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The Boring Talks

41 EpisodesProduced by BBC RadioWebsite

Behind every boring subject is another layer of boringness you could have never imagined.Presenter: James WardUpdated: Weekly

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#40 - Thank You (again)

February 27th, 2019

1:57

James Ward says thank you for listening to series two and chooses the best numbers from each of the talks.

Presenter: James Ward
Producer: Luke Doran

#39 - Doormats

February 25th, 2019

13:20

Can a doormat actually increase the value of your property by £30k?
Alex Baxevanis explains all in his study of the doormats from his block of flats.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Alex Baxevanis
Producer: Luke Doran

#38 - Markham Moor Roof

February 18th, 2019

15:06

Just off the Markham Exit on the A1 motorway lies an architectural wonder. Ed Carter shares his love for an unusual roadside roof, with help from a whistle or two.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Ed Carter
Producer: …

#37 - Watergate Tape 'Silence'

February 11th, 2019

25:08

The neuroscientist Sophie Scott takes a close listen to the long 'silent' gap on the Watergate Tapes.
Buzz. Click. Buzz. Click. Buzz.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Sophie Scott
Producer: Luke Doran

#36 - Shanghai Architecture

February 4th, 2019

18:58

From the 'eye of Sauron' building, to a deserted London town. The designer Hannah Cameron takes a walk back through the buildings that shaped her time living in China's biggest city.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: …

#35 - How Tall Are Celebrities?

January 28th, 2019

17:21

Who is taller, Robbie Williams, David Duchovny or the chef James Martin? And what does being ‘solid tall’ actually mean?
The writer Greg Stekelman …

#34 - Sounds of Grassroots Football

January 21st, 2019

39:40

The squelch of the white line marking machine, the crack of the ball against the crossbar, the shrill cry of the full time whistle.
Sound researcher …

#33 - Change

January 14th, 2019

16:56

Are you sick of getting too many coins in your change at the supermarket? Can British coins be better? Fear not people, Adam Townsend has the fix.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Adam Townsend
Producer: Luke Doran

#32 - Roads That Don't Exist

January 7th, 2019

22:45

A Brixton block of flats, an oddly-angled building in Piccadilly and a park that 'smells like bins'. Road enthusiast Chris Marshall explores how London has been quietly shaped by roads that don't actually exist.

#31 - Happy New Year

December 31st, 2018

0:47

James Ward says 'Happy New Year', and that's about it really.

#30 - An Underwhelming Christmas

December 24th, 2018

11:44

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas, or maybe a magical trip through a Winter Wonderland? Well forget it.
Rhodri Marsden explores the disappointing realities of the festive period.

Ho ho ho.

Presenter: James Ward

#29 - Animal Vaginas

December 17th, 2018

15:43

Science has historically studied penises more often than vaginas, but why?
Florence Schechter and Emma Parkin attempt to redress the balance by examining some curious genitalia from the female of the species, including …

#28 - Asterix Puns

December 10th, 2018

18:50

Tracy King, with the help of the Asterix comic books, proves that puns definitely are not 'the lowest form of wit'.
Warning: this podcast may contain some Latin jokes.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Tracy King
Producer: …

#27 - Dutch Landscape Paintings

December 3rd, 2018

18:11

A windmill. Two hunched countrymen. Lots of drab sky.

17th Century Dutch landscape paintings can be very dull, but is there something more exciting …

#26 - Call Centres

November 26th, 2018

30:03

How many days of our lives do we spend 'on hold'?
What does 'business in the front, party out back' actually refer to?
Has God been replaced by salad?

#25 - Jeremy Bentham's 'Auto-Icon'

November 19th, 2018

21:04

Did Jeremy Bentham leave his body to University College London? Does he really still attend council meetings there? Has anyone actually played …

#24 - The Taxonomy Of Cornflakes

November 12th, 2018

20:24

From lollipop sticks, to batteries and used car headlight bulbs, the collectaholic Anne Griffiths has always made art from the 'accumulations of the …

#23 - NATO Phonetic Alphabet

November 5th, 2018

18:18

Charvy Narain is fed up with people mispronouncing her name, especially when trying to book a taxi down the phone. Could the NATO phonetic alphabet …

#22 - Toilet Graffiti

November 5th, 2018

16:12

Declarations of love, offers of sex, messages of hope and even film reviews. The graffiti we leave behind in toilets is strange, personal and anonymous. But is there a difference between what is written in male and …

#21 - Thank You

June 7th, 2018

1:21

James Ward says thank you for listening to series one and chooses the best word from each of the twenty talks.

Presenter: James Ward
Producer: Luke Doran

#20 - Carry On Shakespeare

June 4th, 2018

17:17

Infamy! Infamy! The writer and broadcaster Samira Ahmed explains just why the Carry On films are actually better than Shakespeare.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Samira Ahmed
Producer: Luke Doran

#19 - Ice Cream Vans

May 28th, 2018

15:56

Good maths, a strong bladder and the ability to hold eight '99s' in one hand. Ali Coote remembers the important lessons she learned as an Ice Cream …

#18 - Kinder Egg Linguistics

May 21st, 2018

16:32

What's 119mm long & 55 mm wide, and contains a world of linguistic pleasure? Keith Kahn-Harris explores the wonders of the Kinder Surprise warning label.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Keith Kahn-Harris
Producer: …

#17 - Gasometers

May 14th, 2018

13:14

Tall rusting skeletal relics of our industrial past. Why would anyone care about London's Gasometers? Sarah O'Carroll explains.

Presenter: James Ward

#16 - Toilet Roll Serial Numbers

May 7th, 2018

11:22

'Do you recall the fogged beef, mate?'.

The writer Nicholas Tufnell proves that poetic inspiration can be found in the most unlikely places, including …

#15 - Smell Walks

April 30th, 2018

28:16

The artist and designer Kate McLean leads us, nose first, on a smell walk across the world. This podcast may include the odours of cooking sausages, …

#14 - Name Change

April 23rd, 2018

14:41

Can you change your name to your existing name? And, more importantly, why would you bother? James Michael Ward explains what happened when he tried …

#13 - Basalt

April 16th, 2018

14:05

Is basalt really the most boring type of rock in the world? Not according to Dr Anne Jay.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Dr Anne Jay
Producer: Luke Doran

#12 - British Earthquakes

April 9th, 2018

11:25

Rhodri Marsden is underwhelmed by British earthquakes. He thinks it's time to reassess how we report these 'tremors'. Is he right? Maybe.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Rhodri Marsden
Producer: Luke Doran

#11 - Sneezing

April 2nd, 2018

13:26

Since 2007 Peter Fletcher has been counting and documenting all of his sneezes. Every single one. Now he tells us why, and what he has learned along the way.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Peter Fletcher
Producer: Luke …

#10 - Lampposts

March 26th, 2018

18:18

Are you for or against lampposts? The author and design historian Dr Eleanor Herring looks at the controversial history of the lamppost, and those that have railed against them.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Eleanor …

#9 - Sounding Gestalts

March 19th, 2018

11:52

What exactly is a 'Sounding Gestalt'? And how can you make music from a Gentleman's cravat or E. coli? The artist Laurence Jordan will explain.

#8 - Danish Public Information Films

March 12th, 2018

20:44

From brick making to motorbikes, Dr Claire Thomson celebrates the golden age of Danish Public Information Films (that's 1935 to 1965, in case you …

#7 - Green Belt Land

March 5th, 2018

13:59

Once called 'Green Girdles', today's Green belts are strange and relatively unknown places. Follow the writer John Grindrod on his guided tour …

#6 - The Argos Catalogue

February 26th, 2018

24:55

The artist Louise Ashcroft takes us inside the mysterious portal that is the Argos catalogue, and examines what it reveals about people’s desires and aspirations.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Louise Ashcroft

#5 - Model Villages

February 19th, 2018

13:16

From beautifully crafted tourist attractions, to nightmarish dystopian visions, the broadcaster Tim Dunn shares his love for the 'little works of …

#4 - Wooden Pallets

February 12th, 2018

11:43

How did the wooden pallet become the 'single most important object in the global economy'? Liam Shaw delves deep in to the history of this ubiquitous object.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Liam Shaw
Producer: Luke Doran

#3 - Yellow Lines

February 5th, 2018

13:26

The journalist Andrew Male takes a personal journey in to the mysterious beginnings of yellow line road markings.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Andrew Male
Producer: Luke Doran
Editor: Moy McGowan

#2 - Book Pricing Algorithms

January 29th, 2018

11:13

A book for $1.7 million? To a computer, it made sense. Sort of. Tracy King explains.

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Tracy King
Producer: Luke Doran
Editor: Moy McGowan

#1 - The End Of The World

January 29th, 2018

20:59

What is the specific date of Armageddon according to Douglas Adams? Steve Cross close-reads The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy to find out

Presenter: James Ward
Contributor: Steve Cross
Producer: Luke Doran
Editor: Moy …

Boring Talks #00

January 7th, 2018

2:12

Behind every boring subject is another layer of boringness you could have never imagined.

Presenter: James Ward

Producer: Luke Doran

Editor: Moy …

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