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:
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Recent episodes (10)

  • Srdja Popovic, Catherine De Vries, Robert Ford and John Fulljames - 2nd March

    Mon, 2 Mar 15

    Duration:
    43 mins

    On Start the Week Tom Sutcliffe explores the fracturing political landscape and the rise of anti-establishment parties. The politics lecturer Robert Ford explains the increasing support for the SNP, UKIP, and the Greens and what that means for the forthcoming General Election. Catherine De Vries is a Professor of European politics and compares what's happening across the Channel. Srdja Popovic was one of the leaders of Otpor - the movement that played a pivotal role in bringing down Slobodan Milosevic - and he advises how using humour, rice pudding and lego men can change the world. The Royal Opera House is staging Brecht and Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, a satire on money, morality and pleasure-seeking, and its director John Fulljames seeks out the contemporary resonances in this story of consumerism and loss of humanity.

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  • Joseph Nye, Peter Pomerantsev and Anne Robbins - 16th Feb 2015

    Mon, 16 Feb 15

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Andrew Marr looks at what happens when political power fractures and how 'soft power' retains its influence. Peter Pomerantsev spent a decade working in Russia's fast-growing television industry and tells the story of a country changing from communism and nascent democracy to a mafia-state and oligarchy. The political analyst Joseph Nye coined the phrase 'soft power' in 1990 and in his latest essay argues that while America's economy may have been overtaken by China, the US century is far from over. Impressionist art continues to grow in popularity and price-tag, and the curator Anne Robbins looks back on the life of Paul Durand-Ruel, the 19th century art dealer and visionary who foresaw its power and marketability worldwide.

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  • Richard McGuire, Adam Thirlwell, Hannah Starkey and Nick Hubble - 9th Feb 2015

    Mon, 9 Feb 15

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Anne McElvoy talks to the novelist Adam Thirlwell about his latest book, described as 'suburban noir'; its setting "a kind of absence, without a focus or centre". The academic Nick Hubble takes issue with the cultural representation of suburbia and the snobbery surrounding it. When Richard McGuire created his graphic masterpiece 'Here' he collapsed millennia of history into the corner of one suburban house, and the photographer Hannah Starkey looks back at photos from the end of the twentieth century to see what they say about changing Britain.

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  • Patrick Cockburn, Leena Hoffmann, Gerard Russell and Katherine Brown - 2nd Feb 2015

    Mon, 2 Feb 15

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe talks to the journalist Patrick Cockburn about the rise of the Islamic State and the failure of the West's foreign policy in the Middle East. The academic Katherine Brown looks at the long-term strategy of IS by focusing on how it has persuaded Muslim women in the West to join its cause. While Leena Hoffman turns to the workings of another Islamist group - Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria. Gerard Russell is a former British diplomat in the Middle East and he recounts the demise of religious tolerance and the fate of some ancient faiths, now disappearing - from the Mandaeans to the Yazidis.

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  • Daniel Levitin, Frances Leviston, Maggie Boden and Ian Page - 26th Jan 2015

    Mon, 26 Jan 15

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe is joined in the studio by Daniel Levitin, author of New York Times bestseller 'The Organized Mind'. Levitin dismisses the idea of multi-tasking and explores how we can counter information overload. But the poet Frances Leviston with her latest collection, Disinformation, believes her best work is conceived in disorganisation. The cognitive scientist Maggie Boden puts forward the idea that computers can be highly creative, and the conductor Ian Page celebrates the genius of Mozart who wrote his first symphony in London at the age of eight.

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  • Paul Muldoon, Cory Doctorow, Catriona Kelly and Philip Schofield - 19th Jan 2015

    Tue, 20 Jan 15

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe's joined in the studio by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon, Oxford professor of Russian Catriona Kelly, Philip Schofield who is a professor at UCL and director of The Bentham Project and by Canadian blogger and science fiction writer Cory Doctorow. How do we respond, creatively, when people or algorithms put our physical and virtual worlds under surveillance?

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  • Lady Antonia Fraser, Claire van Kampen, Peter Kosminsky, Dan Jones - 12th Jan 2015

    Mon, 12 Jan 15

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe discusses the connection between the Tudors and modern times with author Lady Antonia Fraser, composer Claire van Kampen, director Peter Kosminsky and historian Dan Jones.

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  • Philip Marsden, Ian Bostridge, Joanne Parker and Vicky Crowe - 29th Dec 2014

    Mon, 29 Dec 14

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Andrew Marr discusses why we react so strongly to some places, look for meaning in them and build up stories about them over time. Joining him in the studio are author and travel writer Philip Marsden who has been exploring Cornwall with Sense of Place in mind; Scottish artist Victoria Crowe who's been returning to paint the Pentland Hills for thirty years; singer Ian Bostridge who's performing and analysing Schubert's Winterreise; and lecturer Joanne Parker on the maps we make in our minds, as we draw together places that have the most meaning to us.

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  • Greg Doran, Zoe Cormier, Kurt Lampe and Julia Twigg - 22nd Dec 2014

    Mon, 22 Dec 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe discusses hedonism, from the ultra-hedonists in ancient Greece to the seasonal impulse to indulge. Tom's joined by RSC artistic director Greg Doran who's looking at hedonism in Shakespeare, from Toby Belch to Falstaff; by Prof Julia Twigg who assesses hedonism and asceticism in the contemporary world; by writer Zoe Cormier who's explored the science of hedonism and the hedonism of science; and by Kurt Lampe from Bristol University on the philosophical hedonists of Cyrene, an ancient city in modern day Libya.

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  • Danielle George, Armand Marie Leroi, John Barrow and Misbah Arif - 15th December 2014

    Mon, 15 Dec 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Tom Sutcliffe discusses invention and reinvention in science. He is joined by Danielle George of the University of Manchester, where she is Professor in the Microwave and Communications Systems research group; by John Barrow, Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge; by Professor Armand Marie Leroi of Imperial College London; and by Misbah Arif from UCL Institute of Education. Prof George is giving this year's Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution, Prof Barrow has been looking at the link between maths and creativity; Prof Leroi has been reassessing Aristotle's role as inventor of science; and Misbah Arif has been inspiring children in the science classroom.

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