Daisy Dunn

Alan Partridge should replace Jenni Murray on Woman's Hour

10 October 2020 9:00 am

In the week Jenni Murray left Woman’s Hour, I was listening to Alan Partridge on his new podcast, From the…

The gentle genius of Mervyn Peake

19 September 2020 9:00 am

Mervyn Peake’s unsettling illustrations reveal a gentle, kindly man with the soul of a pirate, says Daisy Dunn

The Archers is a masterclass in how not to write a monologue

12 September 2020 9:00 am

If you’ve been listening to The Archers lately, you’ll know how tedious monologues can be. The BBC has received so…

Hats (and knickers) off to the hosts: The Naked Podcast reviewed

15 August 2020 9:00 am

I spent half an hour this week listening to a woman make a plaster cast of her vulva. Kat Harbourne,…

The best podcasts for all your corona-gardening needs

18 July 2020 9:00 am

The American diet was probably at its healthiest in the second world war. Fearing interruption to supply chains, Washington launched…

From Hogarth to Mardi Gras: the best art podcasts

20 June 2020 9:00 am

If you study History of Art, people generally assume you’re a nice, conscientious, plummy-voiced girl. Sometimes, people are right. It…

Adapting Wodehouse for the radio is a challenge – but the BBC has succeeded brilliantly

23 May 2020 9:00 am

Everyone knows a Lord Emsworth. Mine lives south of the river and wears caterpillars in his hair and wine on…

The author who made a living measuring the legs of lice

16 May 2020 9:00 am

Wilhelm Nero Pilate Barbellion, real name Bruce Frederick Cummings, earned his living measuring the legs of lice in the Natural…

I've lost patience with podcasts and their presenters

24 April 2020 11:00 pm

‘To be recognised and accepted by a peregrine,’ wrote J.A. Baker in 1967, ‘you must wear the same clothes, travel…

Every bit as well observed as Rembrandt – and often funnier: Nicolaes Maes reviewed

7 March 2020 9:00 am

Nicolaes Maes (1634–93) relished the simple moments of daily life during the Dutch Golden Age. A woman peeling parsnips over…

Why do writers enjoy walking so much?

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

Writers like walking. When people ask us why, we say it’s what writers do. ‘Just popping out to buy a…

What really happened at Troy?

16 November 2019 9:00 am

Heinrich Schliemann had always hoped he’d find Homer’s Troy. Although he had no archaeological background to speak of, he did…

Did Radio 2 really need to give us four days of the Beatles to celebrate Abbey Road?

5 October 2019 9:00 am

This Changeling Self, Radio 4’s lead drama this week, clearly ought to have gone out in August. It’s set —…

Metamorphosis in progress: a mosaic of the giant Orion being turned into a constellation

The new treasures of Pompeii

25 May 2019 9:00 am

One afternoon in AD 79 an unusual cloud appeared above Vesuvius in the Bay of Naples. ‘It was raised high…

It’s all Greek to me: a schoolchild’s homework on a wax tablet, Egypt, 2nd century AD

Would James Joyce have finished Ulysses without coloured pens?

11 May 2019 9:00 am

The Mesopotamians wrote on clay and the ancient Chinese on ox bones and turtle shells. In Egypt, in about 1,800…

‘The Fisherman’s Cottage’, 1906, by Harald Sohlberg

If you’re tired of hygge then you’ll like Harald Sohlberg

23 February 2019 9:00 am

If you’re tired of hygge then you’ll like Harald Sohlberg. The Norwegian painter  eschewed the cosy fireside for the great…

‘St Paul from Bevin Court’, 1961, by Cyril Mann

The exceptional romantic cityscapes of Cyril Mann

9 February 2019 9:00 am

The little-known painter Cyril Mann (1911-80) saw a lot from his council-flat window. Beyond the parks and trees and red-brick…

Ivory plaque of a lioness mauling a man, ivory, gold, cornelian, lapis lazuli, Nimrud, 900 BC–700 BC. [© The Trustees of the British Museum]

The Assyrians of Ashurbanipal’s time were just as into pillage and destruction as Isis

1 December 2018 9:00 am

The Assyrians placed sculptures of winged human-headed bulls (lamassus) at the entrances to their capital at Nineveh, in modern Mosul,…

‘The Miracle of St Mark Freeing a Slave’, 1548, by Tintoretto

Tintoretto unmasked

15 September 2018 9:00 am

Tintoretto was il Furioso. He was a lightning flash or a thunderbolt, a storm in La Serenissima of Renaissance Italy,…

A kind of blue: Yves Klein’s ‘Jonathan Swift’ (c.1960) amid the Van Dycks and Joshua Reynolds

A visionary and playful heir to Duchamp: Yves Klein at Blenheim Palace

11 August 2018 9:00 am

Nothing was so interesting to Yves Klein as the void. In 1960 he leapt into it for a photograph —…

Furry foe: Don’t get within spitting distance

Alpacas – the latest must-have wedding accessory

14 July 2018 9:00 am

Of all the window displays in Amsterdam this spring there was just one that stopped me in my tracks. I…

Remembrance of things past: interior of the Pantheon, Oxford Street, 18th century, by William Hodges, demolished in 1937

The buildings we knocked down in the name of ‘progress’

2 June 2018 9:00 am

When the German novelist Sophie von La Roche visited Oxford Street in the 1780s she saw watchmakers and fan shops,…

Detail of ‘Riveters’ from the series ‘Shipbuilding on the Clyde’, 1941, by Stanley Spencer

Are cruise liners the solution to the housing crisis?

10 February 2018 9:00 am

Looking at the sketchbook of William Whitelock Lloyd, a soldier-artist who joined a P&O liner after surviving the Anglo-Zulu War,…

War horse: horse headdress made of felt, leather and wood, late 4th–early 3rd century BC

The icemen cometh

23 September 2017 9:00 am

You wouldn’t want to stumble upon the Scythians. Armed with battle-axes, bows and daggers, and covered in fearsome tattoos, the…

Unchanging: St John the Baptist parish church

Lions' wool and other wonders of Cirencester

9 January 2016 9:00 am

Everywhere you look in Cirencester there’s another animal: a cockerel, a hare, a sheep or a skulking lioness. I rather…