Wednesday 22 May 2013, 18:03
A season of prgrammes relating to The Cambridge Spies. A mix of comedy, dramas and features which relive the espionage scandal that rocked the nation.
Wednesday 22 May 2013, 18:03
Editor's note: A season of programmes relating to the five Cambridge graduates whose treachery shocked the British establishment - listen to Cambridge Spies from Saturday 25th May 2013.Two of the 'Cambridge Five' - Anthony Blunt & Donald Maclean.
“Cambridge Spies“ is in many ways, a misleading title.
Yet the phrase sums up the contradiction at the heart of the matter. As a concept, espionage is always presented as an intrusion. Enemy agents breaching borders, slipping through defences via subterfuge and false identities.
Perhaps what shook this perception was the idea that 1930s Cambridge, the very image of a venerated English institution, could be home to the ‘enemy’. More than that, the enemy itself was home grown. Some would say the apparent betrayal by Burgess, Maclean, et al wasn’t part of some insidious plan to topple the country. It seemed born of a sincerely-held belief that communist Russia was the best alternative to fascism.
Friday 17 May 2013, 11:04Cosmic Rays
So, I did a programme about physics! I wish I'd been able to listen to that programme about sixty years ago when I was doing physics and got into a state of serious confusion. The way the contributors today talked about the universe made it seem so dynamic and unfathomable and powerful and, above all, vast and in a state of permanent turbulence, and yet they track it through microscopic particles and extraordinary attention to the smallest details. Whoever said that the people who did physics were the clever people was right, I think.
Been a week of skidding around the country. Last Thursday I went to Lincoln and walked up Steep Hill – it is – in the almost blinding rain and wind to go to the cathedral which is vast. I arrived just in time for Choral Evensong. Whatever religion you have or none, these services at five o'clock in all our great cathedrals and abbeys are a unique opportunity to listen not only to great music, beautifully sung, but to understand the strength that tradition can...
Thursday 16 May 2013, 14:15
Another Rajar day – and another good quarter for Radio 4 in the latest set of figures, which cover January - March 2013. I’m delighted that Radio 4’s unique flagship programmes such as Desert Island Discs, In Our Time and Woman’s Hour are getting record audiences and enticing more and more listeners each week to such brilliant broadcasters as Kirsty Young, Melvyn Bragg, Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey.
Sian Williams and Richard Coles have seen the extended Saturday Live attract increasing audiences. It’s also clear that the twists and turns of The Archers are keeping our listeners hooked on life in Ambridge!
Congratulations to all our talented teams and keep listening...
Here’s what the Radio 4 Audiences team told me:
Overall it’s another strong set of results for Radio 4 with 10.76m adults tuning in each week – this is the station's 5th highest reach figure since the current RAJAR methodology. We also had a record share of 12.8% this quarter, and with 21% of the population of this country tuning in each week, we’ve started the year pretty much where we left 2012. Radio 4 Extra also had another solid quarter, with 1.642m adults tuning in each week (down only...
Tuesday 14 May 2013, 15:12
John Goudie, Editor of Front Row, discusses the Radio 4 project - Cultural Exchange - in which 75 creative minds share their passion for an art-work of any kind. Cultural Exchange features during Front Row, weekdays from 7.15pm.
Tracey Emin, Adrian Lester, Tamara Rojo, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
"So what did they choose?" has become a regular question in the Front Row office.
It's aimed at the small team working on Cultural Exchange, the Radio 4 project in which 75 creative minds share their passion for an art-work of any kind.
One of the pleasures of working on the project is the moment when...
Friday 10 May 2013, 11:27Icelandic Sagas
It seems that although the original male population of Iceland was pretty much Norse and mostly Norwegian, a lot of the women were Celtic. They came over, or were brought over, from the Western Isles and particularly from Ireland. This led one of the contributors to say that perhaps the saga tradition and the poetry tradition came from that Irish connection, with its great history of poets at court...
Wednesday 8 May 2013, 10:26
David Pownall and Mike Greenwood
"Turn right into the village street, there's a big tree by the cottage. If you get to the castle, you've gone too far"
My journey to interview the writer David Pownall took me to a village perched high above the Wye Valley with its ancient castle of King John. His house betrays something of the journey he's made here from his roots on Merseyside: wooden sculptures from his time working...
Friday 3 May 2013, 16:06Gnosticism
No sooner had the mics closed down than "what about the Cathars?" said Caroline Humfress. "And what about the Bogomils?" said Martin Palmer. "It's very rarely that anybody gets a chance to talk about the Bogomils. They were Gnostics too." "And what about Philip Pullman?" said Alastair Logan. "His Dark Materials has many Gnostic strands to it." "And what about The Matrix?" said Martin Palmer ...and what about...
Friday 3 May 2013, 15:08
Welsh poet Gillian Clarke discusses her poetry collection Ice on Radio 4's Bookclub - listen to the programme from 4pm, Sunday 5 May 2013.
We spoke about her collection Ice, but of course it was also a conversation about poetry in general – her attraction to metaphor, to the music of words, to the Welsh bardic tradition. That came to her rather late in life, because when she was a child her mother didn’t want her to speak Welsh. She admitted that, having discovered...
Wednesday 1 May 2013, 11:30
The BBC Radio Wales Machynlleth Comedy Festival Showcase will be broadcast on Radio Wales at 9.30pm on Saturday 4 May, and Radio 4 Extra's Comedy Club at Machynlleth on 4 Extra starting on Friday 3 May.
Machynlleth's Hollywood-style sign
A year ago Radio 4 Extra's Comedy Club went to the Machynlleth Comedy Festival, a small festival with a stellar line up on the outskirts of Snowdonia National Park. We were promised something out of the ordinary and we weren't disappointed. A weekend of experimental and intimate comedy performed in spaces where you'd least expect it.Machynlleth
Monday 29 April 2013, 14:59
Editor's Note: Ian McMillan explains how the story of his parents romance during World War II inspired his afternoon drama. Listen to Love, War and Trains from 1 May 2013.
Love, War and Trains The tale that I tell in Love, War and Trains has been a family story of ours for as long as I can remember; in fact we told it to each other across kitchen tables and in back rooms with murmuring TVs in the background for so long that in the end it stopped being remarkable, it became ordinary, like the fact that I had four uncles called Uncle Blood, Uncle Terror, Uncle Passion and Uncle Thunder wasn...