Best of Today

Best of Today

United Kingdom

Insight, analysis and expert debate as key policy makers are challenged on the latest news stories. From BBC Radio 4's Today programme

Episodes

Today at 60: Science and society  

The Today programme is celebrating its sixtieth birthday later this year – in the weeks leading up to the anniversary we’re looking at some of the biggest social changes in our country during that time. Renowned scientist Steve Jones led a review of the way the BBC itself reports science. Richard Dawkins is professor of evolutionary biology and David Willetts is former science minister. Our guests discuss how the public’s relationship with science, evidence and truth has evolved since the programme started. (Image: The Monkees scientists. Credit: Getty Images)

Tuesday's business with Dominic O'Connell  

Northern Rock, ten years on, Dominic O'Connell is at its former headquarters in Newcastle, asking what lessons have been learned (Image: Northern Rock building society branch in Newcastle. Credit: Press Association)

The return of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party  

It is almost 60 years since Harold Pinter's the Birthday Party was first staged. To mark the anniversary in January there will be a new production starring Toby Jones, Zoe Wanamaker and Stephen Mangan. Sarah Montague spoke to one of the stars of the new production Toby Jones and to Harold Pinter's widow Lady Antonia Fraser about their relationship with the play and the reasons behind its enduring appeal. (Image: Harold Pinter. Credit: Getty Images)

Hurricane Irma: Has the UK done enough?  

For the past few days the British Virgin Islands have become a place of death and destruction caused by the most powerful hurricane the islands have ever seen. The latest casualty figures from the islands put the number of people who died at five. Huge numbers have lost their homes. British police officers are being flown out to the islands to help restore order. Amy Brown is stranded on the British Virgin Islands. Her father Geoffrey Scott Baker says the UK government's response has shown a "callous disregard for British citizens". Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says the government is "doing everything it can" to help British nationals. (Image: Hurricane damage. Credit: Reuters)

Parents remove children over trans classmates  

If your five or six-year-old comes home from school and tells you that one of their classmates has gone from being a boy to being a girl, how would you react? Nigel and Sally Rowe have taken their child out of primary school pending a review of how the school has handled another child’s request to be recognised as transgender. The couple told Sarah Montague: "As Christians we found this really concerning." "We have a social understanding that we have boys and we have girls," Mr Rowe said. (Image: School children. Credit: PA)

Monday's business with Rob Young  

How will insurance firms cope with the financial damage caused by Hurricane Irma? (Image : NASA satellite photo showing Hurricane Irma passing over the Florida Keys, USA Credit:European Photopress Agency)

Today at 60: Dame Judi Dench  

Sixty years ago, in the same year that this programme was born, a young actress called Judi Dench was making her debut in the professional theatre - as Ophelia in Hamlet. Today Dame Judi Dench is perhaps our most respected and well-loved actress. Her latest is Queen Victoria in Victoria and Albert, the story of the Queen's intriguing relationship with a young Indian servant who became her confidant and teacher. It is the second time Dame Judi has played Victoria. So what is it like spending so a lot of time playing such a powerful character? (Image: John Humphrys and Dame Judi Dench. Credit: BBC)

What if Napoleon won Waterloo?  

A new novel called False Lights by KJ Whittaker explores the idea that after beating Wellington at Waterloo, Napoleon and Empress Josephine now preside over French-occupied England. Sarah Montague discusses with KJ Whittaker and historian Andrew Roberts the appeal of alternative history fiction. (Image: Napoleon at Waterloo. Credit: Getty Images.)

Are we on the brink of discovering life on exoplanets?  

One of the fasting-growing fields of astronomy is the search for exoplanets - planets that exist outside of our own solar system. The first discoveries were made in the early 1990s, and since then over 3,500 planets have been identified. Associate professor at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Elizabeth Tasker explained to Justin Webb how the next generation of instruments will be able to explore the atmosphere of potentially life-bearing planets. (Image: Exoplanet illustration. Credit: Getty Images)

Has North Korea changed the rules of nuclear disarmament?  

The argument always made in favour of nuclear weapons is that they are a deterrent and shouldn't be used, but by having them you stop nations misbehaving. This doesn't seem to be working on North Korea. Bruce Kent is vice president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Sir Malcolm Rifkind is the former defence secretary and foreign secretary. They discuss with Sarah Montague how what is going on in North Korea is impacting the argument for and against nuclear power. (Image: First test of atomic bomb. Credit: Getty Images)

Friday's business with Lucy Burton  

Why are MPs worried about proposed changes at the London Stock Exchange?

John Le Carre: The return of master spy George Smiley  

John Le Carre's latest novel A Legacy of Spies is published on Thursday - always an anticipated event for his legions of readers. But this time it involves the return of his master spy, George Smiley. Jim Naughtie has been speaking to the author and former spy about his writing, his own life and discovering the Stasi file kept on his father. (Image: John Le Carre. Credit: BBC)

Kurdistan, independence and the fight against IS  

The head of Kurdish counter terrorism and a key western ally in Iraq is visiting London. Lahur Talabani is director of Zanyari Agency, one of two intelligence services in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and director of the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG) special forces group. Here he lays out the region’s plan for independence and the fight against so-called Islamic State. (Image: Lahur Talabani. Credit: Reuters)

Brexit: MPs begin scrutiny of vital withdrawal bill  

The business of disentangling our laws from the EU is a gargantuan job. It covers nearly half a century of lawmaking and about 12,000 regulations and MPs will today debate how that should happen. Former president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy explains to Sarah Montague his scepticism about EU trade discussions starting soon. First Secretary of State Damian Green and Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer discuss the process of copying EU laws into the UK statute book. (Image: Big ben and EU flag. Credit: Getty Images)

Thursday's business with Dominic O'Connell  

The European Central Bank meets today, how are the economies in the region doing?

Businesses warn over 'UK workers first' proposal  

Firms that rely on EU workers have warned of the "catastrophic" impact of proposals to slash unskilled migration on the day Britain leaves the EU. Director of policy at the Institute of Directors Edwin Morgan tells Nick Robinson a quick reduction in immigration would be "damaging to the economy". Vice chair of Migration Watch UK Alp Mehmet says: "This is what control means." (Image: EU workers. Credit: PA)

Sir Michael Fallon on North Korea and defence spending  

The threats to the UK "are increasing" and the defence budget increase will be funded by "efficiency savings", Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has said. "The threats to this country, as you've seen just this week, are increasing," he told Nick Robinson. "Overall, the amount of money going into defence is going to continue to increase every year of this parliament," he said. "Some of this will have to be funded by efficiency savings." (Image: Sir Michael Fallon. Credit: Reuters)

Oxford vice chancellor challenges tuition fees  

We should all strive towards the "ideal" of free university education, says vice chancellor of Oxford University Louise Richardson has said, criticising interest rates on tuition fees. "A 6.1% interest rate is very hard to justify," she told Mishal Husain. "A society in which all university education is free is an ideal towards which we should all strive," she said. (Image: Louse Richardson. Credit: PA)

Wednesday's business with Dominic O'Connell  

The low oil price is not good news for those who rely on North Sea oil for a living

'Our job is to be an honest peace broker'  

More than 400,000 people killed in six years of fighting and many more injured. Eleven million people forced to flee from their homes and join the vast army of desperate refugees. This week, the United Nations security council met once again to decide what can be done to help bring the Syrian war to an end. The UN special envoy to Syria Staffan De Mistura has said a new approach is needed to put the people of Syria first. He tells John Humphrys only with an inclusive, credible election Syria will be reconstructed. "Raqqa will probably be free by the end of October and Daesh (so-called Islamic State) heavily under control." (Image: Staffan di Mistura; Credit: Getty Images)

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