This section has more information about the sort of broadcasting I do, often for the BBC behind a fuzzy microphone (when we’re recording outdoors and need to muffle the wind). Some of my fondest broadcasting memories are of rogue dogs escaping their owners, running over to us and trying to bite (or woo) the microphone. For some reason their input never makes the final cut, but it's very much appreciated. Our human guests are less likely to chew our recording equipment, but they're still full of surprises.
What Did the Vikings Do For Us?
When Lindisfarne monastery was attacked in 793AD the monk Alcuin described the church of St Cuthbert, “splattered with the blood of the priests.” New Generation Thinker Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough, from Durham University, takes this moment as the starting point for an exploration of the power battles between Vikings and Anglo Saxons which led to the symbolic battles of 1066.
As the second of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films, The Desolation of Smaug, hits big screens all over the country, we celebrate the Dragon of the North in myth and literature. Unlike its Chinese counterpart, western dragons signal trouble from their origins at the bottom of the Norseman’s world to their place atop piles of treasure in Old English Beowulf and J R R Tolkien. Norse and Anglo-Saxon expert and New Generation Thinker Eleanor Barraclough and John Lennard, literature and fantasy scholar, join forces to guide Matthew through a maze of dragons, drakes, worms and were-dragons to discover what is old about the monster and what has been added by modernity and especially modern warfare.
It is a thousand years since King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ of Denmark was named king of England in 1013 and the Illuminating York Festival is marking the city’s Viking history with an artwork in the form of a Son et Lumiere based around Old Nordic and Anglo Saxon texts. Eleanor Barraclough, Radio 3 New Generation Thinker and lecturer in medieval literature at Durham University, has had a sneak preview.
Author Joanne Harris and Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough discuss the god Loki and the power of Norse mythology. Recorded at the Free Thinking Festival for the Northern Lights season.