Natalie Haynes Stands Up For The Classics

Episodes

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01Petronius20140324

A fresh look at the ancient world.

Natalie Haynes, critic, writer and reformed stand-up comedian, brings the ancient world entertainingly up to date. In each of the four programmes she profiles a figure from ancient Greece or Rome and creates a stand-up routine around them. She then goes in search of the links which make the ancient world still very relevant in the 21st century.

Episode 1: The worst dinner party in history. Natalie investigates the work of the writer Petronius, creator of the infamous Satyricon, later made into a film by Fellini. It's all about excess; as a vegetarian, Natalie's particularly revolted by the way in which the Romans insisted on making edible food look disgusting. With satirical cartoonist Martin Rowson, Fellini fan Richard Dyer and historian Victoria Rimell.

02Sophocles20140331

A fresh look at the ancient world.

Natalie Haynes, critic, writer and reformed stand-up comedian, brings the ancient world entertainingly up to date. In each of the four programmes she profiles a figure from ancient Greece or Rome and creates a stand-up routine around them. She then goes in search of the links which make the ancient world still very relevant in the 21st century.

Episode 2: Sophocles invents modern drama with Oedipus the King. Spoiler alert! - it doesn't end well. This episode includes handy hints on how to get in the mood for a classical tragedy (bring a bottle.) With Professor Edith Hall, poet and playwright Frank McGuinness and TV critic Andrew Collins.

Producer Christine Hall.

03Virgil20140407

A fresh look at the ancient world.

Natalie Haynes, critic, writer and reformed stand-up comedian, brings the ancient world entertainingly up to date. In each of the four programmes she profiles a figure from ancient Greece or Rome and creates a stand-up routine around them. She then goes in search of the links which make the ancient world still very relevant in the 21st century.

Episode 3: Virgil. Natalie Haynes considers the work of the Roman poet Virgil, ranging from his hints on bee-keeping to his great work The Aeneid. Dido is the classic wronged woman and the Aeneid contains the best ding-dong between a man and a woman in all Latin literature, culminating in Dido's memorable promise "If you go I'm going to kill myself and then I will pursue you from beyond death with black fires!" Natalie is joined by Pamela Helen Stephen who has sung Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, bee-keeper Gordon Cutting and Dr Llewelyn Morgan to talk about the greatest poet in the Roman world.

Producer: Christine Hall.

04 LASTAspasia20140414

A fresh look at the ancient world.

Natalie Haynes, critic, writer and reformed stand-up comedian, brings the ancient world entertainingly up to date. In each of the four programmes she profiles a figure from ancient Greece or Rome and creates a stand-up routine around them. She then goes in search of the links which make the ancient world still very relevant in the 21st century.

Episode 4 : Aspasia. Women in ancient Greece were supposedly not seen, not heard and not talked about. Meet the woman who broke all the rules - all the more remarkably for the fact that she was the partner of one of the most powerful men in Greece at the time, Pericles. Natalie explores how writers and comedians used Aspasia's reputation as a way of attacking the statesman - a practice which hasn't changed much over 2,500 years. With classicist Sarah B. Pomeroy, Dr Ian Jenkins of the British Museum and Cate Haste, co-author with Cherie Booth of a book on the lot of the statesman's spouse.

Producer: Christine Hall.

0201Aristophanes20160411

Join Natalie Haynes and guests for half an hour of comedy and the Classics from the BBC Radio Theatre in London.

Natalie is a reformed comedian who is a little bit obsessive about Ancient Greece and Rome.

Tonight she stands up in the name of Greek playwright and inventor of 'old comedy', Aristophanes. Expect a chorus of frogs, rather too much information about padded costumes, and a sex strike. Oh, and a lot of gossip from two and half thousand years ago.

With special guests Rosie Wyles, Edith Hall and Fiona Laird.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

0201Aristophanes20160411

0202Ovid20160418

Join Natalie Haynes and guests for half an hour of comedy and the Classics from the BBC Radio Theatre in London.

Natalie is a reformed comedian who is a little bit obsessive about Ancient Greece and Rome.

Tonight she stands up in the name of Roman poet, Ovid. Expect frottage at the races, Greek myths from a female perspective, and enough inspiration for painters, writers and sculptures to last a couple of millennia.

With special guests Llewelyn Morgan and Michael Squire.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

0202Ovid20160418

0203Plato20160425

Join Natalie Haynes and guests for half an hour of comedy and the Classics from the BBC Radio Theatre in London.

Natalie is a reformed comedian who is a little bit obsessive about Ancient Greece and Rome.

Today she stands up in the name of one of the world's greatest thinkers, Plato, with the help of psychotherapist Philippa Perry and classicist Professor Edith Hall.

Plato wasn't perfect, even though he talks about perfection all the time. Turns out he was on the chunky side and had bad eyesight. On the other hand, he was very good at wrestling.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

0203Plato20160425

0204Agrippina20160502

Join Natalie Haynes and guests for half an hour of comedy and the Classics from the BBC Radio Theatre in London.

Natalie is a reformed comedian who is a little bit obsessive about Ancient Greece and Rome.

Today she stands up in the name of one of the most powerful women of Ancient Rome and Caligula's big sister, Agrippina the Younger.

Julia Agrippina was pretty well-connected all round given that her granddad was the Emperor Augustus, her husband (also her uncle: don't ask) was Emperor Claudius and her son was Emperor Nero.

And she was no slouch. Turns out it was her handiness with the purse strings that kept the Empire going. Also, who else has survived an assassination attempt by a specially built collapsible boat?

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.