On Thursday, 21st September, BBC Radio 4 commemorates the 1,000th episode of “In Our Time,” a programme helmed by Melvyn Bragg since 1998.

In this millennial instalment of In Our Time, airing on BBC Radio 4 at 9am on 21st September, Melvyn and his guests delve into what can arguably be deemed as the most acclaimed work of the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007). The narrative opens with an image that etches itself into one’s memory for a lifetime: the visage of Death engrossed in a game of chess with a Crusader on the rugged shores of Sweden.

The release of this film in 1957 catapulted Bergman to international acclaim. We witness Antonius Block, the Crusader, coming to terms with his inability to best Death, yet desiring to extend this final contest for one last act, still uncertain of what that act may entail. As he embarks on a journey through a world besieged by plague, his encounter with a family of jesters and their infant provides him with a form of revelation. The guests for this episode include Jan Holmberg (Director of the Ingmar Bergman Foundation, Stockholm), Claire Thomson (Professor of Cinema History and Director of the School of European Languages, Culture and Society at University College London), and Laura Hubner (Professor of Film at the University of Winchester).

You can explore the In Our Time archives on BBC Sounds. Episodes are aired weekly on BBC Radio 4, every Thursday at 9am.