At last! A History of the World
After more than three years today sees lift off for 'A History of The World' - the biggest factual series in my time at Radio 4 - 100 parts, each 15 minutes. Neil MacGregor - the Director of the British Museum - explores A (and it is 'A' not 'The') History of The World.
I've written about this series before - but it's an exciting day. The work of some of Radio 4's greatest producers and editors has been married to some of the Museum's most scholarly and brilliant minds to create these programmes. It's been a marriage, and like all marriages has had its challenges. But three years on all here at Radio 4 respect the British Museum enormously: it has been a privilege to be involved with them. It is a magnificent institution. Neil is a fabulous presenter - charismatic and perceptive.
A few of you will be irritated by the temporary loss of Book of The Week - but this is something special. So please try it. There are three transmissions for every episode 0945, 1945 and 0030- and we are podcasting the entire series in perpetuity - a first.
The website was only finished this weekend - truly - but has lots to offer and we really want you to upload your own objects that have global connections. Every object you upload will have a page accompanying it.
The idea for a history based on objects began as a Radio 4 idea - but has spread across the BBC and around the country to hundreds of museums. It's the front cover story of the Radio Times too.
I shall cut a celebratory cake with the key BBC people involved in the Radio 4 series today - and I hope very much that you enjoy listening.
My favourite object doesn't even feature for another few months! Though this week's Swimming Reindeer (Thursday) is rather remarkable.
I hope this does not all sound too effusive... but it's been a passion around Radio 4 for a long, long time.
My fingers are crossed. But it's good.
Mark Damazer is Controller of BBC Radio 4
- A History of the World in 100 Objects has a lovely web site where you can learn about the 100 objects and all of the others contributed by dozens of British museums - and you're invited to add an object of your own.
- The first programme in the series was on Radio 4 at 0945 this morning - repeated at 1945 and 0030 tonight. Listen again here and subscribe to the podcast here.
- The video shows Kwame Kwei Armah talking about his object - the ticket his mother bought for her journey from Grenada to Britain in 1962. You can see more videos on the A History of the World web site.
- The hash tag for A History of the World is #AHOW. Use it on Twitter or other social networks when you're talking about the project.