A History of the World in 100 Objects

Earlier today a friend was asking for suggestions as to what might occupy her time on long international flights. My suggestion was A History of the World in 100 Objects, a podcast made by the BBC in a joint venture with the British Museum… but instead of just suggesting it I found myself enthusiastically endorsing it, which led to the realisation that it’s some of the best podcasting I’ve ever heard.

One hundred 15-minute programmes, each focusing on an object from the British Museum’s collection, written and narrated by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum.

And let me tell you, Neil MacGregor is phenominal. Charismatic, erudite and passionate, I’m surprised he’s not all over the telly like Attenborough.

Each individual chapter is fascinating in its own right while also being part of a greater narrative as the series goes through the 100 objects in chronological order starting with a stone blade and ending with a solar-powered lamp.

At fifteen minutes a pop they’re bite-sized if that’s what you’re after but they’re also great in back-to-back stretches. With 100 episodes that’s 25 odd hours of coherent, fascinating and beautifully told story.

iTunes link here and the site is here, where you can see the objects they’re on about.

I can’t recommend it highly enough.