PoV: William Dalrymple: Travel writing giants: 18 April 14
William Dalrymple celebrates the writing of Peter Matthiessen who died this month, comparing him with another of his favourite travel writers, Patrick Leigh Fermor. "Both were footloose scholars who left their studies and libraries to walk in the wild places of the world, erudite and bookish wandere
PoV: William Dalrymple: A Tale of Two Elections 11 April 2014
William Dalrymple reflects on the current pivotal elections in India and Afghanistan where religion, identity and economics will all help to determine the outcomes.
PoV: William Dalrymple: A Lenten Reflection 04 April 14
William Dalrymple contrasts the Christian view of Lent – with all its self-discipline and self-deprivation – with that represented in great Indian art. Producer: Adele Armstrong
PoV: Sarah Dunant: A Disease Called Fame: 28 March 14
Sarah Dunant reflects on fame and the cult of celebrity following the recent success of the film "20 feet from Stardom". The film about backing singers - the unsung heroes of pop music - scooped best documentary at the Oscars. Sarah discusses how celebrity culture has given us a society where the d
PoV: Sarah Dunant: Heavy Weather 21 Mar 14
Sarah Dunant compares our reaction today to climate change with responses in the seventeenth century to extreme weather.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: The Time Warp: 14 March 14
Sarah Dunant reflects that today's harsher judgement of some of the sexual behaviour prevalent in the 1970s springs in part from the freedom forged in that decade. "Without the seventies, we would never have had the debate, the public awareness, the sense of outrage or even the occasionally blunt to
PoV: Roger Scruton: Free the Schools: 07 March 14
Roger Scruton believes the way to improve our schools is through tapping into the time and talents of middle class volunteers. "The philanthropic middle classes, who created our education system and made it one of the best in the world, have been for too long excluded from it". Producer: Sheila Co
PoV: Roger Scruton: Our Love for Animals: 28 Feb 14
Roger Scruton thinks we get our priorities wrong when we favour pets at the expense of wild animals. "We must recognise that by loving our pets as individuals we threaten the animals who cannot easily be loved in any such way." Producer: Sheila Cook.
PoV: Roger Scruton: United We Fall: 21 Feb 14
Roger Scruton argues for a voice for the English in the debate over Scottish independence. "As an Englishman I naturally ask why my interests in the matter have never been taken into account." Producer: Sheila Cook.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Money Matters: 14 Feb 14
Adam Gopnik explains why he thinks the pictures on our banknotes matter. "The iconography of money is more than just decor - it displays the true convictions of the commonwealth that intends to support its value." Producer: Sheila Cook.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Twitter Free: 07 Feb 14
Adam Gopnik explains his indifference to Twitter and social media."After the introduction of a new device, or social media, our lives are exactly where they were before, save for the new thing or service, which we now cannot live without". Producer: sheila Cook
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Why Sportsmanship Matters: 31 Jan 2014
Adam Gopnik reflects on the nature of sportsmanship ahead of the American Super Bowl following controversy over a player's supposedly unsporting comments.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Self Drive Manhood: 24 Jan 14
Adam Gopnik hails the development of the self-drive car as the way to rescue his male identity after years as a non driver. He also muses on the need for such cars to have "ethical engines" capable of moral judgements. Producer: Sheila Cook
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Sex and the French: 17 Jan 14
Adam Gopnik reflects on the attitude of the French to the sex lives of their statesmen and gives his opinion that the price of privilege is prudence. "Puritanical societies are less morally alert than ones like France that aren't, because the puritanical societies have the judgments prepackaged and
PoV: John Gray: Unknown Knowns: 10 Jan 14
John Gray reflects on "unknown knowns" - what we know but prefer not to think about, whether it's the truth about the invasion of Iraq or the failures of the financial system that led to the banking crisis. "We humans are sturdy and resilient animals with enormous capacities of creativity and adapta
PoV: John Gray: The Perils of Belief: 03 Jan 14
John Gray reflects on the damage that can be caused by evangelical belief in a religion or in a political idea. "Whether they are religious or political, evangelists seem to me a blight on civilisation. For them as for those they persecute or bully, belief is an obstacle to a fulfilling life." Prod
PoV: John Gray: Two Cheers for Human Rights: 27 Dec 13
John Gray gives only two cheers for human rights. We are in danger, he argues, of turning them into a "comforting dogma through which we try to escape the painful dilemmas of war and politics." "Rather than thinking of rights as a militant creed that can deliver the world from its conflicts, we s
PoV: William Dalrymple: Islamo-Christian Heritage: 20 Dec 13
In the week when Prince Charles speaks out against violence against Christians in the Middle East, William Dalrymple says it's time to remember the "old and often forgotten cohabitation of Islam and Christianity". "Christmas time is perhaps the proper moment to remember the long tradition of reverin
PoV: John Gray: Why Dickens Endures: 13 Dec 13
John Gray gives his own theory for the cultural longevity of Charles Dickens, celebrating his view of life as a theatre of the absurd. "Dickens enjoyed human beings as he found them: unregenerate, peculiar and incorrigibly themselves." Producer: Sheila Cook.
PoV: Will Self: It's Always the Others Who Die 06 Dec 2013
Will Self reflects that our modern, secular society has silenced the voices of the dead. As a result, he thinks we fail to directly sympathise with what they have left behind.
PoV: Will Self: Political Trojan Horses: 29 Nov 13
Will Self warns against politicians' superficially attractive policies which turn out to be Trojan horses. "It all comes down to gifts - presents that we save up for through the countrywide Christmas club we call progressive taxation, and which are then handed out by the jolly, hohoing Government in
PoV: Will Self: Rebuilding After 9/11: 22
Will Self reflects from the top of the new One World Trade Center in New York on the challenge of rebuilding after the destruction of 9.11. "The downtown site, mired in ground sacred to mammon, has mixed into it a complex mulch of private rights and public responsibilities: to harmonise these com
PoV: Will Self: Self Confident Culture: 15 Nov 13
Will Self argues for greater British cultural self confidence in the debate over the wearing of the veil. Producer: Sheila Cook
PoV: Will Self: JFK Fifty Years On 08 Nov 13
Will Self reflects on America's view of the assassination of JF Kennedy, fifty years on. After years of talk of conspiracy, cover-up and doctored film footage, he concludes, "It isn't so much that the Kennedy assassination has transitioned smoothly into a commonsensical past; it's rather that it was
PoV: Will Self: Pity the Young 01 Nov 13
Will Self reflects on the malign influence of the older generation on the young as the population of Britain ages. "In my darker moments - of which there are quite a few - I often envision the baby boomer generation as a giant and warty toad squatting on the youth of our society". Producer: Sheila
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Reflections on IVF 25 Oct 13
Lisa Jardine reflects on the sensitive questions surrounding IVF as she comes to the end of her term as Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. "I would have loved to have been able to have spoken more often and more publicly,with more words of caution for those preparing to under
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Machine Intelligence 18 Oct 13
Lisa Jardine compares the contributions of Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing a century later to computer science and contrasts their views on the potential of and limits to machine intelligence.
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Cross Border Science: 11 Oct 13
Lisa Jardine reflects on the internationalism that underpins the progress of science in a week when individual nations celebrate their Nobel prize winners. "Science has always ignored national borders, in pursuit of the fullest possible understanding of nature." Producer: Sheila Cook
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Ethical Science 04 Oct 2013
Lisa Jardine draws lessons about the relationship between science and human values from the career of the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard, who helped to develop the atom bomb.
PoV: AL Kennedy: The Horror of Love 27 Sep 13
Stephen King says "Love creates horror." AL Kennedy agrees. "I don't personally welcome love's ability to make me fear," she writes.
PoV: AL Kennedy: Someone to Watch Over Me 20 Sep 13
AL Kennedy reflects on our tendency to behave badly when we think no-one's watching or when we follow the wrong crowd. "When psychologists test how people behave with and without oversight, it becomes depressingly clear that if we think nobody's looking, we don't even remotely always let our consc
PoV: AL Kennedy: Great Pretenders 13 SEP 13
AL Kennedy reflects on the stuggle to establish truth in what she regards as an age of lies. Lies, she says, are proliferating on TV, in politics, in business and throughout public and private life. Extracting truths in moral and effective ways, she argues, is an ever greater challenge.
PoV: AL Kennedy: Real Change 06 SEP 13
Writer and performer A.L. Kennedy doesn't like change - but she thinks she should change her atittude.
PoV: Roger Scruton: Of the People, By the People 4 30 AUG 2013
Roger Scruton concludes his series of talks on the nature and limits of democracy. "We in Europe are moving not towards democracy but away from it," he says.
PoV: Roger Scruton: Of the People, By the People 3 23 AUG 2013
Roger Scruton argues that nations should be defined by language and territory rather than by party or faith. Looking at examples across the Middle East and in particular in Egypt, he explains why - in his view - a modern state cannot be governed by Islamic law.
PoV: Roger Scruton: Of the People, By the People 2 16 AUG 13
Philosopher Roger Scruton argues that democracy works only if we are prepared to be ruled by our opponents, however much we may dislike them. We need to accept politics as a process of compromise and conciliation - and for that, he says, the state must be secular.
PoV: Roger Scruton: Of the People, By the People 1 09 AUG 13
Philosopher Roger Scruton argues that democracy alone is not enough for political freedom as democracy, freedom and human rights do not necessarily coincide.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: Machiavelli's Summer in Tuscany 02 AUG 13
It’s exactly 500 years this summer since Niccolo Machiavelli wrote his famous book 'The Prince', on how to gain and retain political power. Sarah Dunant takes us back to the hot Tuscan summer when Machiavelli put down his thoughts, including the view that in politics, virtue must be tempered by expe
PoV: Sarah Dunant: The Pope's Twitter Feed 26 JUL 13
Sarah Dunant reflects on the Catholic church and suggests what Pope Francis should tell his Twitter followers about problems within the Catholic Church.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: A Big Day for Bert and Ernie? 19 JUL 13
The recent New Yorker cartoon showing Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie as a gay couple prompts Sarah Dunant to reflect on the power of such images to convey social messages.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: A Sporting Catharsis 12 JUL 13
As Britain basks in post-Wimbledon glory, amid the Ashes, Sarah Dunant reflects on how sport has - throughout history - been used by the authorities to help populations let off steam.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: Gender Matters 05 JUL 13
Sarah Dunant reflects on feminism and the ousting of Australia's Prime Minister.
PoV: Tom Shakespeare: Anyone for Art? 28 JUN 13
Tom Shakespeare asks is it time to democratise art? Furtmore, should we, the public, be allowed to borrow works of art from our national collections - that way we could have an affair with art, rather than a one-night stand.
PoV: Tom Shakespeare: A Midsummer Daydream 21 JUN 13
In Britain many of our holidays and festivals are rather dull - bank holidays for example. Tom Shakespeare, presenting the third of his four essays, says that when he looks at other cultures he feels a strong sense of festival envy. He wants Britain to have better festivals. To start with, shouldn't
PoV: Tom Shakespeare: Fly, Fish, Mouse & Worm 14 JUN 13
Sociologist Tom Shakespeare says his favourite childhood book was 'Bear, Mouse and Water Beetle' - which inspires his own modern tale 'Fly, Fish, Mouse and Worm'.
PoV: Tom Shakespeare: Can Compassion Be Taught? 07 JUN 13
Sociologist Tom Shakespeare explores recent scandals in the health service, which revealed appalling cases of abuse and neglect. This has led to calls for people in the medical profession to be taught compassion - but Tom is sceptical and asks can, and should, compassion be taught?
PoV: John Gray: Gatsby - The Perfect Fake 31 MAY 13
Political philosopher John Gray finds new resonance for our own age in the story of The Great Gatsby.
PoV: John Gray: The Doors of Perception 24 MAY 13
Philosopher John Gray argues for another way of perceiving the world inspired by the fantasy fiction writer Arthur Machen. Instead of believing that meaning in life can only be found by changing things around us, he says some of the most valuable human experiences come about when we simply look arou
PoV: John Gray: The Meaning of Evil 17 MAY 13
John Gray finds useful material for pondering the question of evil in the thriller writer Patricia Highsmith’s character Tom Ripley.
PoV: John Gray: The Myth of Modernity 10 MAY 13
John Gray draws on the novels of Mervyn Peake to argue it's a mistake to imagine that modernity marks a fundamental change in human experience.
PoV: John Gray: The Limits of Materialism 03 MAY 13
A story by Walter de la Mare inspires philosopher John Gray to argue that the prevailing creed of scientific materialism is a "simple minded philosophy" too limited for an unknowable world.
PoV: John Gray: Bitcoin’s Cyber Freedom 26 APR 13
Philosopher John Gray wonders what the rise of the cyber currency Bitcoin tells us about our human need for freedom and protection.
PoV Adam Gopnik: Children Leaving Home 19 APR 13
Adam Gopnik reflects on the terrible day when children finally leave home.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Science, Magic & Madness 12 APR 13
What is the difference between magic and science? What is the difference between Galileo and his contemporary, the famous Elizabethan astrologer and alchemist John Dee? Adam Gopnik says it's the experimental method - the looking and seeing and testing that goes with true science. But when he wrote a
PoV: Adam Gopnik: The Irrationality of Nations 05 APR 13
Every nation has a core irrationality - a belief about itself which no amount of contrary evidence can shift, says Adam Gopnik.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: The Secret of a Happy Marriage 29 MAR 13
Lust, laughter and loyalty is the prformula for a happy marriage, says writer Adam Gopnik.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Turkish Notions 22 MAR 13
As the world's top chess players battle it out in London, Adam Gopnik reflects on why we overrate masters and underrate mastery.
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Celestial Bodies 15 MAR 13
Historian Lisa Jardine reflects on comets and the lessons we can learn from early astronomers.
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Dame Mary Cartwright 08 MAR 13
Lisa Jardine celebrates the achievements of the mathematician Dame Mary Cartwright, whose work helped war-time radar engineers and became the foundation of chaos theory.
PoV: Lisa Jardine: Modern Medicis: 01 Mar 2013
Lisa Jardine celebrates the influence of art connoisseur Sir Denis Mahon and reflects on the impact of wealthy art collectors on public taste and government policy.
PoV: Lisa Jardine: The Winter Queen: 22 Feb 13
Lisa Jardine celebrates Elizabeth of Bohemia, the "Winter Queen", and sees her relegation to the margins of history as typical of our failure to recognise powerful women.
PoV: David Cannadine: In Praise of Birmingham: 15 Feb 13
David Cannadine defends his home city of Birmingham against a slur in "Pride and Prejudice" by celebrating its past and its current cultural renaissance.
PoV: David Cannadine: Grand Central celebration: 08 Feb 13
David Cannadine celebrates the saving of New York's now century old Grand Central Terminal and regrets the destruction of the city's other great beaux-arts station.
PoV: David Cannadine: The Appeal of Teddy Bears: 01 Feb 13
David Cannadine reflects on the enduring appeal of the teddy bear in contemporary culture since they were first named after Theodore Roosevelt over a hundred years ago.
PoV: David Cannadine: Presidential Inaugurations: 25 Jan 13
David Cannadine reflects on the history of presidential inaugurations and how American presidents since Abraham Lincoln have crafted their speeches when it's second time around.
PoV: Will Self: Urban Designs 18 JAN 13
Will Self laments what he sees as an absence of rational urban planning in our big cities and a fashion for dramatic sky scrapers driven by short term commercial values.
PoV: Will Self: Terminal Thoughts 11 JAN 13
Will Self says he would rather commit suicide than die a slow, painful death and would like society to find his choice more acceptable than at present.
PoV: Will Self: American Ambivalence 06 JAN 13
Will self reflects on Britain's confused relationship with the U.S. Taking the Tom Stoppard plays his American mother took him to see in the 70s as his starting point, he says that our relationship with our friends across the pond changed little in the last 40 years.
PoV: Will Self: The British Vomitorium 28 DEC 12
Will Self takes a historic foodie tour and explores how we've gone from being a culinary backwater to being "the most food-obsessed nation in Europe - if not the world".
PoV: Will Self: The New Economics Priesthood 21 DEC 12
Will Self warns against the false prophets of the new priesthood of economics.
PoV: Will Self: Digital Past 14 DEC 12
Will Self reflects on the effect of technology throughout his six decades and how it has affected his perception of the passage of time.
PoV: Onora O'Neill: Trustworthiness Before Trust 07 Dec 2012
Onora O'Neill reflects anew on the theme of trust, which was the subject of her Reith lectures.
PoV: Mary Beard: Marks Out of Ten, Please 30 Nov 2012
Mary Beard on why "customer satisfaction" surveys have no place in universities and pines for the days when students were able to tell their professor their lectures were rubbish.
PoV: Mary Beard: On Pompeii 23 Nov 2012
Mary Beard ponders questions of privacy, archaeology and restoration as she wanders through the rooms of a new exhibition about Pompeii, the "City of the Dead".
PoV: Mary Beard: Age of Consent 16 Nov 2012
Mary Beard reflects on the age of consent and argues that accidents of history often determine how we choose to criminalize or regulate.
PoV: Mary Beard: Rich man, poor man 09 Nov 2012
Mary Beard on the long history of the rich looking down their noses - sometimes with a hearty Roman snort - at the poor.
PoV: Martin Jacques: Understanding contemporary China 4/4 02 Nov 2012
Martin Jacques presents a personal view on how best to understand the unique characteristics and apparent mysteries of contemporary China, its development and its possible future. In his final talk, he asks how the undemocratic Chinese state can enjoy legitimacy and authority in the eyes of its po
PoV: Martin Jacques: Understanding contemporary China 3/4 26 Oct 2012
Martin Jacques presents a personal view on how best to understand the unique characteristics and apparent mysteries of contemporary China, its development and its possible future. In this third talk, he explores the nature of race in China.
PoV: Martin Jacques: Understanding contemporary China 2/4 19 Oct 2012
Martin Jacques presents his personal view on how best to understand contemporary China, its development and its possible future.
PoV: Martin Jacques: Understanding Contemporary China 1/4 12 Oct 2012
Martin Jacques presents a personal view on how best to understand the unique characteristics and apparent mysteries of contemporary China, its development and its possible future. In a new series of talks he sets out the building blocks for making sense of China today.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: Presenting the Past 05 Oct 2012
Sarah Dunant reflects on the role of history in society - and how it changes over time. She also asks what history can learn from historical fiction.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: Mouthing Off 28 Sept 2012
Why is America so obsessed with dental perfection? While American comedians often mock the British for their bad teeth, Sarah reveals how Japanese fashionistas are paying to have their teeth made more crooked.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: Sweet Charity 21 Sept 2012
As Sarah Dunant rummages for bargains in her local charity shop, she reflects on the history of charity shops and their growing importance in times of austerity.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: In Search of Prizes 14 Sept 2012
As the Man Booker shortlist is published, author Sarah Dunant examines the merits of literary prizes and explores how new writers and readers find each other.
PoV: Sarah Dunant: "Policing Sex" 07 Sept 2012
Sarah Dunant looks at attitudes to sexual behaviour in the aftermath of recent remarks on rape from an American would-be senator. She argues men must be involved in the debate.
PoV: John Gray: The alchemy of memory 31 Aug 2012
John Gray explores the role of memory in giving meaning to our lives. He reflects on how we struggle to preserve our past but at the same time sometimes long to leave it behind.
PoV: John Gray: The trouble with stories of freedom 24 Aug 2012
John Gray looks at the relationship between freedom and democracy. He argues that whenever tyranny is overthrown, the result is not necessary greater liberty throughout society.
PoV: John Gray: Sherlock Holmes and the Romance of Reason 17 Aug 2012
John Gray reflects on the enduring appeal of Sherlock Holmes at a time when we've lost confidence in the power of reason alone to solve problems.
PoV: John Gray: Climate for Culture 10 Aug 2012
John Gray reflects on the climate needed for culture to thrive, identifying totalitarian regimes as the worst enemies of creativity.
PoV: John Gray: The Price of a Postage Stamp 03 Aug 2012
The philosopher John Gray wonders what bulk buying of stamps ahead of the price rise tells us about economic gloom.
PoV: John Gray: The Paradox of Immortality 27 July 2012
John Gray reflects on the paradox of immortality as captured by the writer Theodore Powys, "The longest life may fade and perish but one moment can live and become immortal."
PoV: John Gray: Keynes Insights 20 July 2012
John Gray takes a fresh look at the thinking of John Maynard Keynes and wonders what he would have really thought about the current economic crises and how to solve them.
PoV: John Gray: Visions of Violence 13 July 2012
John Gray reflects on the nature of violence which he sees as an inevitable part of the human condition, doubting the ability of reason to tame our warring impulses.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: The Curse of a Ridiculous Name 06 July 2012
Adam Gopnik muses on what it means in life if - like him - you've been lumbered with a funny name.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Nazis - Gopnik's Amendment 29 June 2012
Adam Gopnik reflects on our continuing obsession with the Nazis.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: What to do about a bad review 22 June 2012
Adam Gopnik ruminates on how to handle a bad review. An amusing guide on how to get your own back on your critics.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Beatle Time 15 June 2012
As the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first concert approaches, Adam Gopnik ponders what it is that makes the fab four's music endure.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: Embarrassing Parents 08 June 2012
Adam Gopnik reflects on a universal truth of parenting: why, at exactly age 13, your child will discover that you are the most embarrassing, ridiculous and annoying person on the planet.
PoV: Adam Gopnik: On Bees and Being 01 June 2012
Adam Gopnik muses on why Shakespeare didn't seem to know that the top bee is a girl bee! He takes us - via a bunch of bee experts - on a journey of "long and buzzing thoughts".
PoV: Will Self: A Right Loyal Toast 25 May 2012
Will Self reflects on the historical tradition of the Loyal Toast. A week before the Jubilee celebrations get underway, he muses on where deference is properly due.