📑 The Education of Melvyn Bragg

Bookmarked The Education of Melvyn Bragg by Sarah Larson (The New Yorker)

Sarah Larson interviews the radio and television broadcaster Melvyn Bragg about his journey from working-class roots to curator of culture.

I have always enjoyed Bragg’s work, particularly his series The Adventure in English. I have also followed the In Our Times podcast throughout the years, a priceless resource.

I accidentally started to introduce a radio program. A friend of mine was doing it—Russell Harty—and he got ill. [The show] was on Monday morning and called “Start the Week.” He rang me up; I said, “I’m no good, I’ll get nervous,” and he said, “No, no, it’ll be all right.” I got the hang of it, and I stayed there for about ten years. And then I got fired. Tony Blair wanted to build up the arts representation in the House of Lords—they wanted to put through a big arts [initiative], so they asked people like David Puttnam and myself to go in the Lords to help that through. So we did. And the BBC said I couldn’t be in the Lords and do “Start the Week” because it was a political program. It wasn’t. Doesn’t matter.

I was offered another program on Thursdays, which was traditionally known in the BBC as the death slot. Well, how could I resist? So I got a six-month contract for the death slot, on the condition that I could do it my way.

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