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The Forum


Bridget Kendall presents an ideas discussion show which tackles the big questions of our age with some of the world's most eminent minds.

Bridget Kendall presents an ideas discussion show which tackles the big questions of our age with some of the world's most eminent minds.
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London, United Kingdom




Bridget Kendall presents an ideas discussion show which tackles the big questions of our age with some of the world's most eminent minds.




Life Support: The Story of the Red Cross

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was formed in 1863 and its objectives have been to ensure protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict ever since. It's a story about the often challenging and sometimes controversial development of global humanitarian intervention, the Geneva Conventions and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Bridget Kendall and guests Dr Hugo Slim, Professor Andrew Thompson, Caroline Morehead and Syrian Canadian aid worker Layal Horanieh...

Duration: 00:39:49

Stanislavsky: Founder of Modern Acting

It was at the Moscow Art Theatre from the 1890’s onwards that Stanislavsky developed an innovative acting system that demanded actors really inhabit the role they are playing. This then inspired Method acting, which originated in the United States, and whose disciples range from Marlon Brando to Marilyn Monroe to the majority of big stars around the world today - some of whom have taken the system to an alarming extreme. This programme explores Stanislavsky's life and legacy, and also asks...

Duration: 00:39:52

Nikola Tesla’s Electric Dreams

The extraordinary life and prophetic inventions of the Serbian-American engineer Nikola Tesla. Bridget Kendall and guests discuss not just Tesla's key contributions to the design of modern electrical appliances and systems but also his dream of a worldwide system of free wireless electricity, his ambitious scheme to build huge towers to make it happen and why in 1917 his plans and the first tower at Wardenclyffe near New York City came crashing down. Bridget is joined by Jasmina Vujic,...

Duration: 00:39:38

Adam Smith: Father of Capitalism

Adam Smith, a moral philosopher and economist, was born in Scotland, the son of a customs officer. In 1776 he published a book called 'An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations’. Smith basically argued against the over regulation of commerce and said if people were set free to better themselves, it would produce economic prosperity for all. To discuss his work and legacy are Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Intellectual History Vivienne Brown, the UK Labour Party...

Duration: 00:39:47

The First Skyscrapers

From Chicago to Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur to Dubai, the towering modern skyscraper has become a global icon. Touching the clouds worldwide and shaping our cities’ skylines, these bold structures have long captured the imagination and stirred debate. But where did the story start? In this programme, Bridget Kendall and guests look to America to explore the foundations of some of the world’s very first skyscrapers. Discussing cities such as Chicago and New York, and landmarks such as The Empire...

Duration: 00:39:17

Rain or Shine? A Short History of the Weather Forecast

How did we get from not having any reliable way of predicting the weather just 150 years ago, to today's accurate, tailor-made forecasts for places as small as a village? Bridget Kendall and guests trace the history of meteorology, from its first steps as an aid to quicker trans-Atlantic shipping to the latest methods which can help anticipate weather events as short-lived as a tornado. Bridget is joined by Kristine Harper, a former US Navy forecaster and now a history professor at Florida...

Duration: 00:39:49

The Reformation: A World Divided

500 years ago, in a remote part of Germany, a little known friar called Martin Luther set in train a series of events that led to the permanent splintering of Western Christianity. It changed the political and social landscape in a way that still resonates today all over the world. The Forum comes from Trinity Hall, part of Cambridge University in the UK, with historian Professor Ulinka Rublack, Professor of English Literature Brian Cummings, Professor of Theology Alec Ryrie and the...

Duration: 00:48:29

Detroit: Migration Motors & Music

Bridget Kendall and guests examine the story of Detroit. Founded in 1701 by a French man named Cadillac, this American city became famous in the twentieth century for its automobile industry, the music of Motown, and the great unrest seen on the city’s streets in the summer of 1967. In this programme, Bridget and guests discuss the city’s changing fortunes and its fascinating history, from the role played by some residents in the ‘Underground Railroad’ of the nineteenth century, to its...

Duration: 00:40:02

The Real Pirates of the Caribbean

They are familiar figures in folklore and popular culture, swashbuckling across the silver screen, snarling on stage as pantomime villains or committing daring deeds in childhood literary classics. But who were the real life pirates of the Caribbean and how much of what we think we know about them is based on fact? Rajan Datar is joined by maritime historian David Cordingly, academic and author Margarette Lincoln and author Laura Sook Duncombe who has written about pirate women....

Duration: 00:39:43

Rumi: Sufi poet of love

From East to West, Rumi is one of the most universally respected poets of all time. A 13th century Islamic scholar, his encounter with a wandering dervish transformed him into a globally celebrated mystic and poet of love who has crossed borders of time, faith, language and geography. Rajan Datar discusses his life, work and legacy with scholars Fatemeh Keshavarz and Omid Safi, and biographer Brad Gooch. Image: Pray...Mount Nemrut, Commagene Credit: Getty Images/tugbahasbal

Duration: 00:39:26

The Story of the Guitar

Bridget Kendall and guests explore the history of the guitar which stretches back over several thousand years. From early instruments made of tortoise shells the guitar emerged as one of the great cultural crossover instruments, encompassing folk traditions around the world, classical music and spine-tingling rock riffs. With guitar master John Williams, composer and guitar expert Professor Stephen Goss, Turkish guitarist Cenk Erdogan and French guitar maker Celine Camerlynck. (Photo: Boy...

Duration: 00:39:57

The Rise and Fall of Julius Caesar

Bridget Kendall and guests examine the rise and fall of Julius Caesar, the Roman politician and general, who conquered vast areas of Europe, defied his political peers, and acquired great levels of power, becoming ‘dictator’ in Rome. His behaviour, battling and bold reforms shook the late Roman Republic to its very core. From Caesar’s early steps on the political career ladder in ancient Rome, to his affair with Egypt’s Cleopatra and his assassination by his colleagues, Bridget and guests...

Duration: 00:39:39

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Few novels have had such a huge impact on modern popular culture as Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The story and its terrifying main character have fascinated readers, critics, writers and film-makers ever since it was first published in 1897. Across the world there are fan clubs devoted to the fictional Romanian aristocrat who brings terror to Victorian England. Bridget Kendall is joined by Dracula expert Dacre Stoker, gothic studies specialist Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlainn and Dr Sam George from the...

Duration: 00:39:33

Secrets of the Great Pyramid

The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is one of the greatest wonders of the ancient World. It is the largest pyramid ever built and even today, with advanced satellite and thermal imaging and other high tech science, we don’t know everything about the pyramid- exactly what’s inside or how it was built. To explore the history of The Great Pyramid - also known as the Pyramid of Khufu, after the Pharaoh who commissioned it as his tomb, Rajan Datar is joined by Professor Salima Ikram,...

Duration: 00:39:52

First Impressions: The Printing Press

When the fifteenth century German entrepreneur Johannes Gutenberg pioneered the printing press, he made an indelible mark on the history of communication. Here was a way to print pages in high quality and high quantities, using methods more efficient than had ever been seen before. Rajan Datar and guests explore the story of how the printing press was born, and how it changed our world - from the birth of the modern book to the rise of the information society, and the transformation of...

Duration: 00:39:46

The First Heart Transplant

The race to carry out the first human heart transplant 50 years ago was as dramatic as the race between the Americans and the Soviets to the moon. Four surgeons were days away from completing the operation, but it was the outsider, the South African Christiaan Barnard who became the winner, sparking a media frenzy that made him famous overnight all over the world. In this programme, Rajan Datar takes a look at the history of organ transplantation with particular focus on the first human...

Duration: 00:40:09

Picasso: Artist of Reinvention

Pablo Picasso is commonly regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, changing our way of seeing with his radical innovation and revolutionary approach. As pioneer of Cubism, godfather to the Surrealists, and creator of the enduring anti-war painting 'Guernica', he produced thousands of paintings in his lifetime, not to mention his sculptures, ceramics, stage designs, poetry and plays. Rajan Datar discusses his life and work with curators Ann Temkin and Katharina...

Duration: 00:39:27

Making Scents: The Story of Perfume

Throughout history, fragrance has been used to scent both the body and our surroundings. With just one drop, perfume has the potential to stir memories, awaken the senses and even influence how we feel about ourselves. But what’s the story behind this liquid luxury in a bottle, now found on the shelves of bathrooms and department stores worldwide? In this programme, Bridget Kendall and guests explore the modern history of perfume, including its flowering in France and the explosive...

Duration: 00:39:52

Total Eclipse of the Sun

A total eclipse of the Sun is a spectacular cosmic event that can even be life changing. The 21st August 2017 sees one of the most accessible eclipses for years, an all-American eclipse crossing the United States for more than two thousand miles from northwest to southeast. And yet throughout the centuries, the sight of a total eclipse - seeing the sun totally blacked out by the moon – has often caused fear and turmoil. Joining Rajan Datar to find out more about the history of eclipses and...

Duration: 00:40:09

The One Thousand and One Nights

The One Thousand and One Nights are a collection of fantastical stories of flying carpets, magic and genies whose ancient origins go back to the 7th century or earlier. The tales are told by Scheherazade who uses the power of storytelling night after night to stop her Sultan husband from beheading her ... These highly influential stories were brought to the West in the 18th century, when more tales like Aladdin and Ali Baba were said to have been added by the French translator, and it has...

Duration: 00:40:13