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Page last updated at 05:55 GMT, Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Today: Tuesday 28th December

Ministers are finalising plans to ask the public to put forward ideas for new laws on a government website. Also today, our week of guest editors continues with the actor, Colin Firth, at the helm. We ask whether it's the physical structure of our brains which determines our political leanings.

To speed up the loading time for this running order, we have replaced the audio with links. To hear the reports, interviews and discussions, just click on the links.

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Today's guest editor is the actor, Colin Firth. While Colin did not want arts and culture to dominate his programme, he did want to include a little poetry, starting with a reading of The British by Benjamin Zephaniah.

Business news with Tanya Beckett.

Scientific research commissioned by this programme on behalf of our guest editor, Colin Firth, has shown a strong correlation between the structure of a person's brain and their political views. Science correspondent Tom Feilden analyses the theory.

The human rights organisation, Reprieve UK, is threatening to take legal action against the government unless it bans the export of two drugs used in executions. BBC reporter Andrew Hosken explains the situation.

The question of how to teach history in schools is a topic that concerns the coalition as well as this morning's guest editor, Colin Firth. The historian Tariq Ali and Niall Ferguson, Professor of History at Harvard University, debate the right way to teach the past.

The last figures for the number of people in England who were in critical care with flu were around 500, and the advice is that it is not too late for those at risk to get a vaccine. Professor John Oxford is virologist at Bart's and the Royal London explains why it is vital to act quickly.

The human rights organisation, Reprieve UK, wants the government to stop two drugs that are manufactured in Britain from being exported for use in US executions. Guest editor Colin Firth has commissioned BBC reporter Andrew Hosken to find out more.

The government is reported to be keen to continue with plans to allow petitions to force Parliament to hold debates on subjects chosen by the public. Correspondent Vicky Young considers the impact on political decisions.

This morning's guest editor, Colin Firth, has played a gay man in several roles, most notably A Single Man, which won him a Bafta and an Oscar nomination this year. Colin asked Evan Davis to talk to the actor Rupert Everett about the problems faced by homosexuals when casting for films.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Over the last four decades, aid to Africa has quadrupled from around $11bn dollars a year to $44bn , according to the UN. Today's guest editor, Colin Firth, has long supported the work of Oxfam, but was keen to hear the BBC's Mike Thomson report on the arguments against aid. Chief Executive of Oxfam, Barbara Stocking, responds to claims that aid can cause more harm than good.

Paper review.

Guest editor Colin Firth has noticed that people in the film industry often find it hard to tackle the theme of religion and faith. Catholic screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce explains what it is like to be a religious man in Hollywood.

Colin Firth asked for Satish Kumar - Editor of Resurgence magazine and Buddhist scholar - to present today's Though for the Day.

The coalition has indicated that it's ready to press ahead with plans to involve the public in shaping new laws. ConservativeHome editor Tim Montgomerie and Labour MP Paul Flynn discuss the possibility of debating public petitions in Parliament.

In this time of austerity, the coalition government refuses to cut international aid, pointing to its conviction that aid agencies do valuable work. Guest editor Colin Firth asked the BBC's Mike Thomson to investigate the effectiveness of humanitarian aid through the prism of Sierra Leone in West Africa, which has received more than £100m in UK aid since the end of its civil war.

Today's guest editor, Colin Firth, heard and enjoyed the encounter on this programme last year between John Humphrys and Dame Edna Everage. He requested a rematch, so we brought them together again for a look back at this year's big stories.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Guest editor, Colin Firth, has questioned whether our political values and beliefs are the result of experience or genetics in the brain. Science Correspondent Tom Feilden reports on an experiment involving two well-known political figures, Alan Duncan and Stephen Pound, to see if it is possible to predict an individual's politics from the structure of their brains.

Today's guest editor, Colin Firth, was keen to hear some poetry on his programme. The young poet Haroon Anwar, who won a performance poetry competition for under-16s run by The Poetry Society Slambassadors, recites Western Child.

Following the Daily Telegraph's recent undercover reporting of Liberal Democrats' private complaints, some MPs claim that those caught would have been fired had they been Conservatives. Matthew d'Ancona of The Sunday Telegraph and Trevor Kavanagh, associated editor of The Sun, debate the impact this has had on the coalition.

Today's guest editor is the actor, Colin Firth, who became a household name playing Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and continuing with a string of films including Bridget Jones's Diary. Justin Webb talks to him about his experience and how he had approached the task of guest editing.


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