Previous Programmes

BBC Radio 4 – 17th December 2014 – 20.00 hrs

At Home Abroad

Presenter:  Michael Goldfarb

Producer:  Anthony Denselow

In the studio, from L to R: Ayo Akinfe, Yvonne Brooks, Michael Goldfarb, Shaaz Mahboob, A.M.Bakalar

In the studio, from L to R: Ayo Akinfe, Yvonne Brooks, Michael Goldfarb, Shaaz Mahboob, A.M.Bakalar

The world is on the move. More than 200 million people live today in a different country to their birthplace.

Britain is a major crossroads of this seething human migration. Among developed nations, proportionally more Britons are living abroad than from any other country. Inward migration to Britain has also been massive – more than 13 percent of the UK population is foreign born.

A panel of New Britons, immigrants from all points of the compass, debate questions raised by making a new home abroad. How far do you assimilate? What is the process of leaving one culture behind when the new one doesn’t always accept you with open arms? How do you raise your children, born in Britain, if you do not fully feel a member of British society yourself?

At Home Abroad

BBC Radio 4 –  20th August 2014

The Waiting

Henry Moore Waiting Image

Presenter: Raymond Tallis

Producer:   Anthony Denselow

Waiting is an inescapable fact of life; it invades so much of our daily activity. We barely notice that we are waiting, unless the wait is accompanied by frustration, impatience, boredom, restlessness and helplessness. The pleasurable acts of waiting often pass us by.

The physician and writer Raymond Tallis examines the nature of waiting; how it operates and how it causes both pleasure and anguish.

He considers the ways in which waiting plays with our sense of time. He looks at how waiting invades the workplace and is frequently used as a way of exerting power. He describes the various ways in which waiting is used in music and literature and how it appears in the language of love. He talks to a prisoner about the life of waiting and considers the role of waiting within spiritual life.

Why do we wait? And how best should we be waiting?


Taking the Edge Off, at its heart, was a discussion of the best way to live (happily? Without tension? Zonked?), as was The Waiting, an unusual, poetic half-hour programme from Raymond Tallis on how much we have to wait in life. It included a contribution from Shaun Attwood, a stockbroker turned drug dealer who was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. Before he was sentenced, Attwood wanted to kill himself, because he couldn’t cope with the uncertainty. “The day I was sentenced was one of the happiest days of my life,” he said.

Tallis’s philosophical musings occasionally overemphasised the significance of waiting, but he delivered some zingers at the end, casually exploding the current “being in the moment” idea of happiness. “We are creatures, not of the minute, but of the hour, the day, the week, the year, the decade… of shared historical times,” he said. “We are becoming, rather than being.” A philosophy that might not chime with Biggs, but similarly surprising and just as exciting to hear, in its own quiet way.

Miranda Sawyer, The Observer, 2014

BBC Radio 4 – 31st August 2014

Something Understood: Siddhartha

The Prince who walked out of his fairytale

The Prince who walked out of his fairytale

Something Understood: The Prince who walked out of his fairytale.
Tx August 31st 2014

Siddhartha is the name of a prince who became the Buddha.

He was born in present day Nepal, sometime around 563 BC, and he grew up as a prince enjoying a comfortable existence for the first 29 years of his life. It was then, as a married man with an infant son, Siddhartha abandoned his palace and set off for a wandering life with a band of ascetics seeking spiritual fulfillment.

In ‘The Prince who walked out of his fairytale’ Samira Ahmed pieces together the story of Siddhartha – the Sanskrit name meaning ‘He who achieves his goal’. She tells the story of how Siddhartha abandoned future kingship after the shocking discovery of old age, sickness and death. She tells of how he took up and then discarded extreme asceticism and how, after six years of penance, he sat unmoving under a tree until he gained Nirvana or perfect enlightenment and became known as the Buddha.

Samira Ahmed looks at the appeal of the image of the seated Buddha and the spread of Buddhist ideas into the West. She considers how writers and thinkers have imagined the experience of enlightenment, and explores how others have interpreted the relevance of the Buddha’s key ideas for today’s fast moving materialistic life. With readings, poetry and music – including Tibetan chant, Herbie Hancock, Bengali film soundtrack, and Wagner.

The programme was presented by Samira Ahmed. The readers were Davina Perera and David Yip. The producer was Anthony Denselow.