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Start the Week

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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.




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

Crossing the Boundaries of Gender, Race and Class

On Start the Week Kirsty Wark asks what it is to be a man, and to belong to a tribe. Thomas Page McBee has sought answers as he's transitioned from female to male, and explored how far the violent men of his youth are models of masculinity. Fatherhood and aggression take centre stage in Gary Owen's play, Killology, in which he's created a video game that allows players to live out their darkest fantasies. The poet Kayo Chingonyi moved to Britain when he was a child and in his debut...

Duration: 00:42:21

Inventing the Self: Fact and Fiction

On Start the Week, Andrew Marr explores where truth ends and invention begins in the story of the self. The theatre director Robert Lepage has spent decades creating other worlds on stage; now his one-man show recreates his childhood home in 1960s Quebec, with truth at the mercy of memory. Rebecca Stott has written the story of her family that her father left unfinished, including the Christian cult that inspired their devotion, until doubt led them astray. Miranda Doyle casts doubt on the...

Duration: 00:42:15

Live from the Hay Festival

Tom Sutcliffe presents Start the Week live from the Hay Festival. He is joined by award winning authors Colm Tóibín, Sebastian Barry and Meg Rosoff to discuss how they breathe new life into stories from the past, from Greek tragedy to civil war, while the psychologist Jan Kizilhan explains how a history of trauma and genocide has been woven into the story of his Yazidi community. Producer: Katy Hickman.

Duration: 00:42:14

India's Rise?

On Start the Week Andrew Marr discusses India. The Indian MP Shashi Tharoor looks back at the history of the Raj in Inglorious Empire, a searing indictment of the British and the impact on his country. The journalist Adam Roberts travels from Kerala to the Himalayas to find out whether a resurgent, vibrant India is about to realise its potential, and whether the belief in future prosperity will cover over the cracks which have divided the nation in the past. The Prime Minister, Narendra...

Duration: 00:41:04

Post-Truth and Revolution

On Start the Week Amol Rajan seeks the truth in a post-truth world. The political columnist Matthew D'Ancona paints a dystopian picture in which trust has evaporated, conspiracy theories thrive, and feelings trump fact. He argues that the very foundations of democracy are under threat. Claire Wardle is hoping her organisation First Draft will equip users to verify the sources of stories and tackle misinformation online. But what happens when the peddlers of misinformation are...

Duration: 00:41:58

Kate Tempest: Everyday Epic

On Start the Week Andrew Marr talks to the writer and performer Kate Tempest about her desire to bring out the epic in everyday lives, and to show the poetry in lived experience. Tracy Chevalier has taken the themes of Shakespeare's Othello and transported them to a US elementary school, while Hanif Kureishi mines the dark world of jealousy and revenge in his latest novel. Lewis Hyde looks back to mythical mischief makers from Hermes to Loki to celebrate modern day rule breakers as the...

Duration: 00:41:46

Wendell Berry: The Natural World

On Start the Week Andrew Marr talks to the American writer, poet and farmer Wendell Berry. In his latest collection of essays, The World-Ending Fire, Berry speaks out against the degradation of the earth and the violence and greed of unbridled consumerism, while evoking the awe he feels as he walks the land in his native Kentucky. His challenge to the false call of progress and the American Dream is echoed in the writing of Paul Kingsnorth, whose book Confessions of a Recovering...

Duration: 00:41:30

Eliza Carthy and Nicholas Hytner: Art for All

On Start the Week Kirsty Wark asks whether it's possible to produce art for all. She's joined by the former Director of the National Theatre Nicholas Hytner who looks at the balancing act between art and show business but argues for the power of a national theatre to become part of the cultural bloodstream. The designer Lucienne Day made the link between mass production and fine art, and the curator of an exhibition of her fabrics, Jennifer Harris, says her abstract designs could be seen...

Duration: 00:41:42

The Age of Spectacle?

On Start the Week Andrew Marr explores the fashions and fads in architecture and food over the last fifty years. In 'The Age of Spectacle' the design critic Tom Dyckhoff explores how consumer culture has impacted on the building of our cities, from iconic architecture on a grand scale to soulless shopping centres and designer homes. The average life span of a family home in Japan is just 25 years: although the architect Takeshi Hayatsu regrets the destruction of so much of Japan's...

Duration: 00:42:10

Christianity: Luther's Legacy

On Start the Week Andrew Marr looks back 500 years to the moment Martin Luther challenged the power and authority of the Catholic Church. Peter Stanford brings to light the character of this lowly born German monk in a new biography. Prior to Luther, for a thousand years the Catholic Church had been one of the greatest powers on earth, but in her study of the Italian Renaissance the writer Sarah Dunant reveals how bloated, corrupt and complacent it had become. Dunant also explores the role...

Duration: 00:41:42

Dissecting Death

On Start the Week Tom Sutcliffe delves into the world of transhumanism, a movement whose aim is to use technology to transform the human condition. The writer Mark O'Connell has explored this world of cyborgs, utopians and the futurists looking to live forever. Raymond Tallis seeks to wrest the mysteries of time away from the scientists in his reflections on the nature of transience and mortality. Laura Tunbridge listens to the late works of Beethoven, Schumann and Mahler to ask whether...

Duration: 00:41:44

Sayeeda Warsi: Muslims in Britain

On Start the Week Amol Rajan talks to Sayeeda Warsi about how far Britain's Muslim community is viewed as 'the enemy within'. As the child of Pakistani immigrants who became Britain's first Muslim Cabinet Minister, Baroness Warsi is in a unique position to explore questions of cultural difference, terrorism, and 'British values', and to explore how society can become more integrated. The economist Paul Collier has spent his career looking for solutions to seemingly intractable problems: in...

Duration: 00:41:59

The Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead

Start the Week is at the Free Thinking Festival at Sage, Gateshead where Tom Sutcliffe explores the pace and rhythm of life - from the heart-stopping moments to the sleep of the innocent. His guests include Russell Foster whose work on circadian rhythms sheds light on the mechanisms of our body clocks and sleep. The crime writer Denise Mina is more interested in counting the bodies than counting sheep, as she revels in the psychological undercurrents in her latest thriller. The cardiac...

Duration: 00:51:10

Sidney Nolan: Life and Work

On Start the Week Andrew Marr talks to the poet Elaine Feinstein about her work from over half a century of writing, from her early poems of feminist rebellion to reflections on middle age and marriage, to wry amusement on the fallibility of memory. The curator Rebecca Daniels looks back at the life and work of one of Australia's most celebrated modern painters, Sidney Nolan, and challenges the audience to look beyond his early depictions of the outback and the outlaw Ned Kelly, to see a...

Duration: 00:42:18

Play and Creativity

On Start the Week, Tom Sutcliffe considers the relationship between play and creativity. Steven Johnson examines how the human appetite for amusement has driven innovation throughout history. Writer and theatre maker Stella Duffy has revived Joan Littlewood's 1960s concept of The Fun Palace- a 'laboratory of fun' for all. The economist Tim Harford advocates embracing disorder in every area of our lives, from messy desks to messy dating. Journalist and former cricketer Ed Smith believes...

Duration: 00:44:16

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