Start the Week

Start the Week

Start The Week sets the cultural agenda for the week ahead, with high-profile guests discussing the ideas behind their work in the fields of art, literature, film, science, history, society and politics.

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Recent episodes (10)

  • Russell Brand, Susan Neiman, David Babbs and Juliet Barker

    Mon, 27 Oct 14

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Russell Brand's calling for revolution now, to overthrow the system that he says supports extreme inequality. David Babbs, executive director of 38 Degrees, wants popular campaigns to bring about change and strengthen democracy. Juliet Barker re-examines the Great Revolt of 1381 and finds not a peasants' revolt but one by a new middle class in the shires, dissatisfied with a London elite. Philosopher Susan Neiman looks at how we are expected to abandon the adventures of youth if we are to grow up and asks, is there a new way to imagine what it means to be mature?

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  • 20th October 2014: Napoleon

    Mon, 20 Oct 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    What was Napoleon's impact during his lifetime, in France and across Europe and how much of this can we see today? With Tom Sutcliffe, Andrew Roberts examines the man in his new biography, Jenny Uglow explores living in Britain through Napoleon's Wars, 1793-1815, Sudhir Hazareesingh looks at his legend, while musicologist Gavin Plumley focuses on Schubert in Vienna in the aftermath of Napoleon.

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  • Val McDermid, Susan Hill, David Clarke and Alex Werner - 13th October 2014

    Mon, 13 Oct 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Why do we seek explanations for most mysterious events but prefer some when they're unresolved? That's the discussion with Anne McElvoy today, including Val McDermid who uncovers the secrets of forensic science, Susan Hill exploring suspense and atmosphere in ghost stories, Alex Werner from the Museum of London's new Sherlock Holmes exhibition and Dr David Clarke, who reveals the official accounts behind well known paranormal events.

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  • Naomi Klein, Tahmima Anam and Jeremy Oppenheim

    Mon, 6 Oct 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Naomi Klein argues that the greatest contributor to global warming is not carbon and climate change, but capitalism. She tells Anne McElvoy that the market's addiction to growth and profit is killing the planet. Climate change is a global issue, but the author Tahmima Anam looks at what it means for her home country Bangladesh. Jeremy Oppenheim argues that economic growth and action on climate change can be achieved together, with global cooperation.

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  • Karen Armstrong, Justin Marozzi and Christopher Coker

    Mon, 29 Sep 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Karen Armstrong argues against the notion that religion is the major cause of war. The former nun tells Tom Sutcliffe that faith is as likely to produce pacifists and peace-builders as medieval crusaders and modern-day jihadists. But Justin Marozzi charts the violent history of Baghdad and asks what role religion had to play there. The philosopher Christopher Coker explores how warfare dominates our history, and argues that war, like religion, is central to the human condition.

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  • Tom Sutcliffe is joined by Hilary Mantel, Neil MacGregor, Kei Miller and Jeremy Deller

    Mon, 22 Sep 14

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Hilary Mantel takes a break from her award-winning series of novels charting the rise and fall of the Tudor fixer, Thomas Cromwell, to discuss her new collection of short stories. She talks to Tom Sutcliffe about why her latest work eschews the historical to focus on contemporary Britain. The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor tells the story of Germany from its Roman past to the present day through objects that symbolise the dynamic changes in its culture and identity. 'English Magic' is the focus of the artist Jeremy Deller's touring exhibition which melds myth, folklore and politics to explore British society. And the Jamaican poet Kei Miller pits the scientific cartographer against the spiritual map builder to explore our understanding of place and territory.

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  • Tom Sutcliffe discusses family secrets

    Mon, 7 Jul 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe talks to Michael Holroyd about why he put his own family in the spotlight in his late 50s novel A Dog's Life, only published in the UK after the death of his parents. Family secrets and a doctor's revenge are at the heart of Herman Koch's darkly comic novel, while Hugo Blick's new television series, An Honourable Woman, explores how the sins of the father resonate in the present. The playwright Rona Munro looks ahead to a trilogy of plays which chart the rise and fall of Scotland's Royal Family, from James I to III, with tales of love, war, treachery and intrigue.

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  • Mark Williams, Heidi Johansen-Berg, Ben Shephard and Charles Fernyhough - 30th June 2014

    Mon, 30 Jun 14

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Andrew Marr discusses how far the brain can change and adapt with the neuroscientist Heidi Johansen-Berg. Decades ago it was thought that the adult brain was immutable but later research has shown that even brains damaged by stroke have the capacity to adapt. The writer Ben Shephard looks back to the turn of the 20th century and the birth of modern neuroscience, while the novelist Charles Fernyhough asks whether knowing more about the way the brain works will have as big an impact as the findings of Darwin and Freud. The clinical psychologist, Mark Williams, is interested in how we can relieve the despair of feeling trapped in our thoughts, and is one of the pioneers of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

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  • Joyce DiDonato, Julie Bindel, Erica Whyman and Helen Castor - 23rd June 2014

    Mon, 23 Jun 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe talks to the director Erica Whyman about a series of plays by the RSC which focus on the idea that 'well behaved women rarely make history'. The historian Helen Castor looks back at the Middle Ages to some of the earliest roaring girls, while the soprano Joyce DiDonato brings alive Mary, Queen of Scots, the tragic hero of Donizetti's opera. The political activist Julie Bindel has been behaving badly since she came out as a lesbian in the 1970s. She looks at what it means to be gay in 2014 and whether the genuine gains that have been achieved in the last forty years have castrated a once-radical social movement.

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  • Norman Fowler, Joanna Bourke and Jeremy Farrar - 16th June 2014

    Mon, 16 Jun 14

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe discusses the history of pain with the historian Joanna Bourke, who explores how our attitude to suffering has changed through the centuries. The former Conservative MP, Norman Fowler, looks back at the public health campaign that revolutionised the fight against HIV and Aids in Britain in the 1980s, and how discrimination and political expediency are hampering prevention and treatment around the world today. The Director of the Wellcome Trust, Jeremy Farrar remembers when he was a junior doctor and patients were dying of Aids because there was no treatment. He warns that the overuse and misuse of anti-biotic drugs could herald a return to the days of untreatable diseases.

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