The Week Unwrapped: National service, Bahrain and Roman Polanski

Should we all serve country and community? Can Bahrain and Israel be allies? And has history finally caught up with a legendary director?

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days. With Leaf Arbuthnot, Abdulwahab Tahhan and Harriet Marsden.

You can subscribe to The Week Unwrapped wherever you get your podcasts:

In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

National service

The think tank Onward has proposed the reintroduction of national service, in a radically different new form. It would be voluntary, for a start, and separate from the military. The stated aim is to “develop skills, improve mental wellbeing, and increase a sense of belonging among Britain’s youth”, but the reaction appears to have reopened a generational divide. Could any form of collective activity help to bridge it?

Bahrain and Israel

On Monday, Israel opened an embassy in Bahrain, marking the culmination of a process that began three years ago with the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two. The agreement was one of a series known as the Abraham Accords, which also normalised relations between Israel and the UAE, Morocco and Sudan. How significant is this step, and will it help pave the way to a deal with Saudi Arabia?

Roman Polanski

When the Venice Film Festival chose to present Roman Polanski’s new film, it sparked widespread backlash. The director is a fugitive from US justice, having fled the country after pleading guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977. The festival’s artistic director justified the decision to include “The Palace”, saying Polanski was “one of the last great masters of European cinema”. But the reviews are in – and the film has bombed. Is Polanski’s career finally cancelled? And can great art excuse bad artists?

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.