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BBC to publish Reith Lectures archive

27th June 2011

The BBC has announced it is to publish the entire archive of the Reith Lectures, spanning 63 years of comment and opinion from some of the most distinguished artists, political figures and academics on the planet.

Initially broadcast in 1948 and named after Lord Reith, the first director-general of the BBC, the lectures are designed to 'advance public understanding' of major contemporary issues through high-profile speakers.

The archive comprises audio recordings and transcripts and has been made available on the Radio 4 website and through two podcasts spanning 1948 - 1975 and 1976 - 2010.

Andrew Caspari, the BBC's head of Speech Radio Interactive, said it will be an excellent opportunity to gain an insight into the minds of luminaries including Bertrand Russell, Robert Oppenheimer and Richard Hoggart.

'The archive is a journey through the great names and thinkers of the last 60 years,' he added.

This year's Reith Lectures will be delivered by the Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who will examine the themes of dissent and liberty, and former MI5 director-general Baroness Manningham-Buller, who will be looking at the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. 

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