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  • Portrait of Charles Darwin

    Darwin, My Ancestor

    Ruth Padel, the great great granddaughter of Charles Darwin, delivers a personal perspective on the man and his influences. Listen to the programmes by selecting the links below.

Darwin, My Ancestor

Four programmes - Tuesdays 9.30am, 27 January - 17 February

A uniquely personal touch for the BBC’s Darwin series as his great-great-grand-daughter, the writer Ruth Padel, embarks on a quest to explore four aspects underlying her ancestor’s genius. Ruth looks at Darwin the man and attempts to unravel some of the thoughts and emotions which shaped him. It is her very personal journey to discover more about her ancestor.

Programme 1 - 9.30am Tuesday 27 January 2009

In the first programme Ruth explores how her ancestor developed the sense of wonder and curiosity about nature which would be so crucial to his work.

Among her interviewees are Darwin's biographer Janet Browne, the geologist Richard Fortey, the writer and fellow Darwin descendant Randal Keynes and the Darwin scholar Gillian Beer.

Programme 2 - 9.30am Tuesday 3 February 2009

Ruth explores how her ancestor established relationships as a husband and father and became a family man, able to blend playing with children and working on scientific experiments.

Among her interviewees are Darwin's biographer Janet Browne, the writer and fellow Darwin descendant Randal Keynes and experts from Down House.

Programme 3 - 9.30am Tuesday 10 February 2009

Ruth explores the losses which Darwin experienced in his life and investigates how he coped with them and in what ways they shaped his view of the world.

Among her interviewees are Darwin's biographer Janet Browne, the writer and fellow Darwin descendant Randal Keynes and the former Bishop of Oxford Richard Harries.

Programme 4 - 9.30am Tuesday 17 February 2009

In this final programme, Ruth Padel examines how Darwin made himself into not just a scientist, but a writer as well. She investigates the literary influences which shaped him as a young man and considers how his writing influenced in turn the novelists who would come after him.

 
 


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