Whatcha Doin’, Marshall McLuhan?

BBC Radio 3

“…fascinating programme, sharply put together…” Sunday Times

Ken Hollings looks back at the life and work of academic and 60s counterculture hero Marshall McLuhan and asks how well his theories on the relationship between media and society stand up today.

The programme can be heard via the BBC website here

The Danube Ain’t Blue, It’s Green

BBC Radio 4

The musician and humorist Rainer Hersch reassesses the classical piece ‘Blue Danube’, tracing its history from nineteenth century waltz to Nazi morale booster to the Vienna of today.

Leaving The Fold

BBC World Service

“…sensitive and thoughtful documentary…Telegraph

An exploration through personal testimony of the difficult, often traumatic journey of religious disaffiliation.

The programme can be heard via the BBC website here

Leaving the Fold appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Pick of the Week.

Cutting up the Cut-Up

BBC Radio 4

          “…an innovative delight…a glorious half hour of radio…”  Telegraph

Digital technology has allowed multi-media satirists like Cassetteboy to mock politicians and tv celebs by meticulously ‘cutting up’ or re-editing their broadcast speeches or interviews. The technique’s become something of a phenomenon.

The writer Ken Hollings traces the evolution and impact of recorded voice cut-ups, both as art and satire. Contributors include Cassetteboy and Armando Iannucci.

Cutting Up the Cut-Up can be heard via the BBC website here.

You can also listen to the Cutcast Up-Pod, a special podcast about the techniques some of the artists featured in Cutting Up the Cut-Up use to make their own audio cut-ups.

Fast and Furioso

BBC Radio 4

Speedy fingers on guitars, pianos and violins have bred supercharged performances. Musical skill is rising to new levels across all genres.

In Fast and Furioso pianist and entertainer Rainer Hersch tries to make sense of this new phenomenon. He meets various musical virtuosi and asks if you can describe anything this furious as music or whether it’s just an extreme display of a strange musical gift.

The programme can be heard via the BBC website here.

Fast and Furioso was a BBC Radio 4 Documentary of the Week and appeared on Radio 4’s Pick of the Week.

The Buchan Tradition

BBC Radio 4

“…superb…top documentary…”  The Oldie

The Scottish writer John Buchan may be best known for his thriller The Thirty Nine Steps but he also wrote over a hundred other books, including biographies, poetry, historical novels and short stories. Nicholas Rankin examines Buchan’s literary legacy and the significance of his work today.

The programme can be heard via the BBC website here.

Codename: Madeleine

BBC World Service

Shahidha Bari traces the extraordinary story of Noor Inayat Khan, the World War 2 secret agent deployed by the British Special Operations Executive as a radio operator in Occupied France.

Woolf in the Jungle

BBC Radio 4

“…one of those radio gems…sparkling with insight…” The Spectator

Nicholas Rankin looks back at Leonard Woolf’s time as a colonial officer in Sri Lanka at the turn of the twentieth century, before he married his soon-to-be famous wife Virginia. Rankin finds out how Woolf turned his observations and experiences in then Ceylon into what became a pioneering work of English fiction, The Village in the Jungle.