Tom Sutcliffe talks to John Gray and Mary Beard

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On Start the Week Tom Sutcliffe discusses the 'myth' of progress with James Lasdun, Mary Beard, Mark Ravenhill and John Gray.

The poet and novelist James Lasdun talks about his experience of being cyber-stalked and the terrifying opportunities new technology offers. Mary Beard looks back to classical times to see how far the relationship between persecutor and persecuted have changed.

Playwright Mark Ravenhill discusses his comic reworking of Voltaire's 'Candide'. But is everything in the 21st century still for 'the best in the best of all possible worlds?' John Gray argues that ethical progress in human civilisation is easily reversible and yet people need to believe in myths to shape their lives and give them meaning.

Producer: Natalia Fernandez.

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43 minutes

Last on

Mon 1 Apr 2013 21:30

John Gray

John Gray is a philosopher and writer.


The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths is published by Allen Lane.

James Lasdun

James Lasdun is a writer.


Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked is published by Jonathan Cape.


James Lasdun

Mary Beard

Mary Beard is a Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge.


Confronting the Classics is published by Profile Books.


Professor Mary Beard

Mark Ravenhill

Mark Ravenhill is a playwright.


The premiere of Candide, A New Comedy by Mark Ravenhill Inspired by Voltaire plays in repertoire at the RSC’s Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon from 29 August – 26 October.


Role Contributor
PresenterTom Sutcliffe
Interviewed GuestMary Beard
Interviewed GuestMark Ravenhill
Interviewed GuestJohn Gray
ProducerNatalia Fernandez