iPlayer Radio What's New?
Listen
On Now : Book of the Week
B is for Bauhaus: An A-Z of the Modern World - Episode 5
Image for George Orwell

Listen now 30 mins

Listen in pop-out player

George Orwell

Great Lives, Series 28 Episode 8 of 9

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 18 September 2012

Whilst at school, a young Alan Johnson was given some money by a teacher and told to go and buy four copies of any book for the school library. He headed down the Kings Road in Chelsea, stopping only for a sly cigarette along the way. Having already read 'Animal Farm', he picked 'Keep the Aspidistra Flying' and yearned for the life of lead character Gordon Comstock.

In conversation with Matthew Parris, former Home Secretary Alan Johnson explains why Orwell was crucial to his education and political development. He's surprised to learn that Orwell is not on the National Curriculum, and insists that Orwell would have hated I.D. cards. They're joined by Jean Seaton, Professor of Media History at the University of Westminster and Chair of the Orwell Prize.

Orwell was in the news recently when the outgoing Director-General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, turned down a proposal to erect a statue of George Orwell outside BBC Broadcasting House, reportedly telling Joan Bakewell that it was 'far too Left-wing an idea.'

Producers: Beatrice Fenton and Toby Field.

Broadcasts

Featured in...

  • Radio 4 downloads

    A selection of programmes from Radio 4 that are available to download for free.

Free download

  1. Image for Great Lives

    Great Lives

    Biography series exploring the greatest people who ever lived. Matthew Parris interviews an eminent…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.