Episodes

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100 Acre Wood2018101920190911 (R3)

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough braves the fearsome heffalumps as she steps into the world of AA Milne.

There's no secret about the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh. Thousands of people flock to the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex every year to track down Christopher Robin's tree and play Pooh Sticks. In his autobiography, Christopher Robin Milne wrote of a brief but blissful childhood spent amongst the trees with his battered teddy bear. Pooh's forest and the Ashdown Forest are, he wrote, identical.

The writer, Brian Sibley, joins Eleanor for a walk through the forest and an appreciation of one of the saddest endings in literature. Christopher knows he has to leave his friends and return to school. That's enough to drive many adult readers to tears but Brian believes there will always be a boy and his bear sharing adventures in the 100 Acre Wood.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Brian Sibley guides Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough around the home of Winnie the Pooh.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

Brothers Grimm2018101620190905 (R3)

Walk through a dark forest and you can't escape the brooding presence of the Brothers Grimm. Unwilling to stray from the path? A glimmer of sharp, white teeth behind that tree? It’s the Brothers Grimm to blame.

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is joined by the writer and illustrator Chris Riddell for a walk through the deep, dark Germanic forest of the Grimms' imagination. The company may be agreeable and the conversation fascinating but be sure to leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Dare to enter the dark Germanic forest of the Brothers Grimm.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

Mirkwood2018101720190909 (R3)

There’s a shadow creeping across the forest in the works of JRR Tolkien. Nature may be incorruptible but the creatures of the forest cannot withstand the relentless march of evil. Slowly but surely the songbirds are replaced by giant spiders, black squirrels and rampaging goblins. Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is joined by Mark Atherton from Oxford University for a walk through Tolkien’s forest, uncovering the influence of Anglo-Saxon legends and Middle English poems in the creation of Middle Earth.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

The forests of Middle Earth explored by Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

The Wood Beyond the World2018101520190826 (R3)

Lose yourself in a forest of fair maidens and knights with suspiciously shiny armour. This is a forest where the romantic couplings may be fantastical but the backdrop is meticulously drawn. Each leaf, each clump of moss is taken directly from nature. This is the mediaeval forest as reimagined by late Victorian aesthetes aghast at the grit and grime of industrialisation.

Eleanor Rosamund Baraclough is joined by Ingrid Hanson from Manchester University for a walk through this Pre-Raphaelite forest. Their spirit guide is William Morris, the writer and designer who helped create the forest in his works of fantasy fiction such as The Wood Beyond the World, beating a path to be followed by Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Enjoy the lush, romantic delights of the Pre-Raphaelite forest.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

The Wood Beyond the World2018101520190826 (R3)

Lose yourself in a forest of fair maidens and knights with suspiciously shiny armour. This is a forest where the romantic couplings may be fantastical but the backdrop is meticulously drawn. Each leaf, each clump of moss is taken directly from nature. This is the mediaeval forest as reimagined by late Victorian aesthetes aghast at the grit and grime of industrialisation.

Eleanor Rosamund Baraclough is joined by Ingrid Hanson from Manchester University for a walk through this Pre-Raphaelite forest. Their spirit guide is William Morris, the writer and designer who helped create the forest in his works of fantasy fiction such as The Wood Beyond the World, beating a path to be followed by Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Enjoy the lush, romantic delights of the Pre-Raphaelite forest.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

02Forest Folk2018061920190819 (R3)

The folk singer, Nancy Kerr joins Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough for a walk in the woods. Forests play a vital role in folk music, as a refuge for romantic outlaws, as a metaphor for freedom and as a space for sexual couplings, usually with the traditionally tragic ending.

Nancy explains how the early folk song collectors such as Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams found a vibrant folk vocabulary bristling with bushes and briars, stout oaks and wily willows. She understands just how powerfully symbolic trees and forests can be, composing her own songs of the woods and interpreting classic tales of sylvan sensuality.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Singer Nancy Kerr explains why forests provide such perfect metaphors in folk music.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

02Forest Folk2018061920190819 (R3)

The folk singer, Nancy Kerr joins Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough for a walk in the woods. Forests play a vital role in folk music, as a refuge for romantic outlaws, as a metaphor for freedom and as a space for sexual couplings, usually with the traditionally tragic ending.

Nancy explains how the early folk song collectors such as Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams found a vibrant folk vocabulary bristling with bushes and briars, stout oaks and wily willows. She understands just how powerfully symbolic trees and forests can be, composing her own songs of the woods and interpreting classic tales of sylvan sensuality.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Singer Nancy Kerr explains why forests provide such perfect metaphors in folk music.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

The folk singer, Nancy Kerr joins Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough for a walk in the woods. Forests play a vital role in folk music, as a refuge for romantic outlaws, as a metaphor for freedom and as a space for sexual couplings, usually with the traditionally tragic ending.

Nancy explains how the early folk song collectors such as Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams found a vibrant folk vocabulary bristling with bushes and briars, stout oaks and wily willows. She understands just how powerfully symbolic trees and forests can be, composing her own songs of the woods and interpreting classic tales of sylvan sensuality.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Singer Nancy Kerr explains why forests provide such perfect metaphors in folk music.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

03Outlaws of the Forest2018062020190820 (R3)

Forests are the perfect place for outlaw artists to enact their vision. Just fourteen stops from Soho on the Central Line, Epping Forest provides a particularly convenient place to lose yourself and hide from worldly distractions.

Sculptor, Jacob Epstein used Epping as artistic inspiration and venue for innumerable affairs. But was he lost in the forest or hiding there? John Clare was incarcerated there in an asylum, a place where he lost his status as the peasant poet but found a new identity. First he believed himself to be Lord Byron, latterly he was William Shakespeare. Skip forward a hundred years and the forest continued to intrigue, sheltering the Punk collective, Crass from Big Bang London and providing a surreal playground for theatrical provocateur and forest pixie, Ken Campbell.

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is joined on a walk through the artistic hotspots of Epping Forest by Will Ashon, author of 'Strange Labyrinth', a cultural guidebook to the lungs of North-East London.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Forests are the perfect place for outlaw artists to hide, says writer Will Ashon.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

03Outlaws of the Forest2018062020190820 (R3)

Forests are the perfect place for outlaw artists to enact their vision. Just fourteen stops from Soho on the Central Line, Epping Forest provides a particularly convenient place to lose yourself and hide from worldly distractions.

Sculptor, Jacob Epstein used Epping as artistic inspiration and venue for innumerable affairs. But was he lost in the forest or hiding there? John Clare was incarcerated there in an asylum, a place where he lost his status as the peasant poet but found a new identity. First he believed himself to be Lord Byron, latterly he was William Shakespeare. Skip forward a hundred years and the forest continued to intrigue, sheltering the Punk collective, Crass from Big Bang London and providing a surreal playground for theatrical provocateur and forest pixie, Ken Campbell.

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is joined on a walk through the artistic hotspots of Epping Forest by Will Ashon, author of 'Strange Labyrinth', a cultural guidebook to the lungs of North-East London.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Forests are the perfect place for outlaw artists to hide, says writer Will Ashon.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

04Scents of the Forest2018062120190822 (R3)

As he enters a woodland, perfumer, Roja Dove can be overwhelmed. This legendary nose of the perfume industry can identify 800 different scents blindfolded. Place him in a forest and he can sense narratives of sex, birth, decay and death.

Roja joins Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough for a walk in the woods to discuss how the base notes of the forest scent inspire him. The foundation of damp moss and rotting wood is warm and comforting, but a change in the breeze can bring fresh inspiration to excite the senses, just the kind of effect Roja looks for when he formulates a new perfume.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Perfumer, Roja Dove, explains the power of the heady scents of the forest.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

04Scents Of The Forest2018062120190822 (R3)

As he enters a woodland, perfumer, Roja Dove can be overwhelmed. This legendary nose of the perfume industry can identify 800 different scents blindfolded. Place him in a forest and he can sense narratives of sex, birth, decay and death.

Roja joins Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough for a walk in the woods to discuss how the base notes of the forest scent inspire him. The foundation of damp moss and rotting wood is warm and comforting, but a change in the breeze can bring fresh inspiration to excite the senses, just the kind of effect Roja looks for when he formulates a new perfume.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Perfumer, Roja Dove, explains the power of the heady scents of the forest.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.