The Gut Instinct - A Social History

Episodes

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Broadcast
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1 - Gut Culture20181224

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history, exploring our changing relationship with the human gut.

Food writer and restaurant owner Tim Hayward lives by his gut. But his interest extends far beyond filling it up with delicious things. The gut microbiome is one of the most fertile and exciting new fields of scientific enquiry - the vast ecosystem of microbes we now know live inside us and the medical, psychological and dietary ways they affect us. But there is a deeper story to tell.

In this five-part series, Tim explores the complex human relationship with its gut - from how we talk about it to how we have reacted to its ills, and from obsession to veneration via constipation.

In episode one, Tim discovers how different cultures - today and back into history - have had very different attitudes to the human gut. Featuring comedian Anuvab Pal, writer Louise Foxcroft, Egyptologist Richard Parkinson and historian of Christianity Diarmaid MacCulloch.

Written and presented by Tim Hayward
Produced by Rich Ward
Series consultant: Elsa Richardson
A Somethin Else’ production for BBC Radio 4

Dr Elsa Richardson tells the history of digestion.

Dr Elsa Richardson with the story of the bowels of history.

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history, exploring our changing relationship with the human gut.

Food writer and restaurant owner Tim Hayward lives by his gut. But his interest extends far beyond filling it up with delicious things. The gut microbiome is one of the most fertile and exciting new fields of scientific enquiry - the vast ecosystem of microbes we now know live inside us and the medical, psychological and dietary ways they affect us. But there is a deeper story to tell.

In this five-part series, Tim explores the complex human relationship with its gut - from how we talk about it to how we have reacted to its ills, and from obsession to veneration via constipation.

In episode one, Tim discovers how different cultures - today and back into history - have had very different attitudes to the human gut. Featuring comedian Anuvab Pal, writer Louise Foxcroft, Egyptologist Richard Parkinson and historian of Christianity Diarmaid MacCulloch.

Written and presented by Tim Hayward
Produced by Rich Ward
Series consultant: Elsa Richardson
A Somethin Else’ production for BBC Radio 4

Tim Hayward on how different cultures have had very different attitudes to the human gut.

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history.

2 - A Window into the Gut20181225

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history, exploring our changing relationship with the human gut.

The complex mysterious workings of our stomach and intestines have long fascinated us. In this episode, Tim peers through a window into the gut and tells a story of a case that changed medical history. Featuring stomach-churning experiments, intestinal surgery - and big black ants.

With historian of health Elsa Richardson and medical writer Thomas Morris.

Written and presented by Tim Hayward
Produced by Rich Ward
Series consultant: Elsa Richardson
A Somethin Else’ production for BBC Radio 4

Dr Elsa Richardson explores digestion through the ages.

Dr Elsa Richardson with the story of the bowels of history.

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history, exploring our changing relationship with the human gut.

The complex mysterious workings of our stomach and intestines have long fascinated us. In this episode, Tim peers through a window into the gut and tells a story of a case that changed medical history. Featuring stomach-churning experiments, intestinal surgery - and big black ants.

With historian of health Elsa Richardson and medical writer Thomas Morris.

Written and presented by Tim Hayward
Produced by Rich Ward
Series consultant: Elsa Richardson
A Somethin Else’ production for BBC Radio 4

Tim Hayward peers through a window directly into the gut.

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history.

3 - The Language of the Gut20181226

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history, exploring our changing relationship with the human gut.

From medieval times on, we have artefacts that bring to life just how much our relationship to our own guts have changed. One of the most vivid ways this can be tracked is through language. In this episode, Tim is joined by lexicographer and word-lover Susie Dent to seek out a priceless illuminated manuscript. Also surviving from the middle ages are two white marble effigies that have their own gut story to tell.

With contributions from art historian Jack Hartnell.

Written and presented by Tim Hayward
Produced by Rich Ward
Series consultant: Elsa Richardson
A Somethin Else’ production for BBC Radio 4

Dr Elsa Richardson tells the story of digestion through the ages.

Dr Elsa Richardson with the story of the bowels of history.

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history, exploring our changing relationship with the human gut.

From medieval times on, we have artefacts that bring to life just how much our relationship to our own guts have changed. One of the most vivid ways this can be tracked is through language. In this episode, Tim is joined by lexicographer and word-lover Susie Dent to seek out a priceless illuminated manuscript. Also surviving from the middle ages are two white marble effigies that have their own gut story to tell.

With contributions from art historian Jack Hartnell.

Written and presented by Tim Hayward
Produced by Rich Ward
Series consultant: Elsa Richardson
A Somethin Else’ production for BBC Radio 4

Tim Hayward goes back to the middle ages to track our changing relationship with the gut.

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history.

4 - The Disease of Civilisation20181227

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history, exploring our changing relationship with the human gut.

Today, scientific research is revealing insights into our gut microbiome - and along with this comes a fear, along with ever-more supporting evidence, that various factors of modern life are damaging to our gut health.

But the idea that modernity itself is somehow incompatible with a healthy gut is not, as Tim finds out in this episode, a new concept.

He discovers how the fear of constipation drove one eminent surgeon to propose the ultimate cure, and learns how indigestion changed the course of political protest. He also encounters writhing serpents, strange new cityscapes - and a flatulent parrot.

Featuring historian of emotions Rhodri Hayward, writer Louise Foxcroft and health historian Elsa Richardson.

Written and presented by Tim Hayward
Produced by Rich Ward
Series consultant: Elsa Richardson
A Somethin Else’ production for BBC Radio 4

Dr Elsa Richardson tells the story of digestion through the ages.

Dr Elsa Richardson with the story of the bowels of history.

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history, exploring our changing relationship with the human gut.

Today, scientific research is revealing insights into our gut microbiome - and along with this comes a fear, along with ever-more supporting evidence, that various factors of modern life are damaging to our gut health.

But the idea that modernity itself is somehow incompatible with a healthy gut is not, as Tim finds out in this episode, a new concept.

He discovers how the fear of constipation drove one eminent surgeon to propose the ultimate cure, and learns how indigestion changed the course of political protest. He also encounters writhing serpents, strange new cityscapes - and a flatulent parrot.

Featuring historian of emotions Rhodri Hayward, writer Louise Foxcroft and health historian Elsa Richardson.

Written and presented by Tim Hayward
Produced by Rich Ward
Series consultant: Elsa Richardson
A Somethin Else’ production for BBC Radio 4

Tim Hayward on modern life, constipation; and how indigestion changed political protest.

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history.

5 - The Gut Speaks20181228

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history, exploring our changing relationship with the human gut.

In the final episode, food writer and restaurant owner Tim asks what our guts have been trying to tell us. There are goblins, demons and angry gods - as well as a book written by a stomach - and Tim discovers that gut sounds might just be the key to a whole new understanding of our insides.

With historian of science and literature Emilie Taylor-Brown, Barry Marshall and Mary Webberley from the Noisy Guts Project, and medical and cultural historian Elsa Richardson.

Written and presented by Tim Hayward
Produced by Rich Ward
Series consultant: Elsa Richardson
A Somethin Else’ production for BBC Radio 4

Dr Elsa Richardson tells the story of digestion through the ages.

Dr Elsa Richardson with the story of the bowels of history.

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history, exploring our changing relationship with the human gut.

In the final episode, food writer and restaurant owner Tim asks what our guts have been trying to tell us. There are goblins, demons and angry gods - as well as a book written by a stomach - and Tim discovers that gut sounds might just be the key to a whole new understanding of our insides.

With historian of science and literature Emilie Taylor-Brown, Barry Marshall and Mary Webberley from the Noisy Guts Project, and medical and cultural historian Elsa Richardson.

Written and presented by Tim Hayward
Produced by Rich Ward
Series consultant: Elsa Richardson
A Somethin Else’ production for BBC Radio 4

Goblins, gods, and gurgles - Tim Hayward asks what our guts have been trying to tell us.

Tim Hayward journeys through the bowels of history.