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45 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 15 November 2010

Andrew Marr talks to the forensic psychotherapist Dr Gwen Adshead about the medicalisation of evil. While human nature in a different guise is explored through William Boyd's literary everyman, Logan Mounstuart, who moves from the page to tv screen in the adaptation of his novel, Any Human Heart. The poet Craig Raine compares the composition of a poem to the art of dress-making: "We are waiting till it feels exact,/ ruthless till we feel the fit." And the psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist concludes that the problem with modern society can be found in the left side of our brain.

Producer: Katy Hickman.


    William Boyd’s best-selling novel, Any Human Heart, tells the story of the fictional character Logan Mountstuart, against the backdrop of the 20th century. Written as a journal, the book details both the monumental and the banal; the fated and the random to describe the complex life of one man. William Boyd has now adapted his novel for television and explains how he set about capturing the interior life of his character for the small screen, and how he charted his transformation from the arrogance of youth to the relative contentment of old age.

    Any Human Heart starts on Channel 4 on Sunday 21 November.

    Any Human Heart

    The notion of evil has fascinated mental health specialists for decades, but with its implied moral judgement the term has almost always been medicalised. However, the forensic psychotherapist Dr Gwen Adshead insists the concept of evil has an important role for both patients and specialists. She works at Broadmoor Hospital where she treats some of the most dangerous men in the country. She talks to Andrew Marr about the tension that exists in a high-security psychiatric hospital between treatment and containment; between care and punishment.

    Gwen Adshead is in conversation with A.C. Grayling on the BBC World Service on Wednesday 17 November, as part of the Exchanges at the Frontier series.

    Exchanges at the Frontier

    It has been known for some time that there are differences between the brain’s two hemispheres. According to psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist, these differences are even more profound than was first thought. Moreover, he argues that the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, resulting in a society which has an obsession with bureaucracy, systems of control and over-monitoring. Ultimately McGilchrist contends that this is damaging our mental health and leading to environmental destruction.

    He will be giving a talk at the RSA on Wednesday 17 November at 1.00pm entitled The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.

    RSA - The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

    "Poetry has to be love at first sight.
    Obvious and impossible.
    Ideal. Unhesitating. It strikes you straightaway."
    The poet Craig Raine insists that difficulty is overrated in poetry. He joins Andrew Marr to discuss his new collection How Snow Falls. Among his subjects are the art of the poet, the death of loved ones and the questionable table manners of his fellow Oxford dons. Raine will also be explaining why, although he is ‘married to poetry’, he has ‘fallen in love with prose’.

    How Snow Falls is published by Atlantic Books.

    How Snow Falls


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