If you’re looking for a podcast series that explores a wide range of topics in an intellectual, yet informal manner, then BBC Radio 4’s acclaimed series In Our Time will be right up your alley. Launched in October 1998, this popular radio discussion series presented by Melvyn Bragg attracts over two million listeners each week and boasts an archive of over 800 episodes, all of which can be downloaded from the BBC website for free.
Each episode follows a set format: The series’ host (Bragg) introduces that week’s topic and guides the discussion, giving each of the week’s three guest academic speakers a chance to talk about the subject at hand. Episodes are approximately 43 minutes long and delve into different topics every week, ranging from prehistory, spirituality, and English literature to cosmology, ethics, and human evolution. The diversity of topics explored is astounding and each episode is accompanied by detailed information about the guest speakers, reading lists, and useful links for further reading.
The discussions themselves have the feel and academic rigour of a university seminar but are, on the whole, informal and accessible to the general public. And while Bragg’s brash attitude may not be everyone’s cup of tea, he is a competent host whose wit, passion, and intellect shine through in each and every episode.
In short, In Our Time is the ideal podcast series for inquisitive minds and it gets the Tomb Raider Horizons’ stamp of approval. Here are a handful of episodes that may interest my readers:
- Angkor Wat (June 2022)
- The Rosetta Stone (February 2021)
- Tutankhamun (December 2019)
- The Inca (June 2019)
- The Egyptian Book of the Dead (April 2017)
- The Maya Civilisation (March 2016)
- Cleopatra (December 2010)
- The Great Wall of China (May 2010)
- The Greek Myths (March 2008)
- Archaeology and Imperialism (April 2005)
- The Norse Gods (March 2004)
- The Aztecs (February 2003)
New episodes of In Our Time are broadcast on BBC Radio 4 every Thursday from September to July and are later made available for download via the BBC website. You can stay up to date on all the latest In Our Time podcast news and episode releases by subscribing to the In Our Time RSS feed or following them on Twitter.
All information was correct at the time of writing (June 2019). Updated in August 2022.