Miles Davis - trumpeter, composer, bandleader - is championed by Adrian Utley of Portishead.
"He's always been really important in my life, right from early on when my dad used to play him. It was part of the atmosphere of our house."
From the early years with Charlie Parker and on via Kind of Blue to playing in front of 600,000 hippies on the Isle of Wight, Miles Davis was a musician who never stood still. "Always listen for what you can leave out," he used to say, and Portishead's seminal nineties album Dummy seems to have taken advice from the man. According to Adrian Utley, "The darkness and the sense of space is the thing that I have assimilated from Miles ... he's in my DNA."
With Richard Williams, author of The Blue Moment: Miles Davis's Kind of Blue and the Remaking of Modern Music,.
Presented by a sceptical Matthew Parris, and produced by an enthusiastic Miles Warde.
Jim Moir on Captain Beefheart
The comedian, actor and artist Jim Moir aka Vic Reeves is Matthew Parris' guest and chooses the life of Don van Vliet - the Dadesque musician and painter Captain Beefheart who has influenced many musicians since the 1960s. They are joined by Beefheart's biographer Mike Barnes to discuss the bizarre and complex persona developed by the Californian eccentric who died from MS in 2010.
Producer: Maggie Ayre.
Gisela Stuart on Joseph Chamberlain
Gisela Stuart, the former Member of Parliament for Birmingham Edgbaston makes the case for Joseph Chamberlain to be nominated as her great life.
But can she really make the case for this former industrialist who made it to the cabinet but had a knack for splitting political parties and switching allegiances?
Jo Chamberlain was first a Liberal then a Liberal Unionist and finally formed an alliance with the Conservative party but fell out with them too.
Gisela argues he was a man who wasn't afraid to take action, a radical who shouldn't simply be remembered for his failures but as "the man who made the weather" and for making Birmingham the best governed city in the world.
The expert witness is Peter Marsh, Honorary Professor of History at the University of Birmingham and author of 'Joseph Chamberlain, Entrepreneur in Politics.' Matthew Parris is the presenter and the producer is Perminder Khatkar.
Liza Tarbuck on Nikola Tesla
Justin Marozzi on Herodotus
Herodotus - father of history or father of lies?
Matthew Parris introduces a sparky discussion about a writer whose achievements include a nine book account of a war between east and west - the Persian invasions of Greece. Justin Marozzi proposes him not just as an historian, but as geographer, explorer, correspondent, the world's first travel writer, and an irrepressible story teller to boot. Backing him up is Professor Edith Hall, who sees Herodotus as the author of a magnificent work of prose. But Matthew Parris wrestles with whether he was historian or hack.
Justin Marozzi is the author of the award winning Baghdad: City of Peace, City of Blood.
Edith Hall is Professor in the Centre for Hellenic Studies at King's College London.
Herodotus of Halicarnassus - modern day Bodrum in Turkey - wrote about Croesus, Darius, Xerxes and Leonidas, plus the battles of Marathon, Thermopylae and Plataea. His books also embrace much of the rest of the known world.
The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.