Friday, October 08, 2010


There has been a BBC Radio 4 series titled 'A History Of The World In A Hundred Objects'.  Each programme is broadcast for fifteen minutes.  The BBC are currently broadcasting the third and last tranche of the series.  Each week  there has been a focus, such as a certain element of development, culture,  faith,  or exploration, through objects.  

A certain frisson is building up as the last - the hundredth - object that will bring us up to modern times, is not yet known.  Today I heard there is a short-list of five objects.  I wondered about the validity of the announcement as one of the five possibilities was a football shirt.  I am sure a fifteen minute broadcast could be devised around such an object, but would it be a fitting finale and descriptor of our predominately electronic times?

Having heard that the BBC programmes could be downloaded to keep, I searched for a link that would allow me to copy the episodes to my computer hard disk.  Failing to do so, I finally contacted the BBC.  It seems I may have misunderstood what  'downloading to keep'  means.   The programmes are not available to download in CD/DVD format. We can access the BBC iPlayer and 'listen again' to episodes, I was advised, through the following link:
All that said, the episodes can be downloaded in MP3 format. and I currently have the episodes broadcast to date, on my iPod.  I will ensure I obtain all of them.

I have visited the British Museum where the objects referred to in the programme reside.  Time did not permit me to see as many of the 100 objects as I would have liked.  I have seen object 91, yet to be broadcast.  When it is discussed, very soon,  I shall listen and recall what I saw.  It will be the first time I will have been able to combine my visual experience  in advance of one of the broadcast episodes.

Museum staff say that there have been lots of requests for a CD of the BBC Radio series; they, like the visitors to the museum, (and many listeners to the series, I suspect) hope that a CD will be produced.  For maximum effect, it needs to be done really soon.


Harry said...

Maybe the BBC could have left it to viewers and listeners to suggest might have made an interesting list!

ZACL said...

There have been some people, like you or I, who have been invited to share the special nature of an object they have in their possession. These have tended to be items with some personal and sentimental attachment, In addition, in one or two cases, the items have had a little extra 'zing'.

The 100 objects of the BBC series are much more globally connected and register some importance on time lines. The list as is, is extremely interesting, absorbing and thought provoking.

Anonymous said...

It's been a fascinating series, although I've not heard all of them.
I think that they should publish a book(not a coffee table one!) and CD to cover the series. Flighty xx

ZACL said...

A book is an interesting adjunct to a DVD/CD of the series, it would have to have colour plates and minimal written description as the commentating about the objects, which is of such high quality, cannot be trumped in written form.

In the case of people with auditory difficulties, it could be possible to introduce a braille production.

The concept of the production is brilliant. I was like a kid in a sweetshop when I visited the British Museum to see some of the objects.