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.