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A History of Britain in Numbers

Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, brings to life the numbers that highlight the patterns and trends that have transformed Britain

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Health

Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, tells the story of a transformation in personal life in Britain, through the numbers that capture change on the grand scale.He delves into the data for the big patterns and trends in history, finding new ways of thinking about the whole shape of the population - the balance between adults and children, for example, or the shifting shape of what we do with our lives, from infancy to retirement and death. He seeks answers in history to some of the problems that perplex us now, such as how badly austerity has bitten or the paradox of why no-one seems able to afford a house but so many people own one. And he tells these stories not just with data, but through people and the real experiences that bring the numbers to life.In the search for data to measure how we've changed, the programme counts rotten teeth and adds up what people ate, what they own and throw away. What did we earn through the centuries, how do we know, and what could we do with it? What was our health like, or our homes, our jobs or education? What was the status and experience of women? And how has it all changed?This is all presented with innovative radio techniques to capture data in sound - for example, new ways of creating graphs for the senses so that we can not just know, but feel, the changes.Each of these ten programmes takes one theme, to explore how far we have made progress, and why it might continue, or falter.3. HealthAndrew Dilnot explores the history of our health numbers, turning statistics into sound to reveal the startling changes in what we have come to think of as normal, and discovering how the numbers translated into lives through the centuries.Producer: Michael BlastlandA Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

14mins

20 Nov 2013

Rank #1

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Homes

Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority (2012-2017) tells the story of a transformation in personal life in Britain, through the numbers that capture change on the grand scale.He delves into the data for the big patterns and trends in history, finding new ways of thinking about the whole shape of the population - the balance between adults and children, for example, or the shifting shape of what we do with our lives, from infancy to retirement and death. He seeks answers in history to some of the problems that perplex us now, such as how badly austerity has bitten or the paradox of why no-one seems able to afford a house but so many people own one. And he tells these stories not just with data, but through people and the real experiences that bring the numbers to life.In the search for data to measure how we've changed, the programme counts rotten teeth and adds up what people ate, what they own and throw away. What did we earn through the centuries, how do we know, and what could we do with it? What was our health like, or our homes, our jobs or education? What was the status and experience of women? And how has it all changed?Each of these ten programmes takes one theme, to explore how far we have made progress, and why it might continue, or falter.HomesAndrew Dilnot tackles the history of our homes in numbers, looking for the big trends and statistical details over the centuries that might help explain why housing has become a national obsession. Continues next week.Producer: Michael BlastlandA Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4From 2013.

13mins

22 Nov 2013

Rank #2

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Stuff

Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority (2012-2017), tells the story of a transformation in personal life in Britain, through the numbers that capture change on the grand scale.He delves into the data for the big patterns and trends in history, finding new ways of thinking about the whole shape of the population - the balance between adults and children, for example, or the shifting shape of what we do with our lives, from infancy to retirement and death. He seeks answers in history to some of the problems that perplex us now, such as how badly austerity has bitten or the paradox of why no-one seems able to afford a house but so many people own one. And he tells these stories not just with data, but through people and the real experiences that bring the numbers to life.In the search for data to measure how we've changed, the programme counts rotten teeth and adds up what people ate, what they own and throw away. What did we earn through the centuries, how do we know, and what could we do with it? What was our health like, or our homes, our jobs or education? What was the status and experience of women? And how has it all changed?Each of these ten programmes takes one theme, to explore how far we have made progress, and why it might continue, or falter.StuffAndrew Dilnot's history of the big trends in history in numbers continues with the story of stuff - the things we consume, from light to concrete - packed with revealing statistics and stories of the way stuff changed our lives. Producer: Michael BlastlandA Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4From 2013.

13mins

21 Nov 2013

Rank #3

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Living

Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, tells the story of a transformation in personal life in Britain, through the numbers that capture change on the grand scale.He delves into the data for the big patterns and trends in history, finding new ways of thinking about the whole shape of the population - the balance between adults and children, for example, or the shifting shape of what we do with our lives, from infancy to retirement and death. He seeks answers in history to some of the problems that perplex us now, such as how badly austerity has bitten or the paradox of why no-one seems able to afford a house but so many people own one. And he tells these stories not just with data, but through people and the real experiences that bring the numbers to life.In the search for data to measure how we've changed, the programme counts rotten teeth and adds up what people ate, what they own and throw away. What did we earn through the centuries, how do we know, and what could we do with it? What was our health like, or our homes, our jobs or education? What was the status and experience of women? And how has it all changed?Each of these ten programmes takes one theme, to explore how far we have made progress, and why it might continue, or falter.10. LivingIs the history of the economic struggle for survival over, as Keynes once said it would be? If so, has it been replaced with what he said would be a much harder problem - not working out how to survive, but working out how to live? Some think we will only do this when we balance our expectations with the sustainability of the planet; others that it has become a moral problem, not an economic one.Producer: Michael BlastlandA Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

13mins

29 Nov 2013

Rank #4

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Women

Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, tells the story of a transformation in personal life in Britain, through the numbers that capture change on the grand scale.He delves into the data for the big patterns and trends in history, finding new ways of thinking about the whole shape of the population - the balance between adults and children, for example, or the shifting shape of what we do with our lives, from infancy to retirement and death. He seeks answers in history to some of the problems that perplex us now, such as how badly austerity has bitten or the paradox of why no-one seems able to afford a house but so many people own one. And he tells these stories not just with data, but through people and the real experiences that bring the numbers to life.In the search for data to measure how we've changed, the programme counts rotten teeth and adds up what people ate, what they own and throw away. What did we earn through the centuries, how do we know, and what could we do with it? What was our health like, or our homes, our jobs or education? What was the status and experience of women? And how has it all changed?Each of these ten programmes takes one theme, to explore how far we have made progress, and why it might continue, or falter.9. WomenThe changes in women's lives have been vast, and many of them have come in a blink at the end of recorded history. But the patterns of change in the data can be found repeated as long ago as the Black Death. What were they, and how do they help explain the way women's lives changed?Producer: Michael BlastlandA Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

14mins

28 Nov 2013

Rank #5