Foreign Bodies - A History Of Modern Europe Through Literary Detectives

Crime fiction reflects society's tensions. Helped by famous literary detectives including Maigret, Montalbano, Dalgliesh and Wallander, Mark Lawson shows how crimes reflect Europe's times from the world wars of the 20th century to the Eurozone crisis and nationalist tensions of the 21st.

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Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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0101Hercule Poirot And Jules Maigret2012102220121022 (BBC7)
20130715 (BBC7)

In programme one, Mark Lawson looks at the template set by a Belgian created by an Englishwoman and a French cop created by a Belgian: Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot and Georges Simenon's Jules Maigret hearing from Val McDermid, Lord Grey Gowrie, Andrea Camilleri and David Suchet.

In crime fiction, everyday details become crucial clues: the way people dress and speak, the cars they drive, the jobs they have, the meals they eat. And the motivations of the criminals often turn on guilty secrets: how wealth was created, who slept with whom, what somebody did in the war. For these reasons, detective novels often tell the story of a place and a time much better than more literary novels and newspapers which can take a lot of contemporary information for granted.

Mark Lawson's series focuses on some of the celebrated investigators of European fiction and their creators: from popular modern protagonists - including Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander, Jo Nesbø's Harry Hole and Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano - through Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus and Lynda La Plante's DCI Jane Tennison back to Friedrich Dürrenmatt's Inspector Barlach and Josef Skvorecký's Lieutenant Boruvka.

The series accompanies BBC Radio 4 dramatisations of the Martin Beck novels written by Swedish husband and wife Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö.

Producer: Robyn Read.

: A History Of Modern Europe Through Literary Detectives

In programme one, Mark Lawson looks at the template set by a Belgian created by an Englishwoman and a French cop created by a Belgian: Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot and Georges Simenon's Jules Maigret hearing from Val McDermid, Lord Grey Gowrie, Andrea Camilleri and David Suchet.

0102Germany - Inspector Barlach2012102320121023 (BBC7)
20130717 (BBC7)

Mark Lawson's history of Europe seen through the pages of crime fiction looks at the ideas of guilt, responsibility and justice in the writing of Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921-1990).

His Inspector Barlach books were published in Switzerland in 1950 and 1951 and he used elements of the crime genre in plays including The Pledge and The Visit.

Theatre directors Josie Rourke and Simon McBurney, Hollywood scriptwriters Jerzy Kromolowski and Mary Olson-Kromolowski; Professor and crime blogger Katharina Hall and German lawyer turned best selling author Ferdinand von Schirach share their passion for Dürrenmatt's clear eyed depictions of the impact of German and Swiss actions in World War II.

Producer: Robyn Read.

0103Czechoslovakia - Lieutenant Boruvka2012102420121024 (BBC7)
20130719 (BBC7)

When Josef Skvorecký published the Mournful Demeanour of Lieutenant Boruvka in 1966 he had to refer obliquely to the Czech political situation but following the Prague spring he emigrated to Canada and his writing became more explicit.

Mark Lawson discusses his writing with translator and former member of the Plastic People of the Universe, Paul Wilson, who argues that the country was a crimescape and that Skvorecký's interest in the crime genre went beyond his Boruvka series.

Producer: Robyn Read.

When Josef Skvorecky published the Mournful Demeanour of Lieutenant Boruvka in 1966 he had to refer obliquely to the Czech political situation but following the Prague spring he emigrated to Canada and his writing became more explicit.

0104Commissaris Van Der Valk2012102520121025 (BBC7)
20130722 (BBC7)

The Van Der Valk novels written by Nicholas Freeling became a popular Thames TV series starring Barry Foster in 1970s. A British chef who lived first in Holland and then France, Freeling's books depict both post war Europe and the development of closer European ties in the European Union.

Mark Lawson's series exploring European history through crime fiction continues with a trip to Amsterdam in search of Van Der Valk. Lord Grey Gowrie remembers interviewing Nicholas Freeling before his death in 2003, and Dutch author Saskia Noort describes her books about crimes involving women which draw on trends in Dutch society now.

Producer: Robyn Read.

0105Sweden - Inspector Martin Beck2012102620121026 (BBC7)
20130724 (BBC7)

The ten Martin Beck crime novels written by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo deliberately traced changes in Swedish society between 1965 and 1975. Mark Lawson discusses their influence.

In 1965 husband and wife Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö published the first of their series of 10 police procedurals featuring Inspector Martin Beck and his team. Written during a time when Stockholm saw demonstrations against the Vietnam War, the arming and re-organisation of the police force and stresses on the welfare state, the Beck novels deliberately used the crime genre to depict changes in Swedish society.

Current crime best sellers Jo Nesbø, Henning Mankell, Åsa Larsson, Camilla Lackberg, Jens Lapidus, Val McDermid and Gunnar Staalesen are amongst those discussing the influence of the Martin Beck series with Mark Lawson as part of his series looking at European history through crime fiction.

Producer: Robyn Read.

0106United Kingdom - Commander Dalgliesh And Chief Inspector Wexford2012102920121029 (BBC7)
20130726 (BBC7)

PD James' Adam Dalgliesh and Ruth Rendell's Reginald Wexford first appeared in novels written in 1962 and 1964.

Mark Lawson continues his series about the way crime fiction has depicted modern European history by looking at the shifts in UK society they have encountered from rural racism and road rage to fears about changes in the Church of England and the rise of an environmental movement.

You can hear an extended interview with PD James on the Front Row Crime Writers' Archive.

Producer: Robyn Read.

0107Sicily - Inspector Rogas2012103020121030 (BBC7)
20130729 (BBC7)

Leonard Sciascia used crime stories to highlight Mafia crimes. The Sicilian was the author of novels including The Day of the Owl, A Simple Story and Equal Danger - which features Inspector Rogas. Paul Bailey, Gianrico Carofiglio, Andrea Camilleri and Petra Reski discuss with Mark Lawson the influence of Leonardo Sciascia and the continuing prescence of the Mafia in Italian life.

Producer: Robyn Read.

0108Spain - P I Pepe Carvalho2012103120121031 (BBC7)
20130731 (BBC7)

In his Pepe Carvalho novels, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán created a Barcelona based Private Eye with a gastronomic passion, whose investigations are set against political developments in post Franco Spanish society.

Mark Lawson continues his series looking at European history through crime fiction - discussing the books of Montalbán with Antonio Hill and Jason Webster - whose own crime novels depict contemporary Spain.

Producer: Robyn Read.

0109Britain - D C I Jane Tennison2012110120121101 (BBC7)
20130802 (BBC7)

Helen Mirren's portrayal of DCI Jane Tennison created a new image of women police officers in Britain. Lynda La Plante describes the creation of her character and what serving officers taught her about the macho culture of British policing before the millennium.

The Granada TV series which first aired in 1991 was sold around the world. Dutch best seller Saskia Noort and Scottish authors Ian Rankin and Val McDermid discuss its impact with Mark Lawson.

Producer: Robyn Read.

0110Italy - Inspector Montalbano2012110220121102 (BBC7)
20130805 (BBC7)

Andrea Camilleri discusses the influence of both the Spanish writer Montalbán and Belgian author Georges Simenon on the creation of his Sicilian detective Inspector Montalbano. In a conversation recorded at his home in Rome with Mark Lawson, he describes the way he uses his crime stories to comment upon the effects of both the Mafia and Berlusconi's leadership on Italian society today.

Producer: Robyn Read.

0111Germany - P I Kemal Kayankaya2012110520121105 (BBC7)
20130807 (BBC7)

German author Jakob Arjouni returns periodically to write fiction featuring his Turkish PI Kemal Kayankaya. Mark Lawson visits him in Berlin to discuss the way his crime novels have reflected upon events including re-unification and the war in Yugoslavia, and drawn on more recent debates about what view of Islam it's appropriate to show in cartoons and films.

Producer: Robyn Read.

0112Scotland - D I John Rebus2012110620121106 (BBC7)
20130809 (BBC7)

Mark Lawson visits Edinburgh to meet Ian Rankin and discuss the way his novels featuring DI John Rebus reflect the building of the Scottish parliament, the G8 summit and debates over Scottish independence.

Producer: Robyn Read.

0113Sweden - Kurt Wallander And Lisbeth Salander2012110720121107 (BBC7)
20130812 (BBC7)

If the Martin Beck novels of Sjöwall and Wahlöö set the template for the social commentary found in Scandinavian crime fiction - Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander novels and Steig Larsson's Millennium Trilogy have both used the form to focus on racist attitudes in modern Sweden.

Henning Mankell, Kenneth Branagh, Liza Marklund, Camilla Läckberg and Eva Gabrielsson - Stieg Larsson's partner, share their views about whether the Swedish state can still be held up as an ideal as Mark Lawson continues his series about the way modern European history is reflected through the pages of crime fiction.

Producer Robyn Read.

0114Norway - Harry Hole2012110820121108 (BBC7)
20130814 (BBC7)

Jo Nesbø's novels, featuring detective Harry Hole top best seller lists across the world - the latest example of the boom in Scandinavian crime fiction.

Mark Lawson talks to Nesbø, Liza Marklund and Gunnar Staalesen about the impact of Norwegian oil on the economy, the divisions caused by the Second World War and the effect of random acts of violence in Sweden and Norway with the assassination of politicians and the killing spree on Utøya island.

Producer Robyn Read.

How does Jo Nesbo's Norwegian detective reflect changes in Scandinavian society?

0115 LASTRussia And Ukraine - Erast Fandorin2012110920121109 (BBC7)
20130816 (BBC7)

Boris Akunin sets his Erast Fandorin novels in nineteenth century Russia whilst Andrey Kurkov describes twenty first century Ukraine.

Mark Lawson looks at the influence of Bulgakov and Dostoevsky on Russian crime fiction and compares the inside view with those created by outsiders including Martin Cruz Smith and Tom Rob Smith.

Producer Robyn Read.

Russian and Ukrainian crime writers Akunin and Kurkov. Is Dostoevsky still an influence?

0201Greece - Inspector Costas Haritos20130708

To accompany BBC Radio 4's dramatisations of the Martin Beck novels, which established crime fiction as a form for exploring social change, Mark Lawson presents five more 'Foreign Bodies' focusing on Greece, Argentina, Northern Ireland, South Africa and fictional TV crime-scenes including Broadchurch.

Examining subjects including the way in which crime novels have portrayed transitional societies in South Africa and Northern Ireland and explored the legacy of military rule in Argentina, in this first programme Lawson, in Athens, talks to writers including Petros Markaris, whose detective series featuring Inspector Costas Haritos has both predicted and depicted the Greek financial crisis.

0202Argentina - Superintendent Perro Lascano20130709

Mark Lawson explores how Argentinian crime writers have dramatised the country's transition from dictatorship to democracy. He talks to Ernesto Mallo - whose cop, Lascano, works during the years of the military junta - and Claudia Pineiro, who argues that no Argentinian police officer can be a hero.

0203Ireland - Inspector Benedict Devlin20130710

In the "borderlands" between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, Mark Lawson meets novelist Brian McGilloway, whose books explore the long shadows of the Troubles, and talks to him and other authors from Belfast about the wave of crime-writing that the peace process has provoked.

0204South Africa - Detective Captain Bennie Griessel20130711

Translated from Afrikaans, the detective novels of Deon Meyer have become international best-sellers. Mark Lawson talks to Meyer about the fact and fiction of criminality in post-apartheid South Africa and meets Sifiso Mzobe, whose award-winning debut book features a young criminal in a Durban township.

0205 LASTScreenland - Ds Ellie Miller, Di Sarah Lund, Captain Laure Berthaud20130712

Crime dramas, home-made and imported, have become TV's most powerful genre. Mark Lawson talks to creative talent from the ITV hit Broadchurch, the Danish show The Killing and the French success Spiral about the medium's suitability as a crime-scene and the rise of female investigators.

OMNI01Poirot, Maigret, Martin Beck, Van Der Valk, Boruvka And Barlach20121026

Mark Lawson uses crime fiction to trace modern Czech, German, Swedish and Dutch history.

: A History Of Modern Europe Through Literary Detectives

Crime fiction reflects society's tensions. Helped by famous literary detectives including Maigret, Montalbano, Dalgliesh and Wallander, Mark Lawson shows how crimes reflect Europe's times from the world wars of the 20th century to the Eurozone crisis and nationalist tensions of the 21st.

Beginning with the template set by Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot and Georges Simenon's Jules Maigret. Mark Lawson hears from Val McDermid, Lord Grey Gowrie, Andrea Camilleri, PD James and David Suchet.

We move to a Swiss view of Germany in the novels of Friedrich Dürrenmatt which explore guilt, responsibility and justice after World War II. Contributions come from Ferdinand von Schirach, Simon McBurney, Josie Rourke, Hollywood scriptwriters Jerzy Kromolowski and Mary Olson-Kromolowski; and Professor Katharina Hall (aka Mrs Peabody Investigates)

Josef Skvorecký's depiction of Czech history is discussed by translator (and former member of the Plastic People of the Universe) Paul Wilson. After his novel The Cowards was banned by the Communist authorities, Skvorecký began the Lieutenant Boruvka series.

Inspector Van Der Valk brought an image of Holland to '70s viewers of the TV dramatisations starring Barry Foster. Mark Lawson finds out the Dutch view of Nicholas Freeling's cop from best seller Saskia Voort

The Martin Beck crime novels written by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö deliberately traced changes in Swedish society between 1965 and 1975. Their influence is discussed by Jo Nesbø, Henning Mankell, Åsa Larsson, Camilla Lackberg, Jens Lapidus and Gunnar Staalesen.

BBC Radio 4 is dramatising all 10 Martin Beck novels starring Steven Mackintosh as Beck and Neil Pearson as Kollberg.

OMNI02Wexford, Dalgliesh, Montalbano, Carvalho, Rogas And Dci Jane Tennison20121102

PD James' Adam Dalgliesh and Ruth Rendell's Reginald Wexford first appeared in novels written in 1962 and 1964.

Mark Lawson continues his series about the way crime fiction has depicted modern European history by looking at the shifts in UK society they have encountered from rural racism and road rage to fears about changes in the Church of England and the rise of an environmental movement.

You can hear an extended interview with PD James on the Front Row Crime Writers' Archive.

Producer: Robyn Read.

OMNI03Wallander, Hole, Rebus, Fandorin And Kayankaya20121109

Mark Lawson continues his series looking at the way shifts in modern European society have been depicted in crime fiction.

In Germany, Mark Lawson meets Jakob Arjouni to discuss his Turkish PI Kemal Kayankaya and the way events including the war in Yugoslavia and re-unification have fed into his writing. Outside the Scottish parliament building, Ian Rankin describes the changes in Scottish politics which his Rebus stories have charted and the links he sees with Scandinavia - where authors including Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson and Liza Marklund have tackled racism and the increasing gap between rich and poor in their novels. In Russia, the tradition of crime writing is less developed and Boris Akunin and Andrey Kurkov reflect on their different approaches.

Producer: Robyn Read.

OMNI04Series 2 Omnibus20130712

To accompany BBC Radio 4's dramatisations of the Martin Beck novels, which established crime fiction as a form for exploring social change, Mark Lawson presents five more 'Foreign Bodies' focusing on Greece, Argentina, Northern Ireland, South Africa and fictional TV crime-scenes including Broadchurch.

Examining subjects including the way in which crime novels have portrayed transitional societies in South Africa and Northern Ireland and explored the legacy of military rule in Argentina, in the first programme Lawson, in Athens, talks to writers including Petros Markaris, whose detective series featuring Inspector Costas Haritos has both predicted and depicted the Greek financial crisis.

Programme 2: Argentina - Superintendent Perro Lascano

Mark Lawson explores how Argentinian crime writers have dramatised the country's transition from dictatorship to democracy. He talks to Ernesto Mallo - whose cop, Lascano, works during the years of the military junta - and Claudia Pineiro, who argues that no Argentinian police officer can be a hero.

Programme 3: Ireland - Inspector Benedict Devlin

In the "borderlands" between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, Mark Lawson meets novelist Brian McGilloway, whose books explore the long shadows of the Troubles, and talks to him and authors from Belfast about the wave of crime-writing that the peace process has provoked.

Programme 4: South Africa - Detective Inspector Bennie Griessel

Translated from Afrikaans, the detective novels of Deon Meyer have become international best-sellers. Mark Lawson talks to Meyer about the fact and fiction of criminality in post-apartheid South Africa and meets Sifiso Mzobe, whose award-winning debut book features a young criminal in a Durban township.

Programme 5: Screenland - DS Ellie Miller, DI Sarah Lund, Captain Laure Berthaud

Crime dramas, home-made and imported, have become TV's most powerful genre. Mark Lawson talks to creative talent from the ITV hit Broadchurch, the Danish show The Killing and the French success Spiral about the medium's suitability as a crime-scene and the rise of female investigators.