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"The explanation"

Kosovo–Serbia relations

After unilaterally declaring independence in 2008, Kosovo has been recognised by many countries, but not Serbia, which still claims it as one of its provinces. After the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Serbia cracked down on Kosovo separatists, resulting in a NATO military intervention in 1999. Tensions have remained high and have begun to flare up again in recent years.

The majority Albanian population mostly supports independence, but in the northern areas of Kosovo, Serbs are the majority, and many refuse to recognise Kosovan institutions.

The Battle of the Brow

In January 1923, one of the earliest outside broadcasts from the newly formed BBC took place - The Magic Flute performed at Covent Garden by The British National Opera Company. The programme was a statement of intent by the early BBC as broadcasting was a revolutionary way in which culture could be brought to many people through their new wireless sets. Ever since its foundation 100 years ago, the BBC has been an arena in which debates have played out about what sorts of culture the British people want or need. In 1932, a BBC broadcast by the writer J.B. Priestley brought The Battle of the Brows to the airwaves. 

The Mousetrap

Ed’s prospects are looking rather good as he takes advantage of a new ‘blind recruiting initiative’ to apply for a post at an independent production company. He secures the role of ‘Assistant Deputy Acting Head of Development for Made Content’ which comes with a regular income, free sleep coaching and £250 worth of ski-lift vouchers. Not only that, but it appears he doesn’t have to do very much work. The only problem he has to deal with now is a mouse problem since Queenie, the cat downstairs, seems to have departed this life at the same time as Elgar.

Ed Reardon - Christopher Douglas

The Theory of the Leisure Class

In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the most influential work of Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929). In 1899, during America’s Gilded Age, Veblen wrote The Theory of the Leisure Class as a reminder that all that glisters is not gold. He picked on traits of the waning landed class of Americans and showed how the new moneyed class was adopting these in ways that led to greater waste throughout society. He called these conspicuous leisure and conspicuous consumption and he developed a critique of a system that favoured profits for owners without regard to social good. The Theory of the Leisure Class was a best seller and funded Veblen for the rest of his life, and his ideas influenced the New Deal of the 1930s. Since then, an item that becomes more desirable as it becomes more expensive is known as a Veblen good.



Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Nicolas de Condorcet (1743-94), known as the Last of the Philosophes, the intellectuals in the French Enlightenment who sought to apply their learning to solving the problems of their world. He became a passionate believer in the progress of society, an advocate for equal rights for women and the abolition of the slave trade and for representative government. The French Revolution gave him a chance to advance those ideas and, while the Terror brought his life to an end, his wife Sophie de Grouchy 91764-1822) ensured his influence into the next century and beyond.

There are a number of themes or types or techniques in British comedy that seem to survive any social or political upheaval. We love wordplay, we're suckers for Double entendre and while animals can be cute or terrifying, they can also make us laugh. In this series Ian Hislop looks back to try and find the first examples of these jokes or comedy genres. We love a good parody but when did that become a thing? Can we really find Anglo-Saxon Double Entendre? You bet we can, and filthy to boot, another trove of British Humour. He visits libraries, museums and chapels, and also talks to comedy stars and writers of today like Nina Conti, Paul Whitehouse, comedy song writing duo Flo and Joan and parodist Craig Brown.

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