The 'In Our Time' podcasts

paranoid marvin

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Anyone else listen to these? Tremendously interesting with Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss a new subject. Very informative and a lot is packed into 45 minutes or so. And the range of topics is diverse, but usually very interesting. Hundreds of them are available via BBC player.
 

Simbelmynë

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I’ve been listening for the last few years, really engaging and in depth discussions.

I recently listened to a real heated debate about whether during the industrial revolution Britain has its entrepreneurs to thank for its leading role and success, or its natural resources. There were many other factors of course but it’s interesting to hear conflicting opinions. The episode was around a decade old I think and I know attitudes have shifted overtime to this view point about good and bad luck - geographically speaking - when it comes to the reasons behind greater prosperity in certain parts of the world. Britain’s abundant coal was pointed to here. Melvyn was having none of it! Though I tend to agree with the more modern viewpoint.

The BBC seems to get a bad rap at the moment but they’re a great source for cultural programs in my opinion - tv, radio and podcasts. Better than what I’ve seen of the over dramatised history docs on Netflix anyway.
 

Aquilonian

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One of the few really good programmes on Radio 4, along with Inside Science, Last Word, and The Moral Maze. Tracks (a long sci-fi drama) was also good, with appropriately atmospheric music- usually I find the music irritating (other than in music programmes obviously!) Although the ending of the whole series felt implausibly neat to me.

It's amazing how Melvyn Bragg gets his head around such a diversity of subjects, totally different each week, and how he manages to prevent his academic guests from waffling and wasting time and gets them to explain things comprehensibly to the non-specialist listener. He's 81 by the way.
 

paranoid marvin

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One of the few really good programmes on Radio 4, along with Inside Science, Last Word, and The Moral Maze. Tracks (a long sci-fi drama) was also good, with appropriately atmospheric music- usually I find the music irritating (other than in music programmes obviously!) Although the ending of the whole series felt implausibly neat to me.

It's amazing how Melvyn Bragg gets his head around such a diversity of subjects, totally different each week, and how he manages to prevent his academic guests from waffling and wasting time and gets them to explain things comprehensibly to the non-specialist listener. He's 81 by the way.

Yes , he certainly has a unique way of dealing with his guests. He has an agenda and 40 minutes to try and get in all the main points without his guests veering off course or getting ahead of themselves. Quite difficult when his guests are knowledgeable and clearly enjoy the subjects they are speaking about.

It's amazing just how much can learn about a subject within such a short period of time.
 

hitmouse

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Yes , he certainly has a unique way of dealing with his guests. He has an agenda and 40 minutes to try and get in all the main points without his guests veering off course or getting ahead of themselves. Quite difficult when his guests are knowledgeable and clearly enjoy the subjects they are speaking about.

It's amazing just how much can learn about a subject within such a short period of time.
If you download the podcasts they often include the conversation that continues after the show has finished. I agree, sometimes requires very good chairing to get some nerdy academic types to stay on message and on time, and to remain comprehensible to an intelligent public. Bragg must have a good team to help prepare for each show.

He has quite an eclectic background. For years he presented the Southbank Show, which was a highbrow arts magazine. He also used to write for Punch, many years ago, plus he was a successful playwright and novelist.
 

paranoid marvin

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Some of them I get absolutely lost with, especially the more scientific ones. Last week's (Longitude) was very interesting and this week's (Monkey Magic) promises to be even better. My favourite episodes are mainly the ones regarding history, books and space (the Dark Space and Dark Matter episodes are both very good. In relation to books the Frankenstein discussion is very good.
 

AlexH

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I've listened to a few, but there are so many great podcasts (many from the BBC) that there's no way I'll ever keep up. Two favourites are Crowd Science and 50 Animals That Made Us Smarter.

I imagine it's interesting listening to some views from when In Our Time started, so I've just downloaded 20 year old episodes about IT and climate change. There's one from 1999 on the monarchy - I wonder how thoughts on that have changed (though I'm not interested enough to listen to that one).
 

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