In the last few years, George Orwell’s writing and thinking have come to seem ever more timely. But they are also much misrepresented. As BBC Radio 4 marks the 70th anniversary of his early death, BBC documentary-maker Phil Tinline takes five words that resonate through Orwell’s work, and tests out what light they can shed on our problems today.
Early in Nineteen Eighty Four, Orwell makes clear that in Big Brother’s dictatorship, “there were no longer any laws” – because this is a regime which doesn’t distinguish between thought and deed, and where the only law is state power.
So we explore how useful are Orwell’s ideas about power in countries that still have the rule of law? And we hear from a Uyghur writer who spent months in a Chinese prison about his experience of law in the world’s most powerful authoritarian state.
Series contributors include: Abduweli Ayup, Nick Cohen, David Dwan, Joanne Smith Finley, Maurice Glasman, Joanna Kavenna, Robert Jay Lifton, Dorian Lynskey, James Millward, Ferdinand Mount, Jean Seaton, Timothy Snyder, Mihrigul Tursun
Presenter/ Producer: Phil Tinline