Helen Zaltzman brings a charming dose of sass to questions of linguistics. Sometimes her subjects are matters of news and culture - the art of the crossword; the banning of puns in China. Sometimes they are historically significant - the battle of Bic and Biro for eponymous supremacy; 18th century attempts to make the workings of English a little more sensical. Presenting us with familiar words and quirks of grammar and turns of phrase, her investigations reveal even the least of them - even, literally, the spaces between words - to be surprisingly cool and strange. Eminently digestible at 15 minutes or so each week, it's funny and unpretentious, and you will want Zaltzman for a friend. A tonic.
Gateway episodes: #4 Detonating the C-Bomb (11 Feb 2015) / #7 Mountweazel (25 Mar 2015) / #11 Brunchtime (20 May 2015) / #19 Architecting About Dance (24 Sep 2015) / #21 Eponyms 1: The Ballad of Bic and Biro (14 Oct 2015) / #33 Please (1 Apr 2016)