top of page


Inside Culture with Mary Beard returns to BBC Two and BBC iPlayer this September to bring audiences some of the biggest names and most stimulating debates in the arts today.

The five programmes will explore a wide range of ideas and themes including laughter, the art that takes us ‘back to school’ and the cultural life of Australia and its relationship with Britain, as well as an interview with former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

On 24 September in the first episode of the new series, Mary asks why we laugh, and explores what laughter can tell us about ourselves, our relationships and the world we live in. She visits British artist Maggi Hambling whose work has tried to capture laughter, and meets stars from the world of stand-up including David Baddiel, Deborah Frances-White and Shaparak Khorsandi to explore the many meanings of laughter, from friendship and joy to cruelty and transgression.

Mary meets former US Secretary of State, First Lady, senator and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. In a wide ranging discussion Mary asks Secretary Clinton about women and power and her long career at the heart of American politics. She also asks Secretary Clinton about the culture that has inspired, sustained or challenged her throughout her life, and the surprising role that the arts can play in politics and in the lives of political leaders.

Later in the series Mary Beard asks why we keep returning to literature, plays, television and film that take us ‘back to school’. Mary hears from contemporary authors, writers and teachers, including former teacher and author Philip Pullman, bestselling children’s author Liz Pichon and maths teacher and writer Bobby Seagull, and she wonders about how school stories have changed through the generations and why we go on reading books about schools that many of us don’t go to.

Shahidha Bari takes the reins in episode four, exploring books and reading and asks whether audiobooks are changing the writing process.

Mary Beard says: “It is great to be trusted with another series of Inside Culture, and to be joined again by the brilliant Shahidha Bari. We are enjoying going out and about and looking at bits of culture in the eye. Who could not be interested in why we laugh?”


bottom of page