There is an image of intellectuals as being cut off from the real world. But in the twentieth century, thinkers broke out of the academy and onto the airwaves. This series mines the BBC archive for footage of the great minds of the modern age – presenting these thinkers in their own words.
Episode one (‘Human, All Too Human’) looks at how scientists and psychologists sought to find out what makes human beings tick, with rarely seen footage of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, RD Laing, Margaret Mead and Richard Dawkins. Episode two (‘The Grand Experiment’) shows how political and economic thinkers (John Maynard Keynes, William Beveridge, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman) shaped British society in the twentieth century. And finally, episode three (‘The Culture Wars’) examines how thinkers as diverse as Raymond Williams, FR Leavis, Edward Said and Stuart Hall turned the polite world of ‘culture’ into a political battlefield.
The series features over twenty newly-shot interviews with great thinkers and opinion-formers of the modern age – the likes of Germaine Greer, John Gray, Roger Scruton, Sir David Hare, Sir David Attenborough, David Miliband, John Redwood and Tariq Ali discuss what these thinkers contributed to the modern age.