Natalie Haynes

Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics: Series 1-4
  • Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics: Series 1-4

  • All four series of Natalie Haynes’ BBC Radio 4 show combining comedy with classicism

    Writer, broadcaster and recovering comedian Natalie Haynes mixes comedy and conversation to bring the ancient world entertainingly up to date in these four radio series. Each episode sees her profiling a key figure from ancient Greece and Rome, and, aided by her special guests, creating a stand-up show around them.

    Series 1 investigates Petronius and the worst dinner party in history; asks whether Sophocles invented the TV detective with Oedipus; explains how Virgil was responsible for Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and introduces us to the notorious Aspasia.

    In Series 2, Natalie stands up for Aristophanes (expect a chorus of frogs and a sex strike); Ovid (featuring frottage at the races); Plato (a bit chunky, but a good wrestler) and Agrippina (pretty well connected and handy with the purse strings).

    Series 3 discusses Sappho, whose scorching poetry is now mainly lost; brings us some thousand-year-old gossip about Cicero; gives us the lowdown on Lucian, the forgotten inventor of science fiction; and tells the story of Juvenal, history’s first great stand-up comedian.

    Finally, Series 4 explores Phryne, the Greek courtesan famed for her wit and beauty; Horace, the Roman poet who made friends of enemies through his writing; Euripides, whose Medea still shocks us today; and Livy, who gave us Hannibal crossing the Alps and the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.

    Guests include Martin Rowson, Richard Dyer, Victoria Rimell, Professor Edith Hall, Frank McGuinness, Andrew Collins, Pamela Helen Stephen, Gordon Cutting, Dr Llewelyn Morgan, Sarah B. Pomeroy, Dr Ian Jenkins, Cate Haste, Rosie Wyles, Fiona Laird, Michael Squire, Philippa Perry, Stella Duffy, LiTTLe MACHiNe, Mark Stephens, Matthew Sweet, Armando Iannucci, Katy Brand, Ben Okri, Mark Ravenhill and Al Murray.

    Produced by Christine Hall and Mary Ward Lowery
    A BBC Studios production

Natalie Haynes is a broadcaster and a former comedian. She has been a panellist on Wordaholics, We've Been Here Before, Banter, Quote... Unquote, Personality Test, and Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive on BBC Radio 4. She appears as a critic on Saturday Review on BBC Radio 4. Haynes has been a Guest Contributor for The Times since October 2006, and a regular contributor to New Humanist. She has also written for The Sunday Times Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph, The Big Issue, Loaded, and The Independent. She has written a non-fiction book, The Ancient Guide To Modern Life, on the subject of how living well in the present requires some recourse to the ancient world.

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