BBC Radio 4’s long-running discussion programme In Our Time is hosted by Melvyn Bragg. The subjects include philosophy, literature, history, science and span history and pre-history. Many of the episodes are devoted to the Georgian era (or the long 18th century). Below I have listed as many as I can identify easily. The programmes are about 45 to 55 minutes long. There are also podcasts available.
The Gordon Riots Why a Westminster protest against ‘Popery’ in June 1780 led to widespread rioting across London.
Frankenstein Mary Shelley’s story of Victor Frankenstein and the creature he makes from cadavers and then rejects.
Napoleon’s Retreat from Moscow Why Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, thought he was victorious yet had to retreat, losing most of his army and, soon after, his empire.
Automata The history of ideas about machines imitating living creatures, and the questions they raise about the differences between machinery and humanity.
Marie Antoinette The Austrian princess who, while still a child, married the future Louis XVI of France, only to face hostility and death under the French Revolution.
The Poor Laws The 19th century legislation intended to discourage poor people from seeking relief instead of work.
The Gin Craze The craze for gin in Britain in the mid 18th century and the attempts to control it.
Montesquieu The impact of his works on liberty, monarchism, despotism, republicanism and the separation of powers.
The Highland Clearances Evictions and expulsions in the highlands and islands of Scotland after the Battle of Culloden.
Beethoven The life and influences of the German composer.
Carl Friedrich Gauss Mathematical genius and child prodigy.
Germaine de Stael Praised by Byron as Europe’s greatest living writer.
The Congress of Vienna The conference convened by the victorious powers at the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
John Dalton Quaker scientist noted for pioneering thinking about atomic theory.
Songs of Innocence and Experience William Blake’s illustrated poems first published in 1789.
1816, the Year Without a Summer The impact of the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815.
Thomas Paine’s Common Sense The Radical attack on the monarchy which inspired the American revolution.
Voyages of James Cook The scientific advances made in the three journeys of Captain Cook from 1768 to 1779.
Emma Jane Austen’s sparkling comedy of manners.
Frederick the Great The much-admired absolutist Prussian ruler.
Utilitarianism A moral theory which flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries and emphasised ends over means.
Fanny Burney The life and work of the 18th-century novelist.
The Wealth of Nations Adam Smith’s 1776 treatise on economic theory.
The Haitian Revolution How the 1791 uprising led to the first independent state to be established after a slave rebellion.
Tristram Shandy Laurence Sterne’s 1759 bawdy comic masterpiece.
Bishop Berkeley The Anglican bishop and philosopher.
The Corn Laws The effect of the 1815 measure to artificially inflate the price of wheat.
The War of 1812 The second American War of Independence.
The South Sea Bubble How speculation mania in early 18th-century England ended in financial ruin for many investors.
Clausewitz and On War The 1832 work was informed by the author’s experience fighting Napoleon.
Moses Mendelssohn The work and influence of the 18th-century Jewish philosopher.
Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe’s 1719 adventure novel.
David Hume The work of a key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century.
Malthusianism How the work of the Rev Thomas Malthus whose essay on population fuelled a debate that raged for generations.
Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Byron’s 1812 long narrative poem which caused a sensation.
The Industrial Revolution and The Consequences of the Industrial Revolution
Women and Enlightenment Science The contributions of women such as Caroline Herschel to scientific knowledge in the 18th century.
Edmund Burke The work of the Dublin-born philospher, politician and writer.
William Hazlitt The life and works of the essayist and journalist.
Mary Wollstonecraft The life and ideas of the pioneering thinker of the British Enlightenment.
Swift’s A Modest Proposal One of the most brilliant and shocking satires ever written in English.
The Great Reform Act To what extent was Britain’s political system transformed?
Vitalism The quest for the ‘spark of life’ in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Enclosures of the 18th Century Who gained, who lost and what role did Enclosures play in the agricultural and industrial transformation of this country?
John Clare ‘The greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced’.
Taste A look at the 18th-century obsession with aesthetic perfection.
William Wilberforce Melvyn Bragg’s documentary about the role and reputation of the campaigner who championed the abolition of the slave trade.
Immunisation The search for effective immunisation in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Catherine the Great How far was Catherine able to lead her country into full participation in the political and cultural life of Europe?
The Peterloo Massacre Why did a peaceful and orderly meeting of men, women and children in St Peter’s Field, Manchester turn into a blood bath?
Samuel Johnson A giant of 18th-century literature, little read today.
The Scriblerus Club Who were the Scriblerans? And what drove them them to such disdain and despair?
Politeness How ideas of politeness affected 18th-century culture.
Washington and the American Revolution The first President of the US, George Washington, and the people and ideas that caused the American Revolution.
The Later Romantics Byron, Shelley and Keats.
The Sublime What drove the great minds of the 18th century to invest so much in the defining of the state of awe?
Lamarck and Natural Selection The 18th-century French scientist was a precursor to Charles Darwin.
The East India Company How a private trading company helped forge the British Empire.
The Lunar Society The members of a Birmingham scientific society applied their minds to the problems of the age.
The Enlightenment in ScotlandCrowned by philosopher David Hume and Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, Scottish thinkers championed empiricism, questioned religion and debated reason.
The Grand Tour The origins and cultural impact of 18th century tourism.
Sensibility What caused the rush to emotion that so infused and enthused the Sensibility movement?
Napoleon and Wellington Two titans of the age.
The French Revolution’s Legacy What was the impact on Europe and Britain?
The Enlightenment in Britain Who were the British thinkers in the movement that embraced science and opposed superstition?
The Romantics Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Burns, two Shelleys, Keats, De Quincey, Carlyle, Byron, Scott.
Goethe and the Science of the Enlightenment How important were Goethe’s discoveries, and where does he stand in the history of science?