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Start the Week


Start The Week sets the cultural agenda for the week ahead, with high-profile guests discussing the ideas behind their work in the fields of art, literature, film, science, history, society and politics.

Start The Week sets the cultural agenda for the week ahead, with high-profile guests discussing the ideas behind their work in the fields of art, literature, film, science, history, society and politics.
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London, United Kingdom




Start The Week sets the cultural agenda for the week ahead, with high-profile guests discussing the ideas behind their work in the fields of art, literature, film, science, history, society and politics.




Peter Carey on legacies of the past

The prize-winning novelist Peter Carey tackles head on for the first time the legacies of colonialism in his native Australia in his latest book, A Long Way From Home. He talks to Tom Sutcliffe about the damage and loss for the Stolen Generations. The writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch believes Britain is also a nation in denial about the past and present, and argues it's time to talk more openly about race and identity. The Dutch journalist Geert Mak once travelled the breadth of Europe to...

Duration: 00:41:51

Votes for Women

British women first got the vote a century ago this year. The social historian Jane Robinson tells Andrew Marr the suffrage movement is known for the actions of its militant wing and their call for 'deeds not words'. But thousands of ordinary women, known as suffragists, campaigned successfully to have their voices heard too. Political theorist Christopher Finlay asks whether violent political protest is ever justified, while the artist Peter Kennard explains how he was inspired by the...

Duration: 00:42:21

Who governs Britain?

The former President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, questions how senior judges became cast as 'enemies of the people' last year. He tells Andrew Marr how the judiciary has grown more powerful and ready to challenge the government over the last half century - while professor of politics Tim Bale explores whether parliament has at the same time become weaker. Cicero was proscribed as an enemy of the people in the 1st century BC. Robert Harris's Cicero trilogy has now been dramatized...

Duration: 00:41:49

The power and beauty of objects.

A mysterious doll's house is at the centre of Jessie Burton's novel The Miniaturist, now dramatised for television. Burton tells Tom Sutcliffe about the claustrophobic world she created amidst the wealthy merchant traders of 17th century Holland. The economist Jonathan Haskel points to the quiet revolution that has taken place since then, as developed countries now invest more in intangible assets like design and software, than in tangible goods like machinery and computers. He asks what...

Duration: 00:41:37

Russia, religion and the Middle East

Totalitarianism has reclaimed Russia. So journalist Masha Gessen tells Andrew Marr. Her book 'The Future is History' follows four figures born as the Soviet Union crumbled and whose new-found freedom is being slowly eradicated. The Soviet Union banned religion but ranked citizens by "nationality" - with Jews near the bottom and ethnic Russians at the top. Dominic Rubin explores the country's relationship with religion in 'Russia's Muslim Heartlands', while Oxford professor Roy Allison...

Duration: 00:42:38

Finland at 100

It is a hundred years since Finland declared independence following the Russian Revolution. Amol Rajan asks what is unique about Europe's most sparsely populated country. The conductor Sakari Oramo celebrates Finland's greatest composer Sibelius, while the curator Sointu Fritze looks at the work of Tove Jansson, famed for her cartoon creatures the Moomins as well as her daring political cartoons and images of the sea. The writer Horatio Clare travels around the frozen seas of Finland on...

Duration: 00:42:10

Blood, guts and swearing robots

Victorian hospitals were known as 'houses of death' and their surgeons, who never washed their hands, were praised for their brute strength and speed. Lindsey Fitzharris tells Andrew Marr about the pioneering British surgeon Joseph Lister who transformed his profession. Anaesthesia was discovered in the 1840s but Professor Lesley Colvin says we're still learning about the complex relationship between the brain and the perception of pain, as well as understanding the potential harm of the...

Duration: 00:42:29

Anger and deprivation

'I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore'. These are the words of the news anchor-man in the film Network, now adapted for the stage. The director Ivo van Hove tells Francine Stock how this satire on global capitalism and chasing ratings with populist rants has such relevance today. Composer Nico Muhly also looks to Hollywood, adapting Hitchock's film Marnie - and the novel that inspired it - for the English National Opera. Born into poverty, Marnie becomes trapped in a web...

Duration: 00:41:48

Heart of Darkness: Conrad and Orwell

Andrew Marr discusses the work of Joseph Conrad with his biographer Maya Jasanoff. Conrad wrote about the underbelly of colonialism, terrorism, immigration and isolation and Jasanoff looks at the turn of the twentieth century through the lens of his life and work. While Conrad's Nostromo reflected the changing world order with the emerging dominance of the US and global capitalism, the FT columnist Gideon Rachman looks at the decline of the West amidst the growing power of the East, as...

Duration: 00:42:01

Animals: tamed, exploited and resurrected

Amol Rajan discusses the uneasy interaction between the animal kingdom and humans. The anthropologist Alice Roberts looks back to the moment hunter-gatherers changed their relationship with other species and began to tame them, paving the way for our civilisation. Gaia Vince visits the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica where local people have found a way to both exploit and protect a natural resource, the olive ridley sea turtle. Re-introducing native species can be fraught with difficulties:...

Duration: 00:42:04

Living with the Gods

Are humans distinguished not just by a capacity to think, but by our need to believe - where the search is not so much for my place in the world, but for our place in the cosmos? Neil MacGregor, the former Director of the British Museum, discusses Living with the Gods, his Radio 4 series, in which he focuses on the expression of shared beliefs, across thousands of years, and around the globe, through objects from the Museum's collections and beyond. The curator Jennifer Sliwka looks at a...

Duration: 00:41:44

The End of War?

War became illegal in 1928 with the Paris Peace Pact that created a new world order, according to the lawyer and academic Oona Hathaway. She tells Andrew Marr how this pivotal moment launched a new international system in which sanctions replaced gunboat diplomacy. Although inter-state wars have fallen since World War Two, intra-state conflicts have risen: Elisabeth Kendall explains the dire situation of one of the Arab's poorest countries, Yemen. The Norwegian ambassador to the UK Mona...

Duration: 00:42:00

Russian Revolution a hundred years on

The Russian Revolution a hundred years on. To mark the centenary Tom Sutcliffe is in Moscow to discuss the forces that led to the Revolution, and to find out how far Russians today embrace or reject such a pivotal moment in their country's history. He talks to a senior member of President Putin's political party, Konstantin Kosachev. And he is joined by the journalists Mikhail Zygar and Arkady Ostrovsky and the Director of the Tretyakov Gallery, Zelfira Tregulova. Producer: Katy Hickman.

Duration: 00:41:05

Power, the people and the Party

Live from Manchester during the Conservative Party conference, Sir David Cannadine argues that Victorian Britain was never far from revolution. He tells Andrew Marr how a century seen as conservative was actually troubled by political upheaval. Britain may have been the world's greatest empire but it was riven by self-doubt. Novelist Anthony Powell depicted the turbulence of the 20th century in his series A Dance to the Music of Time. Powell is seen as the arch-conservative, but biographer...

Duration: 00:41:36

Hard work and sweet slumber

Francine Stock talks to the sleep scientist Matthew Walker whose latest book is a clarion call to get more sleep, as the latest research confirms that sleeping less than 6 or 7 hours has a devastating impact on physical and mental health. Armed with proof that shift work is detrimental for workers, political strategist Matthew Taylor considers what responsibility companies have to their staff in making sure they get enough sleep and whether since industrialisation modern working practises...

Duration: 00:42:09

Orhan Pamuk on competing myths

Andrew Marr talks to the Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk about his latest novel, The Red-Haired Woman. Set in Istanbul in the 20th century, it's a family drama which weaves together competing foundation myths of patricide and filicide and pits tradition against modernity; east and west. There are more competing ideologies in Jon Sopel's 'Notes from Trump's America' which paints a picture of a country riven by divisions between black and white, rich and poor, the urban and the rural....

Duration: 00:42:18

Les Misérables: novel of the century?

On Start the Week Andrew Marr talks to David Bellos about Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. Bellos argues that this 19th century masterpiece is the novel of the century, which demonstrates the drive to improve human life both morally and materially. Dinah Birch compares what was happening in literature on the other side of the channel, reflecting the breadth of society in Britain. Simon Callow makes the case for the composer of the century, Richard Wagner, while the singer Barbara Hannigan...

Duration: 00:41:51

From Darwin to Big Data with Richard Dawkins

On Start the Week Andrew Marr asks whether scientists have failed in their task to communicate their work to the wider public. The 'passionate rationalist' Richard Dawkins has spent his career trying to illuminate the wonders of nature and challenge what he calls faulty logic. But he wonders whether Darwin would consider his legacy now with 'a mixture of exhilaration and exasperation'. The child psychologist Deborah Kelemen has been working with young children to find out what they make of...

Duration: 00:42:09

Power: Fleet Street and Whitehall

On Start the Week Tom Sutcliffe talks to the former Conservative MP and last Governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China. In a candid memoir Patten looks back at his political life. He lost his seat in the 1992 election, despite the Sun newspaper claiming the Tory landslide with the headline, "It's The Sun Wot Won It". James Graham's new play goes back to the birth of this ruthless 'red top' tabloid, when a...

Duration: 00:41:58

Health Inequality: TB, Trauma and Technology

On Start the Week Andrew Marr explores killer diseases and the health of the world. Kathryn Lougheed focuses on one of the smartest killers humanity has ever faced - TB. It's been around since the start of civilisation and has learnt how to adapt to different environments, so today more than one million people still die of the disease every year. As with many diseases it's the poor who are most at risk. But Sir Michael Marmot explains how it's not just those at the bottom who are adversely...

Duration: 00:42:12

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