Skip to content

OU on the BBC: Making of Modern Medicine - About the series

Updated Friday, 26th January 2007

Find out more about the BBC/OU radio series, The Making of Modern Medicine.

This page was published over five years ago. Please be aware that the information provided on this page may be out of date, or otherwise inaccurate due to the passage of time. For more detail, see our Archive and Deletion Policy

Scottish Woman's hospital, Serbia. Copyright Mitchell Library, Glasgow City Libraries and Archies. Licensor Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: SCRAN

Andrew Cunningham writes and narrates a major new 30 part history series, charting the development of western medicine and healing from the ancient Greeks to the pioneering organ transplant operations of the 20th century and beyond.

The Making of Modern Medicine covers over 2000 years of medical history and draws on a vast range of original sources from diaries, medical journals and stage play satires to shed light on the experiences of physicians, surgeons, nurses and patients.

From classical ideas and beliefs of illness that would dominate medical thinking for centuries, through to the rise of the great hospitals and the work of the Renaissance anatomists, this entertaining and thought provoking series goes on to reveal how in the early 19th century modern scientific medicine was born out of a medical “big bang” erupting from the white heat of the French Revolution which would lead to clinical medicine as we know it today.

Other topics include the changing relationship between doctor and patient, how western medicine spread throughout Empire, the emergence of germ theory that would transform our understanding of infection and cause of different diseases, and how far hospitals had developed by the 20th century.

Written and presented by Andrew Cunningham, an authority on social and scientific medical history it includes a wide variety of highly illustrative extracts read by acclaimed actors including Tamsin Greig, Annette Badland, David Rintoul and Peter Capaldi.

Whether you’re interested in how contemporaries thought about and understood disease in their own time, what it was like to experience illness, suffer pain and seek a cure in earlier times, the emergence of women in medicine, the advent of the stethoscope, or the birth of antibiotic treatment, this series offers an entertaining and fascinating insight into the background to these and a host of other medical issues.

Making of Modern Medicine in more depth:




Copyright information

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?