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Front Row

BBC Radio 4

67
Followers
216
Plays
Front Row

Front Row

BBC Radio 4

67
Followers
216
Plays
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Live magazine programme on the worlds of arts, literature, film, media and music

Latest Episodes

Poetry and performance from Cumbria's Contains Strong Language festival

Dove Cottage Grasmere is the heart of Romantic poetry and is hosting part of this year's Contains Strong Language festival. We'll be asking what the Romantics have to tell us now, with the poet Kate Clanchy who has adapted Samuel Taylor Coleridge's unfinished poem Christabel with a newly commissioned score by composer Katie Chatburn. Novelist, poet and playwright Zosia Wand was born in London but didn't speak English till she went to school and spent all her holidays in Poland. Now she's written a radio play Bones - set on the sandbanks of Morecambe Bay - exploring how it feels to be a migrant and the emotional impact on the generations that follow. In 2005 the award winning poet and novelist Jacob Polley’s home town of Carlisle flooded catastrophically after heavy rain. Three people died and thousands were left homeless in an event that was supposed to be a one in a hundred year event. Now Jacob Polley’s returned to that time for a new play Emergency. It’s a love story set against a merciless storm voiced through ancient Anglo-Saxon riddles about the power of nature. And we discuss the impact of poetry in isolation with the young poet Hannah Hodgson who is living with a life limiting disease. She'll read from her lockdown collection and discuss how poetry managed to say what we needed to say this year from zoom poetry slams to tik tok haikus.

41 min1 d ago
Comments
Poetry and performance from Cumbria's Contains Strong Language festival

David McKee - BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award, Royal Academy dilemma, Serlina Boyd on Cocoa Girl

David McKee has just been named as the recipient of the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Author and illustrator of the Elmer books which with vivid colour and humour make a case for inclusion and acceptance, and the creator of the magical Mr Benn, he also wrote and illustrated Not Now, Bernard, a funny and perceptive plea for children not to be ignored. Now 85, he is still working. Front Row talks to him about his life and career. It has been reported that the Royal Academy in London is considering selling off its rare Michelangelo marble masterpiece known as the Taddei Tondo in an effort to avoid sacking 150 of its staff, as a result of lockdown. Axel Rϋger, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy, and Alison Cole, Editor of The Art Newspaper, discuss the RA’s dilemma. A brand new bi-monthly magazine – Cocoa Girl – is unusual in many ways. First the editor is 6 years old, second it’s an actual physical magazine, not just an online offer and third it’s bee...

28 min2 d ago
Comments
David McKee - BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award, Royal Academy dilemma, Serlina Boyd on Cocoa Girl

Mike Bartlett, Miss Juneteenth film, theatres repurposed as courtrooms, Susanna Clarke

Doctor Foster creator, Mike Bartlett, has come up with a new drama for BBC1. Set in Manchester, Life follows the stories of the residents of a large house divided into four flats, and explores love, loss, birth and death, and features some of the characters from Doctor Foster. Nick Ahad reviews. Channing Godfrey Peoples talks about writing and directing her debut film, Miss Juneteenth, about a beauty queen pageant commemorating the day slaves in Texas were freed – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Life for Turquoise Jones didn’t turn out as beautifully as winning the title promised, so she is cultivating her daughter, Kai, to become Miss Juneteenth, even if Kai wants something else. Show Trials: The Lowry in Salford has come up with a unique way to bring in revenue whilst its regular artistic functions are paused because of pandemic regulations and social distancing. They’re going to become a temporary ‘Nightingale Court’. Julia Fawcett, Chief Executive of The Lowr...

28 min3 d ago
Comments
Mike Bartlett, Miss Juneteenth film, theatres repurposed as courtrooms, Susanna Clarke

Skin, The Box in Plymouth, Sean Borodale

Lead singer of Britpop band Skunk Anansie, Skin has headlined Glastonbury, sold millions of albums, and recently competed in The Masked Singer. As her memoir, Skin - It takes Blood and Guts, is published, we ask her about channelling rage into her performances and if she thinks her achievements as queer black woman have been overlooked. After a six-month Covid delay, Plymouth’s new £40m arts and heritage museum space The Box is due to open next week. This weekend also sees the Plymouth Art Weekender, a city-wide festival of art and events. Sarah Gosling, BBC’s arts and culture presenter in Plymouth, considers the role of art and culture in helping to transform the city. It is the season of moths and spiders. Many people strive to keep these out of their houses. Not so the poet Sean Borodale whose new collection, Inmates, records close encounters with all manner of insects, in all stages of their existence – egg, maggot, flight, in death and decay. He talks about co-existing with...

28 min4 d ago
Comments
Skin, The Box in Plymouth, Sean Borodale

ENO drive in opera, ITV drama Honour, Jesse Armstrong, 'Festival of Brexit'

Announced by Theresa May in 2018 and quickly dubbed the “Festival of Brexit”, submissions are now being made for the UK government funded £120 million festival that will celebrate British creativity in 2022. Creative director Martin Green tells us what kind of projects and ideas he’s looking for. Succession creator Jesse Armstrong on winning the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series at last night's awards. English National Opera are staging Europe’s first drive-in opera, Puccini’s La Bohème, at London’s Alexandra Palace, where the audience watch the singers from their cars. Will this be an exciting new way to experience opera? Alexandra Coghlan reviews. Writer Gwyneth Hughes discusses her new ITV drama, Honour, starring Keeley Hawes. It’s the story of the real-life detective who brought five killers to justice after the so-called honour killing of Banaz Mahmod, a 20 year old Iraqi Kurdish woman from Mitcham, south London, who was murdered for falling in love with the wrong man....

28 min5 d ago
Comments
ENO drive in opera, ITV drama Honour, Jesse Armstrong, 'Festival of Brexit'

Katherine Ryan, Nick Hornby, artist Mark Bradford, TV drama Us reviewed

The Los Angeles-based American artist Mark Bradford, who represented the USA at the Venice Biennale in 2017, discusses his new series of Quarantine Paintings. The three works – only available to view online – explore the nature of art in isolation and how he responded when his city was suddenly shut down unexpectedly. Nick Hornby, the writer who gave us Fever Pitch, High Fidelity and About a Boy, discusses his new novel Just Like You, which features a relationship between a black man in his early 20s and a white 42-year-old English teacher and mother. The novel is set in 2016 and it’s not long before the social and political divisions brought about by the looming Brexit vote are becoming unavoidable. Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Julian May

42 min1 w ago
Comments
Katherine Ryan, Nick Hornby, artist Mark Bradford, TV drama Us reviewed

Rocks, Phoebe Stuckes, Eley Williams

Rocks is the new feature film directed by Sarah Gavron with a screenplay by Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson. Writer Niellah Arboine reviews the film which is set in Hackney with an ensemble cast of largely non-professional actors, and it tells the story of a teenage Londoner nicknamed Rocks who takes responsibility for her little brother Emmanuel in an attempt to stop them both from being taken into care, supported by a chaotic but loving group of friends. Poet Phoebe Stuckes discusses her first collection, Platinum Blonde, which gives us a glimpse of the life of a lively young woman today. She is only 24, but Phoebe Stuckes is a seasoned poet and performer, winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award - four times - she has also been Barbican Young Poet and the Ledbury Poetry Festival’s young poet-in-residence. Troubled Blood is the title of JK Rowling’s latest novel, written under her crime writing pseudonym Robert Galbraith. And it’s generated something of a troubled reaction so far ...

28 min1 w ago
Comments
Rocks, Phoebe Stuckes, Eley Williams

Tricky, Ratched reviewed, live theatre returns to The Playhouse Londonderry, NSSA nominee Jack Houston

Twenty five years ago Bristol musician Tricky pioneered a new genre of downtempo hip-hop with his album Maxinquaye. As he releases his 14th studio album, Fall to Pieces, Tricky joins us from his Berlin studio. Live theatre returns to Northern Ireland this evening with the play Anything Can Happen: 1972 at The Playhouse in Londonderry, in which people whose lives were affected by the Troubles tell their stories. We hear from playwright Damian Gorman, cast member Susan Stanley, whose brother was killed in a bombing, and Sarah Feeney-Morrison, who has contributed a photo of her aunt, shot by an IRA sniper. Netflix's new drama this week is Ratched, the origin story of Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It stars Sarah Paulson, Cynthia Nixon, Judy Davis and Sharon Stone. Karen Krisanovich reviews. Our latest interview with an author shortlisted for the 2020 BBC National Short Story Award is Jack Houston, whose powerful story Come Down Heavy is about two people struggling...

28 min1 w ago
Comments
Tricky, Ratched reviewed, live theatre returns to The Playhouse Londonderry, NSSA nominee Jack Houston

2020 Booker shortlist, Nicholas Serota, author Sarah Hall

Earlier today the shortlist for the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction was announced. Two time winner Hilary Mantel has not made the list for the final part of her Cromwell series and four out of six of the books chosen are by debut authors. John speaks to Chair of Judges Margaret Busby and critics Sara Collins and Toby Lichtig give their verdict on the chosen few. Today Arts Council England published two new pieces of research into the value of the cultural institutions it funds to our high streets and how they are reanimating local economies. For instance, more than 300 cultural venues are in unemployment hotspots. There are 500 cafes in cultural centres across the country – almost as many outlets as Pret a Manger. Sir Nichola Serota, the Chair of ACE, unpicks this work with John Wilson, who will ask him, too, what is happening with the £1.57 billion pledged by the government to save the arts and livelihoods of artists. Last week on Front Row Lucy Noble, who runs the Royal Albert Hal...

28 min1 w ago
Comments
2020 Booker shortlist, Nicholas Serota, author Sarah Hall

Dennis Kelly on The Third Day, Nica Burns, Jan Carson, Sir Terence Conran

Nica Burns, owner of some of the biggest West End theatres, discusses her plan to re-open them in sequence from 22 October, starting with Adam Kay’s one man show This is Going to Hurt and, in November, the hit musical Six. But what about large-scale shows like Harry Potter or Everyone’s Talking About Jamie? Writer Dennis Kelly tells Samira about The Third Day, his new project starring Jude Law and Naomie Harris. It's a psychological thriller, set on an alluring and mysterious island, that's been brought to life through a collaboration between Sky Atlantic and the immersive theatre company Punchdrunk. The drama consists of six one-hour episodes for TV plus a live-streamed twelve-hour event. The Northern Irish writer Jan Carson is best known for her award-winning magic realist novels. But her new work - shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award – is an authentic slice of rural protestant life. She discusses why this community is not often written about and explains why it...

28 min1 w ago
Comments
Dennis Kelly on The Third Day, Nica Burns, Jan Carson, Sir Terence Conran

Latest Episodes

Poetry and performance from Cumbria's Contains Strong Language festival

Dove Cottage Grasmere is the heart of Romantic poetry and is hosting part of this year's Contains Strong Language festival. We'll be asking what the Romantics have to tell us now, with the poet Kate Clanchy who has adapted Samuel Taylor Coleridge's unfinished poem Christabel with a newly commissioned score by composer Katie Chatburn. Novelist, poet and playwright Zosia Wand was born in London but didn't speak English till she went to school and spent all her holidays in Poland. Now she's written a radio play Bones - set on the sandbanks of Morecambe Bay - exploring how it feels to be a migrant and the emotional impact on the generations that follow. In 2005 the award winning poet and novelist Jacob Polley’s home town of Carlisle flooded catastrophically after heavy rain. Three people died and thousands were left homeless in an event that was supposed to be a one in a hundred year event. Now Jacob Polley’s returned to that time for a new play Emergency. It’s a love story set against a merciless storm voiced through ancient Anglo-Saxon riddles about the power of nature. And we discuss the impact of poetry in isolation with the young poet Hannah Hodgson who is living with a life limiting disease. She'll read from her lockdown collection and discuss how poetry managed to say what we needed to say this year from zoom poetry slams to tik tok haikus.

41 min1 d ago
Comments
Poetry and performance from Cumbria's Contains Strong Language festival

David McKee - BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award, Royal Academy dilemma, Serlina Boyd on Cocoa Girl

David McKee has just been named as the recipient of the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Author and illustrator of the Elmer books which with vivid colour and humour make a case for inclusion and acceptance, and the creator of the magical Mr Benn, he also wrote and illustrated Not Now, Bernard, a funny and perceptive plea for children not to be ignored. Now 85, he is still working. Front Row talks to him about his life and career. It has been reported that the Royal Academy in London is considering selling off its rare Michelangelo marble masterpiece known as the Taddei Tondo in an effort to avoid sacking 150 of its staff, as a result of lockdown. Axel Rϋger, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy, and Alison Cole, Editor of The Art Newspaper, discuss the RA’s dilemma. A brand new bi-monthly magazine – Cocoa Girl – is unusual in many ways. First the editor is 6 years old, second it’s an actual physical magazine, not just an online offer and third it’s bee...

28 min2 d ago
Comments
David McKee - BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award, Royal Academy dilemma, Serlina Boyd on Cocoa Girl

Mike Bartlett, Miss Juneteenth film, theatres repurposed as courtrooms, Susanna Clarke

Doctor Foster creator, Mike Bartlett, has come up with a new drama for BBC1. Set in Manchester, Life follows the stories of the residents of a large house divided into four flats, and explores love, loss, birth and death, and features some of the characters from Doctor Foster. Nick Ahad reviews. Channing Godfrey Peoples talks about writing and directing her debut film, Miss Juneteenth, about a beauty queen pageant commemorating the day slaves in Texas were freed – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Life for Turquoise Jones didn’t turn out as beautifully as winning the title promised, so she is cultivating her daughter, Kai, to become Miss Juneteenth, even if Kai wants something else. Show Trials: The Lowry in Salford has come up with a unique way to bring in revenue whilst its regular artistic functions are paused because of pandemic regulations and social distancing. They’re going to become a temporary ‘Nightingale Court’. Julia Fawcett, Chief Executive of The Lowr...

28 min3 d ago
Comments
Mike Bartlett, Miss Juneteenth film, theatres repurposed as courtrooms, Susanna Clarke

Skin, The Box in Plymouth, Sean Borodale

Lead singer of Britpop band Skunk Anansie, Skin has headlined Glastonbury, sold millions of albums, and recently competed in The Masked Singer. As her memoir, Skin - It takes Blood and Guts, is published, we ask her about channelling rage into her performances and if she thinks her achievements as queer black woman have been overlooked. After a six-month Covid delay, Plymouth’s new £40m arts and heritage museum space The Box is due to open next week. This weekend also sees the Plymouth Art Weekender, a city-wide festival of art and events. Sarah Gosling, BBC’s arts and culture presenter in Plymouth, considers the role of art and culture in helping to transform the city. It is the season of moths and spiders. Many people strive to keep these out of their houses. Not so the poet Sean Borodale whose new collection, Inmates, records close encounters with all manner of insects, in all stages of their existence – egg, maggot, flight, in death and decay. He talks about co-existing with...

28 min4 d ago
Comments
Skin, The Box in Plymouth, Sean Borodale

ENO drive in opera, ITV drama Honour, Jesse Armstrong, 'Festival of Brexit'

Announced by Theresa May in 2018 and quickly dubbed the “Festival of Brexit”, submissions are now being made for the UK government funded £120 million festival that will celebrate British creativity in 2022. Creative director Martin Green tells us what kind of projects and ideas he’s looking for. Succession creator Jesse Armstrong on winning the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series at last night's awards. English National Opera are staging Europe’s first drive-in opera, Puccini’s La Bohème, at London’s Alexandra Palace, where the audience watch the singers from their cars. Will this be an exciting new way to experience opera? Alexandra Coghlan reviews. Writer Gwyneth Hughes discusses her new ITV drama, Honour, starring Keeley Hawes. It’s the story of the real-life detective who brought five killers to justice after the so-called honour killing of Banaz Mahmod, a 20 year old Iraqi Kurdish woman from Mitcham, south London, who was murdered for falling in love with the wrong man....

28 min5 d ago
Comments
ENO drive in opera, ITV drama Honour, Jesse Armstrong, 'Festival of Brexit'

Katherine Ryan, Nick Hornby, artist Mark Bradford, TV drama Us reviewed

The Los Angeles-based American artist Mark Bradford, who represented the USA at the Venice Biennale in 2017, discusses his new series of Quarantine Paintings. The three works – only available to view online – explore the nature of art in isolation and how he responded when his city was suddenly shut down unexpectedly. Nick Hornby, the writer who gave us Fever Pitch, High Fidelity and About a Boy, discusses his new novel Just Like You, which features a relationship between a black man in his early 20s and a white 42-year-old English teacher and mother. The novel is set in 2016 and it’s not long before the social and political divisions brought about by the looming Brexit vote are becoming unavoidable. Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Julian May

42 min1 w ago
Comments
Katherine Ryan, Nick Hornby, artist Mark Bradford, TV drama Us reviewed

Rocks, Phoebe Stuckes, Eley Williams

Rocks is the new feature film directed by Sarah Gavron with a screenplay by Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson. Writer Niellah Arboine reviews the film which is set in Hackney with an ensemble cast of largely non-professional actors, and it tells the story of a teenage Londoner nicknamed Rocks who takes responsibility for her little brother Emmanuel in an attempt to stop them both from being taken into care, supported by a chaotic but loving group of friends. Poet Phoebe Stuckes discusses her first collection, Platinum Blonde, which gives us a glimpse of the life of a lively young woman today. She is only 24, but Phoebe Stuckes is a seasoned poet and performer, winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award - four times - she has also been Barbican Young Poet and the Ledbury Poetry Festival’s young poet-in-residence. Troubled Blood is the title of JK Rowling’s latest novel, written under her crime writing pseudonym Robert Galbraith. And it’s generated something of a troubled reaction so far ...

28 min1 w ago
Comments
Rocks, Phoebe Stuckes, Eley Williams

Tricky, Ratched reviewed, live theatre returns to The Playhouse Londonderry, NSSA nominee Jack Houston

Twenty five years ago Bristol musician Tricky pioneered a new genre of downtempo hip-hop with his album Maxinquaye. As he releases his 14th studio album, Fall to Pieces, Tricky joins us from his Berlin studio. Live theatre returns to Northern Ireland this evening with the play Anything Can Happen: 1972 at The Playhouse in Londonderry, in which people whose lives were affected by the Troubles tell their stories. We hear from playwright Damian Gorman, cast member Susan Stanley, whose brother was killed in a bombing, and Sarah Feeney-Morrison, who has contributed a photo of her aunt, shot by an IRA sniper. Netflix's new drama this week is Ratched, the origin story of Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It stars Sarah Paulson, Cynthia Nixon, Judy Davis and Sharon Stone. Karen Krisanovich reviews. Our latest interview with an author shortlisted for the 2020 BBC National Short Story Award is Jack Houston, whose powerful story Come Down Heavy is about two people struggling...

28 min1 w ago
Comments
Tricky, Ratched reviewed, live theatre returns to The Playhouse Londonderry, NSSA nominee Jack Houston

2020 Booker shortlist, Nicholas Serota, author Sarah Hall

Earlier today the shortlist for the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction was announced. Two time winner Hilary Mantel has not made the list for the final part of her Cromwell series and four out of six of the books chosen are by debut authors. John speaks to Chair of Judges Margaret Busby and critics Sara Collins and Toby Lichtig give their verdict on the chosen few. Today Arts Council England published two new pieces of research into the value of the cultural institutions it funds to our high streets and how they are reanimating local economies. For instance, more than 300 cultural venues are in unemployment hotspots. There are 500 cafes in cultural centres across the country – almost as many outlets as Pret a Manger. Sir Nichola Serota, the Chair of ACE, unpicks this work with John Wilson, who will ask him, too, what is happening with the £1.57 billion pledged by the government to save the arts and livelihoods of artists. Last week on Front Row Lucy Noble, who runs the Royal Albert Hal...

28 min1 w ago
Comments
2020 Booker shortlist, Nicholas Serota, author Sarah Hall

Dennis Kelly on The Third Day, Nica Burns, Jan Carson, Sir Terence Conran

Nica Burns, owner of some of the biggest West End theatres, discusses her plan to re-open them in sequence from 22 October, starting with Adam Kay’s one man show This is Going to Hurt and, in November, the hit musical Six. But what about large-scale shows like Harry Potter or Everyone’s Talking About Jamie? Writer Dennis Kelly tells Samira about The Third Day, his new project starring Jude Law and Naomie Harris. It's a psychological thriller, set on an alluring and mysterious island, that's been brought to life through a collaboration between Sky Atlantic and the immersive theatre company Punchdrunk. The drama consists of six one-hour episodes for TV plus a live-streamed twelve-hour event. The Northern Irish writer Jan Carson is best known for her award-winning magic realist novels. But her new work - shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award – is an authentic slice of rural protestant life. She discusses why this community is not often written about and explains why it...

28 min1 w ago
Comments
Dennis Kelly on The Third Day, Nica Burns, Jan Carson, Sir Terence Conran
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