Night Waves, Radio 3, Tuesday, Wednesday
The Reith Lectures, Radio 4, Tuesday

Thought, reason, humour...whatever will they think of next?

We're not keen on intellectuals in this country, placing them in the vicinity of journalists, politicians and traffic wardens on the national scale of contempt, but Radio 3 does its best to give them succour.

Its latest attempt to feed our heads is the New Generation Thinkers scheme, the culmination of an X Factor-style contest for young academics that drew more than 1,000 applicants. There were workshops in which they were given a grounding in programme-making, and the final 10 each get a few minutes on Night Waves to talk about their current interests, which range from the significance of the desert in modern culture to the history of fan mail, and how economics shapes the moral landscape.

It kicked off on Tuesday with Alexandra Harris of Liverpool University. Her big thing now is the cold. "Has English coldness in some way determined who we are?" she asked, and went on to trace wintriness in literature, from the Anglo-Saxon poem The Wanderer through to WH Auden and his does-what-it-says-on-the-tin essay "I like it cold". Although it was only about six or seven minutes in a 45-minute programme, Harris established her broadcasting credentials with a diverting talk that ended with the thought that the examples she'd cited "give us new ways of feeling cold, and the assurance that at times imagination can keep us warmer than a jumper". I'm not entirely sure about that, but it was interesting stuff.

Wednesday's talk, by Zoe Norridge of York University, was about cultural responses to the Rwandan genocide. She talked about the genocide memorial at Murambi. There, corpses preserved in quicklime lie starkly on tables, soft tissue intact. Do the remains help to deal with the past, Norridge wondered, or do wounds remain unhealed while there are bodies unburied?

It was Lord Reith who established the BBC as the keeper of Britain's intellectual flame, and in the first of the Reith Lectures, Aung San Suu Kyi reflected on freedom, with a light touch that came as a slight and welcome surprise. In the course of a moving talk she painted a vivid picture of the headquarters of her National League for Democracy, which, she, observed, has been described as a "cowshed". She doesn't mind: "After all, didn't one of the world's most influential movements begin in a cowshed?"

She found time to tease the writer Timothy Garton Ash, one of her most fervent supporters over the years. In the question-and-answer session there was some pessimism expressed about things changing in Burma any time soon – but not from Suu Kyi: "I'd just like to remind Tim that he wrote in the late 1980s that change was not going to come to East Germany for a very, very long time." Touché.

By the way, I've been meaning to comment on the iPlayer website's "More Like This" facility, which recommends similar programmes to the one you're listening to. Allegedly. The More Like This suggestion for The Reith Lectures when I was listening was Loose Ends, which is frankly bizarre. What's the thinking there? That house arrest means that Suu Kyi has been at a loose end for the past couple of decades? Or am I missing something?

Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable