New Histories Of The North East

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Episodes

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01Old Religion, New Ideas20101108

The first of a series of Essays that offer five new perspectives on the history of North East England - all recorded in front of an audience at BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking festival 2010.

Writer Sara Maitland, author of The Book of Silence, devotes much of her life to solitude and prayer.

She looks back at the history of religious life in the North East.

Unlike Southern England, the region was Christianised from the Celtic tradition of Iona, not continental Europe.

This heritage has deeply informed both the landscape and the history of the area - from Lindisfarne to the Prince Bishops.

Sara Maitland asks: are there lessons we can take from that life to help us to navigate the modern world?

Producer: Allegra McIlroy.

Writer Sara Maitland explores the history of religious life in the North East.

02Earl Grey And The Promise Of Reform20101109

Five Essays with new perspectives on the history of the North East.

Writer and sociologist Tom Shakespeare looks back at Charles Grey and the Great Reform Act of 1832.

Grey was a leading figure in the North East and today his monument stands high above the centre of Newcastle.

He became Whig Prime Minister in November 1830, got rid of the rotten boroughs, and took a major step towards modern parliamentary democracy.

Following the recent expenses scandal, and with electoral reform on the coalition's agenda, Tom Shakespeare uses this historical comparison to ask: When does one of the oldest parliamentary systems in the world feel ready to reform itself?

Recorded in front of an audience at the Sage Gateshead as part of BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking festival of ideas 2010.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Tom Shakespeare discusses Charles Grey and the Great Reform Act of 1832.

03Hadrian's Wall - Across The Divide20101110

The latest edition of five essays with new perspectives on the history of the North East

How has Hadrian's Wall affected the long-term relationship between Scotland and England? Poet Bill Herbert was born in Dundee and is now Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

As devolution continues to shift the relationship between the two countries, he explores how the most important Roman site in Britain is a constant reminder of the division between the north of England and the 'wild lands' beyond.

Recorded in front of an audience at the Sage Gateshead, as part of BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking festival of ideas 2010.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Bill Herbert on how Hadrian's Wall affected the relationship between Scotland and England.

04Inheritance Tracks20101111

Five essays with new perspectives on the history of the North East.

TV writer Michael Chaplin, creator of Monarch of the Glen and Grafters, was born in a County Durham house backed onto a railway line that served as his playground, dumping ground and soundtrack.

Michael looks back at the glorious part that trains have played in the life of the North East - from George and Robert Stephenson and the great railway engineers to the present day.

And he asks: could greater understanding of the lyricism and character of railways allow us to better use this amazing invention today?

Recorded in front of an audience at the Sage Gateshead, as part of BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking festival of ideas 2010.

Producer: Dymphna Flynn.

Michael Chaplin on the glorious part that trains have played in the life of the North.

05 LASTA Landscape For Everyman20101112

The last in a series of five essays with new perspectives on the history of North East England.

Before the industrial revolution, artists such as Walter Scott and JMW Turner came to the North East and found its landscape fulfilled their vision of natural beauty as a unifying force for 'Everyman'.

200 years later, much of the heavy industry has returned to grass.

Writer Rebecca Jenkins, resident of Teesdale, argues that it's time for the North East to reclaim the glory of its rural culture and extinguish the whippets and flat caps clichés that never fully represented the region.

Recorded in front of an audience at the Sage Gateshead, as part of BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking festival of ideas 2010.

Rebecca Jenkins on the need for the North East to reclaim the glory of its rural culture.