On the World Around Us: 25 Explorations of Britain, Past and Present

Written by:
Andrew Martin
Narrated by:
Andrew Martin

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
March 2023
6 hours 49 minutes
Andrew Martin reflects on Britain's customs, attitudes and social and supernatural phenomena in these six BBC Radio series

Drawn from Radio 3's The Essay strand and presented by journalist and award-winning author Andrew Martin, this beguiling collection brings together his witty, Alan Bennett-esque observations on England's disappearing pastimes, rituals and beliefs.

Yorkshire sees him musing on the county of his birth and upbringing, as he considers his 'Tyke' identity and the ancient rivalry between Yorkshire and Lancashire; chews over questions of class in 'God's Own County'; ponders its past and future; and recalls the coastal jaunts of his youth. In Hanging On, Martin celebrates five aspects of British life that are still with us - just, as he raises a toast to the boating pond; the ventriloquist's doll; the telephone; the milkman and sex shops.

The Lost Hours memorialises the staging posts of the day that are gradually fading away, such as elevenses and the cocktail hour; while England Ejects explores the inclinations and habits that no longer seem so vital nowadays, including modesty, gentility and Sunday church-going. The Further Realm sees Martin contemplating whether he believes in ghosts; reflecting on mediaeval and modern sightings and telling tales of the undead from resonant times of the year. Finally, in The Sound and the Fury, he discusses the noises that annoy us, from piped music to public transport announcements, asking 'how do we cope with jarring sounds in our world today, and could we live without the daily cacophony?'

Quirky and engaging, these delightfully entertaining essays will give you a whole new perspective on the modern world - and the world beyond.

Production credits
Produced by Duncan Minshull (Yorkshire, Hanging On, England Ejects, The Further Realm, The Sound and the Fury) and Karen Holden (The Lost Hours)

First broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on the following dates: 23-27 January 2012 (The Sound and the Fury), 27-31 January 2014 (England Ejects), 26-30 October 2015 (The Further Realm), 17-21 April 2017 (Hanging On), 21-25 January 2019 (Yorkshire), 25-29 October 2021 (The Lost Hours)

© 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd.
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