Letter From

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20090411

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20090418

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20090425

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20090516

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20090523

In his letter this week, Clive James says democracy is the best hope for achieving justice for women as he celebrates the election of four women to the parliament in Kuwait and criticises western feminists for being slow to support women suffering under tyrannical regimes.

Clive James on why democracy is the best hope for achieving justice for women.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20090530

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20090613

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20090627

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20090718

One of the most extraordinary structures in the natural world is made by a bird.

It's a Bower - a type of arena in which the male Bower Bird displays himself to attract a female.

Sir David Attenborough recalls his visit to New Guinea and Australia to film the most immodest of all Bowers, that made by the Vogelkoptf Bower Bird.

In a wigwam construction of twigs and orchid stems, based around a central maypole, this remarkable bird decorates the ends of the uprights with single pieces of caterpillar dung, and adorns a manicured lawn with colourful objects he thinks will be attractive to the female.

But why go to this length to attract a female? All is revealed….

Sir David Attenborough recalls filming the ostentatious Vogelkoptf Bower Bird.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20090725

How would you feel if you were approached on a remote tropical island by a reptile ten feet long, with shiny grey scales and a long, yellow forked tongue whipping in and out of its mouth? Run?!

Luckily for us, David Attenborough stood his ground and became one of the first people to film and document the life of the Komodo Dragon.

These giant lizards live on the relatively small island of Komodo in Indonesia and Sir David recounts his utter amazement encountering such a formidable creature.

If solving the riddle of what they eat on the island wasn't intriguing enough, Sir David also recounts the revelation when he discovered that females don't really need males, because they can produce off-spring by cloning themselves.

David Attenborough on discovering the Komodo Dragon.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

2009080120090802

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20090815

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20090822

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20090905

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20091003

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20091017

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20091024

Clive James reflects on the importance of scepticism in every walk of life, and he criticises extreme reactions to those who are sceptical about man-made global warming.

Clive James reflects on the importance of scepticism in every walk of life.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20091121

Clive James reflects on the revelation of the identity of Belle De Jour, the author of The Diary of a London Call Girl.

Clive James on the revelation of the true identity of blogging call Girl Belle De Jour.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20091128

Clive James says that the spirit in which the game is played determines whether he likes or loathes the sport.

Clive James on how his enjoyment of sport depends upon the spirit in which it is played.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20091205

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20091212

Clive James reflects on the need for a fair hearing for all voices, including the sceptical ones, on the subject of global warming.

Clive James reflects on the need to hear all voices on the global warming debate.

20091219

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20091226

Clive James reflects on the human condition, and stresses that, as each generation gives way to the next, the need for the spread of liberal democracy to enable true human progress only increases.

Clive James reflects on the human condition and the need for liberal democracy.

20100102

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100109

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100116

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100123

In her letter this week, Lisa Jardine reflects on the importance of science education for national prosperity and she looks back at a failed attempt in the late nineteenth century to make British culture more pro science.

A look at the importance of science education for national prosperity.

20100130

In her letter this week, Lisa Jardine reflects on the contrasting reputation of American presidents when in office and judged by posterity.

The contrasting reputation of American presidents when in office and judged by posterity.

20100206

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100213

A look at the power of music and the importance of providing musical education for all.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100220

Lisa Jardine reflects on the art and dangers of writing secret missives - from love letters and confidential documents to illicit text messages.

The dangers of writing secret missives - from love letters to illicit text messages.

20100227

Lisa Jardine reflects on the importance for history of the recording of personal memories.

20100306

In Letter From this week, Simon Schama presents the first of a series of personal reflections.

Simon Schama presents the first of a series of personal reflections.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100313

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100320

Simon Schama looks forward to spring with personal reflections on the changing seasons and he commends Geoffrey Chaucer's upbeat opinion of April compared with T.S.

Eliot's more pessimistic view.

Simon Schama looks forward to spring with personal reflections on the changing seasons.

20100327

Simon Schama reflects on the politics surrounding President Obama's healthcare reforms, which he sees as a turning point of historic proportions.

Simon Schama reflects on the politics surrounding President Obama's healthcare reforms.

20100411

Simon Schama celebrates the history and culture of New Zealand.

Simon Schama celebrates the history and culture of New Zealand and regrets any renewed talk of joining up with Australia.

He understands the appeal of the Australian lifestyle driven by a strong economy, but believes the distinctive and inclusive character of New Zealand society should be cherished and preserved.

20100418

In his letter this week, Simon Schama reflects on food and eating habits in America.

In his letter this week, Simon Schama reflects on food and eating habits in America and welcomes the growing popularity of ethnic dishes and local farm produce.

20100425

Simon Schama looks at the drama of national elections in Britain since the 1830s.

Simon Schama looks at the drama of national elections in Britain, and the momentous events of the 1830s, when civil unrest might have led to revolution but was deflected by parliamentray reform.

20100502

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100509

Simon Schama reflects on the power and symbolism of the oak tree in British history.

Following the general election in the United Kingdom, Simon Schama reflects on the role played by the oak tree in British history.

20100516

Simon Schama reflects on the political dramas following the general election in Britain.

Simon Schama reflects on the political dramas following the general election in Britain and favourably compares the British system with a swift handover of power and the more cumbersome American one.

20100523

A look at the forgotten history of Britain's long tradition of coalition government.

Historian David Cannadine recalls Britain's long tradition of coalition government, reflecting that the new politics of the Conservative-Liberal alliance is not as unprecedented as some may think.

20100530

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100606

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100613

David Cannadine reflects on the distinctive style of American graduation ceremonies.

David Cannadine reflects on the distinctive style of American graduation ceremonies and the life-long sense of identity they forge between graduates and their fellow alumni.

20100620

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100627

David Cannadine reflects on the teaching of history in schools.

David Cannadine reflects on the teaching of history in schools and the moves at home and abroad to reform the curriculum and to re-write the textbooks.

20100704

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100711

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100718

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100725

How is the 'end of empire' celebrated?

In the 50th anniversary year of independence for Somalia, David Cannadine looks back at the ceremonies which marked the end of Britain's empire and sees the midnight lowering and raising of flags and the accompanying celebrations as often merely masking deep rooted tensions and resentments.

20100801

The changing styles of architecture and the boldest and best in every age.

Lisa Jardine reflects on the changing styles of architecture and commends the boldest and best in every age.

20100808

Mark Tully examines India's plans to combat malnutrition.

In Letter From Delhi this month, veteran India analyst Mark Tully explores the problems the country’s government will face in implementing a new scheme to combat malnutrition.

20100815

The history of fireworks and especially the role they have played in France.

Lisa Jardine reflects on the history of fireworks and especially the role they have played in France.

20100822

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100829

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100905

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100912

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20100919

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20101003

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20101010

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20101017

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20101024

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20101031

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20101107

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20101114

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20101121

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20101128

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20101205

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20101212

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20101219

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20101225

Joan Bakewell reflects on the ageing process and the efforts by scientists to reverse it.

She weighs up the pros and cons of adding many more years to the human span.

20110109

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20110116

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20110123

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20110130

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20110206

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20110306

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20110313

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20110320

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

02/01/201020100103

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

03/10/200920091004

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

04/07/200920090705

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

05/09/200920090906

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

05/12/200920091206

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

06/02/201020100207

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

06/03/201020100307

Simon Schama presents the first of a series of personal reflections.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

06/06/200920090607

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

07/11/200920091108

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

09/01/201020100110

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

09/05/200920090510

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

10/10/200920091011

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

11/04/200920090412

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

11/07/200920090712

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

12/09/200920090913

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

12/12/200920091213

Clive James reflects on the need to hear all voices on the global warming debate.

13/02/201020100214

A look at the power of music and the importance of providing musical education for all.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

13/03/201020100314

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

13/06/200920090614

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

14/11/200920091115

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

15/08/200920090816

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

16/01/201020100117

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

16/05/200920090517

Clive James, he reflects on the furore over British MPs' expenses.

In this week's Letter From Clive James, he reflects on the furore over British MPs' expenses and celebrates the fact that Britain is a country where corruption is not the norm.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

17/10/200920091018

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

18/04/200920090419

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

18/07/200920090719

Sir David Attenborough recalls filming the ostentatious Vogelkoptf Bower Bird.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

19/09/200920090920

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

19/12/200920091220

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

20/02/201020100221

The dangers of writing secret missives - from love letters to illicit text messages.

20/03/201020100321

Simon Schama looks forward to spring with personal reflections on the changing seasons.

20/06/200920090621

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

21/11/200920091122

Clive James on the revelation of the true identity of blogging call Girl Belle De Jour.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

22/08/200920090823

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

23/01/201020100124

A look at the importance of science education for national prosperity.

23/05/200920090524

Clive James on why democracy is the best hope for achieving justice for women.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

24/10/200920091025

Clive James reflects on the importance of scepticism in every walk of life.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

25/07/200920090726

David Attenborough on discovering the Komodo Dragon.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

25/12/2010
25/12/2010
25/12/2010
25/12/2010
25/12/201020101226

Joan Bakewell reflects on the ageing process and the efforts by scientists to reverse it

26/12/200920091227

Clive James reflects on the human condition and the need for liberal democracy.

27/02/201020100228

Lisa Jardine reflects on the importance for history of the recording of personal memories.

27/03/201020100328

Simon Schama reflects on the politics surrounding President Obama's healthcare reforms.

27/06/200920090628

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

28/11/200920091129

Clive James on how his enjoyment of sport depends upon the spirit in which it is played.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

30/01/201020100131

The contrasting reputation of American presidents when in office and judged by posterity.

30/05/200920090531

This week, A Letter from Delhi.

Mark Tully takes stock of the new political landscape.

In the previous one, broadcast earlier this month, the former BBC Correspondent Mark Tully was preoccupied with the month-long general election which was going on in India.

The signals were proving difficult to read: what sort of a government would that vast population return to power? Was the electorate in the mood for change? Well, now the results are in, there's an opportunity for Mark to take stock of the country's new political landscape, to see who's in and who's out, and to check whether his predictions proved accurate.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

31/10/200920091101

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

Cakes And Coupons20100926

Lisa Jardine reveals her inner conflict between two passions inherited from her mother

Lisa Jardine reveals her inner conflict between two passions inherited from her mother, who recently passed away.

On the one hand is a carefulness about money which leads Lisa to a perpetual search for a bargain.

On the other is a wild extravagance in baking, creating rich, multi-layered cakes, stacked high with lashings of butter icing.

Producer: Adele Armstrong.

Clive James20090509

In his letter this week, Clive James wonders what it says about the British attitude to poetry that we have the institution of the Poet Laureate.

Clive James wonders about British attitudes to the poetry establishment.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

Clive James20090510

wonders about British attitudes to the poetry establishment.

Clive James - 12/11/200920091114

Battle of Britain commander Sir Keith Park is honoured with a temporary statue in London's Trafalgar Square alongside other military greats.

Battle of Britain commander Sir Keith Park is honoured with a public monument.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

Clive James - 12/11/200920091115

Battle of Britain commander Sir Keith Park is honoured with a public monument.

Clive James - 31/10/200920091031

In his letter this week, Clive James reflects on the postal workers' current dispute and gives his personal view of the history of modern labour relations.

Clive James reflects on the postal workers' current dispute.

Clive James - 31/10/200920091101

Clive James reflects on the postal workers' current dispute.

David Attenborough20090606

Sir David Attenborough answers the question “what he would like to be if he returned as an animal?” His answer is as surprising as his chosen animal is unusual, and he tells a story of this most peculiar creature and his encounter with it in the forests of South America.

Sir David Attenborough explains what he would like to be if he returned as an animal.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

David Attenborough20090607

Sir David Attenborough explains what he would like to be if he returned as an animal.

David Attenborough - 04/07/200920090704

For decades now many of us have enjoyed seeing David Attenborough in exotic locations around the world bringing his encounters and understanding of the living world to our homes.

One of Sir David's enduring fascinations remains what is and who laid the world's largest egg.

In this week's Letter from David Attenborough he continues his personal account of some of his great experiences and revelations around the world – And this week he presents, in his own words, “Giant Birds”.

The scene is set in Madagascar where, in a break between filming, Sir David starts piecing together large fragments of an egg with sticky tape to discover it is clearly “the size of a rugby ball”.

Whether this is the largest egg in the world and when and which creature laid it is all revealed in David Attenborough's letter here on World Service.

Sir David talks about his experience with a giant egg and the investigation that followed.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

David Attenborough - 04/07/200920090705

Sir David talks about his experience with a giant egg and the investigation that followed.

David Attenborough - 08/08/20092009080820090809

This is the story of Archaeopteryx, the missing link between reptiles and birds and the fossil that provided evidence for Darwin's theory of evolution.

Sir David Attenborough recalls the discovery of a feather, which, like any other we're familiar with, has a central shaft and interlocking branches to trap air.

It was found in Germany, dated to a time in earth's history when birds had not evolved.

Sir David Attenborough looks at the missing link between reptiles and birds.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

David Attenborough - 08/08/200920090809

Sir David Attenborough looks at the missing link between reptiles and birds.

David Attenborough - 10/10/200920091010

Sir David is charmed by the thought that an Aboriginal man can often identify a relative just by footprints left in the Australian desert.

Interpreting tracks of living animals is an ability many aboriginal tribes across the world possess great skills in, such skills often lacking in Western cultures.

He recounts how while following tracks in the Amazonian rainforest he became hopelessly lost and had the ignominy of needing help.

Following tracks made by long dead animals is an entirely different skill but recent fossil remains are now increasing our understanding of our ancestors who lived 3.6 million years ago.

Did they indeed stand fully erect as we do today?

Well, as evidence unearthed in Tanzania in the late 1970's suggests they were not as dissimilar to us as we thought.

Sir David recounts how while in the Amazonian rainforest he found himself in need of help.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

David Attenborough - 10/10/200920091011

Sir David recounts how while in the Amazonian rainforest he found himself in need of help.

David Attenborough - 10/10/200920091011

Sir David recounts how while in the Amazonian rainforest he found himself in need of help.

David Attenborough - 10/10/200920091011

Sir David recounts how while in the Amazonian rainforest he found himself in need of help.

David Attenborough - 10/10/200920091011

Sir David recounts how while in the Amazonian rainforest he found himself in need of help.

David Attenborough - 11/07/200920090711

Why do animals sing? Not calling, screeching, roaring, piping but putting harmonious sequences of calls together to make melodies and repeated phrases.

This is the sound of the wild which is a joy to listen to.

And why indeed do people sing and enjoy others singing? Sir David Attenborough offers his personal insight into why some animals sing, and draws on experiences from the UK, Africa and Asia.

Sir David comes to the conclusion that the reason some animals sing is not very different to the reasons we sing.

Sir David looks at why animals sing and draws on experiences from the UK, Africa and Asia.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

David Attenborough - 11/07/200920090712

Sir David looks at why animals sing and draws on experiences from the UK, Africa and Asia.

David Attenborough - 20/06/200920090620

One of the strangest creatures alive today lives in the wooded valleys of south eastern Australia.

It has webbed feet, a beak and lays an egg.

None of those characteristics are particularly surprising for a bird or reptile, but it most certainly is for a mammal, which is what this is.

Sir David Attenborough continues his series of letters with the Platypus.

Sir David recalls the two occasions, twenty years apart, where he tried to film the Platypus in the wild.

And as will be revealed, there are aspects of the Platypus's life history that remain as enigmatic today as then.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

David Attenborough - 20/06/200920090621

Sir David Attenborough continues his series of letters with the Platypus.

David Attenborough - 29/08/200920090829

Fear of spiders, rats and other creatures are common phobias.

And yet surprisingly, they all have to be learnt.

But some argue a wariness of snakes does not - instead, they say it is built into us all.

Sir David Attenborough takes issue with snakes, and takes us into the alien world of the underground.

There, animals have evolved very differently; subterranean creatures have a different shape, different senses and are even different to the touch.

Sir David argues that the ancestor of snakes was an underground reptile and, as a result of its more recent evolution to live above ground, has given the species one very eerie characteristic that un-nerves him enormously.

Tune in to find out what that is.

Sir David Attenborough takes us into the alien world of the underground.

David Attenborough - 29/08/200920090830

Sir David Attenborough takes us into the alien world of the underground.

Dear Diary

Dear Diary

Dear Diary

Dear Diary

Dear Diary20110102

Joan Bakewell celebrates the art of diary writing

Joan Bakewell celebrates the art of diary writing by public figures and private individuals whose accounts of everyday life help shape our view of the past.

Delhi - 07/11/200920091107

The Indian government has announced it will launch a new campaign to combat Maoist rebels who control a vast mineral-rich area of central India.

The Maoists have retaliated with a series of attacks on the police.

They say they're fighting on behalf of India's 'tribals' – people who have stuck to their traditional way of life in the jungle.

Now the tribes are caught in the middle of the fighting.

Mark Tully warns that the government's campaign could be long and brutal.

Mark Tully on why the Indian government is taking on Maoist rebels.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

Delhi - 07/11/200920091108

Mark Tully on why the Indian government is taking on Maoist rebels.

India20100404

How the president of the Congress party pushed through a controversial act.

Last month Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Congress party, pushed a controversial act through the Upper House of Parliament.

It reserves a certain number of constituencies for women in the next general election.

Mark Tully examines the thinking behind the legislation, the perils Sonia Gandhi faces before it is passed in the Lower House, and the impact it will have on women throughout India.

Letter From Nature: Canopy

Letter From Nature: Canopy

Letter From Nature: Canopy

Letter From Nature: Canopy20110220

David Attenborough recalls his first ascent into the treetops of the jungle

David Attenborough relives the moment when he was first encouraged to ascend into the treetops of the jungle.

The jungle canopy is one of the most inaccessible places to reach in the entire natural world.

David was one of the first to film high in the treetops.

If you walk into a rainforest you are immediately met by quite literally a forest of trees.

And all the tree trunks look like cathedral pillars, smooth and wet from the rain.

Not a single branch emerges from the trunk for tens of metres - and when they do, you see a breath-taking interlocking jungle of branches and leaves, ferns and flowers and all number of creatures great and small.

The canopy is a bonanza of tropical forest life, in the bright light and gentle breeze - a far cry from the dark and humid underworld of the forest floor.

Not surprising then that David Attenborough knew this would be a perfect place to film wildlife.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

Letter From Nature: Kiwi

Letter From Nature: Kiwi

Letter From Nature: Kiwi

Letter From Nature: Kiwi20110227

David Attenborough muses over the peculiar Kiwi, a bird more mammal-like in its habits

The Kiwi is the last-remaining flightless bird still in existence in New Zealand.

It’s a most peculiar bird, Attenborough tells us, but why?

David Attenborough tells us New Zealand had several species of flightless bird living across the islands, all of which are now extinct, bar one.

The Kiwi has become one of those species iconic of the country, like the Koala to Australia, the Giraffe to Africa and the Alpaca to South America.

Historically, New Zealand didn’t have ground predators such as wild cats and stoats – and allowed birds to exploit living on the ground.

Being flightless in New Zealand was a good way to be a bird.

David Attenborough has filmed Kiwis, and in this programme he muses on the niche the Kiwi occupies on the ground.

He argues the Kiwi behaves more like a mammal than a bird, but what mammal do you think, in Attenborough’s view, the Kiwi most resembles?

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

Letter From... Delhi20090503

Mark Tully looks at the forces at play during the current election process in India.

Letter From: Faking Fossils20090912

One of Sir David Attenborough's enduring passions is to collect fossils.

Fossils are time capsules of the Earth's natural history and the process of fossilisation sometimes preserves the creature or plant in such detail that profound insight can be gained from studying them.

But, apart from their scientific value, Sir David recalls the sheer joy of discovering a fossil.

He takes us back to his childhood in Leicestershire in the UK – exploring a disused limestone quarry near his home and the utter exhilaration of cracking open a stone and discovering an Ammonite.

After decades of exploring every corner of the earth, Sir David's passion for fossils has never diminished.

He reflects on one memorable trip to the Atlas mountains of Morocco where a local seller of fossils gave him a unique trilobite which was somehow fossilised whilst in the middle of extraordinary behaviour.

Sir David still has this fossil in his collection today and it's there for a very good reason.

All of which will be revealed.

Finding fossils in Leicestershire and Morocco's Atlas mountains

Letter From: Faking Fossils20090913

Finding fossils in Leicestershire and Morocco's Atlas mountains

On Marriage

On Marriage

On Marriage

On Marriage20110213

Alain de Botton muses on why a bookish life is a poor preparation for marriage

Alain de Botton muses on why a bookish life is a poor preparation for marriage! He says Western literature's obsession with unrequited love means the average love story is of help only to the lovelorn.

And he argues that the blandness of the word marriage hides a "welter of intensity and depth that put to shame the most passionate works of literature".

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

The Coelacanth20090919

Veteran British broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough takes us back to 1952 when, as a TV producer, he was dispatched to report on a fish that was causing a diplomatic incident.

The fish was the Coelacanth – a supposedly extinct animal that was thought to be the fish ancestor of all creatures with backbones that, later in evolution, were to emerge and walk on land.

Sir David describes the attempts to film this ancient creature in the ocean for his BBC series, Life on Earth.

On that particular occasion he failed, but a future mission was more successful.

He reveals how his programme became the first on television to film the Coelacanth alive.

How a fish caused an international incident.

A topical audio essay by a leading commentator from around the world

The Coelacanth20090920

How a fish caused an international incident.