iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Time to Rethink What is 'Normal'?

Listen now 44 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Time to Rethink What is 'Normal'?

44 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 19 July 2014

Where is the dividing line between ‘being a bit different’ and having a mental illness that needs treatment and professional help? Bridget Kendall is joined by novelist Jerry Pinto, who has turned personal experiences of growing up with a bipolar relative into an award-winning book, Professor of Disability and Human Development Lennard Davis, and autism research pioneer Professor Uta Frith.

(Photo: Shan Pillay/ BBC)


4 items
  • Jerry Pinto

    Jerry Pinto: Photo by Chirodeep Chaudhuri

    After spending ten years free-lancing, teaching mathematics writing television scripts and audio-documentaries and indulging in sundry other acts of journalism, Jerry Pinto got a ‘real job’ with an alleged media company that was actually into selling space and was only peripherally interested in news. He left to join a travel dotcom and then returned to magazine journalism as Executive Editor of Man’s World magazine. Later, he joined Paprika Media, the publishing house that brings out Time Out Mumbai and Time Out Delhi. His first novel Em and The Big Hoom has won the Hindu Literary Prize and the Crossword Prize for fiction. 

    Photo: Chirodeep Chaudhuri

  • Lennard Davis

    Lennard J. Davis: Photo courtesy of Lennard Davis:  http://www.lennarddavis.com/home.html

    Lennard J. Davis is Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he is also Professor of Disability and Human Development in the School of Applied Health Sciences, and Professor of Medical Education in the Medical School. His latest book is The End of Normal: Identity in a Biocultural Era. His other works on disability include Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body and My Sense of Silence. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for his book A Cultural History of Obsession: From Fascination to Pathology. 

  • Uta Frith

    Uta Frith: Photo by BBC (Shan Pillay)

    Uta Frith is Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development at University College London and Visiting Professor at Aarhus University. During her career spanning 50 years she has been concerned with finding out the biological basis of neuro-developmental disorders.  In her book Autism – Explaining the Enigma Uta first presented and elaborated on the idea that the social impairments of autism were due to a lack of our automatic tendency to attribute mental states to each other, also known as ‘mentalizing’ or ‘having a Theory of Mind’. Uta has also translated Hans Asperger’s seminal paper and set it into the context of autism which led to the rise of interest in Asperger Syndrome.

  • 60 Second Idea to Change the World

    Students Socialising: Photo credit BBC
    Lennard Davis says that for those of us who occasionally can't remember proper names, as in book and movie titles, actors, acquaintances and the like, we should adopt a new convention.  When that moment of non-remembering occurs, we should be allowed to fill the void with the two-word expression:  ‘Proper Name’,  or ‘PN’.  Everyone knows that the actual name will surface within minutes if not seconds, so the conversation can continue to flow without embarrassment or boredom.



  1. Image for Forum - A World of Ideas

    Forum - A World of Ideas

    The world's most remarkable minds tackle a big idea. Podcast weekly on Saturdays.

  2. Image for Forum - Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World

    Forum - Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World

    An imaginative, quirky solution to a challenge of our age. Podcast weekly on Saturdays.

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.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss