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Uncle Jim.

At school, I often told more gullible classmates that James Burke was my uncle. A household name in the 1970s, he presented Tomorrow’s World and The Burke Special, and was a leading authority on all things scientific or technological. Given the enormous gulf between my intellect and his, the only people who ever believed me were even thicker than I was. This week, I discovered that Uncle Jim is still going strong, presenting a powerfully intelligent series of programmes on Radio 4 called James Burke’s Web of Knowledge. I listened to a couple, struggling gamely to keep up and slowly realising that the gulf between our two intellects remains as wide as ever. How could I possibly have claimed that he was my Uncle Jim? I might as well have claimed that this man was my Uncle Solly.

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