This is a hugely entertaining extract from Mark Steel's BBC radio series of live lectures about 'people with passion' in History, published by 'Laughing Stock'. Mark Steel is a professional comedian and amateur scholar. He reminds me of Peter Ustinov. Erudite, perceptive, entertaining, he is clearly a man of passion himself and his views on characters of the past are respectful yet extremely funny. Mark often unflatteringly and pointedly contrasts them with more mundancecharacters and events in the present. The main disappointent is that this CD contains only TWO lectures: on Leonardo da Vinci and Karl Marx. The first series contained 6 or 8 lectures in all, as did the second series. Where are these lectures? They really do form a consistent whole and the BBC should have licenced publication of the whole of the first series on a double CD and released the second series in a similar fashion. I only caught a few of the lectures when they were first broadcast and it is frustrating not to be able to hear them all. Unfortunately this is typical of the way the BBC manages its cultural assets. I fear that even after the lectures have been repeated on the radio they will never be published in their entirety. Such a pity. As it is, having heard only two 28 minute lectures on this CD I felt a little cheated.