In Praise Of The Midlands

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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01DH Lawrence and the Men of the Midlands20140421

01Dh Lawrence And The Men Of The Midlands20140421

We tend to think of England in terms of the binary opposition between the rebel North and establishment South, with the result that we often forget about the bit of the country sandwiched in between - the Midlands. This week five Essayists shed light on the distinctive history and culture of England's squeezed middle, casting the spotlight on distinctive figures from Shakespeare to Erasmus Darwin

In the first programme, novelist and journalist Geoff Dyer looks at 'D.H. Lawrence and the Men of the Midlands'. Casting an eye over his own formative experiences and impressions - of literature, television, and local accents and footballing affiliations - Dyer tries to work out what is the true home of the Midlander. Is there one? and if so can it be easily defined?

01DH Lawrence and the Men of the Midlands20140421

We tend to think of England in terms of the binary opposition between the rebel North and establishment South, with the result that we often forget about the bit of the country sandwiched in between - the Midlands. This week five Essayists shed light on the distinctive history and culture of England's squeezed middle, casting the spotlight on distinctive figures from Shakespeare to Erasmus Darwin

In the first programme, novelist and journalist Geoff Dyer looks at 'D.H. Lawrence and the Men of the Midlands'. Casting an eye over his own formative experiences and impressions - of literature, television, and local accents and footballing affiliations - Dyer tries to work out what is the true home of the Midlander. Is there one? and if so can it be easily defined?

02Erasmus Darwin - 'the Leonardo Da Vinci Of The Midlands'20140422

We tend to think of England in terms of the binary opposition between the rebel North and establishment South, with the result that we often forget about the bit of the country sandwiched in between - the Midlands. This week five Essayists shed light on the distinctive history and culture of England's squeezed middle.

In this second programme, writer and critic Henry Hitchings turns the spotlight on 'Dr Darwin, the Lunartick Doctor of Lichfield', one of the leaders of the Midland Enlightenment. In the late 18th century, a group of Midlands-based entrepreneurs and innovators helped to recast the world. They included Josiah Wedgwood, James Watt and Matthew Boulton, but none was more remarkable than Erasmus Darwin, the 'Leonardo da Vinci of the Midlands'.

03Shakespeare The Midlander20140423

We tend to think of England in terms of the binary opposition between the rebel North and establishment South, with the result that we often forget about the bit of the country sandwiched in between - the Midlands. This week five Essayists shed light on the distinctive history and culture of England's squeezed middle.

In this third programme, broadcast to mark the 450th anniversary of the Bard's birth, Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of The Globe, offers praise to 'William Shakespeare the Midlander', and argues that the vision of world literature's most celebrated son was shaped as much by his provincial Stratford upbringing as by his later time in London, and that the distinctive 'mellow shapes of the Midlands' form the backdrop to the universal themes of his writing.

04In Praise Of Alan Sillitoe, 'bard Of Nottingham'20140424

We tend to think of England in terms of the binary opposition between the rebel North and establishment South, with the result that we often forget about the bit of the country sandwiched in between - the Midlands. This week five Essayists shed light on the distinctive history and culture of England's squeezed middle.

In this fourth programme, James Walker, Chair of the Nottingham Writers' Studio, offers a eulogy to the Bard of Nottingham, Alan Sillitoe, and his great fictional creation, Arthur Seaton, who famously declared 'Whatever you say I am, that's what I'm not'. The highly quotable hedonistic anti-hero of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning is part of a long tradition of Nottinghamshire rebels and tough individualists, running from Robin Hood to the strike-defying Notts miners of the 1980s.

05 LASTLearning To Be A Midlander20140425

We tend to think of England in terms of the binary opposition between the rebel North and establishment South, with the result that we often forget about the bit of the country sandwiched in between - the Midlands. This week five Essayists shed light on the distinctive history and culture of England's squeezed middle.

In this fifth and final programme in the series, writer and performer Katherine Jakeways reflects on her anonymous Northamptonshire upbringing, her love of that other great (and self-styled) 'Poet of the Midlands' - not Shakespeare but Adrian Mole - and explains how, with the discovery of Richard III's bones under a car park in Leicester and the Staffordshire Hoard in Hammerwich, she finally found a sense of regional belonging and learned to be a proud Midlander.

We tend to think of England in terms of the binary opposition between the rebel North and establishment South, with the result that we often forget about the bit of the country sandwiched in between - the Midlands. This week five Essayists shed light on the distinctive history and culture of England's squeezed middle.

In this fifth and final programme in the series, writer and performer Katherine Jakeways reflects on her anonymous Northamptonshire upbringing, her love of that other great (and self-styled) 'Poet of the Midlands' - not Shakespeare but Adrian Mole - and explains how, with the discovery of Richard III's bones under a car park in Leicester and the Staffordshire Hoard in Hammerwich, she finally found a sense of regional belonging and learned to be a proud Midlander.