On Monday, 11 September Professor Patrick Wright’s ‘The English Fix’ is back for a second installment on BBC Radio 4.
The first episode will focus on George Orwell. Patrick visits the writer’s former Hertfordshire home (just down the road from Manor Farm of Animal Farm fame) to launch his second series of programmes exploring the way English identity is so often defined and clarified when under threat.
He talks to Orwell scholar Robert Colls, as well as people who find Orwell’s argument about a thread linking disparate groupings of English people to be a potent symbol for what might have been and what might yet be again in spite of a fracturing of vision as expressed in the Brexit vote last year.
Postman and writer CJ Stone, screen-writer Lissa Evans and former MP Michael Wills also share their thoughts on Orwell’s “characteristic fragments” and his famous lines about returning to England from any foreign country and having “immediately the sensation of breathing a different air”.
Is that air still there to be inhaled or are Orwell’s visions and arguments no longer valuable contributions to the debate about what it is to be English?