Friday, 16 November 2018

Britain is a country which needs an old caricaturist called Roger Law and a TV show called 'Spitting Image'

The 77 year old Roger Law, the co-creator of 'Spitting Image', the satirical puppet show broadcast on ITV from 1984 to 1996, with a peak audience of 12 million, has said the that now would be a good time for 'Spitting Image' to return, but not in Britain :  “I’ve got about 10 or 15 years if I’m lucky. Do I want to spend it repeating Spitting Image as it was? "No". I want to be somewhere you can do what you want, and that would be on the net or pay-for-view. I don’t need some halfwit at ITV or the BBC telling us what you can or can’t do. I’m too old.”

Having said that, he is prepared to admit that if money from Netflix, for example, were on the table for a US version, scripted by Americans, but made in Britain, he would consider the revival. He said : “Now it’s so extreme, what’s going on. What am I going to do for the last bit of my life? And I love to work, it wouldn’t be a waste of time. We never really did it successfully in America. We did it and blew it for all sorts of reasons. It would be very interesting.” In fact, Roger's puppet of President Trump has already been created.

Roger, who created the show with Peter Fluck, said he was pleased the people (who were probably in their 20s and 30s in the 1980s), had fond memories of the episodes, but that it had had misses as well as hits : “I remember some of it being really quite good. Most of it wasn’t and it’s the same for the people that watched it. They’ve telescoped that 13 years down to "what will the vegetables have?" It’s jolly boring of them. But in a way it’s quite good. Unless I’m foolish enough to do it again, they have a very pleasant memory of Spitting Image.”

Those pleasant memories may or may not have included the sketches of the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Norman Tebbit opening the mail full of letter bombs; the Labour leader, Michael Foot, as the alien from ET reaching out with his long bony finger and saying : “Look, if you kids don’t push off I’ll … I’ll … and let me add … er … of course … erm” and an undeniably racist sketch about Japanese people, where all the characters looked the same. Roger said that sketch was 'of its time' and “It is only in retrospect that you realise it was a pretty fucking obscene thing to do.” He admits they got away with a lot and ITV "had all these worries about this" but were complicit because : "Once we had an audience and all those car ads and lager ads and god knows what, we could pretty much do what we wanted”.

Roger is donating his archive of scripts and drawings and a puppet of Mrs Thatcher to Cambridge University Library, including the 'Spitting Image' pilot of 1983 entitled 'The Late Latex Show' which featured Mrs Thatcher and Norman Tebbit eating his own children and based on the fiction that Mrs Thatcher had suggested that the unemployed eat their own bodies. 

It was later reprised as a 'Modest Proposal' - as a nod towards Jonathan Swift's 1729 essay in which he suggested that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies.

Despite the fact that Roger has rejected the idea of reviving 'Spitting Image' in Britain he seemed more equivocal when interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 'Today Programme' this week, when he said that he was always being asked to do it, but : "I can hardly be bothered to answer the phone because they never seem to go anywhere. It's in the ether though. You can't have the situation that we have here with this sort of division that you've got and of course America's exactly the same."

Spitting Image 1984 to 1996

Nigel Lawson's Budget :

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

part 6

Part 7

Spitting Image 2018

Surely the political stage in Britain is full of characters which are tailor-made for a new series of 'Spitting Image' : 

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Britain on Remembrance Day is a country and no country for its oldest of old men, Bob Weighton, six years old on the 11th November 1918

Today marks the centenary of the end of the First World War when at 11 o'clock in the morning on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the guns fell silent on the Western Front and the War in Europe was at an end. In the four years of war, Britain had lost 512,000 men dead and had 1,528,500 injured.

Bob Weighton, was born in 1908 and at 110 years, is Britain's oldest man, a title he shares with Alf Smith, from Perth. Born in Hull, he remembers, seeing from his bedroom window, the fires caused by German Zeppelins, airships which could travel at more than 60 mph and carry two tonnes of bombs. Bob, who had seen them as a six year old boy has said : “The appearance of the Zeppelin in the sky was a total surprise. The early ones, we had no defences and no awareness, there were no air-raid wardens.” 

When the sirens went off my mother brought us all down from our attic bedroom and we children crouched under the space under the stairs and sometimes under the heavy oak dining table. I remember our grandma rocking to and fro on her heels as she was kneeling down and moaning : "On God. Oh God" as the bombs appeared to get nearer. My Mother was calm and collected."

As his six years moved through to seven, then eight, nine and ten, he became aware of the toll War was taking : “There were little wooden plaques with the names of soldiers who had been killed which were put up at the street corners and flowers would be left on the pavement outside the house. They got more frequent and there were some little streets with six or eight names of young men who had been killed in France for everyone to see.”

Earlier this year Bob said : "If there’s anything that characterises the present world, it is the recrudescence of tribalism in Brexit, Trump, Putin."

Last year, Bob said that he was a "bit irked" to be celebrating his 109th birthday on the same day Brexit was triggered and although he was "not enamoured" with all of the European Union's decisions and spending, he felt quitting was a "mistake". He said he did not regard Theresa May's signing of Article 50, as "a step forward at all" and joked : "She didn't ring me up to see what my reaction would be." 

He has described himself as "very internationally-minded",  partly because his grandchildren and great-grandchildren are "scattered around Europe" including some in Germany. He said that Britain leaving the EU would be like a divorce : "You can't just walk away and expect it not to have any repercussions. It's not like resigning from a golf club because you don't like the secretary, it's more like a divorce with all of the heartache and recriminations that follow. However, you have to live with the way things are not the way you would like them to be."

He has lived through “times that have been exciting, times when it’s been very scary, times when it’s been the dawn of a new day. At the moment, it’s a total muddle – you’ve got Trump, Putin, and political stalemate in Britain.”

He was not in favour of Brexit, he said :“I have a son who married a Swede, and a daughter who married a German. I flatly refuse to regard my grandchildren as foreigners. I’m an internationalist but I’ve not lost my pride in being a Yorkshireman or British. I’ve lived in a number of countries and I felt I was at one with the people there. You can make as good a friend with a German or an Argentinian or a South African as you can with the man next door.”
Bob took 'A Level' German at the age of 70 and keeps two small flags, German and Swedish, on his mantelpiece – a nod to his international extended family.

As a teenager he joined the Peace Movement, a cause he still holds dear and has said :

"I don't think you should cease to be what you were born into and I'm just as proud now of being a Yorkshireman, as I ever was. I come from Yorkshire. I was born in Hull. But I think my horizons have expanded to an extent to which I hadn't dreamt they would do so. Although I did travel, the most valuable experience is not the actual travel; it's living in a community which is not the same as what you were born into; to include in my friendships people of totally different nationality, language and social structures."

"But my experience is that although you recognise differences, you have to do that to be realistic, it's no hypothetical matter. But in the end I find it possible to have the same set of human relationships with everybody else, different though they may be and you've got to find a way of living together constructively. You have to live together in some way and you have to give and take and reach a reasonable conclusion. You can't live in a world where everything is perfect from your point of view and destructive of somebody else's. But, if you want to know what I feel is the outcome of all my experiences I would say that sums it up better than anything else." 
"I've got to say it's far better to make a friend out of a possible enemy than it is to make an enemy out of a possible friend."

Friday, 9 November 2018

Britain is no country for the minting of coins to a celebrate the life of an old and beloved writer of children's books called Roald Dahl

A limited edition of 8 million £2 Charles Dickens coins, were created in 2012, in celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the author’s birth, They featured a portrait of Dickens, which is made up of a compilation of the titles of some of his famous works. The inscription on its edge read: 'Something will turn up', which refers to a quotation from Mr Micawber in the Dickens’ favourite novel, 'David Copperfield'.

Now the Guardian has revealed that plans to celebrate the life of Roald Dahl in 2016 were rejected by the Royal Mail. Born in 1916, he died in 1990 and was a novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter and fighter pilot who lived to see his books sell more than 250 million copies around the world. Apparentley, the Royal Mint dropped proposals to issue a coin to mark the centenary of his birth because he was 'associated with antisemitism and not regarded as an author of the highest reputation.' 
The decision was made in a Royal Mint Sub-Committee meeting held in 2014, where the company, instead, opted for coins commemorating William Shakespeare and Beatrix Potter and was made despite the Royal Mail honouring the children’s author with a set of commemorative stamps celebrating his books, with  'Matilda', 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and 'The BFG' adapted for films.

The evidence against him rested on the fact that :

* in 1983, against a backdrop of widespread criticism over Israel’s invasion of Lebanon a year earlier, he told the New Statesman : “There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews. I mean, there’s always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason."

* in an interview with 'The Independent' in 1990 and just months before his death, he described himself as 'antisemitic' and railed against the “Jewish-owned” media. He told the paper : “It began in 1982 when the Israelis invaded Lebanon. They killed 22,000 civilians when they bombed Beirut. It was very much hushed up in the newspapers because they are primarily Jewish-owned. I’m certainly anti-Israeli and I’ve become antisemitic in as much as that you get a Jewish person in another country like England strongly supporting Zionism. I think they should see both sides. It’s the same old thing: we all know about Jews and the rest of it. There aren’t any non-Jewish publishers anywhere, they control the media – jolly clever thing to do – that’s why the president of the United States has to sell all this stuff to Israel.”

Amanda Bowman, the Vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, when told, praised the Royal Mint’s decision and said : “The Royal Mint was absolutely correct to reject the idea of a commemorative coin for Roald Dahl, Many of his utterances were unambiguously antisemitic. He may have been a great children’s writer, but he was also a racist and this should be remembered.”

Wes Streeting, Labour MP and Co-Chair of the 'All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews' said : “Roald Dahl’s children’s stories were my favourite books growing up and they will always occupy a special place in my heart. There’s certainly no reason why future generations of children shouldn’t continue to enjoy those stories. But I think it’s absolutely clear that the Royal Mint made the right decision because there is just no excusing or explaining away Roald Dahl’s comments and his views, which were antisemitic. It is as simple as that. This isn’t borderline antisemitism. This is classic, undeniable, blatant antisemitism. I think when it comes to celebrating individuals, these factors ought to be taken into account. In some ways, for those of us who have never really known this side of Roald’s character, it’s quite upsetting actually.”

Last year, comedian  said he was refusing to celebrate 'Roald Dahl Day' because of the author’s views and tweeted Dahl’s : 'Though a massive fan of his work, I won’t be celebrating #RoaldDahlDay'.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Britain is a country which will miss the architectural pronouncements of an old Prince when he becomes King Charles III

Charles, Prince of Wales, is 70 in six days and will possibly be approaching his 80s when he succeeds his 92 year old mother, Elizabeth, on her death and to the throne, as King Charles III and monarch of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.

To mark his birthday, Charles, has sought to quell concerns of his future subjects that he would be a "meddling" or activist King and has said : “You can’t be the same as the sovereign if you’re the Prince of Wales or the heir. But the idea somehow that I’m going to go on in exactly the same way if I have to succeed, is complete nonsense because the two situations are completely different. You only have to look at Shakespeare plays, Henry V or Henry IV part I and 2, to see the change that can take place, because if you become the sovereign then you play the role in the way that it is expected."

Charles has faced criticism for decades over his campaigning on issues such as architecture, GM crops, integrated medicine and climate change. When told people have expressed worries that this would continue in the same way, Charles responded : “No. It won’t. I’m not that stupid. I do realise that it is a separate exercise being sovereign. So, of course, you know, I understand entirely how that should operate.”

The end of Charles pronouncements on architecture will be a great loss to Britain. At first sight, the Prince might not appear to be qualified to make them because, at school, after studying 'A' Level History and being awarded a grade 'B' and gaining a 'C' in French, in 1967, he took his place at Trinity College at the University of Cambridge and in his first year studied Archaeology and Physical and Social Anthropology, followed by two years of History, culminating in a 2.2 degree in 1970.

Charles 'got' architecture somewhere between his graduation at the age of 22 and the after-dinner speech he gave at the Royal Institute for British Architects’ 150th Anniversary Dinner, when he was 36 in 1984. In what should have been an innocuous affair, instead of congratulating them all for doing such a jolly good job, he took the opportunity to excoriate the profession and their modern designs, with his immortal description of the proposed extension to the National Gallery in London (right) as a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend".

As a result of the ferocity of his attack, the design for the extension was dumped and the career of its architects, ABK, nosedived and proudly in its place, the fake-classical design by Venturi Scott-Brown stands today.

Thankfully, in the same speech, the Prince managed to kill off an office block by the legendary German architect, Mies van der Rohe, no doubt complete with Miesian signature corners, which was to be situated near the Bank of England and instead, Britain got, the spectacular postmodern 'No 1 Poultry Building' by Stirling/Wilford.

Later, in 1987, Charles criticised a scheme for Paternoster Square, next to St Paul’s Cathedral, by his bete noir, Richard Rogers, saying "you have to give this to the Luftwaffe, when it knocked down our buildings, it didn’t replace them with anything more offensive than rubble” and mercifully it was quickly dropped.

Over subsequent years, in publications such as his 'Visions for Britain', Charles gave us his  opinion of John Madin's 1974 Birmingham Central Library as “a place where books are incinerated, not kept."  While the British Library (right), by Colin St.John Wilson, was “more like the assembly hall of an academy for secret police”.

In 2014, the Prince used his Royal Privilege and got directly in touch with the Qatari Royal Family to get Richard Rogers, who by this point had been made Baron Rogers of Riverside, thrown off the project to redevelop the Chelsea Barracks.

In the same year the 'Architectural Review' published an article by Charles in which he outlined his stance on architecture, reiterating his belief that a return to traditional design principles is necessary to enable sustainable urban growth that meets human needs. In the 2,000 word essay, he argued that 'we face the terrifying prospect by 2050 of another three billion people on this planet needing to be housed' and added that rather than 'wanting to turn the clock back to some Golden Age' as he is often accused, he is focused on the needs of the future. At the conclusion of his article, he outlined ten principles for architecture which met the requirements of his vision and state that Architecture is :

* a language.
* must also have scale as a key.
* should have limited signage.
* have built-in flexibility,

and is about :

* developments that must respect the land.
* creating harmony where neighbouring buildings must be ‘in tune’ but not uniform.
* the creation of well-designed enclosures.
* recognising materials also matters and the use of local wood beats that of imported aluminium.
* putting the pedestrian at the centre of the design process.
* recognising that space is at a premium, but not result in high-rise builds.

Charles has also been fortunate in surrounding himself with traditionalists like Quinlan Terry who believes classical architecture is an expression of “divine order” and Leon Krier, much of whose career has been spent trying to redeem the neo-classical architecture of Albert Speer and architect of Hitler's Third Reich.

The Prince is at his simplest and most profound when he argues that, and it is perhaps here that the old archaeology and history graduate comes out, that architecture should :

* return to the harmonic principles of the classical orders of ancient architecture, themselves inspired by the sacred geometry of  “nature” and an order which is “innately beautiful”.

* use the harmonic and geometrical division of circles which “displays the order which is sacred to all things.”

And Charles, who may not be a 'Prince of the People' is certainly a 'Prince for the People',  believes that architecture using this language, this geometric grammar, “communicates directly to people by resonating with their true being”.

In this scheme, the geometric rose windows of a medieval cathedral, like Durham, are seen as “physical manifestations of the Divine order of the universe” and are inherently beautiful. This could be a paean in praise for Monarchy itself.

Britain acknowledges the fact that for more than 30 years, the good Prince may have been the bane of the architectural profession, but he has wielded, the power bestowed upon him, albeit, by an accident of birth, to influence the design not only of individual buildings and projects, but the entire debate about what architecture is, who it is for and what it should look like and for this, his subjects and the country are profoundly grateful. His pronouncements not only in architecture, but also his other areas of expertise : GM crops, integrated medicine and climate change, will all be sorely missed.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old Polymath and consummate communicator called Aubrey Manning

Aubrey, who has died at the age of 88, was born the second child of Hilda and William, a grocery inspector for the Home and Colonial Stores, in suburban London in the spring of 1930 and recalled : "We had a small garden in Chiswick where I was born and I remember being fascinated by snails and ants."

It was the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 and the prospect of the bombing of London which prompted the family to move to Englefield Green in Surrey and "it was with our move into the Surrey countryside near Windsor Park that I really became involved. There were fields next to our house with a stream running through." By the age of ten he was spending long days exploring the fields, woodlands and hedgerows around the village.

He recalled : "I remember so vividly that within a week of getting 'The Observer's Book of British Birds' I had clearly identified what then were exotic species to me - tree creeper, nuthatch, greenfinch, jay - which had always been there of course. You just need your eyes opened and the natural world begins to spring to life all around you."

Having gained and taken his place at Strode’s Grammar School for Boys, in Egham, in 1941, he found "a new master founded a scout troop and a friend and I began working for our 'Naturalist's Badge' - I was hooked! I began devouring natural history books - especially on bird behaviour and I knew I wanted to become a zoologist." In fact, he recalled : "my first publication was with a school friend on wood warblers." The friend in question was Derwent May, who would go on to forge his own career in academia and journalism and the publication was a 1947 edition of 'British Birds Magazine.'

Chemistry also became an interest until he nearly blew himself up making fireworks. In addition to school and scouts he also, through the family, belonged to the local Baptist church, although his religion didn't seem to have had an enduring impact on him. He told the ethologist, Richard Dawkins when interviewed in 2008 that "I was brought up a Baptist, very much evangelical kind of stuff, lots of good hymn singing. Much better than the C of E."

His love of landscape also originated in the 1940s and he was doubtless recalling trips out in the family car when, in 2014, he told the BBC 2 tv series, 'Seven Natural Wonders' : "I remember going to Finchampstead Ridges with my parents when I was a boy - it was so much more open then" and "I've lived in Scotland for many years now, but I was born and brought up in the South and several of the places chosen brought back memories of a happy childhood and student days - Stokenchurch, The Devil's Punchbowl and Cuckmere Haven. The great sweep of the chalk across the South of England has been a dominating feature for humans for thousands of years and countless generations have worked it and come to love it."

His 'student days' began in 1948 when he "went up to University College, London, generally acknowledged to be  the fount of all goodness, to read zoology" where JBS Haldane, the great scientist and Professor of Genetics, was an early inspiration. It was now, at the age of 18, that he began to question his strict Baptist beliefs and later said : "I do remember that it was when I went to study biology at University College that I began to have serious doubts." 

"When I was a research student at Oxford, I used to do fieldwork on Wytham Hill to the west. I would look southwards across the vale of the White Horse to the Berkshire Downs and, of course, in my memory it was always a brilliant sunlit landscape. I always loved going to the White Horse at Uffington, because it's magical to know that it really is old. This is the one really ancient chalk figure we have in England, 2,800 years old, carved in the late Bronze Age. It gives you a wonderful link to the people that used to live on this landscape."

"During this time at the University I travelled the A40 a great deal. When returning south, the car I had at the time, an old Armstrong Sidley had a tough time getting up the steep hill at Stokenchurch. I am certain that had there been Red Kites at the time, I would have stopped at top to watch them souring above this area of The Chilterns."

Having excelled in his first degrees at London he "Eventually I went on to Oxford to do research under Niko Tinbergen on animal behaviour which has always remained my first interest." The brilliant and charismatic Dutch scientist Nikolaas Tinbergen was clearly a major influence on Aubrey and he recalled : "It was a wonderful introduction to behavioural research. Niko there with a gang of research students - we were a very tight-knit kind of group and he was like a great uncle to us."  "He was a superb naturalist and to be out in the natural world with him was a wonderful kind of inspiration. He really saw the web of like." "Niko showed how you could do good science, yet more or less, work with animals in their own environment, see the beauty of it, the excitement, the emotional response that you have."

While completing his DPhil on the 'Behaviour of Bumblebees', Aubrey shared a flat with the late David Snow, who, six years his senior, went on to become a celebrated ornithologist. Another of Niko's doctorate students was Margaret Bastock, who had been a zoology undergraduate at Oxford when the War broke out when her studies were suspended and she went to work for the BBC. Having graduated after the War she started her doctorate in some years before Aubrey, in 1950, examining the relationship between genetics and evolution in the fruit fly. It was through Niko that she met Aubrey and they collaborated on her work on 'courtship behaviour.'

Having successfully gained his doctorate, Aubrey undertook his two years National Service in the Royal Artillery and then, at the age of 26, joined the University of Edinburgh in 1956, as an Assistant Lecturer in Zoology and married Margaret three years later. This marked the beginning of a love affair with Scotland that continued for the rest of his life.

At Edinburgh he became something of a star, with his lectures attracting students from non-zoology disciplines with the university scheduling his lectures at 9am on a Monday morning in order to get students out of bed. At the age of 37 he published his 'An Introduction to Animal Behaviour.' Six years later, in 1973, at the age of 43, he was appointed Professor of Natural History. Nine years later Margaret died from cancer, leaving him and their two sons when she was 62. Aubrey married Joan Hermann, three years later, with whom he had another son.

In 1990 he became, and was to serve for 6 years, Chair of the Council of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, where he encouraged the growth of urban nature conservation and raised the profile of campaigns against such activities such as open cast mining and peat extraction. Hearing that an EU fund to promote nature conservation was receiving  no applications from Scotland, he was instrumental in securing a bid for £350,000 to restore Scottish lowland raised bogs.

His career in the media began in 1995 when for BBC TV, he talked about his life and work and chose seven of the things he found most wonderful for the science series called 'Seven Wonders of the World.' He chose 'Trees'. 'The Bee Dance'. the Tasmanian Tiger'Little'i', the 'Hit-or-Miss Governor', 'Durham Cathedral' and the 'Grand Canyon'.

He retired from Edinburgh at the age of 67 in 1997 and set off on a BBC Science Department round-the-world shoot for the series 'Earth Story', visiting Switzerland, Kenya, South Africa, Bali, Lombok, Australia, Canada, the US and Iceland. As a gifted communicator he used the advantage of being a non-geologist to explain geological plates, plume mantles, volcanoes, glaciers and asked questions and drew out answers that could be understood by non-scientists.

The eight episode Story covered :
1. The Time Travellers 
2. The Deep
3. Ring of Fire
4. Journey to the Centre of the Earth
5. The Roof of the World
6. The Big Freeze
7. The Living Earth
8. A World Apart

In 2000 Aubrey presented a series of three programmes on human evolution for Radio 4 and in 2001 he narrated BBC TVs six part ‘Talking Landscapes’ in which he covered :

1. The Weald.
2. The Pembrokeshire Coast and its connections with the sea.
3. The Yorkshire Dales and how generations of Yorkshire families made a living from the the Dales.
 The Fens and whether they are a completely man-made landscape.
5. The Cairngorms.
6. The Vale of Evesham where a flight with a local pilot helps uncover an Anglo-Saxon agricultural revolution.

For BBC Radio 4 in 2002, he narrated, over five series, 'Unearthing Mysteries' which over 20 episodes saw him visit : Turkey for a possible first city; Meadowcroft Rock Shelter near Pittsburgh; Spitalfields for archaeological finds; San Galgano in Italy for the Sword in the Stone; Roumania for a Roman temple; the Valley of the Kings in Egypt to unearth a mystery; Bronze Age mines at Great Orme Head and fossilised remains of Lynford Quarry in Norfolk.

With the Open University his BBC 'Landscape Mysteries' was broadcast in 2003 and in which he in :

1.Search of Irish Gold : asked : Judging by the quantity of gold artifacts discovered in Ireland, gold was readily available there in the Bronze Age but where did it come from?
2. Figures in the Chalk : investigated the enormous chalk figures - such as the Uffington White Horse and the Long Man of Wilmington - carved into hillsides in Southern England.
3. Britain Before the Ice : visited the Gower Peninsiula in South Wales to investigate a 29,000 year old skeleton of a young man and unravel the mystery of the lost world in which he lived.
4. Secrets of the Flood : looked at the land movements in Britain with sea levels falling in Scotland and rising in the south.
5. The Tower People of Shetland : set off to discover what sort of community built the Broch towers and for what purpose.
6. The Abandoned Marsh : traced the history of Romney Marsh in Kent with its ruined churches in the middle of fields and tales of towns lost at sea.
7. The Riddle of the Yorkshire Tracks : uncovered signs of an early chemical industry on the Yorkshire coast.
8. The Terraces of Avalon : travelled to Glastonbury to investigate the origin of a series of stepped terraces on the tor.

His travels continued with his BBC Radio 4 series, 'The Rules of Life' in 2006, linking animal behaviour to evolution. His 8 rules covered :
1. Life Before Birth when a mother's nutrition and stress levels affect her offspring's later life.
2. Early Days when if at first you don't succeed, you don't succeed, where only 50% of grey seal pups survive in their first year.
3. Going Independent and leaving the safety of home can be a testing time, with many new skills to acquire and young bull elephants spend years learning from older males before they can breed.
4. Pairing Up when attracting and choosing a mate can be a tricky and dangerous business and red deer stags have to battle it out for access to females.
5. Happy Families where parenting is often a challenge and meerkats work together to feed and look after the next generation.
6. Food Is Not For Free where for many animals there's a balance between getting enough food whilst not being eaten yourself and spiny lobsters screech like a violin to scare off predators.
7. The Twilight Years when ageing affects us all and for some species it brings dominance and respect, for others life becomes very tough.

8. Changing the Rules where humans can influence animal behaviour in subtle way and as people move into lion territory they drive away wildebeest and zebra and in n Tanzania some lions have switched to hunting people instead.

In 2007, for BBC Radio, his  'Origins Revisited' he explored the latest ideas and discoveries in the quest to understand the origins and evolution of humanity and covered the advances made by palaeoanthropologists and archaeologists since his first series in 2000.

In 2008 for BBC Radio in an 8 part series, 'The Sound of Life' he took listeners on an 'acoustic journey to discover the past, present and future of sound'  which took them from prehistory to find the first animal to ever communicate with sound to Costa Rica where being the loudest really matters,

It was in 2008, when Aubrey was 78, that he was asked, when interviewed by Richard Dawkins : "Do you take a pessimistic or optimistic view of the future of the world ?" and he replied :

"I struggle very hard to be optimistic, a short-term optimist. I have children and now I have grandchildren and one thinks about their world and so I cannot allow myself to feel that things aren't going to get better. What I'm absolutely certain of is that we're going to need some very powerful taps on the shoulder from the planet. Kicks up the arse really and I think we're going to get them."

In his latter years he became increasingly concerned about the question of population control and in 2011 delivered a lecture at the University of Edinburgh entitled : 'Population : Can We Begin to Talk Sensibly ?' In 2016 when asked the question : "When did you first realize the link between environment and population?"  He replied : "Probably when I started as a biologist in the 1950s. Biologists tend to notice the changes. There was a period of rapid recovery after the War, which brought huge advantages, but one could see that the amount of disturbance and development that was going on was putting a bit of a brake on some aspects of wildlife. It struck me that human numbers was a key factor."

"A common response to population concern is that it’s ‘anti-human’. That’s grotesque, it’s pro-human. How else are we to ensure that our children can grow up into a world that has choice and opportunities? You will be labelled fascist, racist, anti-human, but my back is broad, they can call me what they like! You have to be a short term optimist, otherwise you wouldn’t get up in the morning. It is still a beautiful world."

In 2013 at the age of 83 he reminded his audience of his brilliance as a lecturer when he delivered his illustrated lecture 'Scotland's Place in Earth's History' in which he covered the country's contribution to earth sciences.

In 1995 Aubrey said :

What better epitaph ?