Undercurrents After two "fake" newspaper story scandals and reports that fewer and fewer Americans are watching TV news programmes, Philip Dodd and guests discuss the crisis in American journalism and consider its implications for the British media.


Philip Dodd and guests with a topical debate exploring the ideas and issues behind the headlines.


Isabel Hilton with another programme in the series celebrating some of our great cultural landmarks.


Philip Dodd begins the new Night Waves season with a rare, extended interview with Philip Roth, one of America's most feted living writers.

Roth discusses his life and work, including his latest book Indignation, set in 1951 and focusing on the son of a kosher butcher who escapes the confines of New Jersey to attend a conservative college in Ohio.

The author gives his thoughts on the role of fiction in his life and about his own impact on America, describing the attraction of mixing fiction with elements of autobiography and about the expectations people have of the writer.

He also talks about the ageing process and about his writing environment in the countryside north of New York.


Rana Mitter talks to historian Tom Holland about his new book Millenium, which tells the story of the two centuries on either side of the apocalyptic year 1000. He explains that this crucial period gave rise to Europe's distinctive culture, Willam the Conqueror, Vikings, the earliest castles and the invention of knighthood, as well as the primal conflict between church and state.


Matthew Sweet speaks to celebrated novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux about his new book, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, a sequel to his ground-breaking travel book The Great Railway Bazaar. Theroux tells Matthew about the many political changes around the world and various personal changes that have taken place in the intervening years and how they have profoundly coloured his experiences of travel and writing.


Philip Dodd talks to author Howard Jacobson about his new novel The Act of Love, charting the tumultuous course of Felix and Marisa Quinn's marriage, which descends into adultery and jealousy - but with a difference. Felix wants his wife to cheat on him and, when she finally does, he wonders if he is at last a happy man. Howard discusses the perverse logic at the heart of his novel and explains why he felt it important to tackle what he sees as one of the last erotic taboos.


Matthew Sweet reviews a new film update of Evelyn Waugh's classic novel Brideshead Revisited. Memorably adapted into a lavish TV series in the 1980s starring Jeremy Irons, this new cinematic version's screenplay was written by Andrew Davies, the writer behind many award-winning TV literary adaptations.

Matthew sees how Waugh's themes of religious redemption, forbidden love and loss of innocence translate to the big screen.


Rana Mitter talks to Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 and author of Night, a memoir that described his experiences during the Holocaust. His book is a vivid and terrifiying account of his imprisonment as a teenager in Auschwitz and then in Buchenwald, and the increasing horrors he endured, including the death of his parents and his sister. As he turns 80, and to coincide with the re-publication of Night, Wiesel talks about why his story had to be written down and how he feels about the criticism sometimes levelled at him because of his undivided support for Israel.


Philip Dodd talks to nature writer Tim Robinson about the second volume of his trilogy which examines life in Connemara, Ireland's most westerly region. Robinson, originally from Yorkshire, moved to the area more than two decades ago, and his first part won him the prestigious Irish Book Award for Non-Fiction.

Also, Philip gives the verdict on the British Museum's first exhibition of contemporary art, Statuephilia, which includes a 50 kilo solid gold Kate Moss sculpture and 200 new plastic skulls designed by Damien Hirst


Gray's Anatomy

For the series of Night Waves programmes championing cultural landmarks, Isabel Hilton and guests explore the significance of the iconic medical text, Gray's Anatomy, 150 years since its first publication.

The book was the brainchild of Henry Gray, whose interest in the subject was kindled by his study of the endocrine glands and the spleen. This work led to his appointment in 1853 as a lecturer at St George's Hospital Medical School in London. Two years later he suggested to a colleague that they produce an anatomy text book for their students and in 1858, the first edition appeared. There have been 39 editions since and the book is a feature of any aspiring doctor's training.

Isabel is joined by neurosurgeon Henry Marsh and historian Ruth Richardson to discuss the book's creation, its charismatic author who died at the age of 34, three years after its publication, plus the impact of the anatomy on medical history and generations of doctors in the English-speaking world.


Arts and cultural news and debate.


Rana Mitter talks to historian Richard Evans, who has just been appointed Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University. Evans discusses how the practice of history has changed in his three-decade career and how the focus of his work has been to ensure that one of the 20th century's greatest tragedies is fully understood by the generations who are born after it. He also talks about the final volume in his trilogy on Hitler's Germany, The Third Reich at War.


Philip Dodd talks to historian David Starkey, who discusses his new biography of Henry VIII, a lifelong focus of his research.


Bidisha gives the verdict on Burn after Reading, the latest film from Hollywood film director siblings Joel and Ethan Coen. Boasting a star-studded cast including George Clooney, Tilda Swinton and Brad Pitt, the film tells the story of what happens when a disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees.


Matthew Sweet discusses the film Quiet Chaos, which stars Italian enfant terrible actor-director Nanni Moretti and focuses on a father's love for his ten-year-old daughter as he copes with the unexpected death of his wife. Marking the first time Moretti has starred in a film not directed by him in 13 years, Quiet Chaos has already sparked controversy for a sex scene between Moretti and actress Isabella Ferrari.


Rana Mitter discusses the big autumn exhibition at the Royal Academy in London which features 340 objects from the Byzantine Empire, including icons, wall paintings, mosaics, ivories and gold and silver metal work.

Plus writer Jackie Wullschlager on her biography of Russian-born French painter Marc Chagall.


Anne Mcelvoy is joined by biographer Duncan Wu to discusses the life of William Hazlitt, considered to be one of the first and one of the greatest British journalists. A passionate, restless idealist with a personal life full of sex, drink and scandal, he was hounded by the Tory press and condemned as a radical, Jacobin and whoremonger.


Matthew Sweet and a panel discuss the ideas that are currently being debated in the field of economics.


Free Thinking Special

In a special debate recorded in front of an audience at this year's Free Thinking festival Matthew Sweet is joined by philosopher and management consultant Robert Smith, novelist Andrew O'hagan and brain scientist Susan Blackmore to explore the value of experience and accumulated wisdom in today's often youth-oriented and innovation-driven society.


Matthew Sweet discusses Gethsemane, the new play by David Hare which is set in the world of modern political fundraising. Written for and performed at the National Theatre, Gethsemane looks at the way business, media and politics are now intertwined. The cast is headed by Tamsin Greig and also includes Anthony Calf, Jessica Raine and Nicola Walker


Free Thinking Special

In a rare, extended interview in front of an audience at this year's Free Thinking Festival, Philip Dodd talks to former Northern Ireland First Minister the Rev Ian Paisley. A preacher, author and one of Britain's best-known and most controversial politicians, Rev Paisley discusses his faith, his career and his remarkable political journey.


Isabel Hilton presents the arts and ideas programme - with interviews, debate and reviews of this week's key cultural events.


Free Thinking Special

As part of Radio 3's Free Thinking festival in Liverpool, Matthew Sweet chairs a discussion in front of an audience on bridging the generation gap.

He considers evidence gathered by two members of the public - a senior citizen and a teenager - who were sent out to discover what each of their generations would like to say to the other. Does a 16-year-old in Britain have more in common than a fellow 16-year-old in China than they do with octagenarians in their own country? And is the chasm over such issues as privacy, language, technology and sex now simply too large to be bridged?


Free Thinking Special

Matthew Sweet presents a discussion from Radio 3's Free Thinking festival in Liverpool in which Trevor Phillips, head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, poses six vital questions which our society can't answer. Phillips asks whether modern liberal democracies have all the answers to the most important questions of our age, or whether some of the challenges thrown up by today's hyper-diversity will stump even our most progressive thinkers.


Matthew Sweet discusses the actress and suffragette Sybil Thorndike with Jonathan Croall.

Matthew Sweet discusses the early 20th century actress and suffragette Sybil Thorndike with her biographer Jonathan Croall. Throughout the First World War, Thorndike led the pioneering Old Vic company and became a household name with Saint Joan, a play that George Bernard Shaw wrote for her. She was also an ardent feminist, socialist and pacifist, fighting against Apartheid in South Africa and actively helping the Republican cause during the Spanish Civil War.


Philip Dodd looks at what makes certain people successful with writer Malcolm Gladwell.

Philip Dodd explores what makes certain people successful with Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point. Gladwell's new book Outliers: The Story of Success explores the difference between high achievers and ordinary people, asking what connects Bill Gates, The Beatles and Mozart.


Bidisha discusses the art of Saul Steinberg, who worked on The New Yorker for six decades.

Bidisha discusses the work of Saul Steinberg, the American illustrator who worked on The New Yorker for six decades, and whose retrospective is about to open at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Steinberg's noted works include View of the World from 9th Avenue, his famous 1976 New Yorker cover, one of nearly 90 he drew for the magazine. He also completed over 1,200 drawings for the magazine.


Matthew Sweet discusses the first production of Dylan Thomas's newly discovered radio play

Matthew Sweet discusses the first ever production of Dylan Thomas's radio play The Art of Conversation. Found by Thomas's biographer Andrew Lycett among a sheaf of papers, the play is a short piece of wartime propaganda, taking as its theme the decline of conversation. It also features 'contributions' from the likes of Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley and Dr Johnson, frequently reminding listeners that 'careless talk costs lives'.

Matthew also reviews Julia, the film starring Tilda Swinton in which she plays an alcoholic, a role which is expected to gain her an Academy Award nomination. He explores Swinton's surprising trajectory from Derek Jarman muse to Hollywood high priestess.


Isabel Hilton finds out what ingredients are necessary to make a good Eyptyian gallery.

Isabel Hilton finds out, with the help of an Egyptologist, just what ingredients are necessary to make a successful Egyptian gallery. They consider what kind of artefacts and treasures are the hallmarks of a good Egyptian gallery and whether such a place could ever hope to rival the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo.


Anne Mcelvoy talks to distinguished French scholar Gilles Kepel, whose new book Beyond Terror and Martyrdom argues that the global clash between the neo-conservative world view of the War on Terror and the jihadist myth of martyrdom needs to be rethought and reimagined.

He claims both narratives are bankrupt, arguing that building Mediterranean alliances is the key to resolving the tension between Islam and the West.


In a discussion in front of an audience at Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival 2008 in Liverpool, Susan Hitch is joined by former Labour MP and cabinet minister Tony Benn to reflect on one of the key themes of the festival: the value of experience.

He talks about being taken by his father to meet Gandhi when he was six years old, and the pleasure he still remembers when the father of Indian independence asked him questions and listened to his thoughts. He muses on the importance of listening to the young as well as advising them, and describes Marx as the last of the Old Testament prophets. Crucially, he explains that his own experience of two world wars, his time as a pilot and the deaths of friends and his brother, are intrinsic to his commitment to peace. He also talks about his new practical invention 'Benn's Safe Seat'.


Matthew Sweet presents more highlights from the 2008 Free Thinking festival of ideas.

As part of the 2008 Radio 3 Free Thinking festival of ideas, Susan Hitch explores the history, architecture and significance of Liverpool's two cathedrals with the new chair of the National Trust Simon Jenkins, architectural historian Gavin Stamp, artistic director of the Catholic Metropolitan cathedral Sister Anthony Wilson and, from the Anglican cathedral, canon Anthony Hawley.

How did a huge gothic cathedral come to be built as late as the 20th century and why did Edwin Lutyens's ambitious plans for the Metropolitan cathedral end up as they did? As cathedrals now host art exhibitions, restaurants and corporate events, what is the role of these great buildings today? Recorded in front of an audience at BBC Radio Merseyside.


Bill Drummond talks about the future of music and his campaign to end recorded works.

Susan Hitch presents a programme recorded in front of an audience at the FACT arts centre in Liverpool as part of the 2008 Radio 3 Free Thinking festival of ideas. KLF musician and conceptual artist Bill Drummond explains how his life story informs his new thesis on the future of music.

His latest project, called 17, combines music, art and polemic and involves him travelling up and down the country, assembling choirs choirs composed of 17 members. They perform a work, which is then destroyed in order to illustrate Drummond's theory that recorded music is dead, and that the future lies in the live musical event.


Rana Mitter talks to psychologist Penelope Leach, author of the book Your Baby and Child.

Rana Mitter talks to psychologist Penelope Leach, author of the bestelling book Your Baby and Child, which changed British attitudes to child rearing in the 1970s sparking the growth of 'child-centred parenting'. She talks about the changing politics and social codes which have shaped parenting over the last 30 years and discusses her latest book, which addresses our complex and ambivalent relationship to child-care in the 21st century.

Plus a review of the Arnaud Desplechin film Un conte de Noel (A Christmas Tale), which stars Catherine Deneuve as the mother of a dysfunctional family brought together during the holiday season. A critical and commercial hit in France, the film was nominated for a Palme d'Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.


Philip Dodd talks to psychoanalyst Adam Phillips about the virtues of kindness.

Philip Dodd examines whatever happened to the concept of kindness with psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and historian Barbara Taylor, who argue in a new book that it is essential to our emotional and mental health.

Plus a discussion of the influence of French writer Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, seen by many as the first ever anarchist thinker, and a review of the Darren Aronofsky film The Wrestler, which stars Mickey Rourke as a retired fighter, and which won the top prize at the 2008 Venice Film Festival.


Matthew Sweet interviews Auschwitz survivor and human rights judge Thomas Buergenthal.

Matthew Sweet interviews Holocaust survivor Thomas Buergenthal, whose memoir describes his experience in Nazi death camps and his subsequent career as a human rights judge at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

At the age of seven, Buergenthal was imprisoned in Nazi ghettos and camps, and was among the youngest of prisoners. He was separated from his parents in Auschwitz, survived the Death March of 1945 and was liberated by Soviet and Polish troops at the age of 11. Miraculously, he was reunited with his mother a year and a half later. The rest of his family and almost all of his friends were killed.


Prof Sean Spence discusses the ethics of using pharmacology to regulate human behaviour.

Bidisha hosts a debate recorded in front of an audience at Liverpool's FACT centre, for Radio 3's Free Thinking festival of ideas, with Sean Spence, professor of psychiatry at the University of Sheffield giving a talk on the ethics of using pharmacology to regulate human behaviour.

He argues that in the case of antisocial people who want to reduce their risk to society, the prescription of behaviour-modifiying drugs is not coercive, imposed control, but a postive step - something he calls 'collaborative pharmacology'.


Anne Mcelvoy talks to psychotherapist Susie Orbach about our growing obsession with body image, and how those western body obsessions are spreading across the globe, from the boom in cosmetic surgery in Iran to reconstructive surgery in China. Orbach has written and campaigned on issues of women's attitudes to food and health since the 1970s and is most famous for having written the book Fat is a Feminist Issue.

Richard Coles reviews the UK premiere of the rediscovered work Die tote Stadt, which opens at the Royal Opera. Written by Hollywood film composer Erich Korngold, this previously neglected opera from 1920 was penned before Korngold left Austria for America.

Psychotherapist Susie Orbach talks about our growing obsession with body image.


Philip Dodd hears how some African thinkers are now rejecting the idea of overseas aid. Western countries want to help poverty-stricken countries - but does their help exacerbate, not alleviate, problems?

Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian banker based in London, wants to destroy the myth that it actually works. In her new book, she controversially argues that globalisation and the financial markets - often blamed for Africa's problems - are an opportunity for its success. Philip challenges Dambisa to put her case to a group of guests.

Philip Dodd hears how some African thinkers are now rejecting the idea of overseas aid.


Anne Mcelvoy presents the arts and ideas programme.


In an event recorded in Liverpool at BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking festival 2008, Bidisha introduces a lecture by Richard Reynolds and audience questions to him on the ethics and effectiveness of what be believes to be the fast-expanding craft of 'guerrilla gardening'.

It involves taking over an abandoned section of land to cultivate crops or plants and is a form of non-violent direct action practised by environmentalists.

Reynolds gardens wherever he finds himself, whether it is creating a garden in a number of neglected beds outside the block of flats where he lives or planting lavender on a traffic island. He believes any public space that has been undecorated by civic authorities and public alike can be turned into something more attractive and humanising for all.

He claims he springs from a long line of radicals - he cites 17th-century Digger Gerrard Winstanley as a forebear - and he originally acted entirely without permission (although that has now changed in some cases), working on many sites that belonged to someone else - typically the public authorities.

Richard Reynolds, the 'guerilla gardener', on why planting flowers is a form of politics.


Anne McElvoy talks to historian Amanda Vickery about domestic life in Georgian England. The Georgian house is now celebrated for proportion and elegance, but what did it mean to its inhabitants? Delving into over 50 archives for her book Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England, Vickery explores the role of house and home in determining power and status, and examines the interiors of homes belonging to genteel spinsters, bachelor clerks, rich aristocratic families and penniless widows.

Anne McElvoy talks to historian Amanda Vickery about domestic life in Georgian England.


Matthew Sweet talks to Dave Eggers about his novel The Wild Things, focusing on the confusions facing a boy growing up. It's based loosely on the story Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and the Hollywood screenplay Eggers has co-written with Spike Jonze.

When Dave Eggers was 21 and living in Lake Forest, Illinois, both his parents died of cancer five weeks apart, leaving Eggers to raise his eight-year-old brother Christopher. His memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2000. Eggers went on to publish his first novel, You Shall Know Our Velocity, in 2002. He also wrote the screenplay for Sam Mendes' recent film Away We Go.

Matthew Sweet talks to Dave Eggers about his novel The Wild Things.


Philip Dodd presents an edition of the arts and ideas programme with interviews, reviews and debate on the key cultural issues of the week.

Philip Dodd presents an edition of the arts and ideas programme.

1492/mo Mowlam/the Germans/atul Gawande

A New Age Of Austerity?
A New Age Of Austerity?

Abraham Lincoln20090211

Anne Mcelvoy reassesses the legacy of Abraham Lincoln on the 200th anniversary of his birth. Although America's new president, Barack Obama, has made much of his own admiration for his predecessor, a new generation of historians has been re-examining the question of Lincoln's relationship to race and slavery.

He issued the Emancipation Proclamation and supported a constitutional amendment to outlaw slavery, but he also harboured grave doubts about the intellectual capacity of African-Americans and favoured the voluntary 'colonisation' of freed slaves to Africa and the Caribbean. Anne and her guests discuss what Lincoln's ambivalent attitudes meant for his generation and whether they have echoed down through generations of American society.

Plus a look at outsiders' views of British sex education on film: as an anthology of films is released which takes in almost 60 years of British sex education, Anne finds out what two Europeans make of British attempts to teach people about sex over the decades.

Anne Mcelvoy reassesses the legacy of Abraham Lincoln 200 years after his birth.

Alastair Campbell, Elif Shafak, Girl On A Train

Alberto Manguel/westminster Abbey/aminatta Forna/science

Alex Callinicos/macbeth

Amanda Foreman

Amartya Sen/mark Ravenhill/richard English/schumann
Amartya Sen/mark Ravenhill/richard English/schumann

Amit Chaudhuri20090324

Rana Mitter meets celebrated Indian writer Amit Chaudhuri and talks to him about his novel The Immortals, which is a meditation on the power and importance of music. Rana also examines the contrast between Catholic and Protestant art, ranging from the ebullience of the baroque era to the control and discipline of post-Reformation Europe.

Rana Mitter talks to celebrated Indian writer Amit Chaudhuri about his novel The Immortals

Amos Oz

Amy Bloom/shutter Island/simon Russell Beale/dai Williams

Andrew Marvell
Andrew O'hagan, Aida, World War Two

Anne Mcelvoy

Anthony Caro/modern Sculpture/mark Haddon/david Baddiel

Antonia Fraser

Art in China

Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy

Atiq Rahimi

Baby Boomers/peter Brook/turkey

Barbara Ehrenreich

Baz Luhrman's Australia20081208

Rana Mitter discusses Baz Luhrman's epic film Australia, starring Nicole Kidman.

Rana Mitter reviews Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrman's epic film Australia, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman and set on a ranch in Northern Australia during the Second World War. The country's tourist board along with the local film industry are hoping for a revival of their fortunes with this the most expensive Australian film ever made.

And Rana asks whether the traditional professional classes are slowly being dismantled, given Bank of England warnings of a white collar jobs implosion, social workers under fire and plans to 'liberalise' the legal system. But are the traditional professional classes a closed-shop relic of a bygone age or are they bastions of integrity and expertise whose independence and status should be respected?

Berlin Film Festival 200920090209

Matthew Sweet hears the latest news from the Berlin Film Festival, which features a selection of films marking the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The festival showcases a series of feature-length movies made in both Germanys and Eastern Europe during the last decade of the Cold War - films that convey a sense of the radical changes to come and which were made in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, as well as low-budget independent ones. Many will be shown in Germany for the first time at the Festival, including the Polish film The War of the Worlds, a previously banned science-fiction parable about life under a dictatorship.

Matthew Sweet hears the latest news from the 2009 Berlin Film Festival.

Berlin Wall 20th Anniversary Debate

Bret Easton Ellis, The Miners' Hymns, Georg Buchner

British Philanthropy, Ideas Of The Year
Chess, Tannhauser
China Mieville, Kent State Shootings, Florence Nightingale, Four Lions

Claire Denis

Clive James/agnes Varda

Confessions Of A Justified Sinner

Constable's Portraits20090304

Artist Maggi Hambling discusses John Constable's portraits, the focus of a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Celebrated for his landscape paintings such as The Hay Wain, Constable's work as a portrait painter is far less well-known and, in fact, he produced more than 100 during his career. Hambling - now best-known for her controversial scallop sculpture dedicated to Benjamin Britten in Aldeburgh, and her memorial to Oscar Wilde in central London - talks about this less-explored part of Constable's work and discusses her own portraits - particularly of the jazz musician George Melly.

Artist Maggi Hambling discusses John Constable's lesser-known portraits.

Crime Special

Danny Boyle, British Philanthropy, Idea Of The Year
David Cesarani20090305

Philip Dodd and historian David Cesarani discuss the terrorist attacks on Britain by groups fighting for a Jewish state in the 1940s, and the lengths to which the British secret service would go in a last-ditch defence of the British mandate in Palestine.

Cesarani's book, Major Farran's Hat, investigates the case of the abduction of a teenager in Jerusalem, for which an ex-SAS officer was acquitted and the Zionist underground response, which was to penetrate British homeland security and send its top man after him.

Cesarani looks at the reason why Britain left Palestine in 1948, why its counter-insurgency strategy collided with its diplomacy, and why the tactics of the security forces were poorly executed and futile.

Philip Dodd and David Cesarani discuss attacks on Britain by Zionist groups in the 1940s.

David King

David Kynaston/royal Academy Sculpture Exhibition/miriam Margolyes

David Mitchell, Sheila Rowbothan, Michael Goldfarb, Eurydice

David Nash, Michael Winterbottom, Samuel Beckett

David Remnick, Em Forster, Dutch Football

Derek Jacobi
Don Mccullin

Douglas Hurd/arthur Koestler/the Lovely Bones/irving Penn


Bidisha discusses Eonnagata, a new Sadler's Wells collaboration between dancer Sylvie Guillem, director Robert Lepage, choreographer Russell Malipant and fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Its story focuses on the transvetite spy and diplomat Charles de Beaumont, the Chevalier d'Eon. A member of the King's Secret, a network of spies under the control of Louis XV, de Beaumont was perhaps the first spy to use transvestism in the furtherance of his duties and his true gender was a source of speculation, even provoking public bets in the late 18th century. The project draws its inspiration partly from the ancient Japanese Kabuki technique of Onnegata, in which male actors portray female roles in an extremely stylised fashion.

Bidisha discusses Eonnagata, Sylvie Guillem's dance project about a 17th-century spy.

Erik Gandini, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Duke Ellington's America

Europe In Crisis, Political Picasso, John Osborne


Frances Balkwill

Frank Kermode/studying English/portraying The Queen

Frans de Waal

Free Thinking 2009

George Carey

Glen David Gold
Glen David Gold

Green Zone/'new' Atheism/alex Butterworth/bill Buford

Handel Week - Handel's Borrowing20090415

Presented by Rana Mitter.

For Radio 3's Handel week, the programme revisits the great debates of the 18th century about artistic originality, asking if the 21st-century arts, riven by arguments about intellectual property in an age of new technology, could learn something from Handel and his artistic peers.

Handel's compositions were littered with borrowings and copying from not only his own work, but other musicians as well.

Even by the standards of his day he was liberal with the sources of his inspiration.

But for much of 18th century society this didn't matter - there were no obsessions with artistic originality, unlike now.

And this very different attitude to originality could be found across the cultural world of the day.

Historian Margaret MacMillan - winner of the Samuel Johnson prize for her book Peacemakers - talks to Rana about her book The Uses and Abuses of History, which explores the way history has been hijacked by individuals and governments, and exaggerated, distorted or suppressed.

MacMillan argues that post-war Germany's attempts to deal with Nazism was exemplary, unlike Turkey's treatment of its Armenian past, and asks whether governments should apologise for the sins of the past? MacMillan urges us to treat the past with care and respect.

Rana Mitter revisits the great debates of the 18th century about artistic originality.

Hanif Kureishi
Hanif Kureishi

Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Harold Evans

Hg Wells/the Pacific/slum Cities/no Greater Love

Hilary Mantel/horace Walpole/helene Cixous/banksy

Howard Brenton, Perfection, 'jewish Comedy'

Ian Mcewan/jeremy Rifkin/katya Kabanova/tony Cragg

Ideas Election/maggi Hambling

International Edition/moon Landing Anniversary
International Review

International Review

International Review

Is the Book Dead?

Jane Campion/michael Goldfarb

Javier De Frutos/dinah Birch

Jean Marie Le Clezio

Jennifer Homans
Joe Penhall/edmund White

John Pawson

John Simpson, Jack Fuller/angels/childhood/no One Knows About Persian Cats

Jonathan Coe, Yinka Shonibare, Graphic Design, Ondaatje Prize

Jonathan Fenby, Sarah Dunant, Tudor Parfitt

Jonathan Franzen

Joseph Stiglitz/hussein Chalayan/tom Ford/alexander Mcqueen Tribute/stasi Exhibition

Jules Et Jim20090319

In a Night Waves Landmark programme, Philip Dodd explores one of post-war France's iconic love films - Jules et Jim.

The film was released in 1962, when the New Wave directors were at their height of their influence.

It starred Jeanne Moreau as the capricious Catherine and chronicled her life over 20 years in the 1920s and 30s with two friends, Jules and Jim, who both fall in love with her.

For many people, the film is the embodiment of French panache - with its romantic scenes, carefree sparkle and tragic edge.

Despite its breezy and youthful feel, the film was based on a novel by Henri Pierre Roche (quite different in feel) written when Roche was 75 years old and picked up by Truffaut when he was browsing through a Parisian bookshop.

What made Jules et Jim such a revolution at the time of its release? And how did it convey so many of the techniques that the new wave were trying to convey to audiences? And why have so many recent film-makers - from Quentin Tarantino to Wes Anderson - managed to include mini-homages to the film in their own work? Philip Dodd and a round-table of guests attempt to answer these questions.

Philip Dodd explores one of post-war France's iconic love films - Jules et Jim.

Karen Armstrong/pompeii/china/mindaway
Karen Armstrong/pompeii/china/mindaway

Lady Chatterley Trial

Lady Chatterley Trial20101020

Landmarks: Jules Et Jim

Landmarks: The Master And Margarita

Landmarks: The Norman Conquests20090413

In a Night Waves Landmark programme, Matthew Sweet marks Alan Ayckbourn's 70th birthday with an exploration of his most famous work, the 1974 trilogy The Norman Conquests.

A huge theatrical hit when they were first performed in the early 1970s, each of three plays comprising the Norman Conquests are set in a different rooms of a suburban house over one weekend, and chart the comic relationships between six characters.

The original West End production featured a celebrated cast which included Michael Gambon, Penelope Keith, Felicity Kendall, and Tom Courtenay as the bearded and feckless Norman.

However, successful as Ayckbourn's plays have always been with audiences, there has been a perception from some in the theatrical critical establishment that this was no more than comfortable entertainment. He was not considered worthy of the respect given to a Pinter, Osborne or Hare.

When Kevin Spacey decided to stage The Norman Conquests in 2008 at The Old Vic, it was seen as a risky decision - what amused an audience back in the early 1970s was thought unlikely to hit home today. But the the production was successful with audiences and critics alike. Ayckbourn was reassessed, found to have a core of darkness beneath the comedy and was pronounced to be the 'Chekhov of the Suburbs'.

Matthew and guests examine Ayckbourn's craft, asking: 'What is his critical reputation?'.

Matthew Sweet discusses the 1974 play trilogy The Norman Conquests by Alan Ayckbourn

Landmarks: The Silent World

Landmarks: The Threepenny Opera

Laura Wade/will Self/rock And Roll Films/ak Shevchenko

Laurie Anderson/compromise/grace Kelly Dresses/anish Kapoor

Leo Tolstoy, Violence And Photography

Louise Bourgeois, Christopher Hitchens, Cultural Attitudes To Skin, The Late Middle Classes

Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson20100922

Philip Dodd talks to the American novelist Marilynne Robinson about her work and her recent collection of essays on science and culture.

Marilynne Robinson won the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction with her novel Home to put alongside the Pulitzer she won in 2005 for the novel Gilead. Alongside her literary output she is one of America's leading essayists and non fiction writers. She's written on the British welfare state, nuclear pollution and a collection of philosophical essays called The Death of Adam. This year Marilynne Robinson published Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self, a series of essays which criticised science and scientists for their attempts to monopolise ideas about human existence. Philip talks to her about the relationship between science and modern thought.

Philip Dodd talks to the American novelist Marilynne Robinson.

Mark Twain/maps/billy Bragg And Mick Gordon

Martha Nussbaum, Nina Bawden, Tudormania, Museum Of London

Martin Amis

Mary Midgley

Mary Warnock20101019

Melvyn Bragg, Lebanon, Political Representation

Mexico/the Ghost/wwii/mark Morris

Michael Burleigh, Sean Sculley And Abstraction, Opera: Do The Words Matter?

Michael Goldfarb

Modern British Sculpture
Monday - Philip Dodd
Money, Globish, Tyler Perry, Nicolai Lilin

Ngugi Wa Thiong'o

Niall Ferguson, Hugh Trevor-roper

Nina Raine, Wilbert Rideau
Norman Rockwell
Opera Producers, Rude Britannia, Argentina, Women In Politics

Painting History/ron Arad/the Last Station/barbara Demick

Patrick Wright

Patrick Wright20101018

Pete Townshend

Peter Carey/the Music Instinct/gwyneth Lewis/catcher In The Rye

Peter Lanyon

Philip Dodd
Philip Dodd

Philip Dodd

Philip Larkin, Clio Barnard

Philip Larkin, Clio Barnard20101021

Philip Pullman

Pj O'rourke
Posh/city Of Life And Death/the Prisoner

Programme Catalogue - Details: 07 February 199619960207

Producer: J. GOUDIE

Next in series: 26 March 1996

Previous in series: 11 January 1996


The arts programme presented by Lisa JARDINE. Producer Abigail APPLETON.

Subject Categories

discussion programmes (programme format)

arts programmes (genre)

shows (general)

design (art and design)

tate gallery cezanne exhibition

the hundred secret senses (novel)

dances with death (ballet)

Broadcast history

07 Feb 1996 22:45-23:30 (RADIO 3)


Lisa Jardine

Paul Stobart (pno)

Amy Tan (rdr)

Christopher Frayling (Speaker)

Nicholas Serota (Speaker)

Alice Rawsthorn (Speaker)

Matthew Hart (Speaker)

Jan Parry (Speaker)

Gillian Smith (Speaker)

Claire Catterall (Speaker)

John Drane (RCA (spkr)) (Speaker)

Vasko Vassilev (vln)

Programme Catalogue - Details: 10 January 199619960110

Producer: P. QUINN

Next in series: 11 January 1996

Previous in series: IN SIN CITY

Broadcast history

10 Jan 1996 22:45-23:30 (RADIO 3)

Programme Catalogue - Details: 11 January 199619960111

Producer: J. GOUDIE

Next in series: 07 February 1996

Previous in series: 10 January 1996

Broadcast history

11 Jan 1996 22:45-23:30 (RADIO 3)

Programme Catalogue - Details: 19 September 199519950919

Producer: J. GOUDIE

Next in series: 10 October 1995

Previous in series: IN LAS VEGAS

Broadcast history

19 Sep 1995 22:45-23:30 (RADIO 3)

Rana Mitter
Rana Mitter

Raymond Tallis/jmg Le Clezio


Richard Mcgregor, Terrence Rattigan Revival, Azadeh Moaveni, Italy

Roberto Benigni20090331

Bidisha talks to Oscar-winning Italian actor Roberto Benigni - best known for his comic film set during the Holocaust, Life Is Beautiful - about his obsession with Dante and his one-man show TuttoDante. Benigni is often remembered outside Italy for his behaviour at the 1998 Academy Awards when accepting the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for Life Is Beautiful - he climbed on the backs of the seats for his procession to the stage and applauded the audience.

Benigni is regarded in Italy as an excellent improvisatory poet and he can recite Dante's Divine Comedy from memory. His one-man theatre show inspired by the Divine Comedy and mixed with observations on current affairs and his own past experiences has been a huge success in Italy. TuttoDante (Everything about Dante) was seen on television by more than ten million people. Bidisha asks whether something so Italian can make the transfer to Britain.

Bidisha talks to Oscar-winning Life Is Beautiful actor Roberto Benigni about Dante.

Russian Art/where The Wild Things Are

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses20090205

Matthew Sweet presents a Night Waves Landmark dedicated to one of the most politically controversial novels of recent times - Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses.

Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa on Valentine's Day in 1989, calling for the writer's death for what was seen as an insult to the prophet Muhammad in the book. It caused Rushdie to go into hiding and created an international cause celebre, whose reverberations can still be felt today.

Matthew and a round-table of guests from all sides of the dispute discuss the legacy of the Rushdie affair, examining the broader issues it raised, such as the value of freedom of expression, the question of whether art can offend and the place of Islam and multiculturalism in British society.

Matthew Sweet explores the legacy of the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie in 1989.

Samson Agonistes20081209

As part of BBC Radio 3's season marking the 400th anniversary of John Milton's birth in 2008, Philip Dodd discussions his classic text Samson Agonistes. There has been much scholarly debate over whether Milton's dramatic poem, condones or criticises Samson's suicidal and genocidal attack on the Philistines. Since 9/11, that debate has taken on a topical urgency. Some scholars have questioned whether the work should be taught in schools, while others have regarded the notion of a terrorist act at the centre of Western Christian and literary history as a positive corrective to prevailing stereotypes.

Philip Dodd asks what Milton's classic text Samson Agonistes tells us about terrorism.

Sarah Hall/hugh Pym/speed Dating With A Thinker

Science Under Barack Obama


Shirley Williams

Shlomo Sand/school Of Saatchi/literary Adaptations

Simon Callow, To Kill A Mockingbird

Slavoj Zizek20090316

Rana Mitter talks to Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek, nicknamed 'the Elvis of cultural theory' because his writings mix political analysis, pop culture and flamboyant delivery. He responds to criticism accusing him of being an apologist of Stalinism and an anti-Semite.

Rana Mitter talks to famous Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek.

Slavoj Zizek, Jared Diamond

Stephen Daldry/utilitarian Architecture/joseph P Kennedy

Stephen Poliakoff/the White Ribbon/michael Goldfarb

Steve Connor
Steven Soderbergh/steven Levitt/hockney Retrospective

Sylvain Chomet, Resentment, Alice In Wonderland

Sylvia Earle

Tetro, Christie's Auction, Art Forgeries, Matthew Crawford, Welcome To Thebes

The Duchess Of Malfi, Went The Day Well?, Henry Iv, Burma

The Enlightenment

The Fool

The Free Thinking Lecture - Will Self20090330

Presented by Matthew Sweet.

In a recording from October 2008, made in front of an audience at the Bluecoat arts centre, celebrated author and columnist Will Self delivers the opening lecture at Free Thinking 2008, Radio 3's festival of ideas in Liverpool

Self argues that the way the mind is portrayed in novels is preposterous.

Why are we so resistant to attempts to represent the mind as we really experience it, in all its terror, exhilaration and confusion? Are many of our finest novels designed to reassure us that we are 'normal'?

Celebrated author and columnist Will Self gives the opening lecture at Free Thinking 2008.

The Kids Are All Right

The Limits of Science, Serge Diaghilev

The Limits Of Science, Serge Diaghilev20100923

Stephen Hawking has declared that God did not create the universe and that philosophy is dead because it has failed to keep up with science. However, not all physicists are so bold. Russell Stannard, emeritus professor of physics at the Open University argues in a new book that the are limits to scientific understanding both in practice and in principle. He joins Anne Mcelvoy to probe what he calls these boundaries of the knowable and the various ethical, financial, philosophical and intellectual concerns that constitute them.

Anne also discusses Serge Diaghilev and The Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929. A new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The exhibition will explore the work of the Ballets Russes, the influential dance company, and its enduring impact on theatre, art, music and fashion. The company began in the social and political upheaval of pre-revolutionary Russia and its creator Serge Diaghilev reawakened interest in ballet across Europe and America. Treasures on show will include Picasso's huge front cloth for Le Train Bleu, as well as original costumes and set designs, props and posters by artists and designers like Georges Braque and Jean Cocteau.

Anne McElvoy discusses Serge Diaghilev and probes the limits of scientific understanding.

The Real Thing/pascal Bruckner/antony Griffiths/

The Social Network, Germany and Shakespeare

The Tsarina's Slippers/artists' Lives/anglo-saxon Gold

Thomas Keneally And Richard Flanagan

Through A Glass Darkly, Nell Irvin Painter, Absent Fathers, Cornelia Parker

Tim Burton/don Delillo/jonathan Safran Foer

Timothy Garton Ash
Timothy Garton Ash

Tom Murphy/the Kreutzer Sonata/godfrey Barker

Tom Paulin/chekhov Anniversary/free Will/precious

Tony Judt/bill Fontana/dystopian Science Fiction/treme

Travels In The Reich, Bronco Bullfrog, Anish Kapoor, Tintoretto, Ghana And Football

Ts Eliot Prize/class Consciousness/a Prophet/whitechapel Gallery Exhibition


Matthew Sweet is joined by art critic and boxer Lynda Nead to review the much-anticipated documentary about the life of Mike Tyson. Tyson grew up in New York amid crime and violence, but after being spotted by the famous boxing coach Cus D'Amato he went on to become arguably the most feared fighter of his generation. But after his trainer's death, his career spiralled into shame and disgrace, culminating in his biting off a chunk of an opponent's ear.

Matthew Sweet and art critic Lynda Nead review a documentary about the life of Mike Tyson.

Tzvetan Todorov/artist Film-makers/artists In The Theatre

Universal History


Van Gogh

Wayne Mcgregor20090326

Anne Mcelvoy talks to award-winning choreographer, dancer, director and designer Wayne Mcgregor as he prepares to open his productions of Handel's Acis and Galatea and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In this much-anticipated double-bill, both productions unite the performing companies at Covent Garden, with dancers from the Royal Ballet performing alongside aritsts from the Royal Opera, including singing stars Sarah Connolly and Danielle de Niese. McGregor discusses combining the disciplines of opera and dance, the challenges of bringing contemporary aesthetics to traditional ballet and about the continuing power of the music of arguably two of the greatest composers ever to work in London.

Anne Mcelvoy talks to choreographer, dancer, director and designer Wayne Mcgregor

William Dalrymple/the Power Of Yes/madeleine Bunting/hanan Al-shaykh

Wolfgang Tillmans, Die Meistersinger, Archeological Remains, Lise Eliot

Zadie Smith/dieter Rams/a Serious Man

1Mao Zedong, The Human Comedy, Ashmolean Museum, David Grossman

1Martin Parr, Correct English

02David Lloyd George, Faust, Winter's Bone And Neville Brody

3Barry Humphries, Juliet Gardiner, Alan Plater

04Sacred Monsters
04Year Of Science 2010
2 LASTTony Blair