Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

The Brits Who Designed the Modern World

Brenda Emmanus meets and profiles ten great living British designers, to find out what inspires them and explore how they have responded to society's evolving tastes.

If there were an Olympic league table for design, Britain would be right at the top. Since the Second World War, British designers have revolutionised our homes, our workplaces, our roads and our public institutions.

In November 2016, the Design Museum opened its new £83m home in Kensington. To mark this great moment for British design, BBC Arts profiles ten great living British designers.

Arts reporter Brenda Emmanus meets and profiles our 'Top 10', to find out what inspires them to make such phenomenal objects. She reveals how designers have responded to society's evolving tastes, from the brash 60s modernism of Margaret Calvert's road signs through to the colourful technology of Rick Dickinson's ZX Spectrum. She also meets Britain's most prolific designer, Sir Kenneth Grange (Intercity 125, bus shelters, the Kenwood Chef...), as well as Andrew Ritchie, who gave the world the Brompton Bike.

And we also hear from an illustrious panel of celebrities whose lives have been transformed by British design, including, Jeremy Paxman, Pete Waterman, Ade Adepitan and Jenny Eclair.

1 hour

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:21

    Johnson Mkhalali

    Asambeni Sonke

  • 00:28

    Kylie Minogue

    Can't Get You Out Of My Head

  • 00:46

    The Hollywood Edge Sound Effects Library

    Very Distant City Traffic Drone With Sparse Metal Movement


Role Contributor
Presenter Brenda Emmanus
Series Producer John Mullen
Executive Producer Janet Lee


  • Sat 26 Nov 2016 21:30
  • Sat 26 Nov 2016 22:00
  • Sat 10 Dec 2016 00:05
  • Sat 10 Dec 2016 00:35
  • Wed 11 Jan 2017 02:05
  • Wed 24 Oct 2018 00:30
  • Mon 5 Oct 2020 22:10

BBC Arts

BBC Arts

The best of British art and culture at your fingertips