Kate Chisholm rss

Pluto (right) and Charon (Photo: Getty)

Why it would be absurd to sell off Radio 2 - even if it could do with a refresh

25 July 2015

The idea that Radio 2 should be sold off by the BBC to a commercial rival is as nonsensical as BBC1 losing Strictly Come Dancing, or Heinz giving up on… Read more

Seth McFarlane returns to the Proms to celebrate Frank Sinatra with the John Wilson Orchestra

The Proms is taxpayers’ money well spent: it’s a national asset like fish and chips and the royal baby

18 July 2015

Make no mistake: the Proms, whose 2015 season was launched last night, would not, could not, exist without the BBC, or the licence fee. Just under half the cost of… Read more

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Listen: the gaffe from Nicola Sturgeon that everyone missed

11 July 2015

It’s not surprising that politicians have such an on-off relationship with the broadcast media. One slip. One casual comment. One lapse of memory. Even the immaculate, armour-plated Nicola Sturgeon was… Read more

American troops on the march during the First World War, 1917 (Photo: Getty)

Does history provide the answer to what happened in Tunisia?

4 July 2015

There’s a part of me that thinks OK, we’ve heard enough now, one year on from the beginning of the centenary commemorations, about the first world war. Do we really… Read more

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Why sound beats image when it comes to memory

27 June 2015

It’s often not visual images that stimulate memory but a smell, a taste, the sound of pebbles crashing on to the beach, ice cream being scooped into a cone, seagulls… Read more

The Bottom Line's Evan Davis (Photo: Getty)

Why I love The Bottom Line

13 June 2015

Evan Davis’s series on business life, The Bottom Line (made in conjunction with the Open University), has become one of those Radio 4 staples, something that’s just there in the… Read more

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Just writing about this radio programme makes me feel nauseous

6 June 2015

If you’re in the least bit squeamish you’d better stop reading now. What follows is not for those who blanch at Casualty and come over all faint at the sight… Read more

Dr Samuel Johnson (Photo: Getty)

When Dr Johnson went to Tahrir Square

30 May 2015

Goodness knows what the Great Cham would have made of Radio 4 airing an adapted version of his philosophical fable, Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia, on Sunday afternoon. Perhaps he would… Read more

Prof. Sunil Khilnani (Photo: Getty)

The history of India in 50 personalities

23 May 2015

The idea of using objects — salt, cod, nutmeg, silk — to turn history lessons into something popular and accessible has been around for at least a generation. It’s a… Read more

(Photo: Getty)

What happened to the children who survived the Holocaust?

16 May 2015

‘I call Zelma Cacik who may be living in London,’ says the announcer, in the clipped RP accent of the BBC in the 1940s. ‘I call her on behalf of… Read more

Prince Alemayehu (Photo: Getty)

This radio programme almost made me like Piers Morgan

9 May 2015

An extraordinary black-and-white photograph of a young black boy taken on the Isle of Wight by Julia Margaret Cameron in 1868 shows him in exotic clothes and a heavy silver-bead… Read more

Linda Miller, Crossrail project manager for the Connaught tunnel. Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Britain has the lowest percentage of women engineers in Europe. Why?

2 May 2015

‘It’s hard to know how to tell this story,’ she said as she began. ‘Because it’s so loaded. It’s so heavy-duty.’ Lore Wolfson was talking about the death of her… Read more

Alan Davey: the new controller of Radio 3 (Photo: Getty)

‘Ratings aren’t a pressure for me,’ says the new controller of Radio Three

25 April 2015

The new controller of Radio Three, Alan Davey, was on Feedback this week (Radio Four) talking to listeners about his plans for the network. Roger Bolton, who presents, wondered if… Read more

Bette Davis, 1940 (Photo: STF/AFP/Getty)

Why Bette Davis loathed theatre

18 April 2015

It was called Frankly Speaking and by golly it was. The great screen actress Bette Davis was being interviewed by not one but two men: George Coulouris, with whom she… Read more

The Reverend Libby Lane with Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu Photo: Getty

Why wasn’t there more about the other faiths over Easter on the BBC?

11 April 2015

There was no shortage of Easter music and talks across the BBC networks with a sunrise service on Radio 4 followed by much fuss and fanfare for the ‘live’ relay… Read more

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Did Radio 4 have to deal with the Germanwings disaster as it did?

4 April 2015

‘You can hear pretty clearly the sound of one of the helicopters and you can see it in the darkness,’ yelled James Reynolds over the noise of helicopters, police sirens,… Read more

Serial producer Dana Chivvis Photo: Meredith Heuer

Does the future of radio really lie in podcasts?

28 March 2015

To a debate on the future of radio at the BBC where it turns out not to be a discussion on who’s listening now but how they’re listening. The Reithian… Read more

Mikhail Bulgakov Photo: Getty

Radio is the best way to mug up on the classics

21 March 2015

If ever I found myself at a pretentious literary party obliged to play David Lodge’s ‘Humiliation’ game and to confess to the great books I’ve never read, I’d only escape… Read more

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What it’s really like to live in India today - stressful

14 March 2015

After a month cooped up in a Scottish castle, no internet, no TV, and no radio, watching hectic snowflakes billowing through the wooded hillside opposite my window, I realise that… Read more

Andrew Heptinstall and blind photographer Rosita McKenzie. Photo: Andrew Heptinstall

The amazing story of the blind photographer

14 February 2015

Perhaps the news that Radio 5 live will be the only BBC station (under the new broadcasting rights agreements) to broadcast ‘live’ golf will ensure that its audience stays above… Read more

Names of BBC Arabic, Qatar-based Al-Jaze

Why BBC Arabic is booming

7 February 2015

Last weekend BBC Arabic celebrated 77 years since John Reith (as he then was) launched the first foreign-language service of the fledgling BBC Empire Service with an announcement (in English)… Read more

Professor Peter Piot Photo: Getty

The man who discovered Ebola

31 January 2015

By some quirk of fate, just as news reached the papers that the Scottish nurse who had contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone was now recovered, the guest on… Read more

Leo Tolstoy

Radio 4’s War and Peace: almost as good as the book

24 January 2015

To have listened to Radio 4’s marathon ten-hour adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace as it was being broadcast on New Year’s Day must have been both wonderful and a… Read more

Ludwig Van Beethoven Photo: Getty

Was Beethoven influenced by yoga?

17 January 2015

How many digital radios have you bought over the years? How many are still working? Of the four I used to have, only two are now working and those only… Read more

Actor, playwright and broadcaster, Alan Bennett Photo: Getty

Without childhood traumas, how did Alan Bennett ever become a writer?

10 January 2015

‘So — take heart,’ said Alan Bennett, sending us out from his play, Cocktail Sticks, on a cheery note. The treatment for cancer had been gruelling, but that was 15… Read more