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A History of the World in 100 Objects  is BBC Radio 4’s outstanding programme tracing the fascinating journey of human evolution through ‘places and times, cultures and experiences’ and which began its final six-week run yesterday. The programme is a year-long project to tell  A History of the World in 100 Objects.  Presented by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, the fifteen minute episodes started in January this year with a 2 million-year old stone chopping tool from the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, and has since looked at manmade objects from all cultures and all periods of human history.

“Attendance figures at the British Museum have increased over the year, and research suggests this is due to the programmes.

“But it’s also been a terrific showcase for what British radio can do. There were some grumbles early on that this sort of survey would have worked better on television, but the episodes have been so well written – great contributors coupled with MacGregor’s ability to tell a good story and paint pictures – that this complaint soon fizzled away. It helped that the programmes have been paired with an interactive website of dazzling comprehensiveness: you can see the objects, read more about them, upload your own objects, dip into other museum collections, and download all the previous episodes. It couldn’t be more thorough and user-friendly, but the programmes are the real stars. They are rich, intelligent, memorable slivers that take you on a fascinating journey to places and times, cultures and experiences. Not much comes close to so completely embodying the values and value of Radio 4.”

A History of the World in 100 Objects is broadcast on Radio 4 at 9.45am, 7.45pm and 12.30am on Tuesday. More here –


September 2010

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