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.

  • Updated:
    Weekly
  • Episodes available:
    Indefinitely help

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Recent episodes (10)

  • Rupert Goold, Lucy Worsley, Paula Byrne and Chris Bryant

    Mon, 14 Apr 14

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe looks back three hundred years to the Hanoverian succession to the British throne. The curator Lucy Worsley explains how the German Georges claimed the crown and how they kept it. The Georgian period is also the setting for Paula Byrne's biography of Dido Belle, the daughter of an aristocrat and a captured West Indian slave. Also on the programme, the MP Chris Bryant explores the history of Parliament and the movement of power from King to democracy. But what of today's Royals? The director Rupert Goold's latest production follows the coronation of Prince Charles to examine what it means to rule Britannia.

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  • Roy Williams, Sam Bain, Jennifer Brown and Christian Plowman - 7th April 2014

    Mon, 7 Apr 14

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe looks at both the reality of police life and its portrayal. The playwright Roy Williams's latest drama is set in a police station in Kingston, Jamaica, revealing a world of corruption and intrigue. TV writer Sam Bain, of Peep Show fame, talks about Babylon, a drama which take a wry look at modern policing. The former police officer Christian Plowman explains what life was like undercover, and the criminologist Jennifer Brown looks back at the history of policing in the UK.

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  • David Sedaris, A.L.Kennedy, Simon Blackburn and Lavinia Greenlaw 31st March

    Mon, 31 Mar 14

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe talks to A.L.Kennedy about her latest collection of short stories of love and hurt. The poet Lavinia Greenlaw retells the tragic love story of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. The philosopher Simon Blackburn unpicks the idea of self-love from the myth of Narcissus to today's tv hair adverts: 'because you're worth it', while the humorist David Sedaris uses his own life and loves as the focus of his writing. Producer: Katy Hickman.

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  • Ali Allawi, Richard J. Evans, Scott Anderson, Malu Halasa - 24th March 2014

    Mon, 24 Mar 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Anne McElvoy explores the roads not taken with the historian Richard Evans. Counterfactual history began as an Enlightenment parlour game and has become a serious academic pursuit, but Evans argues against endless speculation as to what might have been. The final meeting between Lawrence of Arabia and Faisal I of Iraq was an anti-climax which belied their history. The biographers of these two leaders, Scott Anderson and the former Iraqi politician Ali Allawi, place these men at the centre of the making of the modern Middle East. The writer Malu Halasa offers an alternative view of the violent events in Syria as she curates a book of political posters, comic strips, blogs and plays.

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  • Daniel Kahneman, Henry Marsh, Michael Ignatieff and Lisa Appignanesi - 17th March 2014

    Mon, 17 Mar 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe discusses how we make decisions with the Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman. Moral choices in politics can be a complicated business, according to the academic and former politician Michael Ignatieff, who explores whether the age of international intervention is over. Doctors work under the oath 'do no harm', but the neurosurgeon Henry Marsh says the decision whether to operate on a brain is rarely that simple. High emotion can cloud your judgement and the writer Lisa Appignanesi looks back at sensational crimes of passion to ask how far the perpetrators were responsible for their actions.

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  • Andrew Hussey, Gabrielle Rifkind & Ziauddin Sardar 10th March 2014

    Mon, 10 Mar 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe talks to Andrew Hussey about the often fraught relationship between France and its Arab ex-colonies, and how that plays out in the banlieues of Paris. The psychotherapist Gabrielle Rifkind recounts her experience of conflict resolution in the Middle East. While Rifkind emphases the need to understand what's happened in the past, the writer Ziauddin Sardar tries to imagine what the world would be like if we explored the future in a more systematic and scientific way.

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  • Michael Wood, Rose George, David Barrie & Yrsa Sigurdardottir 3rd March 2014

    Mon, 3 Mar 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe talks to the historian Michael Wood about the spirit and adventure of the Vikings who travelled all over Europe and as far east as Central Asia. The Vikings sailed close to the coast whenever possible, David Barrie celebrates the invention of the sextant three hundred years ago which made open water navigation and exploration possible. The majority of foreign goods we buy are transported by sea and Rose George charts the murky world of today's international shipping. The mystery and danger of the sea is a recurrent theme in the latest crime novel from the Icelandic writer Yrsa Sigurdadottir.

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  • Adair Turner, Charles Calomiris, Harris Irfan & Maggie Gee 24th February 2014

    Mon, 24 Feb 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe discusses money with the American economist Charles Calomiris, who looks back at the history of financial disasters and argues that they're caused more by government failures, than individual bankers. The former head of the Financial Services Authority, Adair Turner, might agree on the need for structural changes, but famously said 'heads should roll' in the banking industry, and has damned much of the banks' trading activities as 'socially useless'. If there has been a moral vacuum at the heart of the banking industry, are there lessons to be learnt from Islamic banking? The financial advisor Harris Irfan believes it's a system that is more equitable and transparent. Seventy five years ago Steinbeck's great depression novel, Grapes of Wrath, was published and Maggie Gee explores its legacy and asks where the wrath is now?

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  • Vanessa Feltz, Susie Orbach, John Cornwell & Turney Duff, 17th Feb 2014

    Mon, 17 Feb 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Andrew Marr discusses the history of confession with the writer John Cornwell, from its origins in the early church to the current day. The psychotherapist Susie Orbach explores whether the confession, both secular and religious, provides psychological relief, and the presenter Vanessa Feltz celebrates its public manifestations, the talk show and radio phone in. The former high-flying Wall Street trader, Turney Duff, is looking for absolution, as he reveals his life of excess.

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  • Harry Collins, Irving Finkel, Colin Blakemore & Hattie Naylor 10th Feb 2014

    Mon, 10 Feb 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe looks at the role of the expert. The curator Irving Finkel decodes the symbols on a 4,000 year old clay tablet and discovers the instructions for the building of an ark. Harry Collins asks why attitudes towards scientific expertise have changed and looks to reassert the special status of science. Colin Blakemore is an expert in neuroscience and vision and he reflects on his part in the documentary, Tim's Vermeer, which explores the relationship between art and science. The playwright Hattie Naylor tells the story of an astronomer going blind who learns to see the wonder of the universe in a different way.

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