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Page last updated at 07:46 GMT, Saturday, 5 January 2013
Today: Saturday 5th January

A new row has been ignited in the Church of England over a decision to allow gay men to become bishops - as long as they are celibate. Nepal is demanding the immediate release of a senior army officer, who has been detained in Britain on torture charges. The Permanent Secretary at HM Revenue and Customs talks to the Today programme about changes to Child Benefit.

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

The Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham is launching a consultation on new legal limits on fat, sugar and salt in children's food. The BBC's health correspondent Adam Brimelow reports.

Thousands of people in Australia are stranded due to bush fires on the island state of Tasmania. The BBC's correspondent Nick Bryant gives us the latest from Sydney.

This week the Today programme has been hearing from well-known figures about what they would do if they were to set their alarms half an hour early. Today, space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock tells us what delights we could see in the early morning skies.


Al Jazeera has acquired Current TV, the cable television network founded by former US Vice President Al Gore. Current will be replaced by a new Al Jazeera America news channel based in New York, doubling its US-based staff. Soon after the deal was announced, Time Warner Cable said it was dropping Current from its line-up. Media analyst Claire Enders examines the political opposition the channel might face and the vision it has for the US.

The behind-the-scenes action from a day in the life of the Royal Opera House will be broadcast on Monday, through 21 cameras stationed everywhere - from above the stage to the trap door. In the evening, viewers can go behind-the-scenes at a specially recorded performance of the third act of Wagner's Die Walkure. You can also record yourself singing and upload it so you can be part of the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves. Kasper Holten, Director of Opera at Covent Garden and Louise Adler, a young singer training at the Royal College of Music, debate whether these ideas are an attempt by the Opera House to make the medium more accessible.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.


The All Party Parliamentary Group of Financial Education has submitted a report to the Department for Education, saying that the new National Curriculum needs to include a far better provision for teaching children about personal finance. They suggest employees from High Street banks should be invited into the classroom to improve lessons. MP Justin Tomlinson, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People, and Martin Johnson, Deputy General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and College Lecturers, debate the practicality of this report.

Paper review.


Howard Smith, a long-time writer for the Village Voice newspaper in New York, interviewed people such as Lennon, Clapton, Zappa, Joplin and Warhol, in the late 1960s and 70s. These people helped shape a generation of pop culture. For decades the unedited tapes lay buried in his Manhattan apartment, but they have now been unearthed. Our New York correspondent, Matt Wells, has been listening to the tapes.

Thought for the day with the Reverend Roy Jenkins - Baptist Minister in Cardiff.

Spain's King Juan Carlos took part in his first televised interview for over a decade last night. It follows a year of embarrassing gaffes and controversies - including a much publicised elephant shooting trip in Botswana. Public support for Juan Carlos has plummeted with 50 per cent of Spaniards saying they have a good opinion of him compared to 72 per cent a year ago. But what is the history behind the people's relationship with the Royal Family? Paul Preston, professor of Contemporary History at LSE and author of Juan Carlos A People's King, and Ana Romero, International correspondent at the Spanish national newspaper El Mundo, debate.


The Church of England is to end a moratorium on gay clergy becoming bishops. The Church's House of Bishops will allow clergy in civil partnerships to be appointed as bishops if they promise to be celibate. Norman Russell, Archdeacon of Berkshire, and Bishop Peter Selby, former Bishop of Worcester, examine the impact of the decision.


The radio presenter and actress Daphne Oxenford, has died at the age of 93. She is known to millions as the voice of the iconic BBC children's radio programme Listen With Mother. In the age of the internet, when children have access to a wealth of online activity, and when children's TV offers a wide range of educational and entertainment programmes, do we still need children's radio? Matt Deegan, Station Manager for radio the station Fun Kids, and Cressida Cowell, children's author who wrote amongst other things How to Train Your Dragon, delve into this issue.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.

Paper review.


The Today programme talks to the Reverend Simon Reynolds, Vicar of Darton and Cawthorne in Yorkshire, who is urging us to remember that in the Church of England's year, Christmas lasts for 40 days. He is responding to an article by Joan Bakewell in the Daily Telegraph complaining that many people were not waiting until January 6 - the 12th night - before throwing away their Christmas trees.

On Thursday the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is due to be sworn in for a six year term. Mr Chavez is still suffering from a severe lung infection in the aftermath of cancer surgery. The opposition is accusing the government of hiding the severity of Mr Chavez's condition. Our correspondent in Venezuela, Sarah Grainger, explains that his condition is causing a constitutional controversy.

The prison system in Afghanistan used to be violent and uncontrollable. But reforms have seemingly turned the main jail in Helmand, in Lashkar Gah, into a model prison - with the aim of rehabilitating Taliban prisoners not just punishing them. The BBC's international development correspondent David Loyn has been inside.


It is the 60th Anniversary today of the first performance of Samuel Beckett's iconic play Waiting for Godot - the surrealist masterpiece. The play became an enduring classic, finding audiences over the decades in locations as diverse as Communist China and Sarajevo, from behind the Iron Curtain to within the walls of San Quentin jail. But why has the play got such longstanding appeal? The question is debated by Ronald Pickup, an actor who played Lucky alongside Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart, who knew Samuel Beckett and was directed by him, and Professor Jim Knowlson, Emeritus Professor at the University of Reading which holds the largest collection of Beckett's manuscripts in the world - he was a friend of Samuel Beckett for 19 years and wrote his biography Damned to Fame.

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