Fry's Planet Word Episode Guide

Episode Guide

  • Season 1 Episode 5: The Power and the Glory

    Stephen Fry explores how language is used in storytelling, uncovering how words can evoke strong emotions. Screenwriter William Goldman and Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson discuss the way plot and character are interwoven, actors David Tennant, Simon Russell Beale, Brian Blessed and Mark Rylance talk Shakespeare, and literary critic Christopher Ricks argues for Bob Dylan to be considered as great a poet as any other

  • Season 1 Episode 4: Spreading the Word

    Stephen Fry continues his exploration of language with a look at the written word, which has made it possible to communicate across space and time. He discovers the earliest known form of writing - cuneiform - at the British Museum, learns where the English alphabet came from and meets experts in dyslexia to find out why some people have trouble reading. Stephen also considers the importance of printing and the way writing evolves in parallel with language

  • Season 1 Episode 3: Uses and Abuses

    Stephen Fry explores how language is abused, arguing that swearing plays an important part in human communication. He meets a Tourette's sufferer and a stroke patient who cannot help saying the F-word, and finds out from Brian Blessed how swearing can help relieve pain. He is joined by Armando Iannucci, Omid Djalili and Stephen K Amos to discuss the power of four-letter words in comedy, and considers how the texture of language has been made richer by double entendre, euphemism, slang and jargon

  • Season 1 Episode 2: Identity

    Stephen Fry explores the relationship between speech and identity, whether through people's native tongues, regional dialects or class variations. From markets in Kenya to call centres in Newcastle, the actor charts the shifting patterns of hybrid languages, learns how TV soaps are keeping Irish alive and visits Bradford to be taught the subtle variations of dialect by Barnsley poet Ian McMillan

  • Season 1 Episode 1: Babel

    Stephen Fry dissects language in all its guises, journeying from the thousands of years since man first mastered speech, through the glories of world literature, right up to the cyber world of today with its html codes and texting. He begins by asking why man is so advanced in his levels of communication compared with the rest of creation. He also explores the history of feral children and sign-language, and follows a child learning to speak over the course of nine months, giving him an idea of how language itself is constructed

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