Monday 10th August
09:00: MI6: A Century In The Shadows: New Enemies
Recommended this previously. Number 3 in the series. Talks about the run up to the Iraq war and the like.
13:30: Round Britain Quiz
Ok, this is an absolute love or hate programme I find. Teams from around Britain have to decipher cryptic connections between disparate concepts. For an example, here’s the first question from this episode.
1) Why might it be unbearable to be in a room with the creator of Herzog, an engraver of 17th century London, and a prominent translator of Montaigne?
20:00: On The Top Deck
Conversations with a few passengers and drivers of buses in London. How has it all changed since under 16s got free travel?
He hears the feelings of many older passengers that things have got out of control; that crime, overcrowding and anti-social behaviour have increased; and that some buses have been turned into mobile youth clubs.
Plus teenagers talk about the unwritten rules of the top deck – who may sit where, what you can get away with and the risks of being robbed.
Tuesday 11th August
09:00: Fry’s English Delight
What more could you want than Stephen Fry discussing the way that the English language is used?
Stephen examines how ‘wrong’ English can become right English. For example, nowadays, more people use the word ‘wireless’ in a computer context than in a radio one. With help from a lexicographer, an educationalist, a Times sub-editor and a judge, Stephen examines the way in which usage changes language.
11:00: The Partisan Coffee House
The Partisan was a continental style coffee house in Soho in the late 50s. Bit of an oral history of the place.
Founded by Raphael Samuel, a young radical historian, the Partisan aimed to recreate a European-style meeting place for politically engaged young people in the wake of such events as the Suez Crisis and the Hungarian Revolution.
Featuring interviews with surviving Partisan participants including historian Eric Hobsbawm and sociologist Stuart Hall.
18:30: Laurence & Gus: Hearts and Minds
Bunch of sketches on the theme ‘Joining In and Opting Out’. Running order of sketches:
1. L&G Joining In Intro – Laurence Howarth & Gus Brown
2. D’Artagnan’s Final Test – Stuart Beale
3. Apologies – John-Luke Roberts
4. The New Recruit – Toby Davies
5. Joining In (Masons) – John Finnemore
6. Butcher’s Convention – John-Luke Roberts
7. SONG Anna Curtain – Isy Suttie & Gavin Osborn
8. The Dads – Laurence Howarth
9. Making Friends 1 – Toby Davies
10. Frog – Simon Kane
11. Why Don’t We Not – Stuart Beale
12. Making Friends 2– Toby Davies
13. The Minister Will – John Finnemore
14. Getting the Gang Together – Jon Hunter & Holly Walsh
15. Making Friends 3– Toby Davies
20:00: The Fraud Capital of Britain
Apparently Thamesmead is the fraud capital of Britain. Never knew that, but this details what’s happened and is happening.
Thamesmead was one of the most exciting new towns to be built in the 1960s, intended as a vibrant, riverside community of 60,000 people in south east London. Forty years on, the area is perhaps best known as a notorious hub of fraud, dubbed ‘Little Lagos’ because of its association with west African criminal gangs.
Phil Kemp investigates how this reputation has stuck. He talks to a former fraudster and meets residents fighting to turn the community around and shake off its crime-ridden image.
Wednesday 12th August
11:00: The Naming Of Genes
All about the way that genes are named in research in fly research. For example, one that reduces the tolerance to ethanol is called Cheap Date. Really quite funny.
Chardonay is a reference to the white blood cells and other wine genes are Chablis, retsina and Chianti. The wine collection is housed at Dr Leonard Zon’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School. When one of Dr Zon’s students discovers a new wine gene, they are awarded with a bottle of that particular wine, although he has got wise to them choosing some of the more rarified and expensive vintages.
Other labs prefer to use Shakespeare characters, musical references or more colloquial terms such as Lush, referring to an increased affection for alcohol. Sometimes there are races to name the gene, and a fight may break out between institutions. Kathy Matthews of the Bloomington Drosophilia Stock Centre in Indiana proudly says that fly geneticists were the first geneticists and therefore in the early days it was like being in the Wild West, but now political correctness is moving in.
16:00: Thinking Allowed
Laurie Taylor talking about the Scottish diaspora, and the history of the British police.
Robert Peel brought the Metropolitan Police Force into being in 1829; it was a centralised body of 3,000 uniformed men expected to patrol designated areas. They were the original ‘Bobbies on the Beat’. However, in an age of mass public protests, Chartism and agitation for electoral reform, the police were founded more as a response to a crisis in public order than in a move to protect private property. The Weekly Dispatch of 1829 warned, ‘The New Police is a military body employed in civil duties … it is a powerful engine in the hands of government, and may be employed for the suppression of public freedom.’ How much has changed?
Laurie also discusses the worldwide influence of the Scottish diaspora and asks why such an enormous number Scots left their country of birth even when times were good. Tom Devine enlightens Laurie ahead of his talk at the Festival of Politics in Edinburgh.
18:30: The Odd Half Hour
Sketch show. Quite good. Not much else to say.