You’ve unwrapped all the presents, eaten and drunk far too much, and you’ve spent all your money in the sales. There are still a few days to go before New Year’s Eve, and if you can’t stand the radio and TV re-running the events of 2011, this may be just the moment for listening to some intelligent conversation.
If so, here’s a link to Shakespeare-related episodes of Melvyn Bragg’s Radio 4 programme In Our Time, each one with a particular theme and a handful of experts to discuss it. Stuart Ian Burns has done a creditable job of gathering these together. I was amazed to see how many there are, and what a range of subjects they cover. The contributors are always good communicators and the programmes make fascinating listening.
If you want something more general, my favourite quick fix is the radio series A Point of View, which broadcasts on Friday evening with a Sunday morning repeat. The programme fills the slot taken for decades by the veteran journalist Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America from which he retired only weeks before his death in 2004. A Point of View has a number of contributors, but for my money is specially good when the speaker is my heroine Lisa Jardine. In a mere ten minutes she moves from history to science, music, art and literature, always relating her subject to something personal or current, with elegance and wit. Inevitably, Shakespeare often gets a passing mention.
I’m aware that the BBC’s Listen Again is not accessible for people outside the UK so I’m pleased to be able to recommend a source that anyone can access. I recently also discovered that she’s published two books containing a selection of her pieces.
If you’re not a fan already, I hope you enjoy them!