Cover

Front Row

Live magazine programme on the worlds of arts, literature, film, media and music

Tous les épisodes

  • 24.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:19
    Cover

    Crime writer Martina Cole has been awarded the Crime Writers' Assocation Diamond Dagger

    As she is awarded one of British crime writing’s top accolades, the Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger, Samira talks to crime novelist Martina Cole. Hailed as the Queen of Crime Drama, Cole has written 25 novels and sold 10 million books since records began but her work is rarely reviewed - so what’s her secret?Under the road map unveiled by Boris Johnson on Monday public museums and galleries in England will be allowed to reopen no earlier than 17 May, along with other indoor venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, whilst commercial galleries, public libraries, community centres and gyms are allowed to open from 12 April. Sharon Heal, director of the Museums Association talks to Samira Ahmed about the impact the continued classification of museums as "indoor entertainment venues" will have on the sector and whether there might be a shift on behalf of the government.Folk musician Sam Lee has collaborated with English Heritage on a project called Songs of England, a series of online films of sites from Stonehenge and Tintagel to Hadrian’s Wall and Whitby Abbey accompanied by traditional folksongs performed by members of Sam’s Nest Collective. He talks about the connection between music and location and sings John Barleycorn especially for Front Row. Sam also tells Samira about his fascination with the nightingale which he has turned into a compendium of ornithology, verse, legends and illustration and his plans for open-air concerts where nightingales will sing with the musicians.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Timothy Prosser SM: John Boland

    ...plus
  • 23.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:37
    Cover

    Keats, Bonnie Tyler, Museums and contested heritage

    John Keats was just 25 when he died in Rome 200 years ago. To mark the anniversary The Poetry Society has commissioned new work from award-winning contemporary poets responding to Keats’s work, and two of them – Rachael Boast and Will Harris – join us to share their poems and discuss why Keats is still important to contemporary writers 200 hundred years after his death.“The Best Is Yet To Come” is Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler’s 18th studio album. Pushed back by the pandemic, it’s a return to the bombastic full-figured 80s sound that characterised Total Eclipse of the Heart and some of her other greatest hits. At the age of 69, does the rock veteran feel like the best is yet to come?Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden summoned 25 heads of England's Museums and heritage organisations to a summit today to discuss the issue of contested history and the government policy of "retain and explain". Duncan Wilson, Chief Exec of Historic England, reports on the meeting.Presenter: Kirsty Lang Producer: Hilary Dunn Studio Manager: Duncan Hannant

    ...plus
  • 22.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:24
    Cover

    Huw Stephens on The Story of Welsh Art, Prequels, reaction to the covid roadmap

    As the Prime Minister sets out his roadmap to ending the Covid lockdown we get reaction from Dominique Frazer, Founder of the Boileroom, a music venue in Guildford, and Hamish Moseley, Managing Director of an independent film distribution company Altitude Film Entertainment, and ask if this offers them enough information to start to plan for the year ahead.Radio Wales DJ Huw Stephens discusses is three part documentary, The Story of Welsh Art, which looks as visual art in the country more associated with poets and singers.As Nick, a prequel to The Great Gatsby is published, we speak to it's author Michael Farris Smith on why the rather retiring character Nick Carraway deserved a backstory and Professor of Literature Diane Roberts joins to discuss the appeal of the genre.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Simon RichardsonMain Image: Huw Stephens holding a painting by Richard Wilson called Snowdon from Llyn Nantlle. Credit: BBC

    ...plus
  • 19.02.2021
    39 MB
    41:21
    Cover

    The Color Purple, Niven Govinden, U-Roy remembered, John Barber

    Leicester Curve’s recent award-winning revival of the musical The Color Purple, based on Alice Walker’s novel, has been reimagined, filmed and is being streamed for audiences. Dreda Say Mitchell and David Benedict review.David Rodigan joins us to celebrate the life of the great Jamaican musician U-Roy, who died recently. He was a master of the toasting mic style – the precursor of rapping, MC-ing and freestyling.Niven Govinden studied film before becoming an award-winning writer. In his sixth novel Diary of a Film his cinematic knowledge is filtered through the lens of creative anxiety, queer desire, and European city walking. In it, an auteur and his lead actors arrive at a prestigious film festival to premiere his latest film. Alone one morning at a backstreet cafe, he strikes up a conversation with a local woman who takes him on a walk to uncover the city's secrets, historic and personal. A story of love and tragedy emerges, and he begins to see the chance meeting as fate.Every year the Arts Foundation makes awards of £10,000 to assist artists with living and working costs - helping them to carry on creating. All five of the 2021 winners are talking about their work on Front Row. The fourth is John Barber, Arts Foundation Fellow for Choral Composition. He tells John Wilson about the range of his music making, from a retelling of the Persephone myth for 1500 voices, 10 years running Woven Gold, a choir made up of refugees and asylum seekers and professional musicians, to pieces for small choirs such at The Sixteen. So much choral music is rooted in religious texts and liturgy. But Barber is not religious and he explains his concern with composing music for voices from a secular perspective.Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Julian May Studio Manager: Donald MacDonald

    ...plus
  • 18.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:28
    Cover

    Wagner's Ring, Bloodlands, Victor Ambrus, Jessie Brennan

    Dame Sarah Connolly sings the role of the goddess Fricka in the Royal Opera House's production of Wagner's The Ring Cycle, currently being broadcast on BBC Radio 3. She discusses the challenge of performing this 15 hour operatic epic.Chris Brandon on writing the new BBC crime drama series Bloodlands - which stars James Nesbitt as a detective - is exec produced by Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty and Bodyguard), and which draws on Brandon's own upbringing in Northern Ireland.Visual artist Jessie Brennan presents our latest #FrontRowGetCreative challenge: today it's "blind drawing", which invites us to take a more intimate view of a person or object. You'll need the help of someone you're bubbling with, or you could draw a pet or object.We pay tribute to the artist Victor Ambrus, who has died at the age of 85. A refugee from Hungary, Ambrus became known for his illustrations of children's books - folktales, history and animal stories - and for his appearances on the TV show Time Team. His powerful images of battles were influenced by his own experience of the Hungarian Uprising.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Oliver Jones

    ...plus
  • 17.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:43
    Cover

    K-Pop and the South Korean music industry, poet Kate Fox, touring shows in Europe post Brexit

    Is listening to K-Pop like buying sweatshop-made clothes? From rigorous childhood performance academies to long, labour-intensive contracts for young idols, does the South Korean music industry have an exploitation problem? High profile suicides, sexual harassment claims and industry standards are complicating the nature of the industry and the fandom as it booms in the English speaking world. Musicologist Haekyung Um and journalist Taylor Glasby weigh in.Poet Kate Fox talks about her new collection The Oscillations, exploring distance and isolation in the age of the pandemic, refracted through the lenses of neurodiversity and trauma in poems that are bold, funny and open-hearted in their self-discoveries.Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic Tom Morris and Matt Hemley from The Stage discuss the viability of touring UK stage shows in Europe post Brexit as the National Theatre announce today that their planned European tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will not go ahead.Presenter: Kirsty Lang Producer: Hilary DunnMain image: The K-pop girl group BlackPink on stage Image credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images

    ...plus
  • 16.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:41
    Cover

    Good Grief, Shalom Auslander, National Galleries

    In 2006 a friend of the actor and writer Lorien Haynes died. Haynes's grief has found unusual expression - in a romantic comedy starring Sian Clifford and Nikesh Patel. In Good Grief the central character is dead. Director Natalie Abrahami has created an unusual hybrid of film and theatre, shot in what looks like a rehearsal studio, with a set of cardboard boxes - one marked 'cupboard'. Between scenes we see the crew setting lights and microphones. The critic Alice Saville reviews.Comic novelist Shalom Auslander talks to Tom about his latest novel, Mother for Dinner. Seventh Seltzer is a Cannibal-American who has done everything he can to break from his past, but in his overbearing, narcissistic mother's last moments he is drawn back into the life he left behind. At her deathbed, she whispers in his ear the two words he always knew she would: Eat me. The book explores ideas of legacy, assimilation, the things we owe our families, and the things we owe ourselves.As the National Gallery in London announces plans for its 200th anniversary in 2024, we discuss how museums and galleries might be different in a post pandemic future. With National Gallery Director Gabriele Finaldi and David Anderson, Director of the National Museums of Wales.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Timothy Prosser

    ...plus
  • 15.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:30
    Cover

    Lolita Chakrabarti on her play Hymn, literature about waiting, The Silence of the Lambs 30 years on

    As the nation waits for the vaccine and lockdown restrictions to ease, what can literature teach us about the art of waiting? Writer Rebecca Stott, critic Alex Clark and poet Anthony Anaxagorou discuss the art of waiting, whether cheerfully or 'with a green and yellow melancholy… like Patience on a monument' as Viola says in Twelfth Night.Lolita Chakrabarti’s play Hymn begins at a funeral where two men meet, and begin to form a remarkable bond. Lolita discusses her play that uses music and dance to chart the developing bond between these men. The play that begins streaming live from the Almeida Theatre this week.What do you remember of The Silence of the Lambs? It was released 30 years ago yesterday - on St Valentine's Day. The critic Michael Carlson looks back at this horror classic which uses elements of the rom-com genre, and argues we are wrong to think Lecter is the central figure. Clarice Starling, the FBI trainee, played by Jodie Foster, is the focus, and the film plays out from her perspective.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Simon RichardsonMain image above: Adrian Lester as Gil in Hymn Image credit: Marc Brenner

    ...plus
  • 12.02.2021
    39 MB
    41:21
    Cover

    Chick Corea, Barbellion Prize winner Riva Lehrer, Sia's film Music reviewed & Schneel Malik

    British jazz pianist and broadcaster Julian Joseph joins us to look at the life and music of his good friend; pianist and composer Chick Corea. Chick began his career in the early 60’s, released his first album in 1968 and over more than 5 decades he played with just about every big name in jazz, winning 23 Grammy awards and was still composing and performing new work just months ago – most recently a concerto inspired by the music of Bela BartokElusive pop sensation Sia makes her film directorial debut with Music, the story of a troubled older sister learning to love and live with her autistic younger sister. It’s released in the UK this week under a barrage of criticism from the autistic community which has seen Sia apologise for depicting a potentially lethal restraint technique, and for casting a neurotypical actress (long-time collaborator Maddie Ziegler) as the autistic eponymous character. TV writer and author of Drama Queen: One Autistic Woman and a Life of Unhelpful Labels Sara Gibbs joins film critic Tim Robey to review the film. They also take a look at the film Democrats presented during Donald Trump's second impeachment trial on 9 February for its cinematic technique and editing.When Riva Lehrer was born in 1958 with spina bifida, most children like her were not expected to survive. In her Barbellion prize winning memoir, Golem Girl, she recounts her life as a disabled person, using her paintings as a companion to her words. She joins us today to discuss the paradox of visibility, and how she uses art to amplify the lives of those who are usually left unseen.Every year the Arts Foundation makes award of £10,000 to assist recipients with living and working costs - helping them to carry on creating. All five winners are talking about their winning projects on Front Row. The third is Shneel Malik, a bio-architect. Her work Indus is a wall of tiles impressed with what look like the veins of leaves, down which water pours. It is strikingly beautiful - and very practical. The channels of the veins hold a micro-algae gel that purifies the water, contaminated by toxins in processes such as textile dyeing by small enterprises in India. It prevents pollution and allows the water - a scarce resource - to be recycled. Shneel Malik explains her work and its potential.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Tim Prosser Studio manager: Duncan Hannant

    ...plus
  • 11.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:19
    Cover

    Ben Hopkins, Luke Jerram, Winsome Pinnock, Rex Obano

    Screenwriter and novelist Ben Hopkins talks to Tom about his ambitious new novel, Cathedral. It's a portrait of the construction of the medieval period's greatest buildings, featuring a cast of intriguing characters all vying for power - from the bishop to his treasurer to local merchants and lowly stone cutters.Faith, Hope and Glory is a new drama series on Radio 4 which sees British playwrights Roy Williams, Rex Obano, and Winsome Pinnock chart the history of postwar Britain through the intersecting lives of three women. Starting in 1946, a week of 15 minute dramas which set the scene: Hope and Jim’s baby, entrusted to Eunice to take home to Antigua, is lost at Tilbury Docks, and found by Gloria and Clement, a celibate couple, who decide to keep her and call her Joy. The series continues with three 45 minute plays. Winsome Pinnock and Rex Obano join Tom to discuss the series.Luke Jerram is the next artist to feature in #FrontRowGetCreative, where artists encourage you to try your hand at a piece of art. Today, he focuses on sound, which has been an important component to much of his work, from installing 2000 pianos in public spaces in 65 cities around the world to etching the sound of his own voice on the engagement ring for his wife (which actually plays!).Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Hilary Dunn

    ...plus
  • 10.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:29
    Cover

    Adam Curtis, Welcome to Your Fantasy, true crime podcasts

    Documentary-maker Adam Curtis crafts densely-constructed, visually-fragmented work so packed full of ideas and images that you can’t take your eyes off the screen for a moment. He pulls together disparate images and soundtrack to create a mesmerising hypothesis. He discusses his newest work, Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, which debuts on BBC iPlayer this Thursday.Welcome to Your Fantasy and The Missing are two new true crime podcasts swelling the ranks in a genre which continues to feature highly in both Spotify and Apple podcast charts. Crime writer and true podcast fan Denise Mina, Natalia Petrzela, presenter and co-producer of Welcome To Your Fantasy, and true crime podcast maker Hannah Maguire, co-host of RedHanded, discuss the continuing appeal of this format.We’ve another in our continuing series, Moments of Joy, showing how art can brighten dark times. Today it’s the turn of writer Max Liu, who celebrates a moment in Annie Baker‘s drama The Flick, which defies theatrical conventions to great effect. It also reminds us of the unacknowledged value of small talk.Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Julian May

    ...plus
  • 09.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:24
    Cover

    News of the World, Mary Wilson tribute, songwriter Roger Cook, Jean-Claude Carrière remembered

    Tom Hanks stars in Paul Greengrass's new film, News of the World. Hanks plays Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a Civil War veteran who crosses paths with Johanna (Helena Zengel), a 10-year-old taken in by the Kiowa people six years earlier and raised as one of their own. Gavia Baker-Whitelaw gives us her verdict on the western.Songwriter Roger Cook discusses Thursday’s world premiere of Next Year in Jerusalem, the title song of a musical he wrote with Lionel Bart 47 years ago. Roger is now hoping to revive the musical they never managed to stage at the time, and shares an exclusive recording of one of the songs, sung by him and Lionel Bart.Mary Wilson was a founding members of The Supremes, one of the most successful and influential girl groups of all time to spring from the Motown stable. To celebrate her life, Kevin Le Gendre looks at what she achieved and her influence on the British beat group scene at the time.Jean-Claude Carriere, who died yesterday, aged 89, had an extraordinary career. He published his first novel in 1957. His first screenplay was filmed in 1962. He carried on writing novels and films - he acted, too - until 2019. He worked with Jacques Tati and wrote most of Luis Bunuel's later films, including The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and That Obscure Object of Desire. He collaborated with Peter Brook on one of the most important productions in 20th Century theatre, the nine-hour-long stage version of The Mahabharata. Critic Christopher Cook assesses Carriere's cultural significance, paying tribute to a great French artist and intellectual.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Jerome Weatherald

    ...plus
  • 08.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:25
    Cover

    Cathy Yan on her film Dead Pigs

    Twenty years ago this week, the artist Michael Landy famously destroyed every single one of his 7,227 possessions in an artwork called Break Down. The artist looks back on the 14-day event which took place on an industrial conveyor belt inside a disused department store in Oxford St in London, and considers how the process affected him.Since the now notorious Handforth Parish Council Meeting people have been imagining the film version starring Meryl Streep or Lesley Manville as Jackie Weaver, with cameos from Julie Walters and David Bradley, but films take forever to make. Already, though, people have been busy composing Handforth Parish Council, the musical, the opera, the sea shanty and the drill track, shooting videos and posting them online. Millie Taylor, professor of musical theatre assesses some of these almost instant offerings and talks to Kirsty Lang about what they reveal about creativity in lockdown.Cathy Yan joins us from New York, to discuss how her work as journalist in China informed her film, Dead Pigs. Based on a true story, the film focuses on the lives and connections of a disparate group of characters as thousands of dead pigs mysteriously float down the river towards Shanghai. Cathy will discuss what made her want to adapt the story for screen, as well as her experience shooting in China.How has the current situation affected plans for Coventry city of culture 2021, which is due to kick off on 15 May? Chenine Bhathena, creative director, discusses their plans, and how they've dealt with the challenges of lockdown and Covid.Presenter: Kirsty Lang Producer: Simon RichardsonMain image above: Vivian Wu as Candy Wang (Centre) in Dead Pigs. Image credit: MUBI

    ...plus
  • 05.02.2021
    39 MB
    41:24
    Cover

    Luke Jerram's Vaccine Artwork, Remembering Christopher Plummer, Malcolm & Marie

    In April the artist Luke Jerram spoke on Front Row about his sculpture of the Covid-19 virus. Since then he has been ill with Covid and has created another sculpture - unveiled today - this time of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Jerram discusses his artistic engagement with Covid, including his piece In Memoriam, 120 flags made of NHS bed-sheets, commemorating those who have died.The Oscar-winning actor Christopher Plummer, whose death at the age of 91 was announced today, is remembered by the film critic Larushka Ivan-Zadeh.For our Friday Review, Larushka is joined by Carl Anka to discuss Malcolm & Marie, the black-and-white, made-in-lockdown relationship movie on Netflix starring Zendaya and John David Washington, written and directed by Sam Levinson. They also watch ZeroZeroZero, a new thriller on Sky unpicking the international cocaine trade based on the book by Roberto Saviano.Arts Foundation Futures Award winner Keisha Thompson discusses her past work as a theatre-maker and poet. She talks about how she uses her background in science and maths to inform her theatre practice, and why she is fascinated by taboo subjects in art.And to celebrate Welsh Language Music Day, the 19-year-old Welsh singer, composer and harpist Cerys Hafana joins us to explain how music and the Welsh language go hand-in-hand.Presenter: Kirsty Lang Producer: Jerome Weatherald Studio Manager: Giles Aspen

    ...plus
  • 04.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:23
    Cover

    Sam Neill On New Film Rams

    Hollywood star Sam Neill joins us from his home in New Zealand to discuss the perils of acting with sheep in his new film Rams, based on an acclaimed Icelandic drama about two estranged brothers and their flocks of a rare horned breed of sheep.A new colour blue has come onto artists’ palettes. Called YInMn it was discovered in 2009 by accident by scientists working on semiconductors but has only just become commercially available. Art critic Waldemar Januszczak looks at why this is significant and how artists have used the colour blue in painting.The next artist in our series #FrontRowGetCreative is Sarah Maple who will be exploring the art of collage. Using the idea of ‘negative space’, Sarah will be showing us how to create our own collage using text and imagery from magazines, newspapers and junk mail, the result of which will be a modern and striking image and a significant step up from what we were doing at primary school.Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Julian May

    ...plus
  • 03.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:38
    Cover

    Golden Globes, Sundance, K-Ming Chang and literary scouts

    Film critic Leila Latif joins us to discuss today’s Golden Globe nominations, and gives us an overview of some of the highlights from the first ever online Sundance Festival.The folklore of Taiwan is visited and revisited by subsequent generations of women in Bestiary, the debut novel from K-Ming Chang, as a Daughter falls in love and confronts her family’s secrets in America. Shot through with a litany of mythical beasts, it’s a novel that offers a charged narrative of diaspora and beauty in a hazy magic realist renderings of California, Arkansas & Taiwan. Author and poet K-Ming Chang tells Kirsty Lang how tracing her own heritage led to a story of queer desire, violence, and identity.Writers write while agents tend to their interests and publishers bring their works to the public. There is, though, another lesser known but important worker in the books business - the Literary Scout. Their role is to find the right books, before anyone else, and bring them to publishers, all over the world. Scouts have to know everyone and everything and, as we all know, knowledge is power. Natasha Farrant, famous as a Costa Award winning children's author, has been a literary scout for 20 years. Antony Harwood has been a prominent literary agent even longer. On Front Row they discuss the role and importance of the literary scout, spilling the beans to Kirsty Lang...but probably not all of them.Presenter: Kirsty Lang Producer: Harry Parker Studio manager: Giles AspenMain image: Josh 0'Connor as Prince Charles and Emma Corrin as Lady Diana Spencer in the Netflix TV series The Crown Image credit: Des Willie/Netflix

    ...plus
  • 02.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:23
    Cover

    Kevin MacDonald Jakuta Alikavazovic

    The Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald discusses his follow-up to his YouTube film Life In A Day from 2010, where he invited the public to upload their own footage of their lives taken on one specific day. He then edited those contributions to create a finished film to tell the story of a single day on Earth. For Life In A Day 2020 he received over 320,000 submissions from nearly 200 countries.Jakuta Alikavazovic is a Prix Goncourt winning French writer of Bosnian and Montenegrin origins. She talks to John Wilson about her new novel Night As It Falls which explores themes of identity, first love, class and contemporary anxiety against the backdrop of the war in the former Yugoslavia and is out in English this week.As part of our ongoing mission to bring a bit of artistic light to the darkness, we’ve been hearing about some Moments of Joy – those sudden, intense moments watching a play or a film, reading, listening to music or looking at a work of art, when your heart soars. Critic Hanna Flint's choice is a scene from the film Blinded by the Light – with a soundtrack by the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen.Continuing the theme, February 2nd is Candlemas, the celebration of the infant Christ's presentation in the Temple, and the coming of light, when all the candles needed for the year were brought into the church, and blessed. Poets have been drawn to the subject - Robert Herrick, T. S. Eliot and Amy Clampitt - all writing Candlemas poems. There are a number of Candlemas customs and sayings - about how the weather at Candlemas predicts the coming season, for instance. The Cornish poet Charles Causley incorporates one of these into his poem, At Candlemas, with which we end Front Row, in a setting by the Dartmoor singer, and relative of the poet, Jim Causley.Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Hilary Dunn

    ...plus
  • 02.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:20
    Cover

    Jill Halfpenny in new drama, The Drowning

    Jill Halfpenny stars in a new tv thriller The Drowning. Nine years ago, Jodie’s little boy disappeared on a picnic by the lake, presumed drowned, and she’s never been able to accept his loss. Now, out of the blue, she catches sight of a teenage boy and she’s sure that it’s her missing son. Jill talks to Samira about why she likes playing morally ambiguous characters, shares her own personal experience of loss and how grief is a monster you just can’t outrun.The British Library has just acquired the archive of the Theatre Royal, Stratford East and Helen Melody, Curator of Contemporary Literature and Creative Archives, tells Samira Ahmed about its treasures: scripts, performance recordings, letters, photographs, rehearsal notes, press cuttings and props. The archive also contains material from the tenures of later artistic directors, such Philip Hedley and Kerry Michael, who notably encouraged diversity and inclusion, Black and Asian theatre, and work made by people with disabilities.We mark the publication of a landmark anthology of queer writing, Queer: A Collection of LGBTQ Writing from Ancient Times to Yesterday, which brings together an unusually broad range of voices from across the ages and the globe to form a survey of queer literature. Editor of the anthology, Frank Wynne, will be joined by writer and artist Morgan M Page, host of trans history podcast One From the Vaults, for a discussion about the cyclical nature of attitudes towards sexuality and gender and to highlight some lesser known voices in the tradition from India, Mexico and Greenland.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Simon RichardsonMain image: Jill Halfpenny in The Drowning Image credit: Unstoppable Film and Television/Bernard Walsh

    ...plus
  • 29.01.2021
    39 MB
    41:20
    Cover

    The Dig reviewed, Arts Foundation Futures Award winner Tanoa Sasraku, Novelist Max Porter, Moments of Joy: Walt Whitman

    We review The Dig, starring Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes and the Suffolk landscape, a film about the excavation of the Anglo-Saxon burial site at Sutton Hoo. It's also a revealing excavation of class and prejudice in 1930s England. The great ship was discovered, uncovered and conserved by Basil Brown, an autodidact who left school aged 12, He described himself as an excavator and he and his work were brushed aside by incoming university trained archaeologists. The film also tells stories of love and grief in the tense days as war approaches. Our reviewers are Roberta Gilchrist, Professor of Medieval Archaeology and film critic Hannah McGill.Tanoa Sasraku is one of five artists to receive this year’s Arts Foundation Futures Awards worth £10,000, awarded on the basis of past work and to enable future development. She talks about her art practice which uses video performance and flag making to explore her identity as a young, gay woman with British and Ghanaian heritage. And about her plans to use the Fellowship to produce the second film in a canon of Black horror fairytales: a queer re-telling of the Selkie legend.Max Porter, best known for his novel Grief is the Thing With Feathers - a meditation on Ted Hughes and loss - discusses his new 75-page book The Death of Francis Bacon, in which he imagines himself into the mind of the artist in his final days in Madrid in 1992 facing approaching death in a convent hospital.As part of our ongoing series of Moments of Joy, poet and winner of the 2018 TS Eliot prize Hannah Sullivan explores a poem– the final section of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself in his collection Leaves of Grass, read for us by Kerry Shale.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Sarah Johnson.

    ...plus
  • 28.01.2021
    26 MB
    28:02
    Cover

    Edmund de Waal launches our #FrontRowGetCreative challenge, Hafsa Zayyan, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Hung Parliament

    The ceramicist, artist and writer Edmund de Waal today launches the #FrontRowGetCreative project, where artists will be encouraging you, our listeners, to try their hand at creating an artwork with easily-available materials. In his studio he talks us through the creation of a palimpsest, where letters and characters overlap in layers of clay – or domestic filler in this case – to memorialise words that are special to him.We'd love to see what you create. Show us what you've made by sharing on social media channels using the hashtag Front Row Get Creative and we'll show those that catch our eye on the BBC Arts and Front Row websites. Check out the BBC's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.Hafsa Zayyan was the winner of the inaugural Merky Books New Writers' Prize - part of Stormzy’s ongoing partnership publishing new books with William Heinemann. We speak to her about her novel We Are All Birds Of Uganda. It’s a fascinating story about intergenerational trauma, racism and displacement set between Uganda in the 1960s and now.Les Enfants Terribles have a reputation for innovating in the world of immersive theatre. Their face-to-face shows included the Olivier-nominated Alice’s Adventures Underground performed literally underground, the prosecution of punk collective in Inside Pussy Riot, and United Queendom, telling the stories of some of Kensington Palace’s lesser known royals in the Palace itself. But can you do immersive theatre online? Oliver Lansley, founder and co-artistic director, discusses Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Hung Parliament described as a combination of theatre, gaming, escape room and board game - .Presenter: Elle Osili-Wood Producer: Simon Richardson

    ...plus
  • 27.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:26
    Cover

    Celeste, poet Brian Bilston, new film Palmer reviewed

    Celeste talks to Front Row about her career from making tracks on a laptop in her bedroom to successes at the Brit and BBC Music Awards, composing and performing the music for last year's John Lewis advert, A Little Love, and the release of her debut album 'Not Your Muse'.She blew her fusilli, my pretty penne, when she found me watching daytime tagliatelle. The first stanza of 'The Remembrance of Things Pasta' is typical of the poetry of Brian Bilston, who has been called the Banksy of Poetry and Twitter's unofficial poet laureate. He talks and reads witty, wry and wise poetry from his new collection, 'Alexa, what is there to know about love?'And Ryan Gilbey gives his verdict on new film Palmer starring Justin Timberlake. Former high school football star Eddie Palmer went from hometown hero to convicted felon. He returns home to Louisiana and the grandmother who raised him but things become more complicated when Vivian’s hard-living neighbour Shelly (Juno Temple) disappears on a prolonged bender, leaving her precocious and unique 7-year-old son Sam (Ryder Allen), often the target of bullying for his gender non-conforming behaviour, in Palmer’s reluctant care.Presenter: Kirsty Lang Producer: Oliver Jones Studio Manager: Matilda MacariMain image: Celeste Image credit: Elizaveta Porodina

    ...plus
  • 26.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:40
    Cover

    Jenny Eclair, Jon Brown, Costa Book of the Year winner

    Can you use craft to help make the world a better place, one stitch at a time? In her new BBC Four documentary, Craftivism: Making a Difference, writer, comedian and art lover Jenny Eclair meets people doing extraordinary things with knitting, cross-stitch, banners and felt to change hearts and minds. She tells us all about it.Tom talks to Jon Brown, BAFTA award-winning show-runner and screenwriter about his gaming sitcom Dead Pixels which returns to E4 for a new series.And we've an interview featuring the winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award, which has just been announced.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May

    ...plus
  • 25.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:34
    Cover

    Jonzi D and Pawlet Brookes on Black dance, TS Eliot Prizewinner Bhanu Kapil, portraying politicians

    Choreographer Jonzi D has created a new work for Dancing Nation, the all-day digital festival of dance which is streamed on BBC iPlayer this Thursday. Jonzi discusses the state of Black dance with Pawlet Brookes, who runs Serendipity in Leicester and has edited the collection of essays My Voice, My Practice: Black Dance.In the light of the announcement that Kenneth Branagh has been cast to play Boris Johnson in a new TV drama about the Covid-19 crisis, critic, journalist and former political researcher Sam Delaney joins Samira to talk about the impact of dramatisations of contemporary political moments on the public imagination.Last night Bhanu Kapil won the TS Eliot Prize for her collection How to Wash a Heart. She talks to Samira about and reads from her book which, in the voice of an immigrant guest in the house of a citizen host, explores the idea, and limits, of hospitality, and the experiences of diaspora people.For his Moment of Joy, the writer Darran Anderson chooses a scene from Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, an exploration of mortality that is nonetheless deeply life-affirming.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Jerome Weatherald Studio Manager: Tim HefferMain image above: Jonzi D Image credit: Dave Barros

    ...plus
  • 22.01.2021
    39 MB
    41:29
    Cover

    The White Tiger, the TS Eliot Prize shortlist, sculptor Denise Dutton

    The White Tiger is a new Netflix film based on Aravind Adiga’s 2008 Booker Prize-winning novel, directed by Ramin Bahrani. It explores Indian society and how hard it can be to climb the social ladder, as Balram, played by Adarsh Gourav, struggles to advance even when he has found rich employers. For our Friday review, writer Abir Mukherjee and film critic and host of the Girls on Film podcast Anna Smith give their verdict, and reflect on the week that saw 22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman perform The Hill We Climb at President Biden’s inauguration.Every year one of the first literary events is the T. S. Eliot Prize readings, when each of the 10 shortlisted poets performs to a packed Royal Festival Hall. But this year the The South Bank Centre is streaming the poets' readings instead. The winner will be announced immediately afterwards. Chair of the judges Lavinia Greenlaw discusses this year's shortlist.Denise Dutton discusses her commission to sculpt the statue of Mary Anning, the 19th-century fossil hunter from Lyme Regis. The statue of the pioneer of palaeontology was crowdfunded by a campaign started by 13-year-old Evie Swire. Denise, who has also made statues of suffragettes and the Women's Land Army, considers the role played by statues in bringing overlooked women to public attention.Presenter Kirsty Lang Producer Timothy Prosser

    ...plus
  • 21.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:24
    Cover

    It's a Sin, how Aids has been depicted in culture, Glastonbury Festival cancellation, London International Mime Festival

    After weeks of speculation, we heard today that the 2021 Glastonbury festival is to be cancelled amidst uncertainly due to Covid. Tom talks to the Chairman of the Department of Culture Media and Sport parliamentary select committee, the Conservative MP Julian Knight, who today issued a strong statement condemning the government for not stepping in to assist the industry.Russell T Davies' hotly anticipated new Channel 4 series It’s A Sin begins tomorrow night. Set in the 1980s, it follows the story of the Aids crisis and charts the joy and heartbreak of a group of friends over 10 years in which everything changed. Critic David Benedict reviews.We’ll also be exploring depictions of the Aids crisis and its impact across the decades on stage, screen and other artforms with David and journalist Juliet Jacques.The London International Mime Festival started this week, online only this year, and as part of that they’ve commissioned five original short films – between three and 10 minutes each – which are available to view free. Critic Sarah Crompton reviews the five very different works.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Simon Richardson

    ...plus
  • 20.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:10
    Cover

    Schubert's Winterreise, novelist Olivia Sudjic, new US administration and the arts, performers' travel post-Brexit

    Singers Roderick Williams and David Webb discuss Schubert’s celebrated 1827 song-cycle Winterreise, about a man dealing with rejection and loneliness who journeys through the winter snow. Roderick has recorded a new CD of Winterreise and David is about to perform it at the Wigmore Hall in London, having cycled 500 miles to raise money for mental health charities.More than 100 music stars including Elton John, Sting, Ed Sheeran Brian May, Nicola Benedetti and Roger Daltrey have signed a letter saying performers have been “shamefully failed” by the post-Brexit travel rules and that there is a “gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be”. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has been meeting today with music industry representatives and we speak to Jamie Njoku Goodwin of UK Music about what he told them.Anya, diligently studying for a doctorate and Luke, a committed environmental scientist, get engaged on holiday in Provence. They begin to plan their wedding in Cornwall. Anya escaped from Sarajevo as a child during the Balkan War and when she takes Luke to meet her family there her carefully contained uncertainties surface. Relationships and identities begin to unravel. Olivia Sudjic talks to Samira Ahmed about her new novel Asylum Road.As Joe Biden becomes the next President of the United States, Front Row asks what the new administration will mean for arts and culture, with the help of critic Matt Wolf.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May Studio Manager: Matilda MacariMain image above: Franz Schubert portrait Image credit: Imagno/Getty Images

    ...plus
  • 19.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:25
    Cover

    Patricia Highsmith centenary, Caroline Shaw, Baby Done comedy reviewed

    John is joined by composer, vocalist, violinist and producer Caroline Shaw – the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, winner of a Grammy in 2018 for her album Orange with Attaca Quartet. Caroline Shaw talks about her new album Narrow Sea featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw, Sō Percussion ensemble and the pianist Gilbert Kalish, as well as writing for unusual instruments, unconventional approaches to composing, and the difference between writing for an orchestra and collaborating with Kanye.Today (19 Jan) is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Patricia Highsmith, author of the classic thrillers The Talented Mr Ripley and Strangers on a Train and of The Price of Salt, later published as Carol. Several of her books have been made into successful films and continue to be adapted: Deep Water starring Ben Affleck is expected later this year and the making of a new TV series based on Ripley starring Andrew Scott has been announced. To mark the anniversary, a new collection of her short stories has been published, Under a Dark Angel’s Eye, and a new biography, Devils, Lusts and Strange Desires: The Life of Patricia Highsmith by Richard Bradford. Bradford and the writer Joanna Briscoe discuss Highsmith’s compelling, dark writing and the troubled – and troubling - life behind it.Comedian Rose Matafeo stars in New Zealand comedy film Baby Done as a woman who finding herself unexpectedly pregnant attempts to fulfil a bucket list of adventures before the baby arrives. The film is exec produced by Taika Waititi and co-stars Matthew Lewis, best known for playing Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter franchise. Critic Hannah McGill reviews.Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Jerome Weatherald

    ...plus
  • 18.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:36
    Cover

    Ashley Walters makes his directorial debut

    English rapper, songwriter and actor Ashley Walters has now turned his hand to directing with a short film called BOYS. Shot in London it follows Noah, who – whilst trying to fulfil a request from his brother who’s in prison – has to decide which way he wants his own life to turn out.To lift our spirits in difficult times Front Row brings you Moments of Joy – a celebration of those intense moments when watching a film or a play, reading a book or poem, listening to music or looking at a picture makes your heart soar. Today, writer and critic Erica Wagner on the opening of Star Wars – a film she saw first in 1977 as a 10-year-old.American writer Torrey Peters joins us to talk about her ground breaking new novel, Detransition Baby. It charts the complex relationship between two trans women, Reese and Amy as the latter detransitions and renames himself Ames, then gets his boss Katrina pregnant. The trio ends up trying to figure out whether it’s possible for them to form a family together.Phil Spector, the pop producer who was convicted of murder, has died aged 81. Music journalist and biographer Richard Williams discusses Spector’s distinctive “Wall of Sound” recordings with artists such as The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers and John Lennon.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Oliver Jones Main image: Ashley Walters directing Boys Image credit: Sky UK Ltd/Alison Painter

    ...plus
  • 15.01.2021
    39 MB
    41:32
    Cover

    Music festivals, Keeley Hawes, WandaVision reviewed

    What will happen with music festivals this year? For Front Row, DJ Emily Dust talks to some of those involved.Keeley Hawes is one of the most in-demand British actors for TV and film, with exceptional performances in a wide variety of roles. Coming soon for UK viewers there’ll be ITV’s dark comedy Finding Alice; To Olivia – a film about Roald Dahl’s complicated relationship with his wife Patricia Neal; and Russell T Davies’ series for Channel 4, It’s A Sin. She tells Front Row about filming in lockdown, how she chooses her work and about playing an unsympathetic characterWandaVision, the first in a massive slate of high-budget new streaming series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes two of the Avengers - Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) - and plants them in a retro sitcom universe, complete with laugh track. Leila Latif scrutinises this first offering in a new era for mainstream entertainment. In a universe far, far away from that, Gen-Zers on TikTok have discovered the sea shanty in a big way. Music journalist Tom Service explains where the shanty comes from and what it might be doing for us in 2021. And Leila and Tom give their cultural picks.Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Julian May Studio Manager: Emma Harth

    ...plus
  • 14.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:25
    Cover

    Stardust, The world's oldest painting, Jenni Fagan, Arts Students

    Stardust is the new film about David Bowie’s promotional tour of the United States in 1971 during which he began to develop the concept of Ziggy Stardust. Bowie is played by musician and actor Johnny Flynn and the film has already attracted attention as they were unable to secure the rights to Bowie’s songs. Writer and Bowie fan Mark Billingham reviews.A vivid 45,500 year old painting of a warty pig, discovered on a cave wall in the Indonesian island of Sulawesi is the oldest representational art in the world. What does the striking work tell us about the value of art to the civilisation that created it. With archeologist Rebecca Wragg Sykes.Novelist Jenni Fagan talks about her latest book, Luckenbooth. It opens as the devil's daughter rows to Edinburgh in a coffin to work as maid for the Minister of Culture, a man who lives a dual life. But the real reason she's there is to bear him and his barren wife a child, the consequences of which curse the tenement building that is their home for a hundred years.How are students whose arts subjects at university or college require them to undertake in-person tuition adapting to the third lockdown? Callum Bruce, a second year musical theatre student at Trinity Laban in London, and Mary Johnson, third year percussion student at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, discuss how the pandemic has affected their studies.Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Timothy Prosser

    ...plus
  • 13.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:25
    Cover

    Drag kings, Courttia Newland, wintry podcasts

    As RuPaul’s Drag Race UK returns for a second season and the US series welcomes its first trans man as a competitor, are the ironically gendered boundaries of drag breaking down and what about the other side of drag - the kings? Drag kings Don One and Jodie Mitchell, better known as John Travulva, join Samira to talk about the world of Kings.Courttia Newland’s new novel A River Called Time has been 18 years in the making and imagines a city a little like London in a world in which colonialism and slavery never happened. The writer discusses imagination, speculative fiction and class – and his co-scripting with Steve McQueen for two of the Small Axe films - Lovers Rock and Red, White and Blue.You’re back in lockdown, it’s bitterly cold outside and the nights are long and dark. You could order a sad lamp online and hope for the best, or you can lean into it with writer Eleanor Penny’s round up of podcasts for this bleak midwinter. Creepy, desolate, bleak - but gripping and thrilling too. Recommendations include The Sink, The Orbiting Human Circus, and Victoriocity.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Jerome WeatheraldMain image above: Drag King John Travulva Image credit: Holly Revell

    ...plus
  • 12.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:19
    Cover

    Regina King, classical music for kids, Northern Irish literature

    Oscar winning actress Regina King tells Kirsty about her debut film as a director, One Night in Miami, inspired by the real-life meeting between Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown on the night that Ali (then still called Cassius Clay) defeated Sonny Liston to win the heavyweight World Champion title.Europe's first classical music station especially for children was launched yesterday. Fun Kids Classical will play music by composers including Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saens and Grieg; with performances from young artists such as cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, saxophonist Jess Gillam and violinist Jennifer Pike. The pianist Lang Lang, whose International Music Foundation encourages children to engage with music, is the new station's Ambassador. Matt Deegan, Fun Kids Classical's station, manager talks to Kirsty Lang about the need for such a radio station, and his ambitions for it.This year sees the 100th anniversary of the creation of Northern Ireland. Although the region is synonymous with the poetry of Seamus Heaney or the plays of Brian Friel, its recent literary reputation has tended to languor in the shadow of its southern neighbour. But today, as issues connected to Brexit and the status of the border with the EU have Northern Ireland back in the news, there is also cohort of younger writers from the region demanding attention. Kirsty talks to novelist Jan Carson, who has a new series of short stories, The Last Resort, serialised on Radio 4 alongside memoirist Darran Anderson, whose new book Inventory, is published next month, about what makes the region such a rich setting for fiction and nonfiction now.Presenter: Kirsty Lang Producer: Oliver Jones Studio Manager: Nigel Dix

    ...plus
  • 11.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:22
    Cover

    Ben Okri, The Pembrokeshire Murders, Michael Berkeley

    Ben Okri published his poem 'Grenfell Tower, June 2017' in the Financial Times a few days after the inferno. On Channel 4's Facebook page it was played more than 6 million times. This is but one of his poems written in response to current events, politics and people, gathered in his new book, A Fire in my Head: Poems for the Dawn. Okri considers the poet's role to be the town crier, and there are poems about that other fire, at Notre Dame, Barack Obama and the Covid pandemic. But, as he tells Samira Ahmed, his collection also includes the personal, love poems and a tender evocation of a new-born's encounter with life, and the wonder of the world.A new miniseries, The Pembrokeshire Murders, starts soon on ITV. It tells the real story of the investigation by Dyfed Powys Police into 2 decades-old previously-unsolved fatal shootings, using advances in forensic science to find microscopic clues that were previously invisible to them. We speak to the writer for the series – Nick Stephens – about writing a gripping story when the outcome is already known.Composer, broadcaster and cross bench member of the House of Lords Michael Berkeley is tabling a question to ministers about the issue affecting UK musicians who will no longer be able to viably tour Europe as a result of the recent Brexit deal. He tells Samira about his concerns in light of reports over the weekend that a reciprocal arrangement was offered the British government but was refused.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Simon RichardsonMain image: Ben Okri Image credit: Mat Bray

    ...plus
  • 08.01.2021
    39 MB
    41:26
    Cover

    We commemorate the fifth anniversary of David Bowie's death and consider his continuing musical influence and legacy

    Five years ago, on 10th Jan 2016, David Bowie died, just two days after his 69th birthday. To mark the anniversary, we revisit John Wilson's 2002 interview with him, recorded in New York. Two composers – Hannah Peel and Neil Brand – will also be discussing Bowie’s music and considering its legacy and influence.Ingrid Persaud has won the First Novel category in the Costa Book Awards 2020 for Love After Love. The author discusses her tale of a mother, her son and their lodger in Trinidad, each living with the burden of a secret they don’t want revealed.For our Friday Review, writer and journalist Kohinoor Sahota and Isabel Stevens of Sight and Sound give their view of Pieces of a Woman (Netflix). It’s a film that has already won praise for its powerful and realistic first half hour in which Vanessa Kirby plays a woman going through labour and giving birth. They’ll also consider some of the cultural stories of the week and tell us what they’ve been reading and watching.Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Jerome WeatheraldMain image: David Bowie Image credit: Nils Meilvang/AFP via Getty Images

    ...plus
  • 07.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:31
    Cover

    BBC Sound of 2021 Winner Pa Salieu, Finnish TV drama, Natasha Farrant

    Pa Salieu, the Gambian-British artist from Coventry, has been named as the winner of the BBC Sound of 2021. His single Frontline was the most played track on BBC Radio 1Xtra in 2020. In 2019 he was shot in the head, but recovered to release his debut mixtape Send Them To Coventry at the end of 2020 and now picks up one of the biggest accolades in new music.On the fifth anniversary of Walter Presents, the global streaming service dedicated to showcasing award winning foreign language drama, the platform is launching its first ever dramas from Finland, All The Sins and Bullets. Whilst BBC 4 is launching its first ever Finnish drama, the 6 part drama series Man in Room 301. Walter Iuzzolino, curator of Walter Presents, and best selling Finnish crime writer Antti Tuomainen talk to Kirsty Lang about what makes Finnish drama distinctive and why we should be watching.Natasha Farrant, The Costa Award Children' s category winner, talks about her book Voyage of the Sparrowhawk which, with 12 year old Ben and Lotti becoming friends as they outwit a wicked uncle, a police chase, dogs and a perilous sea crossing in search of people they love, has just about everything a fast-paced adventure story requires.Presenter: Kirsty Lang Producer: Timothy Prosser

    ...plus
  • 06.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:24
    Cover

    Lee Lawrence, the impact of Brexit on classical music, Twelfth Night tradition at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

    On 28th September 1985 Lee Lawrence’s mother Cherry Groce was shot by police during an armed raid on her Brixton home. Lee Lawrence talks to Samira Ahmed about his Costa Biography award winning memoir The Louder I will Sing in which he recounts the devastating impact the shooting had on the family’s life and his courageous fight for justice.As British musicians warn that costly post-Brexit bureaucracy could decimate European touring, we discuss the potential impact of the recent Brexit Trade Deal on the music industry. With Deborah Annetts from the Incorporated Society of Musicians, Mark Pemberton from the Association of British Orchestras and conductor Paul McCreesh, founder of the Grammy award-winning baroque ensemble, the Gabrieli Consort.Actor Robert Baddeley, a member of David Garrick’s company at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, created a tradition when he died in 1794. In his will, he left £100 to be invested and each year, the money from that sum be spent on “the purchase of a twelfth Cake or Cakes and Wine and Punch or both of them which it is my request the Ladies and Gentlemen performers of Theatre Royal Drury Lane will do me the favour to accept on twelfth night in every year in the Green Room”. Ever since the company playing has enjoyed Baddeley's largesse on January 6th. Theatre stage manager and author Nicholas Bromley joins us to reveal one of the longest standing British Theatre traditions.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May

    ...plus
  • 05.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:20
    Cover

    The Great, Eavan Boland, the origin of the blues

    The Great, a new ahistorical comedy from The Favourite writer Tony McNamara arrives on Channel 4 this month. Describing itself as “an occasionally true story”, it is a satirical drama about the rise of Catherine the Great, staring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult. McNamara talks period dramas, historical inaccuracies and contemporary characters.The great Irish poet Eavan Boland has just posthumously won the Costa Poetry Prize. Boland's collection The Historians continues her reflections on the power of history and memory, of secrets and hidden histories, and of centring women’s stories. Tom is joined by Jody Allen Randolph, a friend and leading scholar of Eavan’s work, and actress Niamh Cusack reads from the collection.The genre that helped define American music and describe the Black American experience is the subject of a new series of album releases which trace the genesis of blues, ragtime, hokum and gospel from the mid-1920s. Matchbox Bluesmaster Series claims to be the most comprehensive survey of the origins of Black American blues music - Kevin Le Gendre assesses the success of its first instalment.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Simon Richardson Studio Manager: John Boland

    ...plus
  • 04.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:26
    Cover

    Dante's Divine Comedy 700 years on with Katya Adler; Costa Book Awards category winners

    Suzannah Lipscomb, Chair of Judges for the Costa Book Awards 2020, joins us to reveal exclusively the winners in each of category: Novel, Children’s, Poetry, Biography and Debut Novel. This is followed by an interview with the winner of the Best Novel category.Dante Alighieri wrote The Divine Comedy 7 centuries ago but - like all great literature – it still speaks to us in today’s world. Katya Adler, the BBC's Europe Editor and lover of all things Italian is a fan of the epic poem and has made a 3 part series for Radio 4. She discusses what she's set out ot explore and who she's done that with.Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Hilary Dunn SM: Donald MacDonald

    ...plus
  • 31.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:25
    Cover

    Art that brightened the year - violinist Tasmin Little, Baillie Gifford winner Craig Brown, actress Rochenda Sandall

    Front Row celebrates some of the art that brightened a dark year.British violinist Tasmin Little has hung up her violin and retired from the concert stage in 2020. It’s the last night of the last year of her performing career - she looks back, and says goodbye to the year in style.Satirist Craig Brown won the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction this year for his Beatles book, One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time.Rochenda Sandall has been praised for powerful performances in the lockdown Talking Heads which then went briefly on stage at the Bridge in London, and as activist Barbara Beese in Small Axe - Mangrove.And cultural commentator Elle Osili-Wood joins John in the Front Row studio to look back at some of the year's highlights.Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Sarah Johnson Studio Manager: Giles Aspen

    ...plus
  • 30.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:21
    Cover

    Evelyn Glennie, The Serpent's Tom Shankland, chosen families in culture

    The family you choose, rather than the family you’re born into, is fertile territory for writers. From Henry V, to The Lord of the Rings, to Josie and the Pussycats, family dynamics between those who start as strangers keep storytelling going. Playwright Temi Wilkey and screenwriter Sarah Dollard join Samira to talk about the enduring and endearing nature of the chosen family story.Inspired by real events, BBC One’s New Years Day drama The Serpent tells the story of how the conman and murderer Charles Sobhraj (Tahar Rahim) was brought to justice. Posing as a gem dealer, Sobhraj and his girlfriend Marie-Andrée Leclerc (Jenna Coleman) travelled across Thailand, Nepal and India in 1975 and 1976, carrying out a spree of crimes on the Asian ‘Hippie Trail’ until Herman Knippenberg (Billy Howle), a junior diplomat at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok, unwittingly walks into his intricate web of crime. Samira Ahmed talks to the director of The Serpent Tom Shankland.Percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie is the first full time solo percussionist. A career built in part by expanding the percussion repertoire by more than 200 pieces created alongside major composers, orchestras and musicians. In January she’s releasing two new albums. She talks to Samira about working with composers, listening in Lockdown, and demonstrates some of her over 2000 instruments.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Hilary Dunn

    ...plus
  • 29.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:16
    Cover

    Pianist Lang Lang on Bach's Goldberg Variations

    The pianist Lang Lang this year released his first recording of Bach's 1741 keyboard masterpiece, Goldberg Variations, feeling he was finally ready to do so 20 years into his own musical career.At the piano from a studio near his home in Beijing, Lang Lang discusses the work originally written for harpsichord, what a challenge it presents for a performer, and why he chose to release two versions of the 31 works, - one recorded in one take in St Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany - Bach’s workplace for almost 30 years and where the composer is buried - and the second a studio version recorded shortly afterwards.Presenter Kirsty Lang Producer Jerome Weatherald

    ...plus
  • 28.12.2020
    39 MB
    41:05
    Cover

    A poetry edition, with Simon Armitage, Vanessa Kisuule, Anthony Anaxagorou, Em Power, Anna Selby, Daphne Astor, talking, reading

    The pandemic is having a profound impact on the arts. But you don't need to go anywhere, involve other people or need many materials, to write or read poetry, and during the lockdown people have turned to verse. In an extended edition of Front Row devoted to poetry Samira Ahmed hears from the Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, about his recent writing life - composing lyrics for Huddersfield Choral Society. Vanessa Kisuule, City Poet of Bristol, talks about her collaboration with the Old Vic and local groups, creating modern work inspired by medieval mystery plays. Em Power, three times Foyle Poet of the Year winner, reveals how poetry is a communal art. And they all read their work.Even before the lockdown there was a surge in sales of poetry books, driven by the internet. Anthony Anaxagorou and Vanessa Kisuule chart their journeys as poets via YouTube to the printed page.They discuss poetry addressing politics - Kisuule's poem on the toppling of the Colston statue went viral - and poets' engagement with the environment. Armitage launched the Laurel Prize to encourage this. In March Daphne Astor started the Hazel Press whose books about the natural world are created from it using local recycled paper, printed with vegetable inks. Anna Selby writes poems about the underwater world - while underwater.The prospect of inoculation against Covid gave rise to'vaccination nationalism'. When Edward Jenner pioneered smallpox vaccination in 1796 he was determined his discovery would benefit people around the globe. Several poets, including Robert Southey, wrote poems in his honour. Front Row has commissioned Anthony Anaxagorou to do the same for the developers of the Covid vaccine, and he reads his new poem.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May

    ...plus
  • 25.12.2020
    39 MB
    41:14
    Cover

    Australian composer, musician and actor, Tim Minchin

    Tim Minchin, the Australian stage performer with unkempt long hair and black mascara eyes, looks back over his career since his early days trying to scrape a living in Perth and Melbourne.As he releases his first ever solo album Apart Together at the age of 45, he reflects on his early struggle to make a living through music, the success of his stage performances with a full orchestra, the RSC's Matilda the Musical for which he composed the score and wrote the lyrics, getting burned in Hollywood, writing, directing and starring in his TV drama series Upright, and his unsettling return to his homeland after four years in Los Angeles.Presenter Tom Sutcliffe Producer Jerome Weatherald

    ...plus
  • 24.12.2020
    26 MB
    27:57
    Cover

    Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones - Death to 2020

    Black Mirror creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones discuss their new Netflix mocumentary Death to 2020, a documentary-style film that tells the story of the year we’ll be glad to put behind us, featuring fictitious figures played by the likes of Hugh Grant, Samuel L Jackson and Tracey Ullman.Opera diva, drag artist and cabaret turn Le Gateau Chocolat concludes our increasingly wistful festive series on the best parties on screen with an ode to the don of the movie party, Baz Luhrmann.John talks to Neil Gaiman about his latest Radio 4 drama adaptation, The Sleeper and the Spindle, a Christmas-time fairy tale brought to life by award-winning dramatist Katie Hims. Starring Penelope Wilton, Gwendoline Christie and Ralph Ineson as well as Neil Gaiman himself, it's a new tale drawing on traditional folk stories, interweaving Snow White and Sleeping Beauty in an enchanting drama that puts the women firmly centre stage.In September Radio 3 challenged listeners to compose a tune for the poem ‘Christmas Carol’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar. More than a thousand people entered. Tthe judges whittled these down to a shortlist of six, listeners voted and the winner is James Walton. We’ll hear his carol, sung by the BBC Singers, and reveal more about Paul Laurence Dunbar, the pioneering black American writer who wrote the lyrics.Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Julian MayImage: Tracey Ullman (QUEEN ELIZABETH II) in Death to 2020 Image Credit: Keith Bernstein/Netflix © 2020

    ...plus
  • 23.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:22
    Cover

    Mackenzie Crook, Collaborative board games, Janey Godley, Zing Tsjeng's party choice

    Mackenzie Crook talks about Saucy Nancy, the latest episode in his festive revivals of the children’s TV series Worzel Gummidge, which originally aired in the late 1970s. Saucy Nancy sees the children visit a scrapyard, where they meet Worzel's old friend Saucy Nancy. She's a carved ship’s figurehead, and wants their help to get back to the sea.As tensions run high in houses all over the country where people are cooped up over the Christmas period, writer and board gamer Natasha Hodgson reveals the world of cooperative board games: games where the players work together towards a goal, rather than trying to crush or bankrupt your dear mum. With many titles and styles to choose from, are the days of shouting over the Monopoly board over?In May, comedian Janey Godley was one of the Scottish actors and writers who took part in the National Theatre of Scotland’s project Scenes for Survival. Janey’s video short featured her as a character called Betty whose difficult relationship with her husband came to a head under Lockdown. It was one of the most viewed in the series and led to a follow-up. Now for Christmas and New Year, Janey revisits Betty.As festive party season is well and truly cancelled this year, Front Row is celebrating the best parties in culture. Today it’s Vice’s Zing Tsjeng on Euphoria and the dark side of teen parties. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Jerome WeatheraldMain image: Mackenzie Crook as Worzel Gummidge Image credit: BBC/Leopard Pictures/Amanda Searle

    ...plus
  • 22.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:13
    Cover

    Bridgerton, Rachel Joyce, The custodians of our cultural institutions

    Creator Chris van Dusen on Bridgerton, Netflix’s new drama series set in Regency England, about the daughter of a powerful family as she makes her debut onto London’s competitive marriage market.Award-winning novelist Rachel Joyce has created “Christmas by the Lake”, a new drama for BBC Radio 4. It’s a story with a twist on the Christmas theme and it's classic Rachel Joyce territory: relationships, loss and ordinary people doing extraordinary things. She joins Nick to talk about those chance encounters, and why Christmas is a perfect time for stories.While many of our concert halls, theatres, galleries and museums have been empty for much of 2020, dedicated teams take centre stage to make sure venues are ready for the public’s return through various stages of lockdown. Kieron Lillis Head of Facilities at the National Theatre in London and Jessica Yung Visitor Assistant at the World Museum in Liverpool give Nick a behind the scenes look at their empty buildings and talk about the vital role of those who take care of them for us during one of the most challenging periods in our nation’s cultural history.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Tim Prosser Studio Manager: John BolandImage: Regé-Jean Page (SIMON BASSET) and Phoebe Dynevor (DAPHNE BRIDGERTON) in Bridgerton Image Credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2020

    ...plus
  • 21.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:18
    Cover

    21/12/2020

    Live magazine programme on the worlds of arts, literature, film, media and music

    ...plus
  • 18.12.2020
    39 MB
    41:24
    Cover

    George C Wolfe on Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Let Him Go reviewed, Winifred Atwell celebrated

    Director George C. Wolfe on his new film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, in which Viola Davis stars as the legendary “Mother of the Blues” Ma Rainey, alongside the late Chadwick Boseman, in his final role. It’s adapted from August Wilson’s play which is part of his ten play cycle chronicling African American experience in the 20th Century.Pianist Winifred Atwell was the first Black British artist to reach number 1 in the UK charts. She had a string of hits throughout the 50s and is still the only woman to have an instrumental International Number 1. On the day a new plaque is revealed at the site of the hair salon she founded in Brixton, we talk to music journalist and academic Jacqueline Springer about her legacy and influence.Secret Country is the new digital theatre show from Re-Live, a company who specialise in Life Story theatre work and who are based in Cardiff. Their new show is created and performed by a nine-strong company aged from 72 to 93, and is a candid, raucous and hopeful look at what life in lockdown has meant for our elderly community. Front Row hears from Karin Diamond, artistic director of Re-Live, and participant Terri Morrow.Kevin Costner won a heap of Oscars for his 1990 directorial debut Dances With Wolves including one for his direction. He now stars in Let Him Go, the story of a couple in their 60s who have to rescue their former daughter in law from the poisonous embrace of a violent new relationship. Playwright Daniel Ward and poet Laura Horton review the film and talk about the week's news in culture.Presenter: Kirsty Lang Producer: Sarah Johnson Studio Manager: Giles AspenMain image: Viola Davis in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Image credit: David Lee/Netflix

    ...plus
  • 17.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:17
    Cover

    David Fincher

    Visionary director David Fincher on Mank, his new film about 1930s Hollywood, as seen through the eyes of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) as he races to finish Citizen Kane with Orson Welles.Mank's screenplay is by Fincher's father Jack Fincher, who started writing it in the early 1990s and died in 2003.David Fincher's other films, which have earned thirty Oscar nominations, include Fight Club, Se7en, The Zodiac, The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , Gone Girl and Panic Room.Fincher also talks about the future of cinema, streaming, and his early career as a director of iconic music videos such as Madonna's Vogue and George Michael's Freedom.Mank is released on Netflix.Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Timothy Prosser Studio Manager: Emma Harth

    ...plus
  • 16.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:19
    Cover

    Boris Giltburg, Christmas films, Party season substitutes

    2020 marks Ludwig Van Beethoven’s 250th birthday, and pianist Boris Giltburg has taken on the mammoth task of learning, performing and recording all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. What does it take to learn and record eleven hours of music and what can you learn about one of the world’s most famous composers.? Boris discusses the project and shares an exclusive recording.As Christmas approaches, we all love to curl up with a cocoa in front of a festive film. Netflix and Hallmark are churning out Christmas rom-coms, but why are they so popular? And should we be expecting more from these seasonal sensations? Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Amanny Mohamed discuss the film phenomenon.Front Row continues our festive foray into the best parties on screen with artist Scottee. We’re turning up Demis Roussos, cracking open a nice bottle of Beaujolais, but no olives for a celebration of Abigail’s Party.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Hilary Dunn Studio Manager: John Boland

    ...plus