The remarkable rise of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States has been propelled as much by his exceptional skill as an orator and the emotive power of his words as by any other factor. On the podium, on television, on radio and on the internet, his speeches have inspired millions of Americans and captured the imagination of the world.
Alan Yentob travels to Washington for the inauguration ceremony and joins the crowds in thrall to Obama's words. He traces the awesome power of orators from the very inception of this art form – from Aristotle and Cicero to Lincoln and Kennedy to Churchill and Hitler. And what about George W Bush? From the silver-tongued to the tongue-tied, from the sublime to the ridiculous, this programme takes a fond and irreverent look at the art and history of political speech.
Among those offering their views on the world's finest orators – and what made them truly great – are Bill Clinton, Bob Geldof, Alistair Campbell, William Hague, Charlotte Higgins and Germaine Greer.