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Page last updated at 06:11 GMT, Thursday, 4 October 2012 07:11 UK
Today: Thursday 4th October

The West Coast Main Line fiasco and what it says about the civil service: are they still up to running the country? Mitt Romney has challenged Barack Obama over his economic record in the first televised debate in the race for the Whitehouse. Also on the programme, the case for making children learn poetry.

We are no longer providing clips of every part of the programme but you will be able to listen via the BBC iPlayer .

0615
Business news with Simon Jack, inclding more on the fall-out from the collapse of the West Coast mainline franchise competition.

0709

Three senior civil servants have been suspended over the botched rail franchise bidding process. Margaret Hodge, MP and chair of the Public Accounts Committee says the emphasis has completely shifted in the civil service from policy to delivery.

0713
Three English universities are in the world's top 10 according to the Times Higher Education World university rankings, but beyond the elite it has warned UK universities face a collapse in their global position within a generation. Dr Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group and Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, discuss whether harm is being done in the sector.

0717

Business news with Simon Jack.

0720
A BBC investigation has revealed that several charities have been forced to close in recent months in part because of their involvement with the work programme, the government's flagship welfare to work scheme. The BBC's social affairs correspondent Michael Buchanan reports.

0726
Sports news with Gary Richardson.

0732
The BBC has said it will help police investigate allegations of sexual abuse by Sir Jimmy Savile, which are being made in the documentary on ITV tonight. David Jordan, head of editorial policy and standards at the BBC explains the corporation's position.

0737
The first presidential debate in the US elections is over, with many commentators declaring it a victory for the Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The BBC's North America editor Mark Mardell watched the two men clash at Denver University.

0742
The paper review.

0745

The Today programme has been offering listeners the chance to become an owner of a limited edition Children in Need / Today digital radio. Fifty pounds from the sale of each radio goes to Children in Need so the Today programme's reporter, Tom Feilden, went to a monthly music club for disabled children in Cumbria to see where the money is being spent.

0748
Thought for the day with Anne Atkins, novelist and columnist.

0752
In the UK only one in eight driving licence holders is aged 25 or under, yet one in three who die on our roads is aged under 25. Nick Starling, director of general of the Association of British Insurers, outlines their idea for a graduated licence and Edmund King, president of the AA, says there are ways of training young people to drive more responsibly.

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0810

Three senior civil servants have been suspended over the botched rail franchise bidding process. Lord O'Donnell, a former senior civil servant and economist, says there is no systemic problem except a lack of commercial procurement skills caused by constraints on salary.

0817
In Syria, reports say that at least 31 people have been killed and dozens injured in a series of huge bomb explosions in the city of Aleppo. Today presenter Sarah Montague talks to Ghaith Abdul Ahad is the Guardian's correspondent who has recently returned from Syria.

0821

On National Poetry Day today. Allie Esiri, co-editor of A Treasury of Poems for Almost Every Possibility, and Michael Horovitz, the British "beat poet" discuss if children should be learning poems by heart, and which ones would they recommend.

0827
Sports news with Gary Richardson.

0832

A report published by Oxfam is calling for urgent action to stop international investment firms turning people in many of the world's poorest countries off their land. The Today programme's reporter Mike Thomson reports on what Oxfam are calling unprecedented "land grabs".

0837
A BBC investigation has revealed that several charities have been forced to close in recent months and around 100 jobs have actually been lost, in part because of their involvement with the work programme, the government's flagship welfare to work scheme. Employment minister Mark Hoban outlines the moves that the government's welfare to work scheme has been making.

0842
Business news with Simon Jack.

0845
A case at the High Court involving a homosexual couple who paid thousands of pounds to a surrogacy clinic in India has highlighted a growing trend in so called fertility tourism. Dr Allan Pacey, a fertility expert from the University of Sheffield and chair of the British Fertility Society and Marilyn Crawshaw, national adviser to UK Donor, discuss the popularity of fertility tourism and risks it poses.

0850

Professor Andy Hopper, the new president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and Professor of Computer Technology at the University of Cambridge, is calling on the government to give small and medium size businesses open access to the intellectual property created in Britain's universities. Professor Hopper explains that research funded by public funds should be freely available to British companies.

0855
Rome's city council has banned eating around historically significant building. Simon Calder, travel writer and Sue Bryant, travel writer and editor of Journey's magazine, discuss whether food and civilization mix.


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