To seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go...

MONDAYS ARE different, now. Mondays will never be the same again. That is because Melvyn Bragg will never start the week again. Never again will he lead some of the world's leading lecturers, writers and geneticists through a graceful Monday morning parley. Never again will we hear him receive a science education in front of our very ears. For so long did Melvyn Bragg start the week, that it seems impossible that he is not still doing it in some alternative time/space continuum...

Bragg: Hello, and welcome to another space/time continuum, in which I, Melvyn Bragg, am still starting the week. Here to discuss whether this is actually possible is Dr Peter Chuzzlewit, whose new book on time is called Due Out Soon, Lisa Kincardine, who is giving a lecture this Wednesday on Renaissance man...

Kincardine: Last Wednesday, Bragg: Sorry about that, who was giving a lecture last Wednesday on Renaissance Man, Jonathan Miller, who isn't here yet, and Professor Steve Jones, who is always here. Professor Chuzzlewit?

Chuzzlewit: Yes?

Bragg: Is it actually possible?

Chuzzlewit: Is what possible?

Bragg: Is it possible that, because a programme like Start the Week has been going on for so long, that even when the BBC decide to change it and dumb it down, it still pursues an independent existence in some other world?

Chuzzlewit: No.

Bragg: It's not possible?

Chuzzlewit: No, certainly not.

Bragg: So this conversation is not actually happening at all?

Chuzzlewit: No.

Bragg: Fascinating.

Chuzzlewit: I mean, if you were to suppose that the Melvyn Bragg Start the Week were going on in an alternative time/space continuum, you might also suppose that your predecessor, Richard Baker, was also continuing somewhere else with his version of Start the Week.

Bragg: Couldn't that be so too?

Chuzzlewit: No. The idea is too horrible to contemplate.

Bragg: So tell us about your book. It's about time, isn't it?

Chuzzlewit: About time for what?

Bragg: Leave the jokes to me.

Chuzzlewit: Well, the idea behind the book is that books about time make a lot of money so it was time to write another one.

Bragg: Lisa Kincardine, do you want to come in here?

Kincardine: Frankly, my chief worry is whether I can get out. I have got an appointment in the real world at 11am. I have never been in an alternative space/time continuum before, so I don't really know the ropes. For instance, Melvyn, have you still got a peerage in this universe?

Bragg: I should jolly well hope so. In the real world I always insist that people should behave as if I wasn't a peer and was quite ordinary and I would like to do the same here. If I haven't got a title, I can't.

Kincardine: Of course, it's quite possible for people to have a title and for nobody to know about it. Jonathan Porritt, for example.

Bragg: Has he? I had no idea...

Jonathan Miller: [opening door] Sorry I'm late. Did I hear someone say the word "cognitive"?

Bragg: No.

Miller: Oh. Righty ho. [He leaves again.]

Bragg: So, Lisa Kincardine, you've written a book on the subject of Renaissance man?

Kincardine: No, but I did give a lecture on the subject last Wednesday.

Bragg: Oh, right. And what did you say?

Kincardine: I can't remember.

Bragg: You're joking!

Kincardine: Yes, I'm joking. What I said was that our conception of Renaissance man has no real connection with the real Renaissance at all.

Bragg: In what way?

Kincardine: The real Renaissance was a rebirth. It was the rediscovery of old knowledge. But what we mean by Renaissance man is simply someone who knows a lot about a lot of things. A sort of super quiz contestant. This shift of meaning reflects rather badly on our TV age.

Bragg: Of course, it's quite possible that the Renaissance is still happening in some other space/time continuum. Or that it hasn't even started yet!

Chuzzlewit: No, it's not.

Bragg: Steve Jones, do you think there is a gene which allows us to exist simultaneously in different universes?

Jones: I don't know! I just want to get out of here and back to the real world!

Jonathan Miller: [reappearing] Ah, but it rather depends what you mean by "real". doesn't it? Perhaps this is the real world, and...

This programme is continuing for ever and for ever, but not in this space...

Arts and Entertainment
Kathy (Sally Lindsay) in Ordinary Lies
tvReview: The seemingly dull Kathy proves her life is anything but a snoozefest
Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

Arts and Entertainment

Poldark review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat