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Copyright restrictions prevent us from making these programmes available as audio on demand or podcasts.

Monday 20 July 2015: James Watt and Steam Power  

Naomi Alderman tells the story of James Watt and the steam engine that nearly never got made. Although he had the idea,  Watt was a depressive, cautious perfectionist had no interest in actually making engines. Had it not been for his friend, the businessmen Matthew Boulton driving him on, his engine might never have left the drawing board.

Tuesday 21 July 2015: A Portrait of Horace Parlan   

In 1931, during the Depression, an unknown young black woman took her new-born son to a Pittsburgh orphanage. And so began jazz pianist Horace Parlan´s life. At the age of five, he was struck by polio and lost the use of three fingers on his right hand, yet somehow, against the odds, he managed a long career as a professional musician. Now, aged 84, he lives in a nursing home outside Copenhagen, Denmark. Now blind for eight years, wheelchair-bound and widowed two years ago, his long piano fingers are stiff - he no longer plays - but he spends every day surrounded by music and looks forward to regular trips to Copenhagen’s legendary Montmartre Jazz Club. Rikke Houd presents a portrait of Horace Parlan.

Wednesday 22 July 2015: History of Salt #1 of 2

Steph McGovern explores the rich, diverse history of salt which has played a vital and multi-faceted role in history. In a two part documentary she finds out how salt is produced, its importance to our physical well-being and its use in military strategy right up until the 20th Century. Salt helped shape economies and cities like Salzburg, Munich and Venice, but also played a crucial role in revolutions across France, America and India. It played a key role in food, became an attractive artisan product, and now appears in health warnings.

Thursday 23 July 2015: Saving the Parsis 

India’s Parsis are one of the subcontinent’s most successful communities. But their future looks precarious because their numbers have fallen dramatically. Some Parsis believe the answer could be to accept converts, and re-write the rules on who’s deemed a Parsi. Others are resistant to change. Now the Indian government has stepped in to fund fertility treatment for couples who dream of parenthood. Linda Pressly travels to Mumbai to meet them.