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  1. Plants: From Roots to Riches

    Monday 21 July 2014, 14:08

    Radio 4 Radio 4

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    Editor’s note – Plants: From Roots to Riches is a 25-part series beginning on 21st July, broadcast Monday – Friday at 1.45pm

    Plants: From Roots to Riches

    As an evolutionary biologist, Kew’s director of science, Prof Kathy Willis - knew where she wanted to begin her story for this new Radio 4 series – in front of Kew’s oldest resident - the cycad (Encephalartos altensteinii) in the iconic botanical garden's palm house. 

    By happy coincidence, the Cycad's arrival at Kew in 1775 coincided with the development of Carl Linnaeus’ binomial classification system for plants (and animals). All at once, the chaos of the plant world, which previously had no consensus on plant names, was reduced to order and modern botany, as we know it today, took root.

    The cycad The cycad (Encephalartos altensteinii)

    In this new series Kathy Willis focuses on the major breakthroughs in botanical knowledge over the past 250 years as seen through the lens of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. In some cases Kew was the institution leading the scientific discoveries, in others it was responding to work elsewhere. Some of the science, of course, has changed beyond recognition in the 250 years since Kew was founded, with rapid advances...

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  2. Feedback: Editorial Balance

    Friday 18 July 2014, 14:35

    Radio 4 Radio 4

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    I nearly fell out of bed on Tuesday morning. It was around 8.40 am and I should have been up anyway, but I had only gone back to bed an hour before.
    I find sleeping difficult when the sun rises early, so I had been up since dawn working on an obsessive local history project before popping back for a quick nap. 
    Of course the Today programme was on in the background. It has the peculiar property of being able to send me to sleep and sometimes wake me up. This time it was the latter. A voice from the turbulent past.
    I had last heard of Professor Greg Philo in the early 1980s when his Glasgow media Group analysed the Corporation’s coverage of the Miners’ Strike and found it wanting. I was a BBC programme Editor at the time and, although I did not agree with much that he wrote, I was impressed and challenged by his analysis, which certainly made me think, and was a valuable corrective to the parliamentary consensus.
    On Today on Tuesday he was also in challenging mode, alleging that the Beeb’s coverage of the conflict in Gaza was pro-Israel. Many Feedback listeners agree with him, and almost as many disagree.
    It was refreshing to hear his views, and I look forward to the publication of...

    Read more about Feedback: Editorial Balance

  3. Feedback: Bad Salsa

    Friday 11 July 2014, 12:21

    Roger Bolton Roger Bolton

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    Are there some things one should not make jokes about? Cancer for example?
    Radio 4 does not seem to think so.
    This week on Feedback we discussed  a new  comedy series  called Bad Salsa which follows some “women as they embrace the world  of salsa whilst they adjust to life after cancer”.
    It took me back to the early 1960s when I first heard Tom Lehrer performing his satirical songs. I remember the delight and shock that I felt, particularly when he sang “The Vatican Rag” – 
    “First you get down on your knees,
     fiddle with your rosaries, 
    bow your head with great respect and 
    genuflect, genuflect, genuflect”.
    But then I was a protestant.
    However, another Lehrer song made me a little uncomfortable, particularly one verse which goes like this:-
    “All the Catholics hate the Protestants,
    And the Protestants hate the Catholics,
    All the Hindus hate all the Moslems,
    And everyone hates the Jews”.
    It was the reference to the Jews that bothered me. After all this was less than 20 years after the Holocaust, but I relaxed considerably when I realised that Tom Lehrer himself was a Jew.
    Still I have never felt comfortable about jokes about Jews or any minorities. Am I just too PC?
    I even felt...

    Read more about Feedback: Bad Salsa

  4. In Our Time: The Sun

    Thursday 10 July 2014, 16:20

    Melvyn Bragg Melvyn Bragg

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    Editor's note: Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the sun. As always the programme is available to listen online or to download and keep

    The Sun

    Hello

    (Note for Ingrid, who always types these messages for me: this will be longer than usual, but all will be explained at the end of the blog.)

    This morning’s programme has already been commented on widely, partly because all the contributors were women (although this has happened many times on the programme before and Tom Morris, the producer, did a headcount recently where he found that – without in any way trying to be politically correct – the...

    Read more about In Our Time: The Sun

  5. In Our Time: Mrs Dalloway

    Friday 4 July 2014, 12:51

    Melvyn Bragg Melvyn Bragg

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    Editor's note: Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs Dalloway. As always the programme is available to listen online or to download and keep

     

    Virginia Woolf Virginia Woolf

     

    Hello,

    I read with particular interest Mrs Dalloway’s London crawl.  She covers a part of the West End that I have managed to write about to death over the last few years in this newsletter.  It is odd how the very names – Regent Street, for instance, or St James’s Park – ring as resonantly (almost) as Skiddaw and Snowdon and even the Bristol Channel.  City walks are more popular, partly because...

    Read more about In Our Time: Mrs Dalloway

  6. Feedback

    Friday 4 July 2014, 09:10

    Roger Bolton Roger Bolton

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    Editor's Note: You can listen to Feedback online or download it here

    Feedback Radio 4's forum for comments, queries, criticisms and congratulations

    On this week’s Feedback we featured Jonathan Dimbleby making an unusual, and, perhaps for him, unique mistake on Radio 4's Any Questions. He attributed to a member of the panel a quote which was not theirs.

    Here is the mistake in all its gory glory:
     

    In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content

    Why did Any Questions presenter Jonathan Dimbleby have to apologise to MP Chris Bryant?

     
    Now when a fellow presenter hears something like that there is often a moment of malicious glee, followed by a familiar...

    Read more about Feedback

  7. Bookclub - Lorrie Moore

    Thursday 3 July 2014, 13:58

    Jim Naughtie Jim Naughtie Jim Naughtie presents Bookclub on BBC Radio 4

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    Editor's note: This episode of Bookclub is available from Sunday 6 July and will be available to listen online or for download.
     

    Bookclub

    I confess to being fascinated by book titles.  Great ones pass into the language – from the sixties, for example, The Spy who Came in from the Cold and From Russia with Love – and I’m convinced that there are some fine novels that are unjustly ignored because the author has coined a title that is a turn-off. So one of the questions I wanted to ask the American writer Lorrie Moore when she joined this month’s group of Bookclub readers was an obvious one...

    Read more about Bookclub - Lorrie Moore

  8. The Shipping Forecast

    Friday 27 June 2014, 15:53

    Denis Nowlan Denis Nowlan

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    The Shipping Forecast is one of those Radio 4 institutions that occupy a special place in the hearts of many listeners across the country, but it also fulfils a very important role in providing vital safety information to mariners who traverse the waters around our shores. With this in mind, last year we asked our colleagues at the Royal Yachting Association, the Met Office and HM Coastguard to send a questionnaire to their members inviting feedback on the way they use the Shipping Forecast. We did this to ensure the service we offer continues to provide them with the most useful information in...

    Read more about The Shipping Forecast

  9. Feedback - BBC News Coverage

    Friday 27 June 2014, 15:40

    Roger Bolton Roger Bolton

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     Editor's Note: You can listen to Feedback online or download it here

    Feedback  

    A couple of weeks ago I picked up a free magazine in London which included an interview with the much-feted veteran film-maker Ken Loach. He was publicising his latest film.

    In the course of that interview Mr Loach quoted with approval the late Tony Benn’s statement to the effect that we don’t need the KGB in Britain as we have the BBC. Well, as someone who has worked off and on for the Corporation for over 40 years and had my share of rows with its bosses, I find such statements ludicrous.

    However it is true that...

    Read more about Feedback - BBC News Coverage

  10. In Our Time - Hildegard of Bingen

    Friday 27 June 2014, 14:21

    Melvyn Bragg Melvyn Bragg

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    Editor's note: In Thursday's programme Melvyn Bragg and his guests discussed Hildegard of Bingen. As always the programme is available to listen online or to download and keep

    Hildegard of Bingen

    Hello

    After the programme Miri Rubin spoke about pseudo-Hildegardian material running through into the late Middle Ages and being an inspiration to the Lollards. The Lollards were those who took on the first full English translation of the Bible by Wycliffe at the end of the 14th century, and at great risk to their lives (many of them were caught, tortured and sometimes executed) took copies around the country. There...

    Read more about In Our Time - Hildegard of Bingen

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Woman's Hour Power List 2014

Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.
See the latest on our blog
Find out about this year's panel and theme
Woman's Hour Power List judges, 2014 Woman's Hour Power List judges, 2014

 

Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.

 

See the latest on our blog

 

Find out about this year's panel and theme