The BBC releases In Our Time in free-to-download MP3 format…


I was planning to post about this last week, but I got distracted with something. Hope you can forgive me. Anyway, a while ago BBC Radio and Music Interactive (where I hang out during the day for cash) released Radio 4’s Reith Lectures in DRM-free MP3 format for people to download. It was something that we were all terribly proud to be able to be associated with.

Well now the department has gone one better. There’s this show on Radio 4 called In Our Time that’s concerned with the history of ideas. Each week Melvyn Bragg brings together three guests (serious guests at the top of their fields) and they have a discussion around the major themes. It’s kind of awesome if you’re interested in science or history. Just to give you an example of the kind of things that they cover there have been programmes on:

  • The Origins of Life with Richard Dawkins, Richard Corfield and Linda Partridge
  • Cryptography with Simon Singh, Fred Piper and Lisa Jardine
  • Homer’s Odyssey with Simon Goldhill, Edith Hall and Oliver Taplin
  • Hysteria with Juliet Mitchell, Rachel Bowlby and Brett Kahr
  • Dreams with V S Ramachandran, Mark Solms and Martin Conway

And if that lot doesn’t whet your appetite, then nothing will. Now all of this stuff has been available online for people to listen to using the BBC RadioPlayer (you can launch it from here), but now it’s got even better. Starting from shortly after last week’s episode, now you can download and listen to the whole programme in non-DRM’d, easy to understand, iPod (and other media player) -compatible MP3 format! The latest episode (about the origins of Electricity, and featuring Simon Schaffer, Patricia Fara and Iwan Morus) is currently available for download here. And if you particularly enjoy it then you can explore the subject further with the BBC reading list.

How neat is that? You loving this as much as we are yet?