[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
A sense of belonging
Historian Lisa Jardine is taking on the broadcasting slot held for so long by Alistair Cooke, and more recently by Brian Walden. History holds the answers to questions about the future, she says.

A historian who is totally committed to the future - that's how Lisa Jardine describes herself. This is because she believes the two are inextricably linked, with history holding the answers to questions about the future.

"Having a clearer view of the way things have happened in the past allows us to make intellectual judgements about the future," she says. "Any event in recent history will have been influenced by that which came before."

And the fast pace with which the world changes results in people wanting to be connected with what went before, she says. This helps explain why history is now more popular than ever before, with best-selling books and popular programmes.

Born in 1944
First woman fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge
Now Centenary Professor of Renaissance Studies at University of London
Author of many books including The Awful End of Prince William the Silent
"The more global the village becomes the more passionately people want to belong and consider themselves part of a smaller community. History becomes even more important to the present."

She hopes to use this connection as the new host of the BBC Radio 4 opinion column A Point of View, which is also available on the BBC News website.

"I want to use the moment, my week, the journalistic week as a springboard for some big ideas," she says. "I want to use the past and present to stimulate and challenge the listener and seduce them into thinking differently."

A historian, writer, critic and broadcaster, Ms Jardine is no stranger to new challenges. She has chaired the panel of Booker Prize judges, reviews regularly for numerous newspapers and magazines, and has been a presenter on BBC Radio 3's Night Waves, Radio 4's Start the Week and Channel 4's Powerhouse.


She is currently professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary University of London, and an honorary fellow of King's College Cambridge.

I was caught on a 1950s wave of opportunities for women; each time I think the wave has crested it just keeps going on
Lisa Jardine
She is the first woman to take on the broadcasting slot once filled by the revered Cooke, but as she has been the first women to achieve so much already - including the first woman fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge - she doesn't find it daunting.

"I was caught on a 1950s wave of opportunities for women," she says. "It has been rather like surfing, each time I think the wave has crested it just keeps going on."

She put her achievements down to a combination of ability, stamina, a sense of humour and a passion for communicating.

She says she is driven to explain things to people and the more difficult the subject, the more excited she gets.

And the interactivity that websites allow fuels her enthusiasm further.

"To get the reaction of people who e-mail in is completely wonderful," she says. "In terms of reaching people, it tops anything I have done before and it will help me with the slot. It is a real thrill for me."

A Point of View is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 2050 BST on Fridays, 0850 BST Sundays and available online via the BBC radio player or this page.



Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific