Art and Culture Podcasts
Series 11, Eps 23
Marina Abramović Meets Tim Marlow
Join us for a journey into the mind of the world’s greatest living performance artist.
Series 11, Eps 20
Astronaut Chris Hadfield Meets Robin Ince
Astronaut, fighter pilot, bestselling author, commander of the International Space Station, and the first man to sing Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ in zero G: is there anything Chris Hadfield can’t do?
Series 11, Eps 19
Iain McGilchrist – The Divided Brain and the Meaning of Life
A neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and philosopher, Iain McGilchrist joins us with a compelling argument for a new philosophy of living.
Series 11, Eps 18
Philippa Gregory – 900 Years of Women’s History
The beloved historical novelist tells the epic story of ordinary British women doing extraordinary things, from 1066 to modern times.
Series 11, Eps 17
Albert Read Meets Will Gompertz – Where Good Ideas Come From (and How to Have More of Them)
Imagination is our most powerful muscle and our greatest source of fulfilment. Find out how to exercise yours with two of the country’s most influential and creative people.
Series 11, Eps 16
Werner Herzog Meets Mark Kermode – A Life in Cinema
The undisputed master of world cinema reveals the story of his extraordinary life to Mark Kermode.
Series 11, Episode 8
Michel Faber – Why Music Matters
Why do humans love music? The author of wildly acclaimed novels including Under the Skin and The Crimson Petal and the White, Michel Faber joins us to explore his lifelong obsession with the heard world.
Series 11, Episode 6
John Higgs – The KLF, the Band that Burned a Million Pounds
At the height of their fame, the electronic music pioneers The KLF burned a million pounds and disappeared. John Higgs tries to understand why.
Series 11, Episode 1
Emma Southon – Women of the Roman Empire
Forget generals, battles, and consuls. Emma Southon tells the story of Rome through its women, from sex workers to Vestal Virgins, empresses to saints.
Series 10, Eps 28
Helen Macdonald and Sin Blaché – Nostalgia is a Weapon
Described by its authors as ‘Barbie meets Oppenheimer’, Helen Macdonald and Sin Blaché’s surrealistic speculative thriller Prophet interrogates our relationship with nostalgia and its stranglehold over our politics.
Series 10, Eps 26
Victoria Belim – The Resilience of Art in Times of War
Victoria Belim is a Financial Times columnist and translator whose new memoir The Rooster House is both a detective story and a paean to her lost land.
Series 10, Eps 19
Shehan Karunatilaka – The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida
A major new voice in the tradition of Rushdie, Bulgakov and Marquez, Booker Prize winner Shehan Karunatilaka joins us to share an unforgettable vision of Sri Lanka’s civil wars.
Series 10, Ep. 16
Viorica Marian – How the Language We Speak Changes How We Think
How do languages change our experience of the world? Psycholinguist Viorica Marian has dedicated her life to finding the answer.
Series 10, Ep. 15
Peter Heather – Will the West Fall Like Rome?
Is the West doomed to be the next Roman Empire? Can we learn something from its fall? Medieval historian Peter Heather thinks we can – and must.
Series 10, Ep. 12
James Comey – The Pursuit of Justice in a Divided America
The former FBI director turned novelist joins us to share his insights into power and justice in a dangerous and divided America.
Series 10, Episode 5
M. John Harrison – Living in an Age of Fantasy
Both an icon and an iconoclast, M. John Harrison has spent fifty years shifting the boundaries of what ought to be possible in literary and genre fiction.
Series 9, Episode 28
Mick Herron – Slow Horses and Bad Actors
Mick Herron ‘is at the summit of a new golden age of spy fiction’ (Sunday Times); the creator of the embittered, second-rate MI5 agents known as the Slow Horses.
Series 9, Episode 30
Eleanor Janega – Going Medieval on Women’s Roles in Society
A hilarious and thought-provoking podcast looking at sex, gender, and misogyny in the Middle Ages – with medieval pick-up artists, beauty tips based on the Bible, and much else besides.
Series 9, Episode 27
Adam Gopnik – The Mystery of Skill and Mastery
Inspired by the genius of the people he writes about for the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik embarked on a quest to discover how we obtain skill and mastery.
Series 9, Episode 24
Luke Turner – Men at War
Award-winning journalist Luke Turner looks beyond the myths of heroes and villains to reveal a much more nuanced portrait of the multitude of men who served in the Second World War.
Series 9, Episode 23
Curtis Sittenfeld – Romantic Comedy
Skewering all our certainties about why we fall in love, Curtis Sittenfeld’s new novel Romantic Comedy sees her at her daring and compassionate best.
Series 9, Episode 22
Julian Baggini – How to Think Like a Philosopher
Join bestselling public philosopher Julian Baggini for a ‘complete treat: a breath of fresh air and a bracing detox for our beleaguered, battered brains’ (Derren Brown).
Series 9, Episode 18
Sir Tony Robinson Meets Peter Frankopan – How a Changing Climate Shaped Civilisation
The way that humans have interacted with the natural world and with the climate has shaped and will change our world – but this story has gone untold. Until now.
Series 9, Episode 15
1hr 25 mins
Bernie Sanders Meets Frankie Boyle – It’s Okay to Be Angry About Capitalism
The longest-serving independent in Congress, the leader of democratic socialism in America, and a hero to progressives across the globe, Senator Sanders joins Frankie Boyle to take on the 1%.
Series 9, Episode 14
Blake Morrison – The Power of Art in Grief
Can writing help us find solace in grief? One of Britain’s best loved poets and memoirists, Blake Morrison, makes a powerful case.
Series 9, Episode 13
Caroline Dodds Pennock – How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe
The story of Colombus’s ‘discovery’ of America has been told endlessly; but that of the indigenous Americans who travelled to the ‘savage shores’ of Europe remains almost untold. Until now.
Series 9, Episode 12
Ray Nayler – What Octopuses and AI Teach Us About Consciousness
What does the intelligence of animals and machines tell us about human nature? Diplomat Ray Nayer investigates in his deeply philosophical new novel, The Mountain in the Sea.
Season 9, Episode 8
Tom Rob Smith – Antarctica and Apocalypse
The internationally bestselling author of Child 44 and The Farm puts human nature under the microscope in a new speculative thriller.
Series 9, Episode 3
Alan Moore – The Magic of Storytelling
Robin Ince joins the legendary author of Watchmen, Jerusalem, and V For Vendetta for a journey into the fantastical underside of reality.
Series 8, Episode 26
Jools Holland and Mark Cooper – Celebrating Thirty Years of Music and Mayhem
Jools Holland, Mark Cooper and a grand piano come together in a delightful ensemble of songs and stories to celebrate the greatest music show ever made.
Series 8, Episode 21
Lost Realms – An Epic New History of Britain from the Romans to the Vikings
Join bestselling author and historian Thomas Williams for the true history of Britain’s forgotten kingdoms.
Series 8, Episode 19
Harry Sidebottom – The Mad Emperor Heliogabalus
Join bestselling Oxford historian Harry Sidebottom for the story of Heliogabalus, a teenage Roman emperor whose wild reign makes Joffrey Baratheon seem meek and mild.
Series 8, Episode 15
Joyce Tyldesley – The Life, Death, and Afterlife of Tutankhamun
One hundred years after the discovery of his tomb, Joyce Tyldesley tells the story of Egypt’s most famous pharaoh.
Series 8, Episode 13
George Saunders – Liberation Day
The Booker Prize winning author of ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ returns to the podcast to share his idiosyncratic take on the human condition.
Series 8, Episode 12
Geena Davis – Dying of Politeness
The two time Oscar winning actor and activist joins us to share stories from her incredible life in Hollywood and beyond.
Series 8, Episode 11
Kate Summerscale – The History of Phobias and Manias
Are you frightened of clowns, spiders, or buttons? Award-winning author Kate Summerscale dives into the strange history of our fears and obsessions.
Series 8, Episode 10
Kate Mosse – Warrior Queens and Quiet Revolutionaries
The bestselling author and founder of the Women’s Prize joins us for a celebration of incredible women from history.
Series 8, Episode 9
Amy Jeffs – Tales of the Medieval Wilderness
The acclaimed artist and author joins us to share forgotten stories from the medieval imagination.
Series 8, Episode 8
Irvine Welsh – Confessions of a Novelist
The legendary author of TRAINSPOTTING joins us for a one-way trip into his febrile, sordid, singular imagination. Not for the faint of heart.
Series 8, Episode 7
Clover Stroud – The Red of My Blood
Journalist and acclaimed author Clover Stroud joins us with the raw and powerful story of surviving the loss of her sister.
Series 8, Episode 6
John Higgs – Bond, the Beatles, and the British Psyche
James Bond and the Beatles are cultural twins. But they present opposing values and ideas about masculinity that still affect the British psyche in 2022.
Series 8, Episode 4
Cornelia Parker Meets Carlo Rovelli – The Hidden Nature of Things
Visual artist Cornelia Parker and theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli come together to explore the revelations of quantum physics and the nature of reality.
Series 7, Episode 14
Daniel Pink – The Power of Regret
No regrets! The mantra adorns tattoos, T-shirts and posters; celebrities from John Travolta to Laverne Cox say they live by it. But should they?
Series 7, Episode 10
1hr 10 mins
Bonnie Wright – How to Nurture Yourself and the Planet
Lessons for living sustainably and protecting the future of our planet with actresses and activists Bonnie Wright and Evanna Lynch.
Series 7, Episode 9
Francesco Dimitri – The Search for Wonder
Italian author and screenwriter Francesco Dimitri shares stories from his lifelong search for finding wonder and enchantment in the everyday.
Series 7, Episode 7
Michael Ignatieff – Finding Solace in Dark Times
Political leader, philosopher, historian, journalist, broadcaster, and Booker shortlisted literary novelist: Michael Ignatieff is a twenty-first century Renaissance man.
Series 7, Episode 6
Ken Liu – Storytelling is Our Most Important Technology
The award-winning novelist explores why speculative fiction is so bad at predicting the future — and so good as revealing hidden aspects of the present.
Series 7, Episode 5
Susan Cain – How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole
Susan Cain’s Quiet changed the way we think about introverts forever. Now she is back to challenge our thinking again, revealing the strength and power in vulnerability and pain.
Series 7, Episode 3
1hr 18 mins
Colm Toibin and Terence Killeen – Ulysses Unbound
Celebrating the centenary of the novel widely regarded as the greatest ever written, Colm Toibin and Terrence Killeen untangle Joyce’s knotty classic to reveal the wonders beneath.