wider world as it was the day before the towers came down.

Producers: Simon Hollis and Simon Finch

A Brook Lapping and Borough co-production for BBC Radio 4.

What was happening on the day before the Twin Towers fell and the world changed?

The Death Of The Battleaxe2010100920101011

Whatever happened to The Battleaxe? Theatre director Jude Kelly rallies to her defence.

Theatre director Jude Kelly takes a personal look at the demise of "the battleaxe", from her birth as a comic stereotype in the Victorian music-hall to her death from political correctness.

With the help of some loud and familiar voices from the archives, she argues the case for the return of the battleaxe - a woman cruelly joked-about by men, but whose disappearance has left the world a duller place.

With contributions from writers such as George Orwell, Jeanette Winterson and Stan Barstow, as well as actresses like Thora Hird, Kathy Staff, Peggy Mount and Patricia Routledge, Jude's history of the battleaxe is not just a parade of glorious comic characters; it sets out a thesis about the role of the "Ena Sharples" stereotype, both in drama and in real life.

Kelly argues that the white, northern battleaxe disappeared from our comedy culture when her real life counterpart stopped being a threat to the male ego; but no sooner had she stumped off the stage than other domineering women took her place, such as the Asian mother or the bossy social-worker.

In the end, Jude Kelly concludes, it's not about whether women can laugh at themselves - it's about who's writing the jokes.

Producer: Peter Everett.

The Death Of The Spiv20140222

The poet Paul Henry traces the slippery movements of "The Spiv" through the archives. When Paul was a young man he was captivated by the slick, smooth-talking Private Joe Walker in the TV sitcom 'Dad's Army'. A few years later, on his first trip to London, he was soon parted from his money by a man selling dodgy cutlery from a suitcase in Petticoat Lane. Ever since then, he's been fascinated by this tricksy stereotype, and so he has gone through the archives to find out where the factual and the fictional Spiv has gone.

One of the spiv's earliest incarnations was a real life conman from the turn of the 20th century called Henry the Spiv Bagster, but the etymology of the word itself is nearly as evasive as a spiv.

It's the protean quality of the spiv, the imagined and the real, that is really appealing. Paul follows him as he dips in between light and shade - from the comic representations in the form of his beloved Private Walker and Arthur English to the far murkier and occasionally psychotic characters in films like 'They Made Me a Fugitive'.

Paul looks at the specific social and economic conditions of post-war Britain that arguably made a spiv of everyone, and tries to find out where he may have disappeared to now, in these days of relative plenty.

With contributions from actor Alan Ford, crime historian Clive Emsley, critic Robert Hanks, columnist Owen Jones and amateur historian Rob Baker who tells Paul about the horrific murder of a real life spiv. Rich archive includes 'Hancock's Half Hour' where Sid hosts a celebration of the return of rationing, first hand testimony from a self-confessed former spiv, and an interview with George Cole.

Producer: Sarah Langan.

The Debate Of Our Times20120922

Giles Dilnot looks back over five decades of Radio 4's Any Questions and searches the archives of other discussion programmes to find out if political debate has changed in this country. Has it become more simplistic - 'dumbing down' - or has coalition politics made it more complicated? Or has what we think of as debate changed? He interviews long standing political presenters including Jonathan Dimbleby, and politicians like Tony Benn and asks them what are the key influences over the past 50 years that have influenced the way we debate politics, from dropping the 14 day rule to the introduction of rolling news which changed politics' relationship with the media forever.

The Devil's Horn2013022320150704 (BBC7)
20150705 (BBC7)

The saxophone is the most important musical invention of the last 170 years. Lauded for its adventurous sound, its sensuality and seemingly never-ending versatility, the brass woodwind horn has become one of the most popular instruments in the world. Today, it's at home in classical music as it is in pop with hundreds of famous composers writing significant pieces for its shapely curves. Neither of these musical homes compare to its place in jazz, where its presence is so influential it's hard to think of another instrument more associated with the genre.

But for some the sax produces a devilish sound, whether that's down to taste or decency. It's been shunned by polite society, banished from orchestras and even denounced by governments. Much worse, in recent times it has been accused of blandness and crowned the king of elevator music.

British jazz musician Soweto Kinch examines the saxophone's place in history in Radio 4's Archive on 4. An alto player himself, Kinch investigates the instrument's captivating and somewhat turbulent journey through musical and spoken archive. Aiding Soweto with expert analysis are his friend and fellow sax player Courtney Pine, leading classical saxophonist Amy Dickson, historian Dr Paul Cohen, director of the 2012 World Saxophone Congress Richard Ingham and comedian David Quantick.

British jazz musician Soweto Kinch examines the intriguing history of the saxophone.

The Eccentric Entrepreneur20140830

"Radio Normandy Calling!" The Belles of Normandy sing the station ident; Roy Plomley (of Desert Island Discs fame) introduces the artistes from the Bradford Alhambra, and another melody-packed hour - sponsored by a patent medicine - begins on the commercial radio station that, back in the 1930s, was often more popular than the majestic BBC.

The man behind it all was called, improbably, Captain Leonard Plugge. And in this programme, Dominic Sandbrook tells the story of this clever, enterprising and subversive man. Tory MP, passionate European and backroom boffin, Plugge created a string of brilliantly successful commercial stations in France and beyond that challenged Sir John Reith's radio monopoly with popular music and variety shows, sponsored by Bile Beans, Persil and Diploma cheddar cheese. So wealthy did his radio network make him that he owned two yachts, six cars (including two Rolls Royces), a Mayfair mansion, employed twelve staff, and lived a life that lay somewhere between The Great Gatsby and Citizen Kane.

With Plugge's son Frank, Dominic leafs through his father's mountain of diaries and scrapbooks - news cuttings, photographs... memorabilia of a life that brought him the Legion d'Honneur, a medal from US broadcaster NBC and made him a worldwide celebrity. With a rich archive of contributions from Roy Plomley, Bob Danvers-Walker and many others who first made their names on Plugge's stations, plus recordings from the shows they broadcast, Dominic Sandbrook brings a forgotten mogul of a bygone era to life.

And next time you approach a road junction with an elongated 'SLOW' painted on the tarmac, you can thank Captain Plugge for it, because that was his idea too...

Producer Simon Elmes.

The Edwards Archive20160604 (BBC7)
20160605 (BBC7)

John Edwards explores the story of the cinema newsreel and the people who filmed history.

Twenty-five years ago, film-maker John Edwards interviewed 50 of the surviving cameramen who had worked for the cinema newsreel companies in America and Europe. His recordings were lost and recovered only recently.

The story of the newsreel, from the Lindbergh take-off to the Apollo splash-downs, can now be told in the voices of the men who filmed history.

The Entomology Of Gregor Samsa20150509

Gregor Samsa, as we all now know, woke up one morning to find himself transformed into an insect. But what kind of insect precisely?

Franz Kafka does not give much help to readers of The Metamorphosis (100 years old in 2015). In German Samsa finds himself transformed into an "Ungezeifer" - "monstrous vermin." Early translations identify Samsa as an insect (and the fact that he crawls over the ceiling of the Samsa family home make it easy to imagine him as a kind of man sized cockroach) but literary critics have persisted in seeing Gregor's transformation as symbolic of his alienation.

The reader though registers Samsa as very corporeal, and that body is leathery and insectoid.

The hunt is deadly serious: much of the vertiginous pleasure of reading The Metamorphoses comes from the naturalistic, physical description of the creature which Samsa becomes. We are told on the first page that his carapace is hard, convex on both sides, and that his stomach is divided into rigid banded segments. But what kind of insect this denotes has concerned Kafka scholars since the book was published.

David Baddiel travels to Prague to meet the experts at the world's largest insect fair, on the trail of the insect Gregor. Will he be able to pin the insect form down?

The European Dream20111217

As the Eurozone lurches from crisis to crisis, John Tusa takes us back to the very start of the journey to the single currency: to the vision, and the realpolitik, that made European union happen in the first place.

In 1950, France and Germany, along with Italy, Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg, agreed to surrender national control over some of their most vital industries.

Just six years after the Nazis had been driven out of Paris.

John traces how a highly unusual mix of vision and canny national self-interest drove a handful of leading statesmen to take this decisive step.

Robert Schuman was the French Foreign Minister - but had fought for the Germans in the First World War.

Then, as a French politician and member of the Resistance, he narrowly avoided being sent by the Nazis to Dachau.

Konrad Adenauer, West Germany's first Chancellor, was proposing a form of European unity as early as 1923.

Having survived the Nazi era, he was intent on sacrificing power to bind his pariah nation into the West - and keep it safe from Stalin.

More surprisingly, the idea of European union was also championed by Winston Churchill, in a rousing run of speeches across the Continent in the years after VE Day.

The great patriot even advocated a European Army.

But John also explores why - once Churchill was back in power in 1951 - he chose not to join the emergent union.

Meanwhile, Churchill's wartime ally, America, was actively pushing the Europeans to unite - and was prepared to pay handsomely to ensure they wouldn't drag American troops into yet another war.

And John finds out how the whole project came to the brink of collapse within weeks of its birth.

In June 1950, the Communists invaded South Korea.

Western capitals panicked: was West Germany next? Was this the start of World War 3?

America demanded that West Germany be re-armed.

But the French public were outraged, and took to the streets with large photos of Nazi atrocity victims held aloft.

John explores how the project was rescued, and how its strange fusion of realism and idealism presages the crises of today.

Producer: Phil Tinline.

How the European Union was born in fear, hope and crisis in the decade after World War II.

The Feynman Variations2010091820110321

Following on from his archive portrait of Carl Sagan, Physicist Brian Cox presents a tribute to Richard Feynman.

Widely regarded as the finest physicist of his generation and the most influential since Einstein, Feynman did much to popularise science, through lectures, books and television, not least his dramatic revelation before the world's media at a press conference in which he demonstrated the exact cause of the Challenger Shuttle explosion in 1986.

Described as the 'Mozart of physics', Feynman's amazing life and career seemingly had no end of highlights.

A student at MIT and then Princeton (where he obtained an unprecedented perfect score on the entrance exam for maths and physics), he was drafted onto the Manhattan Project as a junior scientist.

There his energy and talents made a significant mark on two of the project's leaders, Robert Oppenheimer and Hans Bethe.

The latter would become Feynman's lifelong mentor and friend.

Bethe called his student "a magician", setting him apart from other scientists as no ordinary genius.

In 1965, Feynman shared a Nobel for his unique contribution to the field of Quantum Electrodynamics making him the most celebrated, influential and best known American Physicist of his generation.

Something that would continue until his death from cancer in 1988.

At the same time as his scientific reputation was building, Feynman's unconventional attitude and behaviour was helping to create his reputation for eccentricity.

When bored of writing equations on chalk boards or lecturing in his lab, he would go off in search of inspiration down at the local strip club, watching the go-go girls and scribbling his calculations on napkins.

He played bongos and cracked safes.

He was multi-disciplined before the term was even invented, allowing his curiosity to stray into biology, psychology and computing.

He was playful and imaginative because he saw the value in not being solely focused on applied research.

His eccentricity would at times infuriate his colleagues but it was simply a natural consequence of how he thought.

From a young age, as he explains in the programme, his father instilled in him an insatiable curiosity about the world, a desire to know at a fundamental level, how it operated.

It simply wasn't enough to know the name of something.

His father also taught him to carry a healthy disrespect for the natural hierarchy of things.

Recounting a hilarious story about his Father's dislike of the Pope, Feynman saw status and honours as little more than ephemera: "epaulets and uniforms" and his father, a uniform salesman by trade, "knew the difference between a man with the uniform on and the uniform off - it's the same man".

Though few ever understood mathematics or physics like Feynman, he truly believed that science was simply too important to be left exclusively to scientists and his energy and humour was essential in getting the public interested and inspired to find out how the world works for themselves, something that is essential today as science plays an increasingly central role in world events and everyday life.

Producer: Rami Tzabar.

Brian Cox presents a tribute to the genius of physicist Richard Feynman.

Brian Cox presents an archive tribute to the genius of physicist Richard Feynman.

The First A And R Man *2009061320090615

Paul Gambaccini delves into EMI's Hayes archive to uncover the remarkable story of Fred Gaisberg, the music collector, technician and entrepreneur who brought recording to Britain over 100 years ago.

Fred became the first man to record Caruso and the first to record the court music of the Chinese and Japanese Emperors.

In a series of adventures in the early years of the 1900s, transporting his bulky apparatus - including an acid bath - across continents, he amassed hundreds of discs of indigenous music.

Nearer home, he recorded the last ever castrato and made precious recordings of the great music hall and operatic stars.

The First Generation X20140301

"They sleep together before they are married, don't believe in God as much, dislike the Queen, and don't respect parents."

Meet the original Generation X - teenagers who in 1964 seemed to embody a new sense of rebellion, but also uncertainty and anxiety about their changing world. X stood for mystery - the unknowable future.

50 years on, oral historian Alan Dein tracks down some of the original Generation X'ers, to confront them with their teenage selves.

Interviewed by the editor of Woman's Own magazine, a diverse group of young people answered a range of questions about their lives. Sex, drink, music and religion all featured - but so did bird-watching in rural Cumbria. The subsequent book was a landmark - a platform for teenagers to give their views, to the consternation of some of their elders.

"Most nights I sit in coffee bars with my friends talking about cars and girls.."

"Why are people in authority so stupid?"

"You'd hate an adult to understand you..."

"I'd marry anyone to spite my parents."

"Security is a killer, corrodes your mind but I wish I had it."

So what happened to those teenagers, wonders Alan Dein, joined by teen experts Jon Savage and Melanie Tebbutt, and how did their hopes and dreams turn out? He tracks down some of the original speakers to find out.

He also uncovers a wealth of atmospheric BBC archive from the 1930s onwards, exploring the changing perception of the teenager, such as "To Start You Talking" from 1943, which dramatised the fate of "Good Time Annie", to make up for the lack of guidance amongst young people - as fathers were away fighting, mothers at work, and VD on the rise.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall.

The Future Of The Bbc: A History20151024

In advance of a special Media Show debate on the future of the BBC, Steve Hewlett explores the troubled past behind today's dilemmas - and traces them back to the Corporation's origins in the distant world of the 1920s.

He explores how the BBC was forged in the paternalist culture of interwar Britain. And how its first Director-General, the forbidding six-foot-six titan John Reith, carved it into the form it still has today: a public monopoly. Reith's new British Broadcasting Corporation was not part of the government, but nor was it a commercial company. It occupied a public space somewhere in between.

Reith's model was all very well in an age of deference, when the BBC had the airwaves to itself. It even managed, after initial hostility, to come to terms with competition, in the shape of ITV.

But Steve explores how Reith's interwar Leviathan has fared since the 1970s, as it's been buffeted by hurricanes of change: the death of deference, the pressures of high inflation and political strife, and the tech-driven birth of a highly competitive global media market.

What does the BBC's past tell us about its capacity to survive and thrive in this brave new world, and how it might need to change?

With: Simon Heffer, David Hendy, Charlotte Higgins, Dominic Sandbrook, Jean Seaton

Producer: Phil Tinline.

The Great Listener2012051220130104
20140705 (BBC7)
20140706 (BBC7)

Alan Dein tells the story of pioneering oral historian Tony Parker.

Tony Parker was a ground-breaking writer and oral historian - the master of the tape-recorded interview. Whether talking to convicted murderers, the homeless, impotent men or unmarried mothers, his enigmatic quiet empathy meant that people opened up to him with immense honesty and trust. He was the Great Listener.

The result was a unique and expansive body of work, in which he shaped these real-life stories into compelling thematic narratives. By the time of his death in 1996, he had published scores of books, made documentaries for radio and television, and pioneered the genre of verbatim drama.

Although his work was always based on real people in real places, Parker gave all his interviewees and their locations pseudonyms, and he scrupulously destroyed all traces of the interviews-the tapes and the transcripts-once the books were published.

Alan Dein traces the story of Tony Parker through the archive that remains and along the way tries to get behind the pseudonyms and obfuscation and track down some of Tony Parker's interviewees to find out what it was like to open up to the Great Listener.

Producer: Martin Williams.

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

The Haunted Apparatus20140201

When the phone was invented, people were astonished by the new technology. Proust described it as a 'supernatural instrument before whose miracles we used to stand amazed'. Thirty years after the invention of the mobile phone, Ian McMillan (in collaboration with sound artist Scanner) makes strange what we very quickly came to take for granted - the ability to send a disembodied voice down a line. Through a reverie on time and place Ian and guests, including Jackie Kay, Charlie Higson, Chuck Palahniuk, and David Toop will explore why hanging on to the 'uncanny' nature of phone calls, could help us understand what's happening to us - as we become deluged with new ways to communicate.

Producer: Faith Lawrence

Sound Design: Scanner

Studio Manager: Paul Cargill

Archive research: Christopher Wilson.

The Hills Are Alive20150228 (BBC7)
20150301 (BBC7)

Fifty years after The Sound of Music, Mark Kermode hears from the team who made it happen.

Fifty years after The Sound of Music hit the big screen, Mark Kermode hears from the creative team who made it happen. Includes Julie Andrews. From December 2004.

The House Of Assad20120915

Bashar al-Assad took over as President of Syria after his father, known to Syrians as the immortal one, died of a heart attack in 2000. The Assads have been in control of Syria for the last 42 years, since Bashar's father Hafez took over in a coup, which he referred to as a "Corrective Movement."

So how has this family survived in power so long? And why has Bashar al-Assad been so determined to hold onto power while other states have seen their leaders swept away by the Arab Spring?

Using archive and new interviews, Owen Bennett Jones examines the nature of the House of Assad and its grip over Syria. Now the regime faces its stiffest test yet.

Bashar al-Assad had maintained that he had no interest in politics but he became heir-apparent when his elder brother died in a car crash in 1994. That cut short Bashar's ophthalmology training in London and he returned to Damascus. He married his British-born Syrian wife, Asma, shortly after taking over as President.

Initially Bashar al-Assad signalled that his would be a more liberal regime than his father's, in a period known as the Damascus Spring. Those promises, however, were soon snuffed out. Now many regard his hardline stance against demonstrators, which has led to the violence now embroiling the country, is simply business as usual for the Assads. They point to the brutal put down of opposition in the town of Hama, in 1982, when Hafez al-Assad ruthlessly stamped out an uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood, at a cost of anything between ten to forty thousand lives.

Owen Bennett Jones speaks to those who have known father and son and asks what is it about the Assads that has made them so durable?

The Interviewer Stole The Show20140315

It's often said these days that the interviewers have stolen the show - interviews are no longer read for their subject, but for the interviewer's personal ruminations, reflections, opinions and even judgements on the person in question.

Lynn is probably one of the worst offenders. Known as Demon Barber for thirty years, she doesn't repent. The move of the interviewer from the wings to centre stage has happened in her lifetime and with her eager connivance.

In this programme, she argues how her medium is all the better for the interviewers taking charge. When she started her career in the late 60s, there were no regular celebrity interviews in the newspapers. As a young writer she worked as Literary Editor on Penthouse Magazine and Bob Guccione, who founded the magazine, wanted to launch an American edition which meant she had to familiarise herself with American culture, spelling and interests. So she subscribed to all the great American magazines - Playboy, Esquire, The New Yorker, Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine and Rolling Stone - with writing from Lillian Ross, Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, and Joan Didion.

This writing became known as the New Journalism and included great interviews and profiles which, as she reveals, are great works of literature - brilliant studies of the writer's celebrity subject. They have defined how she and others approach their interviewing today.

With Gay Talese and Camilla Long

Producer: Kate Bland

A Cast Iron Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

The Itv Story2010011620100118

The history of independent television in the UK, told through the story of Yorkshire TV.

This is the story of how Yorkshire seems to have disappeared. In fact, it is not a single county that has vanished from the map - the territory that has gone missing also stretched across Lincolnshire and into north Norfolk.

Of course, if you look at any road atlas of the UK, there is still a sizeable piece of land between The Pennines and the North Sea. What has gone, in fact, is the regional ITV company, YTV, which began broadcasting from new studios in Leeds on July 29th, 1968.

One of ITV's unique features in previous decades has been its regional structure, which was especially strong in the north of England where Granada, Yorkshire TV and Tyne Tees provided the backbone of national programmes made from around the nation.

Today however, ITV is no longer a collection of regional companies; Mark Lawson examines why by taking a look at the history of Yorkshire Television.

Initially, Granada served the whole of the north of England but for 40 years, YTV was Yorkshire's very own station and gave its region a prominent voice in millions of homes all over the country. Yorkshire Television was a station run by local people who 'talked right'. It made the likes of Richard Whiteley, Les Dawson, Annie Sugden and Hannah Hauxwell household names and it became part of a regional revolution that provided ITV with a significant part of its output, from soap opera (Emmerdale), and drama (Flambards and Heartbeat) to hard-hitting, award-winning documentaries including Johnny Go Home and Rampton: The Secret Hospital.

Sir Paul Fox, a former managing director at YTV, says: 'You can tell a Yorkshire man but you can't tell him much.' And it was this refusal to compromise on its own particular provincial flavour that characterised the YTV style. For many years, Yorkshire Television demonstrated a regional approach to broadcasting that was successfully duplicated across the network by other many other ITV franchise holders.

Mark Lawson grew up in Yorkshire and has a keen understanding of the workings of the British television industry.

Those contributing include Sir Paul Fox, Jeremy Isaacs (Director of Programmes at Thames in the 1970s and Chief Executive at Channel 4 in the 1980s), John Whiston (former Director of Programmes at YTV and now Creative Director of ITV Studios UK), Alan Whicker and Austin Mitchell MP.

This is the story of how Yorkshire seems to have disappeared.

In fact, it is not a single county that has vanished from the map - the territory that has gone missing also stretched across Lincolnshire and into north Norfolk.

Of course, if you look at any road atlas of the UK, there is still a sizeable piece of land between The Pennines and the North Sea.

What has gone, in fact, is the regional ITV company, YTV, which began broadcasting from new studios in Leeds on July 29th, 1968.

Initially, Granada served the whole of the north of England but for 40 years, YTV was Yorkshire's very own station and gave its region a prominent voice in millions of homes all over the country.

Yorkshire Television was a station run by local people who 'talked right'.

It made the likes of Richard Whiteley, Les Dawson, Annie Sugden and Hannah Hauxwell household names and it became part of a regional revolution that provided ITV with a significant part of its output, from soap opera (Emmerdale), and drama (Flambards and Heartbeat) to hard-hitting, award-winning documentaries including Johnny Go Home and Rampton: The Secret Hospital.

Sir Paul Fox, a former managing director at YTV, says: 'You can tell a Yorkshire man but you can't tell him much.' And it was this refusal to compromise on its own particular provincial flavour that characterised the YTV style.

For many years, Yorkshire Television demonstrated a regional approach to broadcasting that was successfully duplicated across the network by other many other ITV franchise holders.

The Language Of Pain20150502

Virginia Woolf lamented that the English language, so rich in words to describe the passions of love and tragedy, has no adequate words for 'the shiver and the headache'. Physical pains like these dominate our lives and yet our language is insufficient to describe them.

Professor Joanna Bourke is fascinated by the way people talk about their pain. Looking back in history, she finds an abundant language through which people have expressed it. Only in recent times has scientific terminology taken over the language of pain, stripping it of its depth and variety.

In this programme, Joanna explores archive from the 19th and 20th centuries to illustrate the metaphors that people have used. The obsession with railways in the mid-19th century entered the vocabulary of pain almost immediately, and so did electrical metaphors and comparisons with the telegraph. The way we talk about pain is a product of the times we're living in.

Through interviews with clinical pain specialists, historians and artists, Joanna examines how far the language we use to talk about pain influences the way we feel it.

Today, pain specialists are increasingly concentrating on the language of their patients. While medicine is now very effective at treating acute pain, chronic pain remains a problem. The experience of chronic pain patients needs to be managed differently and the language we use to talk about it may form part of the answer.

Producer: Isabel Sutton

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

The Last Of The International Brigaders2011022620110228
The Licence To Kill20120317

Seventy years ago British-trained volunteers assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, a leading Nazi, in Prague. His killing resulted in drastic reprisals against innocent civilians in Czechoslovakia. The village of Lidice, which was falsely linked to the assassins, was razed to the ground, all the adult men were executed and the women and children sent to concentration camps. The ensuing outrage, however, did help firm up commitment to the Czechoslovak cause and to the Allies finally revoking the Munich agreement under which large parts of the country had been ceded to Germany.

Britain contemplated using assassination after the Second World War - for instance against Presidents Nasser in Egypt and Idi Amin in Uganda - but as far as we know it has repeatedly decided against, fearing the consequences. Other Western countries have toyed with it - such as the CIA plotting against Castro in Cuba and Lumumba in Congo in the 1960s but also more recently in the use of drones against al-Qaeda leaders and in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. And some countries - notably Israel, it's alleged - continue to use it regularly today as an instrument of policy - for instance against Iranian scientists.

The BBC's Security Correspondent Gordon Corera asks whether state-sponsored assassination is an effective tool of war and policy and if it can ever be justified.

Producer: Mark Savage.

Can state-sponsored killings and assassinations ever be justified?

The Life And Fate Of Vasily Grossman20110917

Jim Riordan crosses the former Soviet Union to explore the life and fate of Soviet writer Vasily Grossman, author of Life and Fate.

Grossman was both a heroic war journalist and post war heretic feared by the state.

In 1961 the K.G.B.

came not to arrest writer Vasily Grossman but his masterwork, Life and Fate.

Its direct comparison of Nazism and Stalinism, set against the terrible battle of Stalingrad, so alarmed the Soviet authorities that they compared it to the threat of Western nuclear weapons, telling him it would not be published

for 200 years.

The novel would finally be smuggled to the West and published long after Grossman's death in 1964.

Jim Riordan goes in search of those who knew Grossman in the war ravaged city of Stalingrad (present day Volgograd), reads Grossman's celebrated war diaries in the Moscow archives and hears from those who smuggled his masterpiece Life and Fate abroad.

There it began a new life in the West where it has become increasingly viewed as one of the most significant works of the 20th Century.

Reader Ken Cranham.

Producer: Mark Burman.

Jim Riordan uncovers the life and fate of Soviet writer Vasily Grossman, hero and heretic.

The Light Music Festival20110618 (BBC7)
20141115 (BBC7)
20141116 (BBC7)

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'.

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.

The Long, Long Trail2014010420141108 (BBC7)
20141109 (BBC7)

Roy Hudd explores the forgotten radio masterpiece that inspired Oh What a Lovely War.

Roy Hudd explores Charles Chilton's forgotten 1961 radio masterpiece which inspired the musical Oh What a Lovely War.

Broadcast on the BBC Home Service, The Long, Long Trail told the story of the First World War in a unique way - through the songs sung by soldiers. It was the result of Charles Chilton's personal quest to learn about his father was killed at Arras in March 1918, aged 19, and whom he had never met.

In 1962, Chilton, already a renowned pioneering BBC radio producer, adapted the programme with director Joan Littlewood and the cast of Theatre Workshop into the landmark stage musical Oh What a Lovely War.

But then the programme disappeared and was never broadcast again. However, shortly before he died in January 2013, Chilton gave a copy to the British Library, so we can now rediscover The Long, Long Trail.

For this programme, Roy Hudd, a close friend and collaborator of 'Charlie', is joined by satirist Ian Hislop, radio historian and Chair of the UK Radio Archives Advisory Committee Professor Hugh Chignell, archivist Helen O'Neill at the London Library, singer Pat Whitmore, Charles's widow Penny Chilton, and their children Mary and David Chilton. Together, they tell the story behind Charles Chilton's remarkable musical documentary, reveal why it was revolutionary and reflect on its significance today.

Producer: Amber Barnfather

Sound design: David Chilton

A Goldhawk Essential production for BBC Radio 4.

Broadcast on the BBC Home Service, The Long, Long Trail told the story of the First World War in a unique way - through the songs sung by soldiers. It was the result of Charles Chilton's personal quest to learn about his father who was killed at Arras in March 1918, aged 19, and whom he had never met.

The Longest Suicide Note In History20130601

Denys Blakeway tells the story of Labour's botched campaign in the 1983 general election with the help of the vivid archive from the time and interviews with participants from all sides.

In 1983, the Labour Party - in the midst of a bitter battle for the soul of the party and led by the unlikely figure of Michael Foot - produced a manifesto that was regarded as so extreme that it was dubbed by a leading party member as 'the longest suicide note in history'.

In this Archive on 4, Denys Blakeway looks at the genesis of this document which called for nuclear disarmament, withdrawal from Europe and a return to nationalisation- and which, it is alleged, only narrowly avoided a clause on the need to ban puppy farms.

Denys explores how Labour's election campaign disintegrated under the leadership of Michael Foot, a firebrand leftist orator and romantic intellectual, who rejected polling and sound-bites as no more than the slick ephemera of marketing men. Foot used all his oratory to persuade a sceptical public to embrace his vision, and led the party to a crashing defeat.

But it was not only his leadership and a radical manifesto put off the electorate. Labour's bitter civil war caused the party to split and resulted in the formation of the Social Democratic Party. Although many are critical of Michael Foot, he staved off melt-down. The Labour Party survived - just - to fight another day and, ironically enough, some of the manifesto policies regarded as so extreme in 1983 have now been adopted by the mainstream.

With Neil Kinnock, Roy Hattersley, Denis Healey, Shirley Williams, Cecil Parkinson, Tony Benn and John Sergeant.

Produced by Melissa FitzGerald

A Blakeway production for BBC Radio 4.

The Man Behind The Mountains2010101620101018

It's 80 years since the fell walker Alfred Wainwright first visited the Lake District.

For a boy brought up amongst mill chimneys, noisy factories and dirty canals it was a magical revelation, love at first sight.

He would go onto write more than 40 guidebooks and persuade millions to follow in his footsteps.

Wainwright was a recluse - on the surface curmudgeonly and intolerant.

The mysteries and rumours that surrounded this elusive character added to the personality cult that made his Pictorial Guides to the Fells international best sellers.

30 years ago Gardeners Question Time presenter Eric Robson made five series with Wainwright for the BBC.

They remained friends until Wainwright's death in 1991.

Before Wainwright, people stood in the valley bottom and said we can't get up there; we can't do it.

Then they'd see his way of dissecting mountains, for Eric he's every bit as clever as the man who invented the London Underground.

He took a mountain, he filleted it, turned it into a two-dimensional image and made it more understandable.

Despite recent TV series following his walks, Robson believes Wainwright is misunderstood by the majority of his readers.

It's time to re-evaluate Wainwright's character and legacy - to give him credit for championing radical ideas of environmental protection, and sustainability, decades before they became the fashionable buzz words.

Eric has an extensive personal collection of archive material of Wainwright in conversation which reveals an unfamiliar side to this complex character

Producer: Barney Rowntree

A Somethin Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Eric Robson re-evaluates the often misunderstood fell walker Alfred Wainwright.

The Many Lives Of Roald Dahl * *2009052320090525

Sophie Dahl looks at the life, writing and passions of her grandfather, the children's author Roald Dahl.

By turns acerbic, funny, inventive and clever, what made him the writer he became? Sophie guides us through Dahl's Norwegian background but very British education, his early life in Washington and Hollywood and marriage to film star Patricia Neal.

Then the personal tragedies and life at home in Buckinghamshire, looking after his children and writing the stories which would make him one of the most famous authors of the 20th century.

We hear about the many lives of Roald Dahl through the voices of himself, his family and those who knew him throughout his 74 years.

Sophie Dahl looks at the life of her grandfather, the children's author Roald Dahl

The Mary Whitehouse Effect2010060520100607

Joan Bakewell - who herself frequently crossed swords with Mary Whitehouse - reflects on the impact of the woman who challenged the 'tide of permissiveness and filth' she saw as sweeping the nation.

In the 60s, under Director General Hugh Carlton Green, the BBC broadcast gritty plays featuring abortion and sex before marriage, satire that mocked politics and religion, and swearing and sexual freedom in comedy series such as Till Death Us Do Part.

Mary Whitehouse launched her Clean Up TV campaign and then the National Viewers and Listeners Association as a reaction to what she saw as a liberal and morally corrupting view of the world entering our homes through TV and radio.

In the 70s Mrs Whitehouse took her campaign beyond broadcasting, and launched a private prosecution against the editor of Gay News for publishing a sexual poem about Jesus.

She invoked the old blasphemy law and won her case, but for many this was a step too far.

Joan explores how Mrs Whitehouse was both archaic and misguided in her battles, but also how she was a strong woman - forward thinking in using the law as she did - and how her battle against sexual exploitation and pornography chimed with the feminist cause.

Joan considers whether the Mary Whitehouse effect lives on in today's compliance and politically correct culture and whether she had any real impact on society, or whether hers was a voice of a bygone age fighting against inevitable change.

The programme features, among others, Warren Mitchell, Peter Tatchell, Mary Kenny and Geoffrey Robertson QC.

Producer: Jo Wheeler

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Joan Bakewell examines the influence of Mary Whitehouse

The Meaning Of Life According To A J Ayer20150411

What was an English philosopher doing at a New York party, saving the young model Naomi Campbell from a rather pushy boxing heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson? The philosopher was Alfred Jules Ayer, who was just as at home mixing with the glitterati as he was with Oxford dons. On the one hand he was an academic, on the other a celebrity and bon viveur.

So what does this logician have to say about the meaning of life?

In 1988, a year before his death, he gave a lecture at the Conway Hall in which he set out his notion of existence. By this time, 'Freddie' Ayer was one of the UK's most prominent public intellectuals, with regular television and radio appearances, discussing the moral issues of the day.

Ayer's former student at Oxford, philosopher AC Grayling, remembers the tutor that became his friend. He explores the man of contradictions - the atheist who almost recanted after a near-death incident; the deep thinker with a weakness for mistresses and Tottenham Hotspur. What was his contribution to philosophy? How did it inform the way he lived his life? What, if anything, can we learn from Freddie's view on the big question?

Producer: Dom Byrne

A Blakeway production for BBC Radio 4.

The Mersey Militants20141108

Liverpool journalist Liam Fogarty tells the story of how the Militant Tendency dominated his city's politics in the 1980s. Liam asks how a small group of extreme leftists were able to lead Liverpool City Council into a high-profile confrontation with the government of Mrs. Thatcher. He speaks to former Militant leaders Derek Hatton and Tony Mulhearn and to former Westminster politicians who were drawn into the conflict, including Neil Kinnock and Michael Heseltine. And he explores the legacy today of one of the most dramatic eras in British politics, both for the country and for Liverpool.

Producer: Helen Grady.

The My Lai Tapes20091212

Robert Hodierne reveals the truth about the infamous My Lai massacre of 16 March 1968, based on the transcript of a Pentagon enquiry conducted by Lt General William Peers.

The findings of the investigation were so uncomfortable for the US Military that they were suppressed.

Some 400 hours of tape show that US soldiers raped and murdered hundreds of civilians in not just one but three villages in an orgy of killing that proved to be a turning point in the Vietnam War.

Robert Hodierne reveals the truth about the infamous My Lai massacre of 16 March 1968.

The New York '77 Blackout20100102

An exploration of the blackout on 13 July 1977 that plunged a sweltering and near-bankrupt New York City into chaos as the lights went out at 9.27pm. Music stations switched to rolling news and the sound of store alarms was the prelude to a night of fear and unprecedented lawlessness.

A Brook Lapping production for BBC Radio 4.

An exploration of the blackout on 13 July 1977 that plunged a sweltering and near-bankrupt New York City into chaos as the lights went out at 9.27pm.

Music stations switched to rolling news and the sound of store alarms was the prelude to a night of fear and unprecedented lawlessness.

An exploration of the blackout on 13 July 1977 that plunged New York City into chaos.

The Night Of The Long Knives2012070720160227 (BBC7)
20160228 (BBC7)

Peter Oborne revisits British history's most dramatic cabinet reshuffle in 1962.

Fifty years ago, Harold Macmillan instigated a purge that shocked British politics to its core. It was the most dramatic government reshuffle in modern history. In one evening he sacked seven members of his Cabinet including his Chancellor of the Exchequer, Selwyn Lloyd. It was meant to be a show of strength but to everyone else, it was a catastrophic admission of weakness signalling the beginning of the end of his premiership and Tory party leadership.

In the late 50s, Macmillan had earned the nickname Supermac for rescuing the country from the wake of Suez and ushering in a period of unrivalled affluence. But Local Elections had gone badly and the by-elections worse. The government's tight economic policies, thanks to Chancellor Selwyn Lloyd, were unpopular with the voters. Selwyn Lloyd's attempts to keep both inflation and wages under control had led to public sector wages being frozen. Nurses and teacher were getting poorer while the rich were getting richer. The public was furious, and Macmillan was feeling the pressure. The Cabinet was fractious and there were complaints of a lack of leadership. He had to make an example of his Chancellor. The Night of the Long Knives had begun.

In modern politics these events have become shorthand for a botched reshuffle. The scale of the event has never been repeated since, but the tension between a PM and the Chancellor remains.

Through a combination of archive material and original interviews with historians and eyewitnesses such as Jonathan Aitken who, as private secretary to Selwyn Lloyd, captured the drama of that night in his hitherto unknown diary.

Producer: Kati Whitaker

A Juniper production for BBC Radio 4.

The Oldest Music Hall2011100120111003 (R4)
20131225 (R4)

"A palace of entertainment" - so Paul Merton, Presenter, describes the Leeds City Varieties music hall.

He delves into the BBC archives to examine the life and death of Britain's music hall tradition in a funny and affectionate look at the City Varieties - once one of the most famous theatres in the world - as a result of 30 years transmission of The Good Old Days TV show.

With fresh interviews with former Good Old Days stars Ken Dodd, Barry Cryer and Roy Hudd, plus original archive clips of music hall stars and Good Old Days celebrities - this Archive on 4 documentary examines how the City Varieties mirrored the rise and fall of variety - and with a new multi million pound facelift - discovers whether such Yorkshire optimism in the future of this particular variety theatre is well founded.

Paul Merton is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide to the subject - not only has he performed at the theatre - he also is a fan of variety and its more rumbustious, red blooded predecessor, music hall. He discovers how the City Varieties launched the careers of international stars such as Frankie Vaughan and Ken Dodd - and also what made the iconic "Good Old Days" a staple of BBC tv schedules for three decades. He hears showbiz anecdotes, scandals and finds out just why twenty first century theatre-goers are enjoying a new appetite for variety as a result of the current TV talent shows.

"A palace of entertainment" - so Paul Merton, Presenter, describes the Leeds City Varieties music hall.

Paul Merton is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide to the subject - not only has he performed at the theatre - he also is a fan of variety and its more rumbustious, red blooded predecessor, music hall.

He discovers how the City Varieties launched the careers of international stars such as Frankie Vaughan and Ken Dodd - and also what made the iconic "Good Old Days" a staple of BBC tv schedules for three decades.

He hears showbiz anecdotes, scandals and finds out just why twenty first century theatre-goers are enjoying a new appetite for variety as a result of the current TV talent shows.

Paul Merton delves into the story of the Leeds City Varieties music hall.

The Paperback Poets20120721

Paul Farley joins other poets to remember and celebrate the Penguin Modern Poets series which started life fifty years ago. The slim volumes - selections from three contemporary poets in each - were familiar on many bookshelves from the 1960s on. They were famously useful as badges of hipsterdom; many a girl or boy was wooed thanks to a paperback leaning from the pocket of a corduroy jacket or produced from the woolly lining of an Afghan coat. But also many a poet was introduced to the reading public in a cheap and accessible format that previously hadn't existed. And in The Mersey Sound - Penguin Modern Poets Number 10, featuring Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten - the most successful book of poetry ever published in Britain was born.

Joining Paul to remember the impact of being included in the series or of reading it are poets Andrew Motion, Jo Shapcott, Michael Longley, Roger McGough, Robin Robertson, and Simon Armitage. Each poet reads a poem of their own and one of their favourites from the series. Tony Lacey editorial director at Penguin remembers joining the firm and trying to revive the series a second time around. And Paul also visits the Penguin Archive at Bristol University Library where he is able to secure a copy of the CV Roger McGough typed out when asked to promote The Mersey Sound and which details his favourite colour - orange - and his favourite food - chicken curry. Would he say the same today?

Producer: Tim Dee

The Parting Glass: The Story Of Irish Migration2011100820111010

Ireland's long and tragic history of emigration is examined in Archive on Four, presented by acclaimed Dublin journalist Fintan O'Toole.

For 200 years, Ireland's hardest and greatest export was its people: Poverty, unemployment and famine forced generation after generation to go abroad in search of new opportunities and better lives.

In the mid-1990s Ireland transformed itself into the 'Celtic Tiger' economy and the country believed it had consigned mass migration to the history books.

But the collapse of the Irish banking system and the appalling level of debt foisted onto this small country has brought migration back into Irish life, with an estimated 1,000 people leaving every week.

Using BBC archive and material from other sources, Irish Times columnist Fintan O'Toole examines the legacy of Irish migration, from Queenie Mulvey, who left her rural Irish family for Leeds in 1949 with a shilling in her pocket, to John F Kennedy, whose great grandfather escaped the potato famine in Wexford for Boston.

He explores its affect on the Irish at home and the way that long journey, stretching back centuries, has helped build the rest of the planet, from Boston to Birmingham and onto Adelaide.

Irishmen abroad helped shape Australia's national character; gave America some of its finest presidents and played a key role in rebuilding Britain after the Nazi bombs of the Second World War.

Fintan looks at the root causes of the decades of migration and asks why does it keep returning for Ireland's new generations?

Produced by Martin McNamara

A Loftus Audio Production for BBC Radio 4.

The long, tragic legacy of Irish migration is examined by acclaimed writer Fintan O'Toole.

The Petticoat Vote20150228

Jo Fidgen explores how the women's vote has changed British politics and society.

In the 1929 general election, women voted on the same terms as men for the first time. It was dubbed the Flapper Vote and had an instant effect on how politicians went about their business. With women now the majority of the electorate, there was talk of "petticoat government" and dire predictions that politics would be reduced to a narrow preoccupation with the cost of living.

It soon became clear that women do vote differently from men. For decades, they swung the country Right. Without them, there would have been no Conservative governments between 1945 and 1979. But that all began to change, and it was women who thrust Tony Blair to power.

Jo Fidgen delves into the archives in search of the female voter and the ways politicians have sought to win her over. She digs up rare archive from the 1929 campaign trail, overhears a conversation between a young Margaret Thatcher and a prospective voter, and eavesdrops on a discussion between Tony Benn and his father about how female voters had changed the job of constituency MPs, and curtailed their drunken behaviour.

Neil Kinnock reflects on his struggle to get the Labour party to change its attitude to women. There's a personal take from Emma Nicholson on the soul-searching in the Conservative party as it started to lose the housewives' vote.

Many things have been said about female voters - including that they have made politics petty and personality-driven. Academics and pollsters consider the evidence, and bring us up-to-date with women's voting preferences.

Producers: Jo Fidgen and Kate Taylor

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

The Power Of Political Forgetting20150905

When a major crisis from the past slips from public memory, does this open up possibilities for current politicians? David Aaronovitch finds out, drawing on archive recordings, a panel of historians and political experts and an audience.

How does public memory shape political policy? Margaret Thatcher was the first post-war Prime Minister who did not spend the Second World War in either Parliament or the Armed Forces, and she was the first with no memory of the General Strike. She did not share Heath, Wilson and Callaghan's terror of mass unemployment, and she had no experience of cross-class male bonding in uniform. And by 1979, when she arrived in Downing Street, many people who remembered the Depression had died, while many more far too young to remember it became voters. So did this liberate her to pursue ideas for which her predecessors had little appetite?

And 70 years after the celebrations for VE Day and VJ Day, how has our collective attitude towards the war changed, as the generation who fought and survived gradually disappears? And does this have political implications now?

To consider the power of political forgetting, David Aaronovitch is joined by historian Juliet Gardiner, whose books include The Thirties: An Intimate History, Andy Beckett, author of When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies, and columnist Daniel Finkelstein. David also draws on the views and memories of an audience drawn from different generations, with ages ranging from 20 to 80 and beyond.

Producer Phil Tinline.

The Red Bits Are British2011101520111017
20151205 (BBC7)
20151206 (BBC7)

David Cannadine explores the teaching of history in English schools over the past century.

Over the past two years, historian Sir David Cannadine has led a ground-breaking research project at the Institute of Historical Research on the teaching of history in English state secondary schools during the past century.

Here, he draws on the oral histories that he has gathered - recollections by former pupils, teachers and policy-makers - to show that, for as long as history has been taught, the questions of what history should be taught, how history should be taught, how much history should be taught, and to whom it should be taught, have caused fierce debate.

These oral histories - which will be housed at the British Library from 2012 - form a varied, complex, and often surprising archive of how the teaching of history in English state schools has evolved. David Cannadine also brings us gems from the rich archive of schools history radio and TV programmes. Together, these recordings both flesh out vividly what we already know, either from our own experience or from that of our parents, grandparents or indeed children and grandchildren, and crucially, they explode some of the myths and preconceptions about school history in the past.

With appearances too from some of our favourite fictional history teachers - from Muriel Spark's Miss Brodie to Alan Bennett's Mr Irwin (The History Boys).

Producer: Hannah Rosenfelder

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

These oral histories - which will be housed at the British Library from 2012 - form a varied, complex, and often surprising archive of how the teaching of history in English state schools has evolved.

David Cannadine also brings us gems from the rich archive of schools history radio and TV programmes.

Together, these recordings both flesh out vividly what we already know, either from our own experience or from that of our parents, grandparents or indeed children and grandchildren, and crucially, they explode some of the myths and preconceptions about school history in the past.

The Referendum Question2011040220110404

In the run up to the forthcoming alternative vote referendum on 5 May 2011, Shaun Ley explores the history of referendums at various levels in the UK and thus the British public's relationship with direct democracy.

Clement Attlee famously derided referendums as 'just not British'.

Many in the UK are instinctively resistant to the notion, preferring the supremacy of Parliament.

But in recent years there have been more and more referendums from issues ranging from establishing the Scottish Parliament, to whether or not there should be a congestion charge in Manchester.

Supporters of this form of direct democracy say it encourages participation and puts power in the hands of the voter.

But critics argue that the politicians hold all the cards, and that referendums are often used to get the government off a political hook, particularly when their party is divided.

While the AV referendum is only the second UK wide referendum - the first being the 1975 referendum on staying in the Common Market - there have been numerous other referendums of smaller kinds over the years.

Some have engendered passion, others indifference, and one even a boycott.

There have been unusual cross party alliances, and calculated distancing by those on the same side.

Campaigners have organised eye catching stunts and wheeled out their best celebrity supporters.

Sometimes, despite the music and razzmatazz, the voters have failed to engage.

And sometimes voters have given the politicians a bloody nose and stopped a policy in its tracks.

Politicians, including Neil Kinnock, Shirley Williams and Teddy Taylor, tell us how referendum campaigns have given them some of their best and worst moments in politics.

With archive and interviews, anecdotes and analysis, this programme examines the UK's referendums including:

- referendums in Wales on Sunday pub opening which were held from the 1960s to the 1990s

- the 1973 Northern Ireland "border poll" which asked if people wanted to remain part of the UK.

The referendum was boycotted by nationalists, and 99% of those who took part voted yes!

- the 1979 Scottish and Welsh devolution votes, when voters failed to give enough support for the devolution proposals put forward by James Callaghan's troubled government, leading to the downfall of the government.

- the very different referendum campaigns in 1997 on Scottish and Welsh devolution, which lead to the setting up of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh assembly.

- the 1998 referendum on the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland;

- the 2004 referendum on the regional government in the north east, where the No vote ended John Prescott's dream of regional government;

- numerous local referendums, in London and elsewhere, on the introduction of Mayors

- the March 2011 referendum in Wales on extending the assembly's powers;

And of course there is discussion of that all important question - "referendums" or "referenda"?

Sean Street on how our sound archive is being saved and opened up by the British Library.

The Rise And Fall Of Robert Maxwell20111105

As a companion piece to his archive hour on Rupert Murdoch, Steve Hewlett presents this programme on Murdoch's late archrival: Robert Maxwell.

Unlike Murdoch's, Maxwell's life is a classic 'rags-to-riches' story.

However, Maxwell's character appears less like that of a happily-ever-after Cinderella tale and more like that of Genghis Khan, born in poverty to become an infamous, charismatic head of a vast empire only to die in uncertain circumstances.

Steve speaks to former Union leader Brenda Dean, Roy Greenslade who edited the Daily Mirror, Maxwell's former 'chief of staff' Peter Jay, Maxwell's 'other woman' Wendy Leigh, the Mirror's former political editor Alastair Campbell and Pandora Maxwell, who married into the family and intimately witnessed Robert's relationship with his son Kevin.

Robert Maxwell was born Jan Ludvik Hoch in Czechoslovakia to a poor Orthodox Jewish family, claiming that he didn't own a pair of shoes until the age of seven and only received three years of education.

He somehow fled from the Carpathian Mountains to Britain at the age of seventeen while the rest of his remaining family were killed in Auschwitz.

Maxwell changed his name and entered the British Army, rising to the ranks of a decorated captain.

With Maxwell Communications Corporation, he sat atop a vast trans-continental publishing empire.

That is, until his body was found in the Mediterranean Sea.

Producer: Colin McNulty

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4.

20 years after the death of Robert Maxwell, Steve Hewlett assesses his life.

The Selling Of Sinatra20151219

Jazz singer Kurt Elling provides a unique take on Frank Sinatra, playing with the glitz and glamour, and discovering the dark undertones to a crooner's life that we thought we knew. In a centenary celebration, he analyses just how much image-making and effort went into turning Francis Albert Sinatra into plain old "Frank."

Sinatra had many incarnations in a sixty-year career. He was born to a working-class Italian immigrant family in New Jersey. His father was a lightweight boxer, bar owner and firefighter. His mother Natalina was active in Democratic politics and ran an illegal abortion clinic. Frank dropped out of high school and began singing at his dad's bar, eventually gaining the attention of bandleader Tommy Dorsey.

With Tommy's help, Sinatra's popularity grew in the 40s, but he didn't serve in the Second World War due to a perforated eardrum and he attracted some bitterness as magazine photographs displayed him surrounded by beautiful women and making plenty of cash in New York.

A decline in popularity and damage to his vocal chords led to the "wilderness years", suicide attempts and deep depression.

With the boost of an Oscar win in 1953, Frank successfully remade himself on an industrial scale with Las Vegas tours, Hollywood movies, platinum records, retirements, comebacks and high society connections that included the Oval Office.

Contributors include Robert Wagner, John Lahr and Paul Anka.

Producer: Colin McNulty

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

The Siege Of Dien Bien Phu20140426

After the humiliations of WW2 France was insistent on reasserting itself as a world power. In their Vietnamese colony the nationalists led by Ho Chi Minh were just as determined to gain independence. The showdown to a seven-year guerrilla war came in 1954 at the battle of Dien Bien Phu. Survivors, politicians and historians explain how the horrors of a 56-day siege ended with the French garrison being virtually wiped out. In Paris desperate politicians even considered using American atomic weapons to try to save Dien Bien Phu.

Julian Jackson, Professor of Modern French History at Queen Mary, London, recounts how French soldiers lost an empire in the mountains of Vietnam and how 60 years later the defeat still resonates in contemporary France. For the other European powers it marked the beginning of the end for their colonies in Africa and the Far East. Dien Bien Phu was the first time native forces had defeated a modern well-equipped army. The lessons were not lost on rebels from Kenya to Malaya.

It also had profound implications for the onset of the Cold War. In Washington the battle led to President Eisenhower's first articulation of the domino theory about the possible expansion of communism. For Moscow and Beijing, Dien Bien Phu represented a great leap forward. For the USA the political vacuum left by the French abandonment of Indochina was to lead to their own 10-year war in Vietnam.

Produced by Keith Wheatley

A Terrier Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

The Smart Dumb Blonde20120728

US journalist Maureen Dowd argues that Marilyn Monroe was more smart than dumb.

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Maureen Dowd argues that the so-called 'dumb blonde' of 1950s Hollywood was in fact smarter than she seemed. Marilyn Monroe and her ilk aspired to be brilliant in conversation as well as on camera; they wanted to pose with books as well as blonde hair; they understood the value of their sexual currency and they had enough sense to take advantage of their assets.

In this programme, Maureen Dowd brings together some of her most eminent friends and colleagues (amongst them, Harvey Weinstein and Mike Nichols) to travel back to a time when glamour and brains were not mutually exclusive. With the help of archive, film and music and some brilliant personal anecdotes, they'll debate why the figureheads of the 50s believed in education as a mark of status and success.

Jump forward to today and American popular culture and politics has lost the drive which Marilyn's era possessed. Maureen Dowd argues that aspirations and originality are no longer valued; instead we live in a cookie-cutter world of reality tv, banal cinema and inane politicians. And, despite the seeming triumph of feminism, some of the world's most powerful and desirable women - from Sarah Palin to Kim Kardashian - are leading this trend. In the words of John Hamm, 'stupidity is certainly celebrated'.

Producer: Isabel Sutton

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

The Sound Of America: The Story Of Npr20070908 (BBC7)
20150912 (BBC7)
20150913 (BBC7)

Commentator and satirist Joe Queenan takes a look at the past 35 years of American history

Commentator and satirist Joe Queenan takes a look at the past 35 years of American history through the news reports and documentaries produced by National Public Radio.

Clips from the archive span 9/11, life as a minister, small town life, the death of a child, the Watergate scandal, working in New York, the seltzer delivery man, OJ Simpson, the Iraq War, a tribute to Mary Tyler Moore, struggling with obesity and many more.

The Sound Of Sport2011043020110502

When we think of the sound of sport on TV or radio, it's generall