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

Recent episodes (10)

  • Altruism

    Mon, 13 Apr 15

    Duration:
    42 mins

    On Start the Week Tom Sutcliffe asks whether altruism is best explained through evolutionary science or moral philosophy. David Sloan Wilson argues for the former and believes altruism is part of group dynamics and social behaviour. William MacAskill may study the moral case for doing good, but is more interested in the practical impact than the heroic sacrifice. The Mexican campaigner Lydia Cacho knows what it means to make enormous personal sacrifices for the sake of others - her exposure of sexual and physical abuse has led to numerous threats on her life. While the composer Tansy Davies attempts to bring to the stage human beings in extremis as she creates an opera based on the events of 9/11. Producer: Luke Mulhall.

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  • Sarah Hall, Adrienne Mayor and John Gray - 6th April 2015.

    Mon, 6 Apr 15

    Duration:
    43 mins

    On Start the Week Tom Sutcliffe talks to Adrienne Mayor about the Amazons, the legendary warrior women who glorified in fighting, hunting and sexual freedom. The Greeks described these wild barbarian archers, and Mayor reveals new archaeological discoveries which prove these women were not merely figments of their imagination. Five hundred years ago wolves roamed throughout Britain's wilderness and in her latest novel, The Wolf Border, Sarah Hall considers the possibility of re-wilding the countryside. Such freedom would have its limits and the wolves' movements would have to be managed and contained, a condition which John Gray considers in his book on human freedom: The Soul of the Marionette.

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  • Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Gillian Beer, Katherine Rundell and Damien Kempf - 30th March 2015

    Mon, 30 Mar 15

    Duration:
    43 mins

    On Start the Week Andrew Marr talks to Robert Douglas-Fairhurst about the life of Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has become an influential part of our cultural heritage but beneath the fairy tale lies the complex history of the author and his subject. Gillian Beer explores the links between Darwin and Carroll and the struggle to define and classify a changing world. The children's author Katherine Rundell enjoys the chaos and ambivalence in the Alice stories, and brings a sense of adventure to her own work. Centuries earlier, as intrepid travellers returned from distant lands with tales of wonder and exotic beasts, fearful hybrid monsters were all the rage as Damien Kempf describes in his Medieval Monsters.

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  • Susan Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Sam Riviere and Nicholas Lovell - 23rd March 2015

    Mon, 23 Mar 15

    Duration:
    42 mins

    On Start the Week Susan Pinker argues that face-to-face contact increases longevity and reduces the risks of illness. She tells Anne McElvoy that although new technology connects more people, it can often leave us more disconnected. However the writer and gamer Nicholas Lovell explains that online gamers have their own sense of community. The philosopher Daniel Dennett considers whether it's possible to create a robot that can rival the human brain, and the poet Sam Riviere has used and manipulated the results of search-engines to compose his new collection: 72 poems marking the 72 days of Kim Kardashian's marriage in 2011.

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  • Jon Ronson, Jennifer Jacquet, Peter Stanford and Michael Buffong.

    Mon, 16 Mar 15

    Duration:
    42 mins

    On Start the Week Tom Sutcliffe discusses shame and betrayal. Jennifer Jacquet argues that modern-day shaming of corporations is a powerful tool to bring about change. However Jon Ronson believes too many lives have been devastated by public shaming and ridicule. Judas is a name synonymous with betrayal but Peter Stanford asks whether in the 21st century he has become the ultimate scapegoat? Arthur Miller's play All My Sons is a classic tale of family, loyalty, guilt, and betrayal and is brought to the stage by the artistic director of Talawa, Michael Buffong.

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  • Cedric Villani, Zia Haider Rahman, Vicky Neale and Morgan Matthews - 9th March 2015

    Mon, 9 Mar 15

    Duration:
    43 mins

    On Start the Week Tom Sutcliffe finds out what goes on inside the mind of a mathematician. Cedric Villani explains the obsession and inspiration which led him to being awarded the Fields Medal, 'the mathematicians' Nobel Prize' in 2010. Zia Haider Rahman combines pure maths, investment banking and human rights in his exploration of how abstract theory can impact on real life. Vicky Neale reveals the beauty of prime numbers, while the director Morgan Matthews finds love in his film x+y at the International Mathematics Olympiad.

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  • 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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