Front Row

Front Row

By BBC Radio 4

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

Episodes

Bernard Butler, Kafka, Benedict Cumberbatch

Hollywood star Benedict Cumberbatch talks about his new series Eric, where he plays a troubled puppeteer in 80s New York whose life and marriage unravel when his young son disappears and the only help he has to find him is from a giant imaginary monster who follows him everywhere. Created by British screenwriter Abi Morgan, the show opens on Netflix on Thursday.Bernard Butler's first solo album in 25 years - Good Grief - is released on 31st May. He plays his latest single and reflects on a career that has involved highly successful collaborations with an eclectic range of artists including Duffy, Jessie Buckley, Tricky and The Libertines. 100 years after his death, Franz Kafka’s papers are on display at a new exhibition at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The curator Carolin Duttlinger discusses Kafka’s ongoing significance with the novelist Joanna Kavenna. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Torquil MacLeod
28/05/2442m 24s

Hay Festival 2024 - Young Adult Fiction

In a special edition of Front Row recorded at this year's Hay Festival, school children and young people put questions to four giants of Young Adult Fiction.Anthony Horowitz has written books for both adults and younger readers, but here discusses his iconic creation Alex Rider. Manon Steffan Ros won last year's Carnegie Medal, the first translated book to read the prize having originally been written in Welsh. Alex Wheatle is the author of the hugely popular Crongton Knights series, having written his first novel Brixton Rock in prison. And Frances Hardinge is the only children's author other than Phillip Pullman to win the Costa Prize Book of the Year with the Lie Tree, as well as being the other behind other much loved YA novels including Fly By Night.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Ciaran Bermingham
27/05/2442m 18s

The Sympathizer, Ivor Novello Awards, Michelle Terry on Richard III

Samira Ahmed is joined by the Guardian’s music editor Ben Beaumont-Thomas plus cultural sociologist and music researcher Dr. Monique Charles to review espionage thriller and cross-culture satire The Sympathizer, a 7-part series based on Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel. They also discuss the winners of the Ivor Novello Awards, and Samira talks to Michelle Terry about playing Richard III at the Globe theatre.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Claire Bartleet
23/05/2442m 15s

Vicky McClure, LS Lowry and the sea, International Booker Prize 2024

Line of Duty star Vicky McClure on her new TV thriller Insomnia, in which she plays a lawyer losing her grip on the daily juggle of family life and work as old traumas start to make their presence felt.The German writer Jenny Erpenbeck and translator Michael Hofman on winning the International Booker Prize with the novel Kairos which marries a love story with the fall of the Berlin Wall.As a new exhibition - Lowry and the Sea – opens this weekend at the Maltings’ Granary Gallery in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, art historian and Lowry specialist Jonathan Horwich, and contemporary seascape painter Jo Bemis discuss this little-known side of L. S. Lowry's work and the challenge of capturing the everchanging sea on canvas.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
22/05/2442m 48s

Colm Tóibín, Miranda Rutter & Rob Harbron, Iain Sinclair on John Deakin

Colm Tóibín's not a fan of follow-ups so why has he written a sequel to his bestseller Brooklyn, which was made into a film starring Saoirse Ronan? He talks to Tom Sutcliffe about not overwriting sex - and how Domhnall Gleeson's screen performance as a "quiet Irishman" in Brooklyn inspired him. Miranda Rutter and Rob Harbron's new folk album, Bird Tunes, is inspired by birdsong they hear in woods in the Cotswolds. They perform a track on fiddle and concertina and talk about how manipulating the sounds made by blackbirds, wrens and cuckoos helped to inspire musical phrases in different keys. Photographer John Deakin is now often overlooked, but he chronicled the artistic underbelly of mid-century Soho with iconic pictures, including those used by Francis Bacon. Iain Sinclair, whose new book Pariah/Genius revives Deakin, retraces his footsteps around town. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paula McGrath
21/05/2442m 32s

George Miller, Miranda July, Orchestral Qawwali Project

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is the latest film from the writer director George Miller, 45 years after the first Mad Max film with Mel Gibson aired. He joins us to talk about where the vision for the film came from and how it's evolved, and about working with stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth. The visual artist, filmmaker, and novelist, Miranda July, discusses her second novel “All Fours” where a middle-aged woman’s detour from a planned road trip across America becomes a wry and provocative odyssey of self-exploration.Orchestral Qawaali Project is the brainchild of composer Rushil Ranjan and multi-instrumentalist and singer Abi Sampa. Fusing devotional south Asian qawwali singing with the western classical tradition, it has grown from a lockdown project that went viral to a performance at the Royal Albert Hall later this month involving 135 performers on stage. We hear a taster of their work live in the studio.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Corinna Jones
20/05/2442m 22s

Review: Big Cigar on AppleTV, Elton John’s photos at V&A, animated/live action film If

Tom Sutcliffe is joined by journalist Kevin Le Gendre and critic Hanna Flint to review The Big Cigar, which tells the story of Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton; Elton John’s Fragile Beauty exhibition at the V&A and IF, a family film about imaginary friends. Tom also announces the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Claire Bartleet
16/05/2442m 18s

John Cleese's Fawlty Towers on stage, Beatrice Harrison, Cannes

Fawlty Towers arrives on the West End stage nearly 50 years after it first appeared on TV. John Cleese talks about why the sitcom wasn’t initially regarded as a great success, his love and appreciation of comedy as an art form, and how a future project will see Basil running a hotel with his daughter.100 years ago this month, the musician Beatrice Harrison was responsible for a landmark event in BBC history when she persuaded the corporation to broadcast live from her garden as she played her cello, accompanied by nightingales. Writer and cellist Kate Kennedy who has recreated this event for a new Radio 3 documentary and Patricia Cleveland-Peck who has edited a book about Beatrice Harrison join Front Row to discuss the significance of this historic event.Jason Solomons joins us from the Cannes Film Festival to tell us what people there are getting excited about and what's in store over the next ten days.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Torquil MacLeod
15/05/2442m 26s

Withnail and I on stage, Women & Art at Tate Britain, Alan Murrin

Bruce Robinson has written a stage adaptation of his cult 1987 film Withnail And I - a tragicomedy that evokes the end of an era as the 60s give way to 70s and dreams collide with reality in the lives of the two main characters. The play has just opened at the Birmingham Rep, directed by Sean Foley. Both of them talk about the challenges of adapting and staging a much loved classic and the degree to which it needed to remain true to the original.Now You See Us - an exhibition spanning 400 years of women in art - opens at Tate Britain this week. Art critic Charlotte Mullins and art historian and biographer Frances Spalding give their verdict on how the collection represents the pioneers from Angelica Kauffman to Laura Knight.
14/05/2442m 19s

Damian Barr on Maggie & Me, Italian neorealist film, A.I. and Fake Art

A memoir about growing up gay in Scotland under the shadow of Thatcherism, Maggie & Me was published to wide acclaim in 2013. Damian Barr joins to discuss how he as adapted it with James Ley for a new National Theatre of Scotland touring production.As Roberto Rossellini's classic 1945 film Rome, Open City (Roma città aperta) is re-released by the BFI, writer Thea Lenarduzzi and film historian Ian Christie reassess its role in launching Italian neorealism and compare it with There's Still Tomorrow (C'è ancora domani), a new film by Paula Cortellesi that borrows many of neorealism's visual and thematic hallmarks.With news last week that fake artworks by Renoir and Monet were being sold online, Samira is joined by art specialist and A.I. expert Dr. Carina Popovici and writer and art crime expert Riah Pyror to discuss the problem and how A.I. is being used to solve it.
13/05/2442m 24s

La Chimera, Bodkin, a new novel called Great Expectations reviewed

La Chimera is a new film directed by Alice Rohrwacher and starring Josh O’Connor as a British archaeologist who gets caught up in a network of stolen Etruscan artefacts in 1980s Italy. Bodkin is a new comedy thriller series from Netflix starring Will Forte about a trio of true crime podcasters who head to rural Ireland to solve a mystery. and Great Expectations, the hotly anticipated debut novel from the New Yorker theatre critic Vinson Cunningham about a young man in America who gets swept up in a presidential campaign. Jo Hamya and Boyd Hilton join Nick Ahad to review.And we take a look at Spotify's latest figures on how it pays the music industry with Will Page.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Corinna Jones
09/05/2442m 22s

Sir Stephen Hough, Arab Strap, can authors make money?

From winning the piano section of the first BBC young musician of the year as a teen to recording over 60 albums and publishing 40 original works, Stephen Hough was knighted for services to music in 2022. He joins Tom Sutcliffe to talk about the upcoming European premiere of his first piano concerto with the Halle Orchestra in Manchester.American writer Elle Griffin wrote an article titled No one buys books, after studying the publishing industry in the United States. She feels the best way to make money as an author is to serialise her work online. But Philip Jones, Editor of The Bookseller says the UK publishing industry is in good health. Scottish band Arab Strap talk about breaking up, re-forming and their new album – they also play live from Glasgow. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Claire Bartleet
08/05/2442m 35s

Party Games play, 200 years of Beethoven’s 9th, literary editing

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, music critic Norman Lebrecht and conductor JoAnn Falletta discuss what makes it revolutionary and why it's so challenging to perform.Michael McManus spent most of his career as a political advisor but has subsequently become a playwright. His new play Party Games is a political comedy that questions the power of AI and the influence of unelected advisors.A new exhibition at the Bodleian Library in Oxford - Write, Cut, Rewrite - looks at the drafts, additions and omissions behind key artistic decisions from great writers. Writer Lawrence Norfolk and poet Alice Oswald talk about the importance of rewriting and editing.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Torquil MacLeod
07/05/2442m 13s

Sir Alan Ayckbourn, Jeremy Deller, Scarborough Spa Orchestra

Nick visits Scarborough and talks to Sir Alan Ayckbourn as he rehearses an old play - Things We Do For Love - and looks forward to the staging of his 90th play - Show and Tell.Turner prize winning Artist Jeremy Deller, whose public artworks include We're Here Because We're Here to commemorate the Battle of the Somme, reveals his plans for a new creation for Scarborough's Marine Drive. The Scarborough Spa Orchestra is the UK's only remaining professional seaside orchestra, and Nick meets its two of its members, music director Paul Laidlaw and flautist Kathy Seabrook. Poets Charlotte Oliver and Wendy Pratt discuss finding inspiration in Scarborough.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
06/05/2444m 1s

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Marc Quinn at Kew, The Fall Guy,

Harvey Keitel stars in The Tattooist of Auschwitz - a six-part Sky Atlantic series based on the best-selling novel by Heather Morris, inspired by the real-life story of Holocaust prisoners Lali and Gita Sokolov. Marc Quinn’s exhibition Light into Life is at Kew Gardens from Saturday (4th May) until Sunday 29 September 2024.The Fall Guy, directed by David Leitch, stars Ryan Gosling as a stuntman and Emily Blunt as his film director ex who entices him out of retirement.All three are reviewed by Naomi Alderman and Jason Solomons.And producer Trevor Horn assesses the legacy of guitarist Duane Eddy whose death was announced yesterday. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Torquil MacLeod
02/05/2442m 29s

Spirited Away at London Coliseum, Eurovision build-up, terminal diagnosis films

Award winning director behind Les Miserables John Caird and co-writing partner Maoko Imai talk about adapting the iconic Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away for stage, as it arrives at the London Coliseum from Japan. Two new documentaries are exploring how dignity, beauty and even joy can be found following a terminal diagnosis. Simon Chambers and Kit Vincent, the filmmakers behind Much Ado About Dying and Red Herring respectively, discuss.And the BBC's Eurovision reporter Daniel Rosney lifts a lid on preparations for the forthcoming song contest in Malmo.Presenter: Antonia Quirke Producer: Ciaran Bermingham
01/05/2442m 19s

Michelangelo exhibition at British Museum, Jembaa Groove perform, Inside Number 9

Historian Andrew Graham-Dixon and art curator Kate Bryan discuss Michelangelo: the last decades, a major new exhibition at the British Museum which focuses on the last thirty years of Michelangelo’s life. Reece Shearsmith discusses the ninth and final series of the BAFTA award winning Inside No. 9. Written with Steve Pemberton, the six episodes will feature new stand-alone stories, starting with ‘Boo To A Goose’ . Guest stars include Charlie Cooper and Katherine Kelly.Jembaa Groove perform live. The Berlin-based band produce Ghanaian highlife/American R&B fusion music, an optimistic and positive sound created when they got together during the covid pandemic.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Claire Bartleet
30/04/2439m 2s

Hanif Kureishi, Ingrid Persaud, Arts Council funding

Hanif Kureishi has joined forces with Emma Rice to adapt his 1990 novel The Buddha of Suburbia into an RSC production that’s just opened at the Swan Theatre, Stratford upon Avon. Kureishi discusses what it feels like to see himself and his fictionalised family onstage, why his first novel remains painfully relevant and how he has been able to continue writing despite the December 2022 accident that left him tetraplegic. Recently on Front Row we heard from some leaders of classical music organisations including the Wigmore Hall and LSO saying that Arts Council England, the body responsible for distributing funding, was putting inclusion before excellence. Today we hear from the Arts Council’s CEO, Darren Henley about Let’s Create, the ten year strategy behind the recent funding decisions.Ingrid Persaud discusses the real man behind her new novel The Lost Love Songs of Boysie Singh, an outlaw figure who looms large in the cultural memory of Trinidad and Tobago - an island nation with a wealth of contemporary novelists, including Persaud herself.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Corinna Jones
29/04/2442m 22s

Pet Shop Boys, review of Challengers film and Expressionists exhibiition

The Pet Shop Boys are the most successful duo in UK music history. Forty years after their first hit West End Girls they are about to release their new album Nonetheless. Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant join Samira Ahmed to talk about making sense of life through culture, their music being used in hit films like Saltburn and All of Us Strangers and their gay icon status. Also joining Samira in the studio are art critic Catherine McCormack and writer Jenny McCartney to review the new tennis film Challengers - which stars Zendaya and Josh O'Connor and Tate Modern's new exhibition Expressionists: Kandinsky, Münter and The Blue Rider.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paula McGrath
25/04/2442m 21s

The Legend of Ned Ludd, Women's Prize for Fiction shortlist, Mohammad Barrangi

The Legend of Ned Ludd - writer Joe Ward Munrow and director Jude Christian discuss their new play at the Liverpool Everyman theatre which explores the changing nature of work over the centuries and around the world in the the face of automation.The shortlist for the Women's Prize for Fiction was announced today - journalist Jamie Klingler assesses the selection.As the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool prepares to show off its latest acquisitions, curator Kate O'Donoghue explains what the their new Degas and Monet works will bring to their collection.Artist Mohammad Barrangi discusses his new installation - One Night, One Dream, Life in the Lighthoue - at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery in Leeds University, inspired by his residency at the university's Special Collections. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
24/04/2442m 57s

Women and Shakespeare, best beach reads, Black British music exhibition

The British Library isn’t all books; it has a huge sound archive, one of the largest in the world. It has drawn on this for Beyond the Bassline, the first major exhibition to documenting Black British music. Curators Aleema Gray and Mykaell Riley guide Shahidha Bari through the 500-year musical journey of African and Caribbean people in Britain.Emily Henry is a giant of the Beach Read: indeed one of her best selling novels is literally called that. With her forthcoming Funny Book, she is joined by author of The Garnett Girls Georgina Moore to discuss what goes into an ideal summer book.And on Shakespeare's birthday, we discuss the women who made him as well as his female contemporaries with Charlotte Scott, from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and Rami Targoff author of Shakespeare's Sisters: Four Women Who Wrote the RenaissancePresenter: Shahidha Bari Producer: Ciaran Bermingham
23/04/2442m 38s

Designer Sir Kenneth Grange, Taylor Swift's new album, Venice Art Biennale

Taylor Swift returns with The Tortured Poets Department, a surprise double album that features 31 tracks that fans are saying is her most intimate and lyrically revealing yet. Joining Tom Sutcliffe to discuss the work are Times music writer Lisa Vericco and Satu Hameenho-Fox, whose new book Into The Taylor-Verse is out next month.The Intercity 125 train, the Kenwood mixer, the Morphy Richards iron, the Wilkinson triple razor, bus shelters, the black cab, and the Parker 25 pen all have one thing in common – they were designed by Sir Kenneth Grange. As a new book about his life and work comes out, we went to his house to meet him. Hettie Judah joins us fresh from the famous international cultural exhibition, the Venice Biennale, now in it’s 60th year. She’ll be reviewing the highs and lows.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May
22/04/2443m 5s

London Tide with music by PJ Harvey, Salman Rushdie's story of survival: Knife and tenor Ian Bostridge

Knife is Salman Rushdie’s memoir about surviving a near-fatal knife attack in August 2022 and the long, painful period of recovery that followed. Ben Power’s adaption of the Dickens novel Our Mutual Friend – London Tide – which features songs that he co-wrote with PJ Harvey, has just opened at the National Theatre in London. Baby Reindeer is a new Netflix drama written by and starring Richard Gadd who drew directly on his own shocking experience of being stalked. All three are reviewed by Tahmima Anam and John Mullan.We also hear from tenor Ian Bostridge on mobile phone use in concert halls and why he stopped a performance of Britten's Les Illuminations with the CBSO last night.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Corinna Jones
18/04/2442m 29s

Lionel Shriver's new book Mania, Tyrell Williams on Red Pitch

Lionel Shriver on her latest novel Mania, in which she creates an alternative USA where the Mental Parity Movement insists that everyone is equally clever. Can a friendship between two women survive when they hold polarised views on this particular “culture war”? Why are universities all over the country closing arts courses and cutting jobs? Front Row investigates and considers the consequences.Playwright Tyrell Williams talks about his acclaimed play Red Pitch, about three young lads dreaming of football stardom. But what happens when their local football pitch is under threat, as a result of gentrification? Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May
17/04/2442m 21s

Sir John Akomfrah, bicentenary of Byron's death and sped-up music

Lord Byron died 200 years ago on Friday. Lady Caroline Lamb described him as 'mad, bad and dangerous to know'. Fiona Stafford has edited Byron's Travels, a new selection of his poems, letters and journals. He was only 36 when he died, but had written seven volumes of verse, thirteen volumes of journal and thousands of letters. The poet A. E. Stallings, who lives in Greece, where Byron died while supporting the Greek struggle for independence - and Fiona Stafford, join Tom Sutcliffe to celebrate this great, scandalous and very funny Romantic poet.We talk about the sped-up music phenomenon, and what it tells us about the constantly evolving relationship between the music industry and music fans. Music business writer Eamonn Forde and singer-songwriter Fiona Bevan are in the Front Row studio.And artist Sir John Akomfrah joins us from the British Pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale where he is representing the UK, with his exhibition, Listening All Night To The Rain.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paul Waters
16/04/2441m 10s

The Book of Clarence, Liberation Squares, Northern Ireland's filming boom

British director Jeymes Samuel discusses his new film The Book of Clarence, a Biblical comedy about a down-on-his-luck young man who tries to escape from a debt by pretending to be a messiah like Christ.Sonali Bhattacharyya on her new play Liberation Square, which just opened at the Nottingham Playhouse and explores the lives of three young Muslim women who find themselves caught up in the state surveillance ‘Prevent’ programme.With the hit Belfast-set drama Blue Lights returning to BBC One for its second season tonight, Kathy Clugston reports on Northern Ireland booming film industry. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Paula McGrath
15/04/2442m 33s

Amy Winehouse biopic Back to Black and Percival Everett's James reviewed

Back to Black is the Amy Winehouse biopic out this week and directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. James is Percival Everett’s retelling of Mark Twain’s 1884 novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, narrated by the enslaved Jim. The Wallace collection spotlights Ranjit Singh, the Maharaja of the Sikh Empire and the treasure trove of weapons that kept him in power. Writer Dreda Say Mitchell and journalist and broadcaster Bidisha join Tom Sutcliffe to review. We also look at the BAFTA games awards with scummy mummy and gamer Ellie Gibson.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Corinna Jones
11/04/2442m 24s

Folk musician Martin Simpson, movie icon Anna May Wong, and classical music leaders criticise Arts Council England

Anna May Wong was an international star who appeared in some of Hollywood’s biggest movies in a career that spanned from the silent films of the 1920s, through the advent of talkies in the 30s, to television in the 1950s, despite all the obstacles in her path. A new biography, Not Your China Doll, examines how against all the odds Anna May Wong found international fame and became a trailblazer for Asian American actors. The English folk singer and guitar virtuoso Martin Simpson performs material from his new album - his 24th - Skydancers. The title track, commissioned by naturalist Chris Packham, highlights the plight of the Hen harrier. Simpson talks about his love of birds, of traditional song, of writing his own, the influence on him of American music, and a lifetime playing the guitar and banjo. Some leaders of classical music organisations say that the attitude to funding by the Arts Councils in England and Wales is undermining excellence, and putting inclusion before professionalism. We hear from a range of voices, including Sir Antonio Pappano, Chief Conductor at the London Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Royal Opera House; John Gilhooly, director of the Wigmore Hall and chair of the Royal Philharmonic Society; Kathryn McDowell, Managing Director of the London Symphony Orchestra and a former music director at Arts Council England; and Michael Eakin, Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and former Executive Director of the Arts Council Northwest. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May
10/04/2442m 21s

Nathan Hill, Maggie Rogers, International Booker shortlist

Nathan Hill talks about his new novel Wellness, the follow-up to his acclaimed debut The Nix.Maggie Rogers, the singer-songwriter whose career was launched by a student performance for Pharrell Williams that went viral, talks about her latest album Don't Forget Me.Romesh Gunasekera discusses the novels on the International Booker Prize Shortlist, announced today. And Melanie Abbott reports on how the BBC and Netflix’s disability partnership is progressing over two years on from its much heralded launch.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Ciaran Bermingham
09/04/2442m 18s

Yinka Shonibare, Sean Shibe, cinema and digital decay

Artist Yinka Shonibare talks about his new exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, which explores the legacy of Imperialism. Guitarist Sean Shibe performs early Scottish lute music and previews a new classical guitar concerto live in the Front Row studio.And film experts Stephen McConnachie and Inés Toharia explain how fast changing technology and digital decay is putting preserving cinema under threat.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
08/04/2442m 55s

Beyonce’s new album Cowboy Carter, Netflix drama Ripley, Io Capitano movie reviewed

Beyonce’s new album Cowboy Carter - Netflix drama Ripley starring Andrew Scott - Io Capitano, the Oscar-nominated movie about teens in Senegal in search of a better life - all reviewed by film critic Leila Latif and music writer Jasper Murison-Bowie.And novelist and critic John Domini remembers the American novelist (and his former teacher) John Barth, author of cult bestseller Giles Goat Boy, who has died at the age of 93.  Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paul Waters
04/04/2442m 29s

50 years of ABBA’s Waterloo, Harewood House exhibition, Trevor Griffiths remembered, the rise of eco fiction and drama

Almost 50 years to the day when ABBA's Waterloo triumphed at Eurovision, ABBA specialist Carl Magnus Palm and Millie Taylor, professor of musical theatre, discuss how the song became such an all-conquering hit.A visit to Harewood House to see a new exhibition, Colours Uncovered, which tells the story of this stately home through the prism of colour. Darren Pih, chief curator and artistic director of the Harewood House Trust and curator and archivist Rebecca Burton, take Nick through the house.Dramatist and screenwriter Trevor Griffiths is remembered by theatre critic Michael Coveney, who was at the first night of his ground-breaking play Comedians, which put Jonathan Pryce on his road to stardom. Griffiths also provided Laurence Olivier with his last stage role. However, working class, left-wing and politically committed, Griffiths preferred writing for television because it allowed him to communicate with millions rather than thousands.The environment and climate change is becoming increasingly popular in mainstream film, TV and fiction. Now Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, director of the 2022 Oscar-winning Japanese movie, Drive My Car, has his own eco-drama, Evil Does Not Exist, in cinemas this month. To discuss that and how climate change is breaking into the mainstream, Nick is joined by Eve Smith, the author of One, and by Greg Mosse, the author of The Coming Storm, both of which feature a near-future world significantly altered by environmental catastrophe.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
03/04/2442m 24s

Dev Patel on Monkey Man, which books are on the curriculum?

Actor Dev Patel joins to talk about his directorial debut Monkey Man, a movie inspired by the Indian legend of Hunaman that tells the dark and brutal story of a young man in Mumbai out to avenge the life of his mother.As exam season approaches we ask which books are currently being taught in our schools, and why? We speak to Kit de Waal, whose breakthrough novel My Name is Leon has just been made a curriculum text, and Carol Atherton, English teacher and author of “Reading Lessons: The Books We Read at School, the Conversations They Spark and Why They Matter”.MGM was Hollywood’s most famous maker of lavish musicals like such classics The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St Louis and Singin' in the Rain. As the famed film studio turns 100, musician and broadcaster Neil Brand has made a new Radio 3 documentary looking at their legacy. Critic David Benedict joins to discuss.
02/04/2442m 37s

The National Gallery at 200

The National Gallery opened its doors on 10th May 1824. The public could view 38 paintings, free. Now there are more than 2,300, including many masterpieces of European art by geniuses such as Rembrandt, Turner and Van Gogh. It is still free. The gallery's director, Gabriele Finaldi, guides Samira Ahmed through the collection. Artists Barbara Walker, Bob and Roberta Smith and Celine Condorelli, last year's artist-in-residence , choose paintings from the collection that are important to them, as does the critic Louisa Buck. The Sainsbury Wing is closed for building work, giving an opportunity to attend to the paintings there, and Samira visits the conservation studio and the framing workshop. She hears, too, from curator Mari Elin Jones in Aberystwyth about how during the Second World War the entire National Gallery collection was evacuated to a slate quarry in north Wales. The gallery's historians, Susanna Avery-Quash and Alan Crookham, show Samira photos of this period, and documents from the very beginning of the gallery. As part of the bicentennial celebrations 12 masterpieces are going to cities around the UK, to form the centre of exhibitions. Appropriately, Canaletto's 'The Stone Mason's Yard' will be going to Aberystwyth. From BBC Archive recordings we hear how Kenneth Clark and pianist Myra Hess organised lunchtime concerts held in the empty gallery, keeping cultural life going during the Blitz.Samira, Gabriele and Bob and Roberta first came to the National Gallery as children; Louisa Buck brought her children, who hunted for dragons in the paintings. The National Gallery is a welcoming, free, safe space for everyone, as a visitor, her baby asleep in his sling, happily explains.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May
01/04/2442m 48s

Steven Knight drama This Town reviewed, The Perth Museum re-opening

Peaky Blinders' writer Steven Knight's new drama, This Town, is out this week. Author Daniel Rachel and art historian Sarah Gaventa review.We'll also review a landmark exhibition on the Italian designer Enzo Mari which opens at the Design museum, showcasing his infinite calendar, self assembly book cases and beautiful children’s books. We take a look inside Perth Museum after its 27 million pound refurbishment. And we remember the American Sculptor Richard Serra who has died at the age of 85.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Corinna Jones
28/03/2442m 23s

Big Mood, how does comedy work? Bach St John Passion

Camilla Whitehill on her new Channel 4 sitcom Big Mood, starring Nicola Coughlan and Lydia West, which explores the lives of Millennials. Gareth Malone and Hannah French celebrate Bach's St John Passion, which was first performed in Leipzig 300 years ago this Easter. Joel Morris, author of Be Funny or Die, discusses how comedy works and what makes us laugh with Father Ted director Lissa Evans.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
27/03/2442m 19s

Norah Jones performs, Sir Ian McKellen on Player Kings, Keisha Thompson

Norah Jones discusses her new album, Visions, and reflects on the song, Come Away With Me, that made her name along with a special performance in the Front Row studio; Sir Ian McKellen and theatre director Robert Icke on tackling one of Shakespeare's greatest characters, Falstaff, in their new production Player Kings; and Keisha Thompson on how her year as artist-in-residence at Yorkshire Sculpture Park led to her creation of "sculpted poetry" in her new collection, Dé-rive. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
26/03/2442m 36s

Poet Nikki Giovanni, Andrew Buchan on TV drama Passenger

Nikki Giovanni is one of only a handful of poets whose work has been published as a Penguin Modern Classic in their own life time. A key figure of America's Black Arts Movement as both a writer an activist, she speaks to Tom about her life and career.A well-known actor, Andrew Buchan has now turned to writing with Passenger, the new ITV crimes drama set in the gothic landscape of the Lancashire-Yorkshire border.And Oxford's Ashmolean museum has a new exhibition of Flemish drawings, Bruegel to Rubens. Artist Jonathan Yeo and critic Jonathan Jones, author of Earthly Delights: A History of the Renaissance, join to discuss.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Ciaran Bermingham
25/03/2442m 30s

Kristen Wiig drama Palm Royale and animation Robot Dreams reviewed, Michael Ondaatje on his new poetry collection

The Independent’s chief film critic Clarisse Loughrey and the Telegraph’s film critic Tim Robey review the Oscar-nominated animation Robot Dreams which follows the friendship of a dog and a robot - can their bond survive Robot being locked up on Coney Island beach, after his joints rust over following a paddle in the sea? They also give their verdict on Apple TV’s drama Palm Royale, in which a former beauty queen longs to join the super-rich ladies who lunch in 1960s Florida. And on World Poetry Day the author of The English Patient Michael Ondaatje returns to verse in his new collection A Year of Last Things.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paula McGrath
21/03/2442m 27s

Kazuo Ishiguro on jazz, March hares and film ratings

Writer Kazuo Ishiguro and jazz musician Stacey Kent talk about collaborating on their new book of lyrics, The Summer We Crossed Europe in the Rain.What’s the significance of the hare in art and mythology? To mark the season of the March hare, writer Jane Russ, sculptor Sophie Ryder and musician Fay Hield explain.And following the British Board of Film Classification’s update to their guidance, film critic Larushka Ivan Zedah and professor of film Ian Christie ask what age ratings mean for audiences and film-makers. Presenter: Shahidha Bari Producer: Julian May
20/03/2442m 27s

Marjane Satrapi, using AI for alternative history, and the Harlow Sculpture Trail

Marjane Satrapi is best known for being the cartoonist and film maker behind Persepolis. She talks to Samira Ahmed about her new book - Woman, Life, Freedom - which she has created with 17 Iranian and international comic book artists. It documents the story of the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, a woman detained for allegedly not properly wearing the Islamic headscarf in 2022, and the subsequent protest movement which has swept Iran.In the Event of Moon Disaster is part of a new exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norfolk. It uses artificial intelligence to reimagine history, to ask what is truth? Centre Director Dr Jago Cooper and digital artist Francesca Panetta dive into conspiracy and misinformation, and discuss how an event as influential as the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing could be manipulated, and how doubt can be cast on even the most well-known facts.And Samira and producer Julian May follow the Harlow Sculpture Trail, encountering work by some of the greatest artists of the 20th century, including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Elisabeth Frink. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paul Waters
19/03/2442m 18s

Architect Daniel Libeskind, composer Karl Jenkins

Daniel Libeskind, the architect best known for the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the World Trade Centre masterplan in New York, talks about designing a building to house Einstein’s archive in Jerusalem. As Germany celebrates the 250th birthday of the painter Caspar David Friedrich with three major exhibitions, art historians Louisa Buck and Waldemar Januszczak discuss the significance of the Romantic artist famous for his paintings of people in evocative landscapes.And the musician and composer Karl Jenkins joins Samira to talk about celebrating his 80th birthday with a concert tour.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
18/03/2442m 38s

Keir Starmer, Monster and Reading Genesis reviewed

Labour leader Keir Starmer joins to discuss his party's new arts strategy, which he unveiled this morning, aiming to boost access to the arts and grow the creative industries.Writer and theologian Professor Tina Beattie and critic and broadcaster Matthew Sweet review Marilynne Robsinson’s new book Reading Genesis which offers a fresh look at the story of creation as told in the first book of the Bible. They also give their verdict on the Japanese filmmaker Kore-eda Hirokazu's new film Monster. The mystery thriller won Best Screenplay at Cannes last May and is dedicated to Ryuichi Sakamoto as this was his final film score before his death last year.
14/03/2442m 20s

Paul Theroux on Orwell, Patsy Rodenburg on training actors, musician Sam Lee

Paul Theroux discusses his new novel, Burma Sahib, about George Orwell’s formative years as a colonial police officer in what is now Myanmar.Voice expert Professor Patsy Rodenburg quit her job over fears that actors’ traditional “craft” skills are being lost, as screen acting overshadows theatre work.Sam Lee, Bernard Butler and James Keay perform live and talk about Sam's new album, Songdreaming. Sam draws on traditional songs to explore the richness and fragility of the natural world here in the UK.And we announce the winner of the Writers' Prize (formerly Rathbones Folio) Book of the Year 2024.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Ciaran Bermingham
13/03/2442m 23s

Philippa Gregory on Richard III, Blackpool's Showtown, has the superhero franchise bubble burst?

Historical novelist Philippa Gregory talks to Nick Ahad about writing her first stage play, Richard, My Richard, for Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot. Unlike Shakespeare's, Gregory's play is a tender, passionate, portrait of man in his time, surrounded by the women who influence his fate.With Marvel, DC and Sony superhero films boring fans and the box office, Nick speaks with Comic Crush editor Paul Dunne and film journalist Feyi Adebanjo about what's gone wrong and if these billion dollar blockbusters can get their mojo back.Showtown, Blackpool’s new museum of fun and entertainment opens on Friday. Liz Moss, the museum’s Chief Executive and journalist and former circus elephant girl Dea Birkett reflect on the museum’s ambitions.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
12/03/2442m 13s

Beth Ditto of Gossip, Ethan Coen on Drive-Away Dolls, Michael Donkor

Beth Ditto talks to Tom Sutcliffe about reuniting with her band Gossip for their first new album in nearly a decade.Ethan Coen and Tricia Cooke discuss collaborating as a husband and wife team on their new film, Drive Away Dolls. Michael Donkor discusses his new novel Grow Where They Fall, about a young British Ghanian teacher exploring his sexuality, heritage and past.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paula McGrath
11/03/2442m 58s

Jordan Harvey in session, Nye and Copa 71 reviewed

The up'n'coming Scottish country singer performs songs from his debut album It Is What It Is ahead of his debut solo performance at the Country To Country Festival in London this weekend.Plus, Susannah Clapp, the theatre critic for the Observer, and Boyd Hilton, the entertainment director of Heat Magazine, join to review the new play Nye at the National, which stars Michael Sheen as the politician who helped found the NHS and to look at the new football documentary Copa 71 about the real life story of a women's football tournament held in Mexico in 1971.
07/03/2442m 22s

Ava DuVernay on Origin, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Julianne Moore

Ava DuVernay talks to Tom Sutcliffe about her latest film, Origin. It stars Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson, following her journey as she researches her best-selling book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents while dealing with personal tragedy. Gabriel García Márquez’s final novel Until August is being published posthumously today despite his final wishes. His son Gonzalo explains why, and critics Max Liu and Blake Morrison discuss the ethics of defying a writer’s final request.Julianne Moore and director Oliver Hermanus discuss their historical TV drama Mary & George, which explores the affair between King James VI and I and George Villiers. Julianne Moore plays Mary Villiers, a woman who goes to extremes to improve her social position.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May
06/03/2442m 40s

Kate Rusby, Edward Bond, Eve Steele and the decline of female filmmakers

The acclaimed English folk singer-songwriter Kate Rusby performs live and chats about her new Singy Songy Session Tour.Theatre critic Michael Billington celebrates the life and legacy of the provocative British playwright Edward Bond, whose death was announced today.Dr Stacy Smith, and film data researcher Stephen Follows, discuss Dr Smith's recent report revealing that the number of female film directors in Hollywood has fallen. And playwright Eve Steele on her new play, Work It Out, inspired by real-life moments in a Zumba class and is now on at HOME in Manchester.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
05/03/2442m 35s

Ray Winstone, K Patrick, Ferris & Sylvester

Ray Winstone, star of Sexy Beast and Nil By Mouth, talks about new Netflix series The Gentlemen brought to television screens by director Guy Ritchie.K Patrick’s in the studio to read from their first collection of poetry Three Births, which explores nature, contemporary queer experience and pop-culture icons like Catwoman and George Michael.And folk duo Ferris & Sylvester perform live and discuss their new album, Otherness.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Corinna Jones
04/03/2442m 24s

Dune 2, Brian Bilston, Angelica Kauffman RA, Nachtland

This week sees the release of the much anticipated Dune part 2, the sequel to 2021’s part 1, a series based on Frank Herbert’s 1960’s sci fi classic. We also look at Marius von Mayenburg’s play Nachtland directed by Patrick Marber at the Young Vic in London and Angelica Kauffman: the Swiss artist finally gets a solo exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, more than 250 years after she was one of its founding members. Seán Williams and Sam Marlowe review.Plus, the 'unofficial poet Laureate of Twitter' Brian Bilston has broken some of his anonymity to go on the road with Henry Normal. To mark 29 February, Bilston reads An Extra Day from his collection Days Like These.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Ciaran Bermingham
29/02/2442m 37s

Benjamin Britten, director Kaouther Ben Hania, music from Owen Spafford and Louis Campbell

Kate Molleson talks to Kaouther Ben Hania about her Oscar-nominated documentary Four Daughters, which explores the impact of two sisters fleeing to join Islamic State, by bringing in actors to play them alongside the rest of their family in Tunisia. We look at two new plays about British composer Benjamin Britten and the light they shed on a life shrouded with mystery and controversy. Kate is joined by Erica Whyman, the director of Ben and Imo by Mark Ravenhill, which is on at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, and also by Kevin Kelly, the writer of Turning the Screw, which I son at the King’s Head Theatre in London.Plus live music from Owen Spafford and Louis Campbell, two young musicians who play with the idea of "English" folk. Their forthcoming EP, 102 Metres East, was recently recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios in less than a day.Presenter: Kate Molleson Producer Paula McGrath
28/02/2441m 57s

The Jury: Murder Trial, Bhangra Nation, Bluestockings

Channel 4’s new reality TV series, The Jury: Murder Trial features a real-life murder case, re-run in front of two juries who are unaware of each other’s existence. Its creator Ed Kellie and BBC News' former legal affairs correspondent Clive Coleman discuss what the TV experiment tells us about how emotions can be swayed in the courtroom - and whether the juries will reach the same verdict. Susannah Gibson’s new book “Bluestockings: The First Women’s Movement” explores the often overlooked female pioneers of 18th century intellectualism, whose legendary salons were hotbeds of cultural foment and writerly wit. She is joined by Laura Shepherd-Robinson, the historical novelist to discuss the lives of the extraordinary women from this period. Bhangra Nation aims to do for Punjabi dancing what the films Bring It On and Pitch Perfect did for cheerleading and acapella singing. We hear from the co-writer of the new musical at the Birmingham Rep Theatre, Rehana Lew Mirza, and choreographer Rujuta Vaidya.
27/02/2442m 21s

Sheridan Smith. Movement Coaches and Sexism in French Cinema

In an exclusive for Front Row, Sheridan Smith performs Magic, a song from her new musical Opening Night, which is directed by Ivo Van Hove, with music from Rufus Wainwright. They discuss creating the new musical, which is based on the 1970s film and follows an actress going through a breakdown as she prepares to open a new show on Broadway.Journalist Agnes Poirier on the French film awards the Cesars, and why they were overshadowed by allegations of male directors sexually abusing young female actors. Movement director Polly Bennett has worked on hits like The Crown, Bohemian Rhapsody and Killing Eve while Sarah Perry often works on animations, helping actors to perfect the movement of animals, using motion capture. As the BBC's Bring the Drama Festival highlights behind the scenes careers, we discuss the role of the movement director in TV and film. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Corrina Jones
26/02/2442m 20s

Minority Report at Nottingham Playhouse, Wicked Little Letters, and TV series Boarders reviewed

Minority report, the Sci-Fi classic by Philip K Dick, has already been adapted for film and television and now it’s a stage play that employs an innovative mix of technology, stagecraft and live performance. As it opens at the Nottingham Playhouse, Mark Burman talks to some of the creatives involved. We review Wicked Little Letters, a black comedy starring Olivia Coleman and Jessie Buckley about a real-life poison pen letter writing campaign that scandalised a small seaside town in Sussex in 1920. And we look at Boarders, a new comedy series on BBC Three that follows five black kids from London who are invited to join a posh boarding school that has been embroiled in scandals of its own.Our reviewers are the author and writer Okechukwu Nzelu and the author and journalist Anita Sethi. Producer Ekene Akalawu Presenter Nick Ahad
22/02/2442m 18s

Wim Wenders, Len Pennie and Angus Robertson

Wim Wenders on his new Oscar nominated Japanese language film Perfect Days, about a toilet cleaner in Tokyo as he goes about his work. Koji Yakusho won the Best Actor Award when the film premiered at this year’s Cannes film festival, and the film has been dubbed ‘slow cinema’. Len Pennie came to prominence as a poet on social media during the Covid pandemic. As she publishes her first collection, Poyums, the feminist performance poet talks about writing predominantly in the Scots language. Angus Robertson, SNP Cabinet Secretary for Culture, discusses the challenging situation facing the arts in Scotland, and his vision for the future. Kate Molleson also talks to arts campaigner Lori Anderson from Culture Counts. Presenter: Kate Molleson Producer: Timothy Prosser
21/02/2442m 7s

Rhiannon Giddens, Peter Sarsgaard, Casting Directors

Rhiannon Giddens, the musician, composer and former lead singer of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, performs live with her band. She talks about her work in uncovering the real history of the banjo and writing her first solo album of original material. Peter Sarsgaard discusses playing a man with early onset dementia in Memory, a performance that won him the Best Actor Award at last year’s Venice Film Festival. What is the role of a casting director? As the BBC launches Bring the Drama, a new programme giving untrained amateurs a chance to get into acting, casting director and judge Kelly Valentine and theatre casting director Nadine Rennie discuss the art of discovering new talent. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paula McGrath
20/02/2442m 16s

Sir Peter Blake, David Harewood, John Logan

Sir Peter Blake is famous for his Pop Art paintings, collages and album covers – and not just Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. But the artist, now 91, has throughout his career made three dimensional works. For the first time in two decades there is an exhibition devoted to these. Samira Ahmed meets the artist in the gallery on the eve of the opening of Peter Blake: Sculpture and Other Matters.Actor David Harewood is appointed the new President of RADA – the Royal Academy for the Dramatic Arts. He shares with Front Row his vision for one of the world’s leading theatre schools.John Logan’s new play Double Feature explores the director-actor relationship through two of the most tempestuous relationships in cinema history. Samira talks with the Oscar-nominated Gladiator writer about how Alfred Hitchcock made Tippi Hedren’s life on the set of 1964 thriller Marnie a living hell, while Vincent Price and Michael Reeves could barely hide their hatred for each other during the making of the 1968 horror film Witchfinder General. The play opens tonight at the London’s Hampstead Theatre.Presenter Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May
19/02/2442m 18s

Jed Mercurio on Breathtaking, Yoko Ono retrospective reviewed

The writer of Line of Duty, Jed Mercurio, a former doctor, turns his attention to the impact of the Covid pandemic on NHS staff and patients in the ITV drama Breathtaking. Tom Sutcliffe talks to him and co-writer Prasanna Puwanarajah, who’s also an ex-doctor, about the power of drama depicting recent events. The Arts Council England has come in for criticism for new guidance about “overtly political” art, guidelines that some artists felt could amount to censorship. Darren Henley, the Chief Executive of Arts Council England, explains their position on freedom of expression. Front Row also reviews the major new exhibition Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind at the Tate Modern, which looks back over the career of this groundbreaking conceptual artist. We also review the new Apple TV+ series, The New Look, starring Maisie Williams and Juliette Binoche, about the lives and rival careers of pioneering fashion designers Christian Dior and Coco Chanel in Nazi-occupied and post-war Paris. . Our reviewers are Ben Luke, critic and podcast host for The Art Newspaper, and Justine Picardie, author of Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life, and Miss Dior: A Wartime Story of Courage and Couture.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paul Waters
15/02/2442m 28s

Ukraine drama A Small Stubborn Town, Emma Rice, The Hugo Awards

Andrew Harding on the Radio 4 drama, A Small Stubborn Town, inspired by his work as the BBC Ukraine correspondentEmma Rice is one the UK’s most celebrated theatre-makers known for her musical and comedic approach, and with numerous innovative and successful productions such as Brief Encounter, The Red Shoes, and Tristan and Yseult, under her belt. As her latest production goes on a UK tour, she talks to Nick about reimagining that darkest of fairy tales, Blue Beard, as a feminist cri de coeur. In the wake of the Hugo Awards scandal, Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, culture critic and Hugo awards finalist, Han Zhang, editor-at-large at Riverhead Books, focussed on finding works in the Chinese language for translation and publication in the US, and Megan Walsh, author of The Subplot: What China is reading and why it matters, discuss the fallout and what is reveals about the popularity of Sci-Fi in China.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
14/02/2442m 24s

Stephen Sanchez, Godzilla turns 70

Stephen Sanchez found fame on Tik Tok, bringing his 1950s inspired music and style to an audience of young fans. At just 20 years old, he was Elton John’s guest on the main stage at Glastonbury. He talks to Samira Ahmed about his UK tour and performs two songs from his new album, Angel Face.What do Gen Z’s viewing habits mean for the future of TV and film? Dr Antonia Ward, Chief Futurist at Stylus, and Entertainment Reporter Palmer Haasch explain how the preferences of younger viewers are shaping film and television.In 1954 Ishiro Honda changed the monster movie forever when he introduced the world to Godzilla. Now 70 years and nearly 40 films later, Godzilla is the star of the world’s longest running film franchise. Author Graham Skipper and film distributor Andrew Partridge explain why Godzilla holds a unique place in cinema and pop culture.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May
13/02/2442m 27s

Reinaldo Marcus Green on One Love, Bryce Dessner of The National

Director Reinaldo Marcus Green talks to Tom Sutcliffe about One Love, his biopic about the legendary reggae singer-songwriter Bob Marley and his music.Bryce Dessner, the guitarist of the award-winning rock band The National, discusses his other life in classical music and writing a new concerto for pianist Alice Sara Ott, which is having its UK premiere at the Royal Festival Hall.This week the liturgical calendar marks the moment when Joseph was warned by an angel of King Herod’s intent to harm Jesus, and told to flee with him and Mary to safety in Egypt. The painter Julian Bell and art historian Joanna Woodall consider how The Flight into Egypt has been the subject of great artists - Giotto, Gentileschi, Brueghel, Rembrandt - for centuries and shapes our perception of refugees to this day. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Olivia Skinner
12/02/2442m 35s

One Day, American Fiction, Beyond Form

Tom Sutcliffe talks to the Evening Standard’s Arts Editor Nancy Durrant and art historian and curator Catherine McCormack about a new adaptation of David Nicholls’s book, One Day, which is released on Netflix today. It follows Emma and Dexter who meet at their graduation in Edinburgh in the late 80s, as they weave in and out of each other’s lives. They also discuss Beyond Form: Lines of Abstraction, a new exhibition featuring the work of women artists who pushed at the boundaries of art-making in the post-war period. American Fiction has been nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay – which was written by its director Cord Jefferson. He talks to Tom about how the book it’s based on resembled his own life so much it felt like it was written just for him, and how humour plays a crucial role in illustrating how black writers are still pushed into writing “ghetto fiction”.
08/02/2442m 21s

The Chosen, Cymande, Tayari Jones

The Chosen, a self-funded TV drama about the life of Christ, has become an international hit with over 100 million views. The creator Dallas Jenkins explains why he wanted to make a bingeable series about Jesus and Priest Lucy Winkett and historian Joan Taylor discuss its impact and significance. The 1970s Soul Funk band Cymande has had a lasting influence on music globally, but they are little known in the UK where they first formed. Director Tim McKenzie Smith explored their music and impact in the new music documentary 'Getting It Back: The Story of Cymande' and he’s joined by two of the group’s original members, Patrick Patterson and Steve Scipio, to talk about it.The American writer Diane Oliver died in the 1960s aged just 22 but her short stories are now inspiring a new generation. Tayari Jones, author of the Woman’s Prize-winning An American Marriage, explains why Diane Oliver deserves a place in the in the literary canon alongside Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
07/02/2442m 24s

The Reytons, Phoebe Eclair-Powell, Andrew McMillan

The Reytons' second album, What's Rock and Roll, debuted at No 1 in the charts - a rare feat for a band without a label. They discuss following it up with Ballad of a Bystander which features songs about pulling and politics.Phoebe Eclair-Powell on her Bruntwood Prize-winning play, Shed: Exploded View, which was inspired by the work of art Cornelia Parker created when she asked the British Army to blow up a garden shed, capturing the fragments in a frozen moment. The play centres on three couples whose conversations coincide, clash, and chime - the play opens at the Royal Exchange in Manchester this week.Poet Andrew McMillan on his debut novel, Pity, an exploration of masculinity and sexuality in a small South Yorkshire town.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
06/02/2442m 29s

Steve McQueen and Bianca Stigter, Jez Butterworth and Declan McKenna

Oscar-winning director and artist Steve McQueen has collaborated with his partner, the writer and historian Bianca Stigter, to document the hidden histories of World War Two beneath the streets of modern day Amsterdam. The couple join Samira to discuss their mesmerising and poetic new film.Mojo brought him great success when he was just 26. Later came Jerusalem, the greatest play of the 20th century in the Daily Telegraph theatre critic’s opinion. Then, The Ferryman, also highly acclaimed. He has also written a couple of James Bond films. So, Jez Butterworth’s new play The Hills of California is eagerly awaited and has gone straight to the West End. On the eve of press night, the playwright talks to Samira Ahmed about the play that its director, Sam Mendes, says is ‘about love, time, memory, parents and children. And England.’ Lots to talk about.Singer-songwriter Declan McKenna gives Front Row a preview of his new album What Happened To The Beach? – recorded in LA nearly a decade after winning Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition as a teenager.
05/02/2442m 48s

Legion exhibition at the British Museum and Mr and Mrs Smith reviewed

Today the British Museum unveils a new exhibition – Legion: Life in the Roman Army – on the lives of soldiers who helped conquer more than a million square miles of land, settling in communities from Scotland to the Red Sea. Elodie Harper – author of the Wolf Den trilogy - and critic Amon Warmann give their verdict on the exhibition as well as the new Amazon Prime spy comedy Mr & Mrs Smith - and how it compares with the 2005 Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie film version. And Tom Sutcliffe talks to Joe Powell-Main and Denecia Allen on dancing with disabilities, ahead of a gala at Sadler's Wells, Empower in Motion, which features disabled and non-disabled dancers.
01/02/2442m 21s

Killers of the Flower Moon star Lily Gladstone, author Leo Vardiashvili and the Great Escapes exhibition at Kew

Award-winning actress Lily Gladstone on working with Martin Scorsese and Native American representation in his new film Killers of the Flower Moon.Leo Vardiashvili chats about his new book set in his hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia in the post-Soviet era. Curators William Butler and Roger Kershaw talk about their new exhibition, 'Great Escapes: Remarkable Second World War Captives' at the National Archives at Kew. It explores not just the creativity involved in physically getting away from prison camps, but in making life in confinement more tolerable, and bearing witness. P. G. Wodehouse wrote novels while interned; Peter Butterworth, best-known for his roles in the 'Carry On' films, staged plays in Colditz, the noise of performances masking tunnelling; Ronald Searle found solace in drawing while a prisoner of the Japanese, and his work is an important record of the neglect and ill treatment of fellow prisoners. Importantly, the exhibition includes material about people interned here in the UK.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May
31/01/2442m 23s

Jonny Greenwood of The Smile, Self Esteem on music industry report, Artes Mundi prize winner

The Smile is a trio comprising Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood and Tom Skinner. That Yorke and Greenwood are members of Radiohead assures keen interest the band. Nick Ahad talks to Jonny Greenwood about Wall of Eyes, The Smile’s second album. After many years Greenwood still enjoys making music with Yorke, and drummer Tom Skinner adds to the excitement. The winner of this year’s Artes Mundi prize, the UK’s leading international contemporary art prize is Taloi Havinian, an artist from the Autonomous Region of Bougainvillle – an island nation in the South West Pacific. Havinian joins Front Row to discuss her work which has been described as a “visual composition of the experiences of Bougainvilleans with colonialism, mining, resistance, and land and water protection, from the 1960s to the present day.” Sexism and misogyny are rife in the music industry, a boys club where sexual harassment and abuse are common, according to a Government report. The musician Self Esteem has her say.A report from the rugged, mythical coast just outside of Newcastle, the location which inspired David Almond’s A Song For Ella Grey, an award-winning novel being adapted for stage by Zoe Cooper and directed by Pilot Theatre’s Esther Richardson.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
30/01/2442m 14s

Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, Gruff Rhys, Colin Barrett

Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, who have been married for close to thirty years, talk to Tom Sutcliffe about playing three couples on stage in Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite. They’re joined by director John Benjamin Hickey to explain why they wanted to bring this very New York show to London’s West End. Having won both awards and praise for his short stories, Colin Barrett discusses his funny and thrilling first novel Wild Houses, set in the margins rural Ireland.Welsh musician, composer, filmmaker and author Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals fame talks about his 25th album, Sadness Sets Me Free, and performs a track especially for Front Row. Producer: Olivia Skinner Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe
29/01/2442m 21s

The Color Purple reviewed, and the pop concert as cinema phenomenon

The Color Purple reviewed, and the pop concert as cinema phenomenon.
25/01/2442m 20s

Masters of the Air, Ronan Bennett on his Top Boy novel, hobbies and DIY art

Masters of the Air creator John Orloff, Literary spin offs from film and TV with Ronan Bennet and Robert Lautner, and when does a hobby turn into art? with Miriam Elia and Hetain Patel. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Corinna Jones
24/01/2442m 26s

Oscar Nominations, Howard Jacobson, Culture Funding Cuts

Following today’s announcement of the 2024 Oscar nominations, film critic Larushka Ivan-Zadeh joins Front Row to consider how well this year’s shortlisted categories reflect the year in cinema. In Howard Jacobson’s new novel, What Will Survive of Us, nothing much happens but everything changes. Lily and Sam, in middle age and longstanding relationships – with other people - fall in love, then stay that way for years and years. The Booker Prize winning author talks to Shahidha Bari about love, sex and literature. Local Government funding has been rising up the political agenda with one in five council leaders fearing that their local authority is on the verge of municipal bankruptcy. However is cutting council spending on culture a false economy? Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive of Nottingham Playhouse and joint president of UK Theatre, and Councillor Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council and member of the Local Government Association’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, join Front Row to discuss.Presenter Shahidha Bari Producer: Paula McGrath
23/01/2442m 31s

Andrew Haigh on All of Us Strangers, Lulu Wang on Expats starring Nicole Kidman

Andrew Haigh’s new film All of Us Strangers, is both a love story and a ghost story. Starring Andrew Scott, it explores the impact of a chance encounter in a deserted tower block, and how nostalgia draws him back to the suburban family home where his parents appear to be living, just as they were on the day they died, 30 years ago. Tom Hibbert was a popular music journalist who wrote for Smash Hits, Q and many other top magazines in the 1980s and 90s and whose irreverent style of writing would inspire the generation that followed. Miranda Sawyer and Jasper Murison-Bowie join to talk about ‘Phew, Eh Readers’, a new book that compiles some of his best articles.Lulu Wang’s powerful new series Expats explores the lives of women in Hong Kong who are all outsiders for different reasons. It is an unsurprising theme given such female-led cast (including Nicole Kidman), as well as female-led production remains a rarity for shows of this scale and ambition. Writer and director Wang, who grew up in the US after her parents fled Beijing, joins Samira to discuss her expansive vision for it.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May
22/01/2442m 23s

Paul Giamatti and Alexander Payne on The Holdovers and reivews of The Vulnerables and The Artful Dodger

Actor Paul Giamatti and director Alexander Payne on The Holdovers, their award-winning film about the unlikely friendship between a curmudgeonly teacher, a grieving mum and a troubled teen that forms when they’re stuck together over Christmas at a New England prep school.Critics Stephanie Merritt and Max Liu review a new novel, The Vulnerables, by Sigrid Nunez. Nunez has won many prizes for her fiction and in The Vulnerables turns her attention to the pandemic through a tale that focuses on a woman, a parrot, and a Manhattan penthouse apartment. They also review the new Disney+ television series, The Artful Dodger, in which Jack Dawkins has moved to Australia leaving behind his youthful pickpocketing and becoming a respected doctor. However the arrival of Fagin threatens to return him to criminality.Presented by Tom Sutcliffe Produced by Olivia Skinner
18/01/2442m 23s

Daniel Kaluuya, the arts in Wales, shelving big budget films discussion, Jane Jin Kaisen

Daniel Kaluuya on making his debut as a director and screenwriter with his new film, Kitchen - a dystopian thriller set in London twenty years from now.Dafydd Rhys, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales, on the surprising and controversial decision to stop funding National Theatre Wales. Plus, as his organisation faces a 10% budget cut, he talks about the impact on the creative sector in Wales.Late last year, the decision by Warner Bros. to shelve a $70 million film which had been completed and scheduled for release in 2023 sent shockwaves throughout the industry. Film producer Stephen Woolley and Tatiana Siegal, Executive Editor, Film & Media at Variety, discuss what this reveals about the current state of filmmaking in Hollywood.Korean Danish artist Jane Jin Kaisen describes her work as giving aesthetic shape to histories that in different ways and for different reasons have been silenced or marginalised. As her solo exhibition at esea contemporary in Manchester prepares to open, the director of the gallery, Xiaowen Zhu, reflects on a show which weaves personal and political stories rooted in Jeju Island, South Korea.Presenter Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
17/01/2442m 24s

Poor Things, Jodie Comer, RSC new season, TS Eliot poetry prize

Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos talk about their award-winning film Poor Things, based on Alasdair Gray’s novelJodie Comer is a new mother struggling to survive after an environmental catastrophe in another new film The End We Start From – Samira Ahmed talks to its director Mahalia Belo. The new joint artistic directors of the Royal Shakespeare Company Tamara Harvey and Daniel Evans have announced their inaugural season of productions – including a stage version of Hanif Kureishi’s Buddha of Suburbia and Northern Ballet's Romeo and Juliet. And Jason Allen-Paisant who’s won this year's TS Eliot Prize for Poetry, for his work Self Portrait As Othello.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Eliane Glaser
16/01/2442m 19s

Jonathan Glazer, history of radio drama, Molly Tuttle

British director Jonathan Glazer tells Tom Sutcliffe about The Zone of Interest, his award-winning new film about Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Höss and family’s involvement in the Holocaust which is on wide release from February 2nd but there's previews in select cities on January 20th.Today is exactly 100 years since the BBC broadcast what is widely believed to be the first play for radio, A Comedy of Danger, set in a Welsh Coalmine. Ron Hutchinson has written an audio drama telling the story behind the story, A Leap in the Dark, which he is now adapting for a stage production at the New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme. He is joined by cultural historian David Hendy to discuss the significance of this ground-breaking moment a century later.Molly Tuttle won a Grammy award for best bluegrass album last year, and is nominated again this year. She plays live in the studio.
15/01/2442m 37s

Mean Girls and Hisham Matar’s My Friends reviewed

Mean Girls is 20 years old and has its cult following - but will fans love the new film of the hit Broadway musical of the same name? Critics Sarah Ditum and Ashley Hickson-Lovence give their verdict on the new version. They also discuss with Tom Sutcliffe the new novel by Hisham Matar - My Friends, which explores themes of friendship and exile, as well as including real-life events like the shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy in 1984 and the killing of General Gadaafi in 2011. And Mairi Campbell - who's about to start a new tour of her critically acclaimed Auld Lang Syne show - plays live in the studio.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paul Waters
11/01/2442m 26s

Jack Rooke on TV sitcom Big Boys, Eliza Carthy goes wassailing

Jack Rooke drew on his own life for his hit Channel 4 sitcom Big Boys which focussed on an unlikely friendship between two first year university students – both working class with one struggling to explore his gay sexuality and the other an apparent Jack-the-lad who is really anything but. As Big Boys returns for a second series, he talks to Samira about making comedy out of loss, mental health, and male friendship.Musician Eliza Carthy is Front Row’s wassail Queen as she sings live on the programme some traditional songs from Glad Christmas Comes - her new album with Jon Boden lead singer of Bellowhead. Her performance joins in with many others happening across the country this month to mark the January ritual of blessing fruit trees in hope of a bountiful harvest.Simon Broughton reports from the Mugham festival of music and poetry in Baku, Azerbaijan. Presenter Samira Ahmed Producer: Tim Prosser
10/01/2442m 23s

Ins Choi on Kim’s Convenience, why are so many films set in a dystopian future?

Ins Choi, the creator of the Netflix hit comedy series, Kim’s Convenience, talks about getting past stereotypes, keeping audiences on edge and bringing his original Korean-Canadian stage version of the show to the Park Theatre in north London.Tom Sutcliffe asks author and journalist Rachel Cooke and children's author and representative of the Society of Authors Abie Longstaff about the impact of the cyberattack on the British Library. Do we need to set more films and tv series in the present? Critics Joe Queenan and Stuart Jeffries consider why so much of what we watch is set in the nostalgic past or a dystopian future.
09/01/2441m 57s

Golden Globe winner Poor Things reviewed, new deal for Warhammer 40,000

Yorgis Lanthimos’ black comedy Poor Things won Best Film and Best Actress for its star Emma Stone at last night’s Golden Globe awards, so this evening we’re joined by critics Leila Latif and James Marriott for a review of the much hyped film ahead of its release in the UK on Friday.Warhammer 40,000 is one of the most popular games in the world. Recently the makers finalised a deal with Amazon which has the potential to bring its miniature characters and battlefield stories to the big screen. The comic book writer Kieron Gillen, who has written new stories for the Warhammer universe, reflects on the significance of the deal.Have reviewers become more blandly positive in recent years - or more attention-grabbingly negative? James Marriott who reviews for The Times and Sarah Crompton who reviews for WhatsOnStage and the Observer discuss.Author Agri Ismaïl talks about his new novel Hyper which follows the family of a Kurdish Communist fleeing persecution, and his children who eventually find themselves in the hyper-capitalist centres of Dubai, London and New York.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Eliane Glaser
08/01/2442m 22s

Priscilla and Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Kagami reviewed

Priscilla is Sofia Coppola’s film about Priscilla Beaulieu who first met Elvis Presley when she was 14 years old and later became his wife. Critics Hannah Strong and Ryan Gilbey review it. They also look at Kagami, a mixed-reality posthumous concert featuring the music of Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.The power of music often relies on the spaces between the notes. Sarah Anderson’s book The Lost Art of Silence explores the quality of absence and she discusses this with the music broadcaster Tom Service.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry Parker
04/01/2442m 24s

Dan Levy, National Poetry Library at 70, Clarke Peters

In the work for which he is best known, the multi-award winning television sitcom, Schitt’s Creek, as well as being the show’s creator, Dan Levy played the capricious David Rose whose wedding with his business partner, Patrick Brewer, was the focus of the final episode. He discusses new Netflix movie, Good Grief, which marks his debut as a film director and in which he plays a man blindsided by the unexpected death of his husband.Poets Lemn Sissay and Lily Blacksell join Front Row to reflect on seventy years of the The National Poetry Library, and the 70-Poet Challenge to mark the anniversary.Clarke Peters talks about new television drama, Truelove, in which he stars as one of a group of friends in their 70s, who find that a jokey pact to help each other have dignified deaths suddenly has to be re-considered as a serious commitment.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Ciaran Bermingham
03/01/2442m 22s

George Clooney, writer Gwyneth Hughes, The Scala Cinema

The Boys in the Boat tells the story of the surprise success of the US rowing team at 1936 Munich Olympics. Samira talks to the director George Clooney and its star Callum Turner.Writer Gwyneth Hughes talks about her new ITV production, Mr Bates vs The Post Office, which dramatises what has been called the biggest miscarriage of justice in British legal history, the prosecution of hundreds of sub-postmasters and mistresses as a result of a flawed computer accounting system.The Scala cinema in London’s Kings Cross was the leading alternative picture house from the late 70s to the early 90s. A new documentary, Scala!!!, traces its development as purveyor of eccentric films to an even more eccentric audience. The directors Jane Giles and Ali Catterall explain how it became a counter-cultural landmark.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paul Waters
02/01/2442m 25s

Final Ghosts, Tennant's Macbeth, Next Goal Wins, National Theatre of Wales

One of the TV hits of 2023, Ghosts returns for a one-off special on Christmas Day. Festive viewing for many families will also probably include other work by one of its creators, Simon Farnaby, who co-wrote Wonka as well as the Paddington films. Critics Kate Maltby and Boyd Hilton review Donmar Warehouse’s Macbeth starring David Tennant and Cush Jumbo – which includes headphones for the audience. They also give Samira Ahmed their verdict on Next Goal Wins, the film version of the documentary about the true story of the American Samoan football team trying to qualify for the World Cup. And culture journalist Gary Raymond on whether the National Theatre of Wales has a future now it’s lost all of its Arts Council Wales funding.
21/12/2342m 20s

The Unthanks, Lucinda Coxon, the North East Cultural Partnership

Acclaimed English folk group The Unthanks are currently touring the UK with what they describe as a winter fantasia - a mix of traditional and newly written songs inspired by winter and Christmas. They join Front Row, as the winter solstice draws near, to discuss and perform some of the songs they've been playing.Screenwriter Lucinda Coxon talks to Nick Ahad about her new film One Life which stars Anthony Hopkins as humanitarian Nicholas Winton, who helped to rescue Jewish children from Czechoslovakia in the months leading up to World War II. How successful has the North East Culture Partnership been so far? 10 years on from its launch and halfway through the 15 year timeline for the partnership's cultural strategy, Front Row hears from former Culture Minister Lord Ed Vaizey, Jane Robinson Co-Chair of the North East Cultural Partnership board, and Keith Merrin, Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums,. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
20/12/2342m 25s

Movie stars Adam Driver and Bill Nighy, author AL Kennedy, and the Process of Poetry

Adam Driver stars in Michael Mann’s film Ferrari, set in the summer of 1957 as the ex-racer turned entrepreneur Enzo Ferrari pushes his drivers to the limit on a thousand mile race across Italy while his business and marriage are failing. A poet would never publish a first draft. Well, not until Rosanna McGlone interviewed 15 of our finest poets – Don Paterson, Gillian Clarke and Pascale Petit among them. They revealed their first drafts alongside their finished poems in her book The Process of Poetry. Tom Sutcliffe talks to her and to Don Paterson about writing poetry. As radio drama turns 100 this year, Bill Nighy is stars in A Single Act, a new radio drama going out on Boxing Day written by long term collaborator AL Kennedy. They both talk to Tom Sutcliffe about their mutual love of the form – and whether the pictures really are better on radio.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paul Waters
19/12/2342m 33s

Helena Bonham Carter and Russell T Davies, Stranger Things: The First Shadow

Helena Bonham Carter and Russell T Davies talk to Samira about their ITV drama series Nolly, in which Bonham Carter plays Crossroads star Noele Gordon. As a new stage adaptation of the hit TV drama Stranger Things opens in London, writer Kate Trefry discusses how she made the much loved TV series work as theatre. And musician Laura Misch explains how technology can bring us closer to nature and performs songs from her debut album, Sample The Sky, live in the Front Row studio. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Ciaran Bermingham
18/12/2342m 26s

Front Row reviews Cold War the musical and Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

Front Row reviews some of the week’s cultural highlights. Tom Sutcliffe is joined by film critic Hanna Flint and Will Hodgkinson, chief pop and rock critic for The Times, to discuss Cold War, a new musical with music from Elvis Costello, and animated film Chicken Run: Return of the Nugget.Luke Jones reports on the super-fans of the musical Operation Mincemeat, who have been investigating the story of one of the real characters involved, an MI5 secretary called Hester Legett. As a plaque is unveiled in her honour, Luke hears why this musical has such a cult following. In May of this year a South Korean art student added his own footnote to Maurizio Cattelan’s controversial artwork Comedian – a fresh banana stuck to the gallery wall with duct tape – by pulling it free and eating it. Niki Segnit, the author of The Flavour Thesaurus, muses on the use of food in art. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Corinna Jones
14/12/2342m 23s

Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan on Maestro, Noel Coward's Songs, Wien Museum reopens

Bradley Cooper directs and stars in the new film Maestro about the hugely influential American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein alongside Carey Mulligan as his wife, the actor Felicia Montealegre. Nick Ahad speaks to both of them about portraying a ‘marriage through music’ and how Cooper spent six years preparing to conduct Mahler’s Resurrection with the London Symphony Orchestra.Fifty years after his death, for many the playwright and composer Noel Coward is very much a figure of the British establishment. However as a new production of his most famous work, Brief Encounter, opens at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, Front Row brought together its musical director Matthew Malone and Sarah K Whitfield, co-author of An Inconvenient Black History of British Musical Theatre 1900 – 1950, to discuss how Coward’s songs reveal a more radical side of his artistry.Kirsty Lang reports on the Wien Museum, the Viennese institution which has just re-opened and for the first time includes an acknowledgement of the city’s Nazi past. Critic Kate Maltby reflects on the news that Indhu Rubasingham has been appointed the next director of the National Theatre. She will be the first female and the first person of colour to lead the theatre. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
13/12/2342m 29s

Margaret Cavendish, Margareth Olin, Christmas TV

Margaret Cavendish was born exactly 400 years ago, and her many achievements include writing The Blazing World, arguably the first ever sci-fi novel. Novelist Siri Hustvedt and biographer Francesca Peacock discuss the enduring legacy of this pioneering woman, with extracts read by Rhiannon NeadsMargreth Olin tells Samira about her film Songs of Earth, for which she returned to the valley in Western Norway where she grew up, and the year she spent learning from her elderly parents and from nature. Graham Kibble-White, Deputy Editor of Total TV guide magazine and TV critic and broadcaster Scott Bryan share their top festive viewing tips – from ghosts stories to soaps, documentaries to children’s viewing.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian Wilkinson
12/12/2342m 15s

Andy Serkis and Louisa Harland on Ulster American, Panto and Gender Roles, Graphic Novels with Rachel Cooke and Ian Dunt

Tom Sutcliffe talks to Andy Serkis and Louisa Harland about Ulster American, a new play in which they star at Riverside Studios with Woody Harrelson.It's panto season (oh no it isn't), a form that has always played with ideas of gender. Megan Lawton explores how this year's crop continue that tradition.Plus Rachel Cooke and Ian Dunt choose their graphic novels of 2023, and we announce the winner of this year's First Graphic Novel Award.Rachel's picks of the year: Monica by Daniel Clowes Roaming by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki Juliette by Camille Jourdy Social Fiction by Chantal Montellier, translated by Geoffrey Brock Ian's picks of the year: The Lion and the Eagle by Garth Ennis and PJ Holden Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Phil Jimenez, Gene Ha and Nicola Scott Eight Billion Genies by Charles Soule and Ryan BrowneProducer: Eliane Glaser
12/12/2341m 58s

Benjamin Zephaniah, Wim Wenders' Anselm,The Famous Five, Xmas Ads

Fred D'Aguiar discusses the life and poetry of Benjamin Zephaniah, whose death was announced today.Tom Sutcliffe reviews Wim Wenders' film about the artist Anselm Kiefer and the BBC's adaptation of Enid Blyton's The Famous Five, with film critic Leila Latif and children's author Candy Gourlay. Which is the standout Christmas TV advert this year? Tom discusses the art of selling Christmas with Matt Gay, creative director of several high-profile John Lewis ads and media journalist Liz Gorny.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Ciaran Bermingham
07/12/2342m 21s

Paul King on directing Wonka, Best non-fiction books of 2023, British pop art artist Pauline Boty

Paddington director Paul King returns with Wonka starring Timothée Chalamet in the title role. He talks with Samira about exploring the backstory of Willy Wonka and Roald Dahl’s surprising vision for fiction’s greatest confectioner.Front Row rounds up the best non-fiction books of 2023 with Caroline Sanderson - non-fiction books editor for The Bookseller and chair of judges for the Baillie Gifford Prize in 2022, Stephanie Merritt - critic and novelist, and John Mitchinson - cofounder of Unbound, the independent crowdfunding publisher and co-presenter of literary podcast, Backlisted.The extraordinary work of the artist Pauline Boty (1938 – 1966) is explored by the curator of a new exhibition, Mila Askarova, and the art historian Lynda Nead.Presenter Samira Ahmed Producer: Paula McGrathFront Row non-fiction recommendations for 2023Toy Fights: A Boyhood by Don Patterson published by Faber and Faber Thunderclap: A Memoir of Art, Life and Sudden Death by Laura Cumming published by Chatto & Windus How To Say Babylon: A Jamaican Memoir by Safiya Sinclair published by Fourth Estate Twelve Words for Moss by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett published by Allen Lane The British Year in 72 Seasons by Kiera Chapman, Rowan Jaines, Lulah Ellgender and Rebecca Warren published by Granta Rural: The Lives of the Working Class Countryside by Rebecca Smith published by William Collins High Caucasus: A Mountain Quest in Russia's Haunted Hinterland by Tom Parfitt published by Headline Eve: How The Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution by Cat Bohannon published by Hutchinson Heinemann Shakespeare’s Book: The Intertwined Lives Behind the First Folio by Chris Laoutaris published by Williams Collins
06/12/2342m 20s

Shane Meadows on the British film industry, Children’s books round-up, the Turner Prize

Shane Meadows talks about his unconventional journey into the British film industry and his vision for more diversity in film, as he prepares to give the David Lean lecture at BAFTA.The founders of independent publishers Oneworld, Juliet Mabey and Novin Doostdar, discuss their Booker Prize hat trick as Paul Lynch becomes the third of their authors to win the prestigious literary prize.Which books will be a hit with the children in your life this Christmas? Children’s broadcaster Bex Lindsay has a run down of the outstanding titles she’d recommend. And Front Row goes live to the Turner Prize ceremony at the Towner Eastbourne to find out who has won this year’s prestigious prize. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Olivia SkinnerBex Lindsay's recommendations:The Ice Children by MG Leonard Foxlight by Katya Balen Sunshine Simpson Cooks Up a Storm by GM Linton The Football Encyclopaedia by Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton Luna Loves Christmas by Joseph Coelho Geoffrey Gets the Jitters by Nadia Shireen The Wonder Brothers by Frank Cottrell-Boyce
05/12/2342m 18s

Julia Roberts on Leave the World Behind, guitarist MILOŠ, The Peasants

Julia Roberts, and the director of her latest project, Sam Esmail, discuss their new film, Leave The World Behind - a psychological thriller which explores what happens when all the things that make modern life possible stop working.With their last film, the much-garlanded ‘Loving Vincent’, an exploration of the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh, the co-directors and co-writers Dorota and Hugh Welchman created what has been described as the world’s first oil-painted feature film. Hugh joins Front Row to discuss how they’ve used their ground-breaking technique for their new film, The Peasants, a tale of 19th century life in rural Poland.Guitarist MILOŠ has been in the forefront of the classical guitar revival. He talks to Nick about feeling like a time traveller with his new album, Baroque, where he explores music of the baroque period.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Eliane Glaser
04/12/2342m 21s

Front Row reviews Eileen and The House of Bernarda Alba

Front Row reviews the week’s cultural highlights. Samira Ahmed is joined by critics Sarah Crompton and Isabel Stevens to discuss William Oldroyd’s new film Eileen and a production of The House of Bernarda Alba at the National Theatre. The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan, who is often described as one of the 20th Century’s greatest song-writers, has died age 65. Irish broadcaster John Kelly remembers him.Ian Youngs reports from Bristol’s new music venue Bristol Beacon, formerly Colston Hall, which is re-opening after a five year refurbishment and a name change. It’s now a state of the art concert venue, but the work has proved controversial due to escalating costs. And Barbara Walker, who is shortlisted for this year’s Turner Prize, talks about how her portraits capture people affected by the Windrush scandal. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Eliane Glaser
30/11/2342m 19s

Billie Marten, Yinka Shonibare, Richard Mantle on Opera North

Since 1994 Sir Richard Mantle has been General Director of Opera North. He's led the company through the creation of a new home in Leeds; the establishment of the Howard Assembly Room - a performance space for all kinds of music; and many award-winning opera productions. As he leaves the company, at a time when cuts to opera funding have been making headlines, he joins Front Row to discuss why he thinks opera has much to contribute to culture in the UK.Singer-songwriter Billie Marten, from Ripon in Yorkshire, performs tracks from her fourth album, Drop Cherries, ahead of her UK tour, which starts this Saturday in Liverpool. As his new public sculpture, Hibiscus Rising, is unveiled in Leeds, artist Yinka Shonibare talks to Nick about creating a work that marks a dark episode in the city's history and provides a place to come together for all the communities in the city today.Presenter Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
29/11/2342m 18s

AI and publishing, terrible record covers, Fred D'Aguiar

Michael Connelly is one of several authors suing the tech company OpenAI for "theft" of his work. Nicola Solomon, outgoing Society of Authors CEO, and Sean Michaels, one of the first novelists to use AI, discuss the challenges and opportunities facing writers on the cusp of a new technological era.What makes a great piece of terrible album artwork? The Williamson Gallery & Museum in Birkenhead is currently displaying nearly 500 albums which have been collected over a seven year period by Steve Goldman from record fairs and online market places as part of their ‘Worst Record Covers’ exhibition. Samira is joined by the exhibition curator Niall Hodson and the writer, journalist and author of “The Sound of Being Human” Jude Rogers.The most famous event in Los Angeles in 1852 was a horse race. Fortunes were won and lost on Pio Pico's horse Sarco and Jose Sepulveda's Black Swan. Widespread press reports included the horses’ names and the names of their owners - but not the name of the black jockey who won. Apart from his colour, we know nothing about him. Fred D’Aguiar talks to Samira Ahmed about his latest collection of poems, 'For the Unnamed', in which he recovers and re-imagines the story, giving the black jockey the presence today he was denied in his lifetime.
28/11/2342m 18s

Maria Callas, Johnny Flynn and Robert Macfarlane, Rory Pilgrim

For what would have been the 100th birthday of soprano Maria Callas, Front Row brought together singer Dame Sarah Connolly and music critic Fiona Maddocks to reassess her achievements and influence in the world of opera.After successfully teaming up during the pandemic to create the album, Lost in the Cedar Wood, musician and actor Johnny Flynn and nature writer and poet Robert Macfarlane talk to Tom about their second collaboration – The Moon Also Rises, and Johnny performs live in the Front Row studio.Rory Pilgrim is one of the artists shortlisted for this year’s Turner Prize. He discusses his work which combines song writing, composition, films, texts, drawings, paintings and live performances.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Ciaran Bermingham
27/11/2342m 19s

The Booker Prize Ceremony 2023

A special edition of Front Row, live from the Booker Prize for Fiction. Samira Ahmed is joined on stage by Booker Prize judges actor Adjoa Andoh and Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro to discuss this year’s shortlist, before the chair of judges, novelist Esi Edugyan, announces the winner live on air. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who spent six years in detention in Iran, gives the keynote speech about the power of literature to take us to another world. Front Row will also hear from all this year’s shortlisted authors, whose novels cover climate change, a democracy sliding into extremism, prejudice, grief and the complexities of race in America. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
26/11/2328m 41s

Maestro, reality TV Squid Game, Brutalist architecture

Bradley Cooper’s prosthetic nose has attracted a lot of media attention for Maestro, his portrayal of the composer Leonard Bernstein. Tom Sutcliffe asks music critic Nicholas Kenyon and writer and cultural commentator Zoe Williams what they thought of Cooper’s directorial debut – which he spent years preparing for, studying his speech patterns and copying how he conducted Mahler symphonies. They also review Netflix’s Squid Game: The Challenge – a new reality TV spin-off of the hit Korean drama. Love it or hate it, Brutalism is an architectural form which could get its own museum – in a school assembly hall in north London. Architectural designer Ben Pentreath who works in traditional and classical styles and Catherine Croft, Director of the Twentieth Century Society assess its impact.
23/11/2342m 30s

Joanna Hogg, map making, Ghislaine Leung

In her acclaimed films Joanna Hogg blurs the lines between her art and her life. As she releases her first ghost story film, The Eternal Daughter - an exploration of a mother and daughter relationship with Tilda Swinton playing both roles, she talks to Antonia Quirke about the craft involved in making art inspired by her life.Satellite imagery might make maps today more accurate, but we haven’t stopped wanting to see creative, imaginative maps that are also about story telling, from illustrations in books to mapping out fantasy worlds. Antonia meets two contemporary map makers: Jamie Whyte who creates illustrative maps and Luke Casper Pearson who maps the virtual worlds in computer games. Artist Ghislaine Leung who’s been shortlisted for this year’s Turner Prize uses a “score” – similar to musical scores – to create a relationship with those who help to construct her work in galleries. Re-using discarded objects and highlighting her conflicting demands as both artist and mother are central to her work. Her work can be seen at the Towner Eastbourne, and the winner of the prize will be announced in December.
22/11/2342m 12s

Ridley Scott's Napoleon, Albert Hall tickets resales, Bob Mortimer's winning comedy fiction

Tom Sutcliffe talks to director Ridley Scott about his new film Napoleon - a subject that takes him back to an actor who’s played an emperor for him before – Joaquin Phoenix was Commodus in Gladiator – and back to the period in which his very first film. The Duellists was set. A fifth of the seats at the Royal Albert Hall are owned by just over 300 people - who can choose to enjoy performances or sell the tickets on at a profit. We hear from Richard Lyttelton, a former President of the Royal Albert Hall who believes that making money out of the seats doesn't really align with the original vision of the venue. A Gloucester Old Spot pig has been named The Satsuma Complex - in honour of comedian Bob Mortimer's first book, which has won this year's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for the best comic novel. He's joined by fellow comedian and member of the judging panel Pippa Evans to explore what makes fiction funny.
21/11/2342m 22s

The Alehouse Boys, Sarah Bernstein and AS Byatt

Thomas Guthrie and “The Alehouse Boys” bring the music of Schubert to pubs with their new album Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin. Their arrangements of Schubert’s song cycle intend to break free from the formality of established lieder recitals, returning to its original improvisational form. In the last of our Booker shortlist series this week, Samira interviews Canadian 2023 Giller Prize-winning novelist Sarah Bernstein. Her second novel, Study for Obedience, explores the inner thoughts of its unnamed protagonist who moves to a new area to stay with her brother and quickly becomes a feared stranger. And the critic Boyd Tonkin discusses the remarkable literary output of the author, critic and poet AS Byatt who has died aged 87.
20/11/2342m 27s

Annette Bening and Jodie Foster

Annette Bening and Jodie Foster star in a new sports biopic Nyad, the eponymous story of Diana Nyad who attempted to swim between Cuba and Florida in her 60s. In an exclusive interview for Front Row, Tom Sutcliffe talks to them about meeting their real-life counterparts, the importance of on screen friendship and getting time to train in the ocean.Briony Hanson, British Council’s Director of Film and Kevin Le Gendre, author and journalist, review Rustin, a film about Bayard Rustin, the influential gay Black Civil Rights leader responsible for the 1963 March on Washington, and the book Amazing Grace: A Cultural History of the Beloved Hymn by James Walvin. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Corinna Jones
16/11/2342m 31s

The Barber of Seville in Yorkshire dialect, Art as experience, Turner Prize nominee Jesse Darling, Northern Creative Corridor

Ian McMillan explains the challenge of translating Rossini's comedy opera, The Barber of Seville, into Yorkshire dialect and singers Oscar Castellino and Felicity Buckland along with pianist Pete Durant perform two of the Yorkshire-ised arias from this new production live in the Front Row studio.Our relationships with art objects is a subject that many visual artists are currently exploring. Two such artists are Johanna Billing and Stuart Semple who joined Nick in the Front Row studio to discuss why they think art as an object is getting in the way of appreciating art as an experience.Jesse Darling is the first in Front Row' series of interviews with the artists who are nominated for this year's Turner Prize. He uses sculpture, installation, text and sound in his work to react to the world around him, for instance contorting roller coaster tracks in an expression of life's messiness. The exhibition continues at the Towner Eastbourne, and the winner of the prize will be announced in December. The Royal Society of Arts is leading a coalition to create a ‘Northern Cultural Corridor’. Comprising leading figures in the creative industries, alongside local governments across the North of England, it is looking for ways to boost the cultural potential of the north. Andy Haldane CEO of the RSA explains how they will set about it. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
15/11/2342m 42s

Emerald Fennell, Lucy Frazer and Paul Harding

Emerald Fennell’s follow-up to her award-winning film Promising Young Woman aims to have cinema-goers squirming in their seats. The mystery drama Saltburn explores class, as an awkward outsider spends the summer at a large country house. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP discusses her plans to reach the targets set out in the Government’s Creative Industries Sector Vision. In this week’s interview with a Booker shortlisted author, Tom speaks to the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Paul Harding. His third novel, This Other Eden, uses the historical story of an island in Maine harmoniously inhabited by a mixed-race community in the 19th century as a point of poetic departure, until the unsettling arrival of missionaries.
14/11/2342m 28s

Todd Haynes, Trevor Horn, new galleries at the Imperial War Museum

The UK’s first art, film and photography galleries dedicated to war and conflict have just opened at the Imperial War Museum. Al Murray, who has made several documentaries about Britain’s wars, and Rachel Newell, Head of Art at the Imperial War Museum, join Samira Ahmed to discuss the new galleries. Director Todd Haynes talks about his new film May December which stars Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman. The black comedy drama follows an actress who travels to Georgia to meet a controversial woman she is set to portray in a film. And musician and producer Trevor Horn, known for creating the sound of the 1980s, talks about his new album Echoes – Ancient and Modern. It reimagining songs from 1982 to 2012 and includes performances from Iggy Pop, Tory Amos and Marc Almond.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
13/11/2342m 19s

Anatomy of a Fall, Pete McKee, Wu-Tang Clan 30th anniversary

Tonight on Front Row - reviews of something old and something new. At this year's Cannes Film Festival, Anatomy of a Fall, a whodunnit fused with a portrait of a marriage and wrapped up in courtroom drama, won the Palme d'Or, and thirty years ago today, hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan released their seminal debut album, Enter The Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers). Musician and writer Bob Stanley, and music journalist Vie Marshall have been watching and listening and share their thoughtsOn the side of a pub in Sheffield "The Snog" - a mural of a middle-aged couple in a tight-embrace - by the artist Pete McKee has become a much-loved work of public art. Now McKee has expanded the story of the couple, Frank & Joy, into an immersive installation - the creation of fictional pub The Buffer's Rest - at Trafalgar Warehouse. He talks to Nick about creating Frank & Joy - A Love Story.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
09/11/2342m 28s

Front Row reviews 1623, to mark the anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio

To mark 400 hundred years to the day since the First Folio of Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies was published according to the True Original Copies, the BBC is celebrating this with a season of Shakespeare programmes. Front Row is looking aslant at the other artistic, literary and cultural events of 1623.Tom Sutcliffe hears from artist historian Karen Hearn about the impact of the first Palladian building in England and what was being painted. Lucy Munro traces the influence of The Spanish Match (which didn’t happen) on drama. The conductor Jeremy Summerly tells Tom about the music being played and sung that year. Folklorist Steve Roud reveals how the news was delivered in broadside ballads, which found their way into Shakespeare’s plays, and singer Lisa Knapp sings one. This was the year when John Donne wrote ‘no man is an island’. The big draw, apart from Donne’s preaching, was the elephant sent by the King of Spain.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May
08/11/2341m 55s

Billy Bragg, Paul Murray, feminist art of the 1970s

Singer, songwriter and activist Billy Bragg joins Samira Ahmed to perform live in the Front Row studio and discuss The Roaring Forty, a box set and nationwide tour to mark his forty years in the music industry.Women in Revolt, a new exhibition of Feminist art of the 70s and 80s, opens this week at the Tate Britain in London. Musician and punk artist Helen McCookerybook and art historian Catherine McCormack discuss the impact of the era. In the latest in Front Row’s series of interviews with the authors shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Paul Murray discusses The Bee Sting. A family saga set in contemporary Ireland, it examines our capacity for denial in the face of disaster. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Ciaran Bermingham
07/11/2342m 36s

Rebecca Lucy Taylor aka Self Esteem, Judi Jackson, the rise of the Ghanaian art scene

Rebecca Lucy Taylor also known as Self Esteem is making her stage debut in the Olivier-award winning production of Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club in London as Sally Bowles, the English nightclub singer in thirties Berlin. She tells Samira how the late Paula Yates was an inspiration.The details of a long awaited UK wide Arts Access Scheme are finally being revealed tonight on Front Row. The scheme aims to improve the experience of people with disabilities and neurodivergent people going to creative and cultural events. Andrew Miller, UK Arts Access Champion at ACE, explains how the new scheme will work.The art scene is Ghana is becoming one of the most creative globally, with international collectors showing a new interest in Ghanian artists. Stephen Smith reports from Accra, where artists are drawing on West African traditions to make exciting new work. Judi Jackson was singing from a young age in her church choir, but it was a music teacher at school who really encouraged her and put her in contact with some hugely successful artists, leading to her opening for the legendary Mavis Staples aged 16. She won vocalist of the year at the 2020 Jazz FM awards, and her recent album is a collection of tracks from the Great American Songbook. She performs live in the studio.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paula McGrath
06/11/2342m 21s

Kenneth Branagh in King Lear, Andrew Motion on Elegies

Coming under the Front Row spotlight today are: Kenneth Branagh’s new stage production of King Lear, in which he both stars and directs, and How to Have Sex, a new coming of age film about the trend for post-exam holidays abroad, by first time director Molly Manning Walker, and which won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes this summer. Theatre critic Susannah Clapp and journalist and Good Bad Billionaire podcast host Zing Tsjeng review.A new track by The Beatles dubbed their “final song” has been released 45 years after it was first conceived. The track, Now and Then, uses John Lennon’s vocals and all four Beatles feature on it. We'll have a listen and review.‘He first deceased; she for a little tried To live without him, liked it not, and died.’Lady Morton’s epitaph, written in the 17th century, is the shortest verse in The Penguin Book of Elegy. The new anthology gathers hundreds of poems of memory, mourning, and consolation, by writers ranging from Virgil, born in 70 BCE, to Raymond Antrobus, born in 1986. Andrew Motion, the book’s co-editor, discusses the ways elegy shapes memory, giving it meaning. He also reflects on the variety of elegy and how it stretches beyond the human, honouring loss of landscape, species and cultures. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Corinna Jones
02/11/2342m 18s

Henry Winkler, Northern Ballet, David Fennessey

From 1974 to 1984 Henry Winkler played the character of Arthur Fonzarelli, “The Fonz”, in the hit American sitcom, Happy Days. The role dominated the public’s perception of him, but despite being seen as the epitome of cool, he had many of his own demons to wrestle with. Henry joins Front Row to discuss his new autobiography, Being Henry: The Fonz…and Beyond.The composer David Fennessy on his piece Conquest of the Useless which is being performed in Glasgow this weekend. It was inspired by Werner Herzog’s obsessive film Fitzcarraldo which features a large steamship being dragged over a hill in the Amazon. And with Northern Ballet planning to tour without a live orchestra from Spring 2024, executive director David Collins discusses the move with Naomi Pohl, General Secretary of the Musician's Union; and Debra Craine, chief dance critic of the Times, reflects on the difference live music makes to dance performances.
01/11/2342m 19s

Duran Duran, Dobrivoje Beljkasic at 100 and Sandra Newman on retelling Orwell’s 1984

To mark Halloween, Duran Duran have released Danse Macabre, a “spooky concept” album. Samira talks to Simon Le Bon and John Taylor about working with Nile Rogers, covering The Specials’ Ghost Town and taking pop music seriously.This evening Filkin’s Drift play the last of almost 50 concerts, concluding their two month that has seen them travel 870 miles…on foot. The duo has walked from gig to gig, carrying their instruments. As they reach Chepstow they tell Samira about their approach to sustainable touring and how this connects with ancient Welsh bardic tradition.Born in 1923, the artist Dobrivoje Beljkasic found refuge in Bristol after the outbreak of the Bosnian War. His daughter Dee Smart and author Priscilla Morris celebrate his life and legacy on the centenary of his birth, marked by a new exhibition in Sarajevo. George Orwell’s seminal Nineteen Eighty-Four continues to occupy a lauded, and sometimes controversial, position in political discourse and popular culture three-quarters of a century after it was first written. Sandra Newman discusses reimagining the story from the perspective of Winston Smith’s underwritten lover in her new novel, Julia.
31/10/2341m 59s

Backstairs Billy, Jonathan Escoffery, National Theatre Wales

Backstairs Billy is a new play about Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother, and her loyal, camp and working class servant, William Tallon. Penelope Wilton, who plays the Queen Mother, and Luke Evans, who plays her Steward and Page, talk to Tom Sutcliffe about creating these characters.Jonathan Escoffery has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize for his novel If I Survive You. Through a series of interlinked short stories it explores issues of race, masculinity and living in the United States as a second-generation Jamaican immigrant. The decision by the Arts Council of Wales to stop funding National Theatre Wales has made headlines in and outside Wales. Executive Editor of Wales Art Review, Gary Raymond, and theatre director and producer, Yvonne Murphy, join Front Row to discuss the ramifications.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May
30/10/2342m 50s

David Fincher’s The Killer and the week’s highlights reviewed

The Killer, starring Michael Fassbender, has been hailed as a return to tense and stylish form for the director David Fincher. Critics Rhianna Dhillon and John Mullan join Tom Sutcliffe to give their views on this new take on the assassin genre. They also venture into uncanny realms with a review of Fantasy: Realms of Imagination, a new exhibition at the British Library which charts tales of fairies, folklore and flights of fancy from Ancient Greece to the modern day. Comedian and gamer Ellie Gibson gives her round up of the cornucopia of new video games out this month, including the Playstation’s fastest ever seller Spider-Man 2 and family favourite Super Mario Bros Wonder.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry Parker
26/10/2342m 35s

A history of 2 Tone, actor Martin Shaw remembers producer Bill Kenwright, Booker-shortlisted author Chetna Maroo, Lyonesse

Daniel Rachel’s book Too Much Too Young: The 2 Tone Records Story is a new history of the iconic record label. He’s joined by Pauline Black, lead singer of The Selecter, to discuss the cultural impact of the Ska music it released.Actor Martin Shaw remembers the late, great theatre impresario Bill Kenwright, whose productions included Willy Russell's Blood Brothers and Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, who has died at the age of 78.The game of squash and a family overcoming grief are at the heart of Chetna Maroo’s debut novel, Western Lane, which has been shortlisted for the 2023 Booker Prize. She talks to Samira about creating the story which centres on a spirited 11-year-old protagonist, Gopi.In Lyonesse, Kristin Scott Thomas plays Elaine, a star who gave up her career and retreated to a remote house on a Cornish cliff. 30 years later she decides she must return and tell her story. Kate, played by Lily James, is a young film executive, juggling work, a toddler and a peripatetic director husband. She comes to help Elaine – and is transformed. But who will control her story, who will get to tell it? Playwright Penelope Skinner tells Samira Ahmed about her new drama of female solidarity and male power.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paula McGrath
25/10/2342m 21s

Patrick Stewart, Steven Isserlis, The art of skateboard design

Sir Patrick Stewart's memoir Making It So looks back over his long and eclectic acting career encompassing stage, film and television and video games. He has played roles in productions as varied as I, Claudius, Shakespeare and Star Trek: the Next Generation. Samira talks to him about his journey from a poor childhood in Yorkshire to Hollywood.The history and culture of the skateboard is the subject of an exhibition at London's Design Museum. Associate curator Tory Turk and film-maker and skateboarder Winstan Whitter discuss its development from a makeshift practice device for Californian surfers in the 1950s to a high-tech worldwide sport.The great cellist, and advocate for peace, Pablo Casals died 50 years ago this week. Steven Isserlis explains his importance in redefining the role of the cello in music. In the Front Row studio Steven demonstrates on his cello the influence of Casals on cellists to this day and performs Song of the Birds one of Casals's own compositions for the instrument.
24/10/2342m 17s

Aviva Studios, The Chemical Brothers, Rufus Norris on 60 years of the National Theatre, Danny Boyle's Free Your Mind

Aviva Studios, a reportedly £240 million pound arts complex, has opened in Manchester with Free Your Mind, an immersive stage version of The Matrix from Oscar winning director Danny Boyle. Joining presenter Nick Ahad to discuss the arrival of the UK’s biggest new cultural venue - and its inaugural production- are playwright and critic Charlotte Keatley and architecture writer and lecturer Paul Dobraszczyk.The Chemical Brothers- AKA Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons- reflect on their 30 year journey from a Manchester house share to superstar DJ status, as they release their book Paused in Cosmic Reflection and embark on a UK tour.The 22nd October 1963 saw the opening night of the first production by the National Theatre. Peter O’Toole played Hamlet, directed by Laurence Olivier. Front Row hears from Rufus Norris, the current artistic director, about the role of the National Theatre 60 years on.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
23/10/2342m 27s

The Rolling Stones; Foe; television food consultant; Doctors axed

Film critic Ryan Gilbey and music and club culture writer Kate Hutchinson deliver their verdict on Hackney Diamonds - the first new Rolling Stones album for 18 years – and Garth Davis’ film Foe, which is based on a sci-fi novel by Iain Reid and stars Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal. Lessons in Chemistry was 2022’s hit novel about a thwarted chemist who becomes an early TV cook. It’s now been turned into a series for Apple TV, starring Brie Larson, complete with authentic 1950s food. Chef and cookbook author Courtney McBroom, who was the show’s food consultant, gives us an insight into what this involved.Doctors - the long running BBC TV drama - is ending after more than 23 years. The last episode will be broadcast in December 2024. The show follows the lives of medics and their patients in a GP surgery in the fictional town of Letherbridge. Tonight on Front Row we speak to one of the shows former writers, Joy Wilkinson, who cut her teeth in TV drama writing on the show. She says it was a friendly, creative environment and a great training ground for many writers and actors. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Corinna Jones
19/10/2342m 29s

Bonnie Langford performs Sondheim, film director Maysoon Pachachi, the portrayal of nuns in culture

Musical theatre legend Bonnie Langford performs Stephen Sondheim's I'm Still Here from the musical Follies, in tribute to the late composer and lyricist. The actress, singer and dancer reflects on her career from West End child star to appearing in Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends, the starry revue show running at London's Gielgud Theatre.Documentary filmmaker Maysoon Pachachi makes her feature film debut with Our River…Our Sky, set in Baghdad during the winter of 2006, three years after the US-led invasion. Maysoon’s film reflects on how those who remained tried to get on with their lives in a city riven by sectarian violence.“Nuns are always box office, aren’t they?” said film director Michael Powell and he was right. His 1947 classic Black Narcissus, about missionary nuns in the Himalayas, is being screened around the country; The Sound of Music ran at Chichester Festival Theatre over the summer and midwife nuns will soon return to our screens in Call the Midwife. Critic David Benedict and Samira Ahmed discuss the attraction and importance of nuns in art. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paula McGrath
18/10/2342m 21s

Front Row from Belfast with writer Paul Lynch and singer Cara Dillon

Two adaptations of Rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco open this month, one in Belfast and a Welsh language adaptation in Cardiff. The adaptors Patrick J O’Reilly and Manon Steffan Ros both join Kathy Clugston to discuss how this 1950s play about the rise of Fascism speaks to audiences now. Singer Cara Dillon is known globally for her interpretations of traditional Irish songs. As she performs at the Belfast International Arts Festival, she explains why she’s taking a new direction with her upcoming album, the first time she’s released an album of original songs. In the first of Front Row’s interviews with the authors shortlisted for this year’s Booker Prize, Paul Lynch talks about Prophet Song, his dystopian novel which imagines a future in which Ireland is in the grips of an oppressive regime. And as Glasgow Museums say that they are unable to locate a sculpture by the French artist Auguste Rodin, arts correspondent Jan Patience explains that it may not be the only major work of art that’s gone missing. Presenter: Kathy Clugston Producer: Olivia Skinner
17/10/2342m 30s

Martin Scorsese film, John le Carré’s legacy, Madonna on Tour

Madonna is still in the spotlight 45 years after bursting onto the pop scene in the 1980s, inspiring fashion, dance and youth culture, as well as being the world’s best-selling female artist of all time. Author of the biography Madonna: A Rebel Life, Mary Gabriel explores what’s behind her enduring influence and music critic Pete Paphides assesses last night’s Celebration tour performance, rescheduled after her recent serious health scare. The latest film from director Martin Scorcese focuses on the Osage Nation community, who back in the 1920s had become rich overnight when oil was discovered beneath their land in Oklahoma. Based on a true story, Killers of the Flower Moon sees an improbable romance develop between Leonardo DiCaprio’s Ernest and Lily Gladstone’s indigenous Mollie, as members of her Osage tribe are murdered under mysterious circumstances, killings which are investigated by what was to become the FBI. Published in 2015, Adam Sisman wrote what is considered to be the definitive biography of John le Carré. What he left out about the author befits a Cold War spy novel: he was secretive, self-mythologizing and even deceptive. Sisman’s new book, The Secret life of John le Carré, reveals for the first time the frustrating process of writing a biography about the writer who hid his infidelities and inconsistencies.The Forward Prizes are among UK and Ireland’s most coveted poetry awards. These include best poetry collection, first collection, single poem - written and, new for this year, best single poem – performed. Tonight in Leeds the judges will announce the winners as Front Row is on-air - and we should know who has won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem – Written, and be able broadcast the poet reading it.
16/10/2342m 30s

Front Row reviews the Frasier reboot and performance from folk musician Martin Hayes

Samira Ahmed is joined by critics Anne Joseph and Nancy Durrant to review some of this week’s cultural highlights. They discuss the new series of the classic TV comedy Frasier, which is returning to our screens after nearly two decades, and a new exhibition, Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners Shaped Global Style.Martin Hayes has gone from playing the fiddle in his father’s ceilidh band in County Clare to performing for President Obama at the White House. Martin brings his band, The Common Ground Ensemble to perform in the Front Row studio. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Corinna Jones
12/10/2342m 20s

Lubaina Himid, Richard Armitage, David Pountney’s new opera

Actor Richard Armitage – who starred in North and South and the Hobbit - joins Nick to discuss writing his debut novel, the bio-tech thriller Geneva, which is about to be published in hardback but was originally commissioned as an audio book. Autumn 2023 has seen Opera North launching its first sustainable ‘Green Season’. This includes the world premiere of an ambitious new production, Masque of Might which repurposes the music of composer Henry Purcell in a spectacle of song and dance. We hear from its director Sir David Pountney and soprano Anna Dennis.The Leicester Indie band EasyLife is about to play its last gigs under that name - because the owners of the airline easyJet said their name was too similar to that of the budget airline. EasyGroup confirmed they'd received an agreement from the band saying they would cease using the name after playing at Leicester's 02 Academy and London's Koko. It's not yet known what their new name will be. The Turner prize winning artist Lubaina Himid was once told “black people don’t make art”. Part of the 1980s movement of Black and Asian British artists, it was decades before her contribution to the arts was recognised with a CBE. She’s now curated an exhibition called A Fine Toothed Comb that looks at the hidden communities of Manchester though her own work and that of other women artists. She steers Nick Ahad around the show and talks about belonging, removing statues and the joys of opera
11/10/2342m 17s

Nigel Kennedy, art gallery labels, how do museums recover stolen art?

Nigel Kennedy remains the best selling violinist of all time with a repertoire that spans jazz, classical, rock, klezmer and more. Ahead of his four night residency at Ronnie Scott’s in London this week, Nigel Kennedy and cellist Beata Urbanek-Kalinowska join us in the Front Row studio to perform two reworkings of pieces by Ryuichi Sakamoto and the Polish film score composer, Krzysztof Komeda. Author Christine Coulson discusses her novel ‘One Woman Show’ written entirely through the medium of art gallery labels – and why we should be looking for longer at the paintings themselves. She’s joined by Dr Catherine McCormack, an independent curator and lecturer at Sotheby’s Art Institute, who reveals more about how labels have changed over the years and provide valuable context for visitors to galleries and museums. New figures compiled exclusively for Front Row reveal that 65,000 items are currently missing from museums around the world and listed on the Art Loss Register. Carolyn Atkinson goes on the trail of one of those missing artworks, a painting stolen during a brazen art heist in 1989, that has just been returned to a Glasgow museum.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May
10/10/2342m 25s

Piper Kathryn Tickell performs, film director Terence Davies remembered, author Jhumpa Lahiri, £200 million for Heritage Places

Kathryn Tickell and The Darkening’s new album, Cloud Horizons, fuses synthesizers with a bone flute, a sistrum – very old Egyptian instrument - and lyrics based on an inscription in Latin carved on a stone in Northumberland nearly 2 millennia ago. Kathryn talks to Samira about this ancient Northumbrian futurism and plays her smallpipes, live. We remember the film director Terrence Davis, perhaps best known for the film Distant Voices, who has died aged 77. Samira spoke to him for Front Row last year, about his Netflix drama Benediction, which followed the life of the war poet Siegfried Sassoon.Samira talks to Jhumpa Lahiri, the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, essayist and editor. Her latest offering Roman Stories marks a return to shorter fiction, presenting snapshots of a city and its unnamed residents in flux. Today the Heritage Fund announces nine ‘Heritage Places’ across the UK- the first of twenty to receive a share of £200 million in National Lottery funding over the next 10 years to support local heritage. We hear from Eilish McGuinness, Heritage Fund Chief Executive about how the money will be spent and from Eirwen Hopkins, founder of the heritage group Rich History in Neath Port Talbot, one of the nine places to receive the cash injection.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
09/10/2342m 14s

Front Row reviews Philip Guston at the Tate Modern and new film Golda

The winner of the 2023 Nobel Prize for Literature is Norwegian writer Jon Fosse, who is best known for his innovative plays. Playwright Simon Stephens, who has translated his work, talks about the impact of his plays which are widely performed across Europe but little known in the UK. Front Row reviews Golda, which stars Helen Mirren as Israeli prime minster Golda Meir, and an exhibition of work by the artist Philip Guston at the Tate Modern in London. Poet Aviva Dautch and art critic Ben Lukes give their verdict.Musician Tim Ridout discusses recording Elgar’s famous cello concerto on the viola, a performance for which he won the concerto category at this year’s Gramophone Award. The theme of this year’s National Poetry Day is refuge and to mark it Front Row hears a poem on the theme, A Portable Paradise by Roger Robinson.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry Parker
05/10/2342m 2s

The Streets, the British Textile Biennial, Kate Prince on her mentor

Mike Skinner helped define an era with The Streets' album Original Pirate Material in 2002. Now he's back with not only new music but an accompanying film, The Darker the Shadow the Brighter the Light. He talks to Nick Ahad about guerrilla filming in nightclubs and the influence of Raymond Chandler. The choreographer, writer and founder of hip hop dance company ZooNation, Kate Prince, tells us about a dramaturg who has been a key influence on her. We hear about the advice and inspiration offered by Lolita Chakrabati ahead of her work inspired by the music of Sting and The Police. The British Textile Biennial 2023 is highlighting the extraordinary influence of Lancashire. From the moors to the mills, it's a region which defined the modern world's approach to the clothes we wear. That troubling and complex legacy is explored by a series of installations. Evie Manning, co-creator of Common Wealth, talks to Nick Ahad about Fast Fast Slow - a community-led catwalk experience which explores throwaway fashion and our relationship with clothes. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Kevin Core
04/10/2342m 23s

Patsy Ferran, Rubens & Women, the portrayal of black men in British film

The actor Patsy Ferran talks to Samira about her transformation from flower girl (with some autonomy) to duchess (with none at all) in Pygmalion at the Old Vic, and a career in which she transformed from Edith, the maid in Blithe Spirit with Angela Lansbury to Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire with Paul Mescal, via Jem in Treasure Island.“Rubenesque” has long evoked a voluptuous image of female nudity in art, but a new exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery seeks to explore the complex relationship between Peter Paul Rubens and the women in his life. Co-curator Amy Orrock and critic Louisa Buck discuss how they influenced, and in many cases financially supported, the 17th century Flemish painter.And as Netflix airs the fifth and final series of ‘Top Boy’, which first appeared on Channel 4 starring Ashley Waters, Clive Nwonka, author of ‘Black Boys The Social Aesthetics of British Urban Film’ and film critic Leila Latif discuss representations of black urban culture on screen.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Nicki Paxman
03/10/2342m 18s

Claudette Johnson, ghosts in literature, the Dutch Golden Age

The portraits in the National Gallery’s new retrospective of the artist Frans Hals capture his informal and fresh style which contrasted with other masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt. We hear from the exhibition’s curator Bart Cornelis and by the writer Benjamin Moser whose forthcoming book The Upside-Down World describes his lifelong passion for the art of what’s often called the Dutch Golden Age. The enthusiasm of politicians for the spectacular U-turn has reached the cultural sphere; in Scotland the government has U-turned a U-turn in its arts funding. Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman’s theatre critic and political columnist, explains what has happened and not happened and what it all means for the arts in her country. As a retrospective of her work opens at the Courtauld Gallery in London, Claudette Johnson talks to Tom Sutcliffe about her portraits of Black women, her work in the 1980s with the BLK art group and how Rembrandt and Toulouse Lautrec’s approach to painting women has inspired her. And Ghosts are in the ether… an upsurge of interest in the supernatural often coincides with disruptive events like the Covid pandemic. Tom Sutcliffe is joined by Jeanette Winterson whose new book Night Side of the River tells 13 ghost stories, and by Danny Robins’ whose book Into the Uncanny has just been published. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May
02/10/2342m 23s

Víkingur Ólafsson on Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Ken Loach’s The Old Oak

Front Row reviews two of this week’s cultural highlights. Tom Sutcliffe is joined by writer Hettie Judah and film critic Peter Bradshaw to discuss Happy Gas, a retrospective of work by Sarah Lucas at the Tate Britain, and The Old Oak, which director Ken Loach has said will be his final film. Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, was Front Row’s artist in (remote) residence during the lockdown, playing for us live in the empty Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik. At last Víkingur comes to the Front Row studio in person to talk to Tom Sutcliffe about his recording of the Goldberg Variations which, he says, are a musical metaphor for life itself. And the actor Sir Michael Gambon has died at the age of 82. Best-known for his role as Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, his work also encompassed theatre, TV and Radio drama. Theatre writer Paul Allen and film critic Peter Bradshaw discusses his career on both stage and screen. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Corinna JonesMichael Gambon 1:12 Happy Gas 8:41 Vikingur Olafsson 16:32 The Old Oak 33:12
28/09/2342m 26s

James Graham on Boys from the Blackstuff, and are maestros behaving badly?

Alan Bleasdale’s Boys From The Blackstuff is widely regarded as television drama at its best with a cultural footprint that led to the phrase “Gi’s a job” being heard up and down the country. Forty years on from the first broadcast, James Graham, known for plays such as This House, about the UK’s hung parliament of the 1970s, and Dear England about the England football team, has adapted Alan’s screenplays for a stage production at the Royal Court theatre in Liverpool. He discusses why now was the right time to revisit and remodel. Chester Contemporary is a new visual arts biennial curated by artist Ryan Gander who was born and raised in Chester and has created a citywide event that features some of the visual art world’s biggest names. Front Row visited Chester on the opening weekend to talk to Turner Prize-nominated artist Fiona Banner, emerging artist William Lang, Chester native Tim Foxon whose art pops up all over the city centre, and Turner Prize-winning artist Elizabeth Price, about their creations for the cathedral city.The renowned conductor John Eliot Gardiner has cancelled all his appearances for the rest of this year after allegedly slapping and punching a singer backstage after a performance. He is far from the only conductor linked to reportedly bad behaviour. But as society puts conductors on a cultural as well as physical podium, and addresses them as ‘maestro’, perhaps such behaviour isn’t surprising. Perhaps, too, marshalling a large orchestra requires dictatorial leadership. Igor Toronyi-Lalic, music critic of The Spectator, and the conductor Ben Gernon join Nick Ahad to discuss how conductors conduct themselves, and how they should. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene AkalawuLorne Campbell 1:30 James Graham 6:09 Conductors 16:33 Chester Art 29:36
27/09/2342m 35s

Front Row hosts the BBC National Short Story Award Ceremony

The announcement of the winners of the BBC National Short Story Award and the BBC Young Writers’ Award with Cambridge University, live from the Radio Theatre at Broadcasting House in London. Joining presenter Tom Sutcliffe to celebrate and interrogate the short story form are the broadcaster and NSSA chair of judges Reeta Chakrabarti, alongside fellow judges and writers Jessie Burton, Roddy Doyle and Okechukwu Nzelu. The shortlisted stories and authors in alphabetical order are: 'The Storm' by Nick Mulgrew, 'It’s Me' by K Patrick, 'Guests' by Cherise Saywell, 'Churail' by Kamila Shamsie and 'Comorbidities' by Naomi Wood. The BBC Young Writers Award, for writers aged between 14 and 18, will be announced by the BBC Radio One presenter Katie Thistleton, who’ll be joined on stage by fellow judge, the psychotherapist, writer and rugby player Alexis Caught. The shortlisted stories and authors in alphabetical order are: ‘Fridays’ by Evie Alam, 16, from South Shields, ‘Jessie’s God’ by Elissa Jones, 16, from Merseyside, ‘Creation’ by Daisy Kaye, 16, from Nottingham, ‘Skipper’ by Iona McNeish, 17, from Glasgow and ‘The Wordsmith’ by Atlas Weyland Eden, 18, from Devon. All of the stories are available to listen to on BBC Sounds.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Nicki Paxman
26/09/2342m 12s

Philip Barantini on Boiling Point, The Archers cast on Lark Rise to Ambridge

As the cast of the Archers star in a new adaptation of Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford, Samira is joined by actors Louiza Patikas, who plays Helen in the Archers, and Susie Riddell, who plays Tracy, to discuss the two-part Radio 4 drama, now called Lark Rise to Ambridge. Actor and chef turned director Philip Barantini joins Samira to discuss making the sequel for BBC television to his BAFTA-nominated, one-take film, Boiling Point, set in the febrile atmosphere of a high-end restaurant kitchen.An ambitious series of spaces at the National Gallery of Scotland opens this week to display Scottish art created in the last 150 years. BBC Scotland’s arts correspondent Pauline McLean visits the new galleries and explains what the building and the works tell us about Scottish identity and how Scottish artists have been representing their country and people.The Writers Guild of America has reached a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios, streaming services and producers, to end the strike by writers over pay and AI. The strike has had an impact on film and television production here and Lisa Holdsworth, Chair of the Writers Guild of Great Britain, explains the significance of the settlement for the UK. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
25/09/2342m 38s

Live from the Contains Strong Language festival

Front Row opens this year’s Contain’s Strong Language festival live in Leeds. Nick Ahad talks to Detectorists star Toby Jones about his stage adaptation of Italo Calvino’s If On A Winters Night A Traveller, to the festival poet and rapper Testament about 50 Years of Hip Hop and the choreographer and artist Katja Heitmann about turning the everyday gestures of Leeds citizens into art. Plus poetry from the newly appointed Yorkshire Young Laureate.
21/09/2343m 39s

Marina Abramovic and The Long Shadow reviewed, Dmitry Glukhovsky's The White Factory

Writer Joan Smith and art historian Katy Hessel review a retrospective exhibition of the performance artist Marina Abramovic at the Royal Academy and a new ITV drama about the Yorkshire ripper, The Long Shadow.The Russian journalist, novelist and now playwright Dmitry Glukhovsky talks about his stage drama The White Factory telling the story of the ghetto in Łódź, Poland during the second world war. In it he explores the corrosive nature of compromise as the Jews are forced to choose which amongst them will be sent to the death camps and which will survive. He also talks to Tom about his exile from his homeland having spoken out against the war in Ukraine.And Front Row celebrates of the centenary the publication of Harmonium, the first collection of poetry by the American Wallace Stevens. John Lightbody reads The Emperor of Ice Cream.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian MayMarina Abramovic 1:10 The White Factory 13:05 Wallace Stevens 24:42 The Long Shadow 26:31
20/09/2342m 26s

Carlos Acosta on the Black Sabbath ballet; Birmingham arts funding; the business of British fashion

Birmingham Royal Ballet is celebrating the city’s pioneering heavy metal band in a new production, Black Sabbath – the Ballet. Tom Sutcliffe talks to the director of BRB Carlos Acosta about how the marriage of apparently conflicting cultures came about. He also hears from the composer and arranger Christopher Austin on adapting the music for contemporary choreography and the dramaturg Richard Thomas about creating a narrative structure for an abstract dance form.Today it was announced that Michael Gove has appointed commissioners to take over Birmingham Council. To find out how this might affect arts organisations in the city, Tom speaks to the Birmingham-based journalist and broadcaster Adrien Goldberg.In our occasional series on cultural bugbears we hear from the author and Guardian journalist Tim Dowling. As London Fashion Week draws to a close, we put the business of the British fashion industry under the spotlight with the Yorkshire-based designer and Professor of Fashion Matty Bovan, the New York Times fashion journalist Elizabeth Paton and the designer, academic and curator Andrew Ibi, whose exhibition The Missing Thread: Untold Stories of Black British Fashion is about to open at Somerset House.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Emma WallaceBlack Sabbath Ballet 1:18 Birmingham Funding 17:20 Immersive Theatre 22:18 Fashion 28:12
19/09/2342m 39s

Jane Austen fashion, poet Daljit Nagra, musician Alice Phoebe Lou performs live

From the enduring legacy of Colin Firth’s wet shirt to the colourful extravagance of Bridgerton, costumes have always been central in period dramas. But how much does adaptation match up to reality when it comes to regency fashion? To discuss this - and what’s revealed by the closet of the real-life Austen - Samira is joined by Hilary Davidson, author of ‘Jane Austen’s Wardrobe’, and the award-winning costume designer Dinah Collin.Radio 4’s first poet-in-residence, Daljit Nagra, discusses his new poetry collection, indiom, set in an imaginary workshop where Indic heritage poets discuss the future of poetry and the kind of language(s) they should write in in these post-colonial times. It's a wide ranging mock heroic epic, with references ranging from Shakespeare to The Simpsons, written in Daljit Nagra's innovative, idiosyncratic and exuberant style. The South African singer songwriter Alice Phoebe Lou discusses her music, which has been described as a melding of folk, jazz, electronic and dance music. Her song ‘She’ was shortlisted for the Oscar for best original song in 2018 for the documentary film Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story. She performs live.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Corinna JonesJane Austen Fashion 1:03 Daljit Nagra 17:28 Alice Phoebe Lou 28:39
18/09/2342m 25s

Paul Simon and Charlie Mackesy, the V&A’s Chanel exhibition and author Kamila Shamsie.

When the artist Charlie Mackesy, best-known for his book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, heard Paul Simon’s most recent album, the acclaimed Seven Psalms, he was inspired to create a sketch for each ‘psalm’. They both join us on Front Row. In the last of our interviews with all the authors shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award we talk to Kamila Shamsie about her story Churail. Gabrielle Chanel opens at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and Das Rheingold, the first part of Wagner’s Ring Cycle opens at the Royal Opera House in London. Head of Fashion at the Telegraph, Lisa Armstrong and writer Philip Hensher join us to review them both. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Olivia SkinnerPaul Simon 1:10 Chanel 11:12 Kamila Shamsie 22:04 Das Rheingold 30:52
14/09/2346m 54s

Katherine Rundell on Impossible Creatures, the rise of crafts on social media

Katherine Rundell on her new children’s fantasy book, Impossible Creatures. It's a story of two worlds, ours and one where the animals of myth and legend still survive, and thrive. A fantasy which does not shirk from dark themes, and was inspired by the metaphysical poetry of John Donne. The next finalist in the National Short Story Award is South African writer Nick Mulgrew . His story, The Storm, is set in suburban Durban describes a toxic family dynamic against a backdrop of the dramatic and dangerous thunderstorms he remembers from his own childhood. Traditional crafts are associated with homeworking: individuals squirrelled away in studios producing things that end up in galleries or shops. But social media has completely changed that for makers - whose films can attract the interest of the public for reasons as varied as teaching, selling, relaxing or even ASMR, and which at the same time open that craft and maker to a wider world. We talk to two makers – Florian Gadsby, a potter who sells online to his 1.39m followers on YouTube and 788 thousand on Instagram, and Marion Deuchars, illustrator of 20 books, who also has an online audience of thousands.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Kirsty McQuireKatherine Rundell 1:00 Crafts 14:36 Nick Mulgrew 31:34
13/09/2342m 16s

The impact of the Hollywood strikes, author K Patrick, the iconic chant from the Halo video game

Front Row looks at the impact of the Hollywood strikes. Film critic Leila Latif, Equity UK’s Secretary General Paul Fleming, and Lisa Holdsworth, screenwriter and Chair of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain explain the impact and the knock on effect on UK film and TV. The theme to the video game Halo has become one of the best known pieces of game music ever released. Earlier this year fans from around the world were invited to join a virtual choir of thousands to sing the iconic chant. The BBC's Will Chalk signed up to take part.Author K Patrick, talks about their short story, It’s Me, which has been nominated for this year’s BBC National Short Story Award.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian MayHollywood Strikes 01:09 Halo Chant 19:56 K Patrick 34:16
12/09/2342m 17s

The British Museum’s missing gems, a drinking game drama, National Short Story Award

Front Row gets an exclusive look at some of the treasures confirmed as missing by the British Museum, as art dealer, academic and whistleblower Dr Ittai Gradel, who says he bought them in good faith on eBay, returns them. Deborah Frances White, the comedian and writer behind the hit podcast The Guilty Feminist, joins Samira to discuss her debut play, Never Have I Ever. Named after the confessional drinking game, at its heart is an explosive dinner party dissecting identity politics and infidelity, running at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester. And we hear how writer Cherise Saywell transformed the making of a cup of coffee by a refugee neighbour into a special act of hospitality in her shortlisted National Short Story Award tale, Guests.Missing Treasures 1:22 Deborah Frances White 16:05 Cherise Saywell 28:47 Fake Encores 37:29
11/09/2342m 21s

Lise Davidsen, film Past Lives and Black Atlantic: power, people, resistance exhibition

Presenter Samira Ahmed is joined by the broadcaster and Chair of Judges Reeta Chakrabarti to announce the shortlist of the 2023 BBC National Short Story Awards with Cambridge University. Front Row will interview each of the shortlisted authors in the coming weeks, ahead of hosting the award ceremony live from the BBC Radio Theatre on 26th September.Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen has been described as possessing “a once-in-a-generation-voice.” Samira spoke to her between performances as Elizabeth of Valois in Verdi’s Don Carlo at the Royal Opera House, looking ahead to her starring role in the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and the BBC on Saturday. Our reviewers Alayo Akinkugbe, art historian and founder of the Instagram platform A Black History of Art, and Amon Warmann, Contributing Editor of Empire magazine and co-host of the Fade To Black podcast review the exhibition “Black Atlantic: Power, People, Resistance” at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, which asks questions about Cambridge’s role in the trade of enslaved people and how related objects and artworks have influenced our history and perspectives.We also review “Past Lives” from South Korean director Celine Song, about two childhood friends, Nora and Hae Sung, who are separated when Nora’s family emigrates from South Korea. Two decades later, with Nora married to an American, they are reunited in New York for a week as they consider what might have been and perhaps still could be.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Corinna JonesNSSA Shortlist 00:57 Fitzwilliam Museum review 03:57 Naomi Wood 13:25 Past Lives review 21:14 Lise Davidsen 30:02
07/09/2342m 21s

Sir Ken Dodd exhibition; RIBA Stirling Prize for architecture shortlist; A Life on the Farm documentary

Curator Karen O’Rourke, and the actor and writer Arthur Bostrom discuss Sir Ken Dodd - the man behind the the tickling stick, the Diddymen, and the new exhibition, Happiness! at the Museum of Liverpool.The Stirling Prize shortlist, the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize, was announced today. Architecture critic Oliver Wainwright and Catherine Croft, Director of the Twentieth Century Society, discuss what this year’s shortlist reveals about the state of architecture in Great Britain.When his grandfather died in rural Somerset, filmmaker Oscar Harding inherited a bizarre home movie video made by a neighbour, Charles Carson. Harding was intrigued and inspired by it and talks to Nick about his new debut documentary, A Life on The Farm, which reflects on Carson’s life and work. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene AkalawuHappiness: 1:28 Stirling Prize: 16:32 A Life on the Farm: 31:54
06/09/2342m 26s

Stephen Lawrence anniversary drama; small publishers; Pablo Larrain on his film El Conde; RAAC in theatres

The Architect - a play marking the 30th anniversary of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence - will take place on a double-decker bus travelling the route on which Stephen was attacked in 1993. Presenter Allan Little speaks to the director Matthew Xia and one of the playwrights, Bola Agbaje.Small independent publishers appear to be on a winning streak - last year several prestigious literary prizes were won by small presses, despite the inflationary pressures that have put some out of business. To discuss what’s behind the rise - and fall - of small publishers, Allan is joined by Natania Jansz of Sort of Books, Valerie Brandes of Jacaranda Books, and Kevin Duffy of Bluemoose Books.Chilean film director Pablo Larrain has switched from biopics on Jackie Kennedy and Princess Diana to create a world in which dictator General Pinochet is a vampire - he talks to Alan about his new film, El Conde.Schools are being closed because of the discovery in their buildings of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC), which can crumble and cause sudden collapse. It was used from the 1950s to the 1980s, not only in schools and hospitals, but also in theatres and venues. Already, two theatres and a concert hall have had to close. Matthew Hemley of The Stage newspaper has been investigating and discusses the implications. Presenter: Allan Little Producer: Julian MayThe Architect 05:59 Small Publishers 14:56 El Conde 29:50
06/09/2342m 18s

Anna Wintour on Vogue World; Bloomsbury Group fashion; BBC Singers conductor Sofi Jeannin

Dame Anna Wintour, Global Editorial Director of Vogue, tells Samira Ahmed about Vogue World, the magazine’s fashion and performance spectacular which makes its UK debut this month at the start of London Fashion Week.You may know the early 1900s Bloomsbury Group for its art and philosophy, but the collective was also in the vanguard of sartorial revolution. In the studio to discuss its impact on fashion are writer Charlie Porter, author of Bring No Clothes: Bloomsbury and the Philosophy of Fashion, and British-Turkish fashion designer Erdem Moralıoğlu. The Swedish-French conductor of the BBC Singers, Sofi Jeannin, joins Samira to discuss the choir's range, reputation and morale after a period of uncertainty over its future.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paul Waters
04/09/2342m 21s

Front Row reviews new British film Scrapper, French writer director Louis Garrel

Larushka Ivan-Zadeh and Mickey-Jo Boucher discuss A Mirror, a new play by Sam Holcroft about staging a drama in a country where state censorship controls the arts. It stars Trainspotting's Jonny Lee Miller. They’ll also look at Charlotte Regan’s film Scrapper about a young girl who is left living alone after her mother dies, then her father turns up. What happens next?Many will know Louis Garrel from his role as Professor Bhaer in Greta Gerwig’s film Little Women but he is also an accomplished filmmaker in his own right. As his new film, The Innocent, opens in the UK, after multiple César Award nominations and wins for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress, he discusses what it’s like to move from writing, directing and starring in his own films to acting in films by other directors.01:42 A Mirror Review 12:57 Louis Garrel Interview 28:55 Scrapper Review
24/08/2342m 29s

Authors Helen Macdonald and Sin Blaché, Stewart Lee on Macbeth, musician Connie Converse rediscovered

Authors Helen Macdonald and Sin Blaché are live in the studio to discuss their new queer sci-fi thriller Prophet.Theatre director Wils Wilson has invited the comedian Stewart Lee to rewrite the Porter’s scene in a new RSC production of Macbeth. Wils and Stewart join Samira Ahmed to discuss drawing on stand-up comedy, pantomime and the politics of today to refresh Shakespeare's comic relief.And we rediscover the American singer-songwriter Connie Converse, fifty years after she disappeared without trace. Samira speaks to Howard Fishman – writer, songwriter, bandleader, producer of Connie’s Piano Songs, and author of To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse. PRESENTER: Samira Ahmed PRODUCER: Olivia Skinner
23/08/2342m 22s

Louise Doughty, sign language at music festivals, The Missing Madonna podcast

Author Louise Doughty talks to Samira Ahmed about her new novel, A Bird in Winter. A fast-paced thriller set in the world of espionage, it follows a woman on the run who must work out who is on her trail. This summer for the first time British Sign Language interpretations were streamed live for all acts on the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage. Samira speaks to professional BSL music performance interpreters Stephanie Raper - who has signed for Stormzy and Eminem - and @Fletch, who is deaf and has signed for Ed Sheeran and P!nk. We also hear from deaf music lover William Ogden, who pushes for more interpretation at music events. New BBC Sounds podcast The Missing Madonna features the daughter of a Liverpool publican who played a key role in recovering a stolen Da Vinci masterpiece – and the Dutch “art detective” Arthur Brand who traces stolen art for a living. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paula McGrath
22/08/2342m 21s

Corinne Bailey Rae, playwright Peter Arnott, new short story collections

Musician Corinne Bailey Rae performs live in the studio and discusses the inspiration for her new album, Black Rainbows. Writer Peter Arnott on his new play about the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, Group Portrait In A Summer Landscape, opening at Pitlochry Festival Theatre on Friday.Plus short stories: critics Stephanie Merritt and Suzi Feay on two new collections - by Kate Atkinson and by US 'flash fiction' writer Diane Williams.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Emma Wallace
21/08/2342m 31s

Edinburgh Festival review: The Grand Old Opera House Hotel; Funeral; Kieran Hodgson: Big In Scotland; Vanessa 5000; AI Art; Food

A review of two of the big shows at this year’s Edinburgh Festival: Olivier award-winning writer Isobel McArthur has had great success with her genre-busting works Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of) and Kidnapped. Her latest play The Grand Old Opera House Hotel is a rom-com set in a haunted house filled with opera arias – it’s worlds apart from Funeral, a calm, interactive meditation on the nature of life and death by the Belgian theatre company Ontroerend Goed.Our reviewers give their verdicts on the comedy shows they’ve sampled this year. Kieran Hodgson is a Yorkshireman outsider in TV’s Two Doors Down: his new show Big in Scotland reflects on identity and belonging; magician and clown Geoff Sobelle explores the comedy of consumption in his show Food; and Sonja Doubleday’s comedy of the absurd – Cheekykita: An Octopus, The Universe, ‘n’ Stuff – features a nonsense trip through space.The impact of artificial intelligence has been cited as one of the reasons for the current writers’ and actors’ strikes in Hollywood. AI is also the topic at the heart of Courtney Pauroso’s Vanessa 5000, which features a sex robot and in Edinburgh University’s Inspace gallery exhibition, The Sounds of Deep Fake, where the human voice is put through its paces by AI. Presenter: Kate Molleson Producer: Ekene Akalawu
17/08/2341m 57s

TV's I Claudius; Jules Buckley's Stevie Wonder Prom; the difficulty buying concert tickets

As the acclaimed 1976 Roman Empire drama series I Claudius returns to television screens, classicist Natalie Haynes and cultural critic Charlotte Higgins discuss the reasons for its success, whether its historical inaccuracies are any bar to its enjoyment, and if it stands the test of time. Plus conductor, curator, and composer Jules Buckley discusses his Stevie Wonder Prom celebrating 50 years of the ground-breaking album Innervisions.And why is it often so hard to buy tickets for big gigs, like Taylor Swift’s Eras tour? We talk to ticketing security expert Reg Walker, and to Martin Haigh of ticketing system provider Total Ticketing and a previous head of Ticketmaster Asia.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry Parker
16/08/2342m 30s

Live from the Edinburgh Festival: Nicola Benedetti, Colson Whitehead, Karine Polwart, Susie McCabe, Andrew O’Hagan

Front Row is live from Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh for festival season, presented by Kate Molleson. Scotland’s own Grammy award-winning violinist Nicola Benedetti will be with us to share her vision for this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, as she makes her debut as Festival Director. Kate will also be joined on stage by the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Colson Whitehead to discuss Crook Manifesto, the latest instalment in his Harlem saga, set in 1970s New York. We’ll have music from the Scottish folk singer Karine Polwart with pianist Dave Milligan, ahead of their appearance at the Book Festival.Glasgow comedian Susie McCabe will share stand-up from her new Fringe show exploring her womanhood, Femme Fatality. Novelist and fellow Glaswegian Andrew O’Hagan will reflect on making his directorial debut, as he brings his new play The Ballad of Truman Capote to the Fringe.Presenter: Kate Molleson Producer: Kirsty McQuire
15/08/2342m 6s

Christy Lefteri's The Book of Fire, Artistic Directors in theatre, Palestinian Embroidery

As the death toll from wildfires in Hawaii rises, The Beekeeper of Aleppo author Christy Lefteri explains how similar tragedies in Greece inspired her new novel The Book of Fire. Battersea Arts Centre’s Artistic Director and CEO Tarek Iskander, critic Andrzej Lukowski and theatre consultant Amanda Parker discuss what could be behind the current exodus of artistic directors from theatres across the UK. Curator Rachel Dedman and artist Aya Haider reflect on the roots of the striking needlework in Material Power, an exhibition of Palestinian Embroidery.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer Paula McGrath
14/08/2342m 22s

Composer György Ligeti, L'immensità starring Penelope Cruz, La Cage Aux Folles

György Ligeti: on the 100th anniversary of his birth, we celebrate the Hungarian-Austrian composer and the 2023 Proms performances of his work - music which was famously used by filmmaker Stanley Kubrick in The Shining and A Space Odyssey. Pianist Danny Driver, and music critic, author and librettist Jessica Duchen join Tom to discuss.Plus we review La Cage Aux Folles - the musical story of a gay couple running a drag nightclub, and new Italian film L'immensita, starring Penelope Cruz - about a young girl in 70s Rome who yearns to be a boy, Our reviewers are theatre critic David Benedict, and writer, editor and podcaster Thea Lenarduzzi. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Emma Wallace
10/08/2342m 22s

Anohni, artists' intellectual property, Bruntwood Prize-winning play Bullring Techno Makeout Jamz

Mercury Prize winning and Oscar-nominated artist Anohni returns with a soulful new album, My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross, released under the moniker Anonhi and the Johnsons for the first time.The artist Michael Moebius is preparing to launch another legal battle to protect his intellectual property, after successfully suing 399 companies for infringing his copyright in a landmark lawsuit. To discuss why artists and designers need better protection, Nick Ahad is joined by US lawyer Jeff Gluck and Margaret Heffernan, Chair of the Design and Artists Copyright Society.Playwright Nathan Queeley-Dennis is in Edinburgh appearing in his debut play, a monologue which won the Bruntwood Prize last year. Nathan tells Nick about writing and performing Bullring Techno Makeout Jamz, a love letter to Brimingham, barbers and love itself.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
09/08/2342m 16s

Bruce Lee, mental health in reality TV, poet Sean Street on birdsong

On the 50th anniversary of the release of the martial arts film Enter The Dragon, actor and filmmaker Daniel York Loh and Bruce Lee’s biographer Matthew Polly discuss the star of the film, Bruce Lee, and his continuing influence across culture.As reality TV remains a staple of our television schedules, Carolyn Atkinson reports on the work that television production companies are now doing to support the mental wellbeing of the members of the public who become contestants on their shows.The author, poet and sound recordist Seán Street talks about how the challenge of describing the sounds of nature in words makes us listen differently, and why it may encourage us to care more for our environment. His new book is Wild Track - Sound, Text and the Idea of Birdsong.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paul Waters
08/08/2342m 11s

Lucy Prebble on The Effect, Welsh band Adwaith perform and Is the Critic Dead?

When you fall in love how do you know it’s for real, and not just the result of chemicals in your brain? Lucy Prebble’s play The Effect is back at the National Theatre - Tristan and Connie fall in love during a clinical trial for a new antidepressant and wonder if their passion is merely drug-fuelled.The Welsh band Adwaith play their online hit Fel I Fod (How To Be) – just before the Camarthen band appear at the National Eisteddfod. And could it be true that the art of criticism is dying? Theatre critic Mark Shenton believes it might be – but social media influencer Mickey-Jo Boucher says he’s bringing in new audiences. Head critic and reviews editor at The Stage Sam Marlowe says the art of reviewing is evolving and there’s room for both approaches.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry Parker
07/08/2342m 19s

Soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha; Joy Ride film and Ann Patchett’s novel Tom Lake reviewed; composer Carl Davis

The South African soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha talks to Front Row ahead of returning to the Proms this Saturday to sing Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the National Youth Orchestra.Critics Sharlene Teo and Max Liu review Joy Ride, the feature film debut of Adele Lim, who also wrote Crazy Rich Asians - and also Ann Patchett’s new novel Tom Lake, a story about how we tell the story of our lives – and how we fill the inevitable gaps. And the composer and conductor Carl Davis has died. His film and television successes include the themes for the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, ITV's landmark history series the The World At War, and the TV adaptation of Far Pavilions. He wrote part of the Liverpool Oratorio with Paul McCartney to mark the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s 150th anniversary. The composer and author Neil Brand joins us to celebrate the work of Carl Davis. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paul Waters
03/08/2342m 28s

Welsh Fleabag, Social media and comedy in Edinburgh; Moon Palace in Leeds

A new Welsh version of the comedy hit Fleabag is about to premiere at the National Eisteddfod in Boduan. Branwen Davies’ adaptation of the one-woman show for Theatr Clywd has been given the thumb’s up by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who wrote and starred in the original version ten years ago at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It was later turned into an award-winning BBC television series. Davies says she wanted to create a Welsh voice for Fleabag rather than do a word-for-word translation. Her Fleabag talks about her interactions with men in English – but it’s the Welsh language she shared with her dead mother that reveals her most honest and vulnerable moments. Just over halfway through Leeds2023, the city's year-long celebration of culture, Nick visits one of the major commissions - Moon Palace. A new social sculpture and working mobile observatory created by artists Heather Peak and Ivan Morison. They took inspiration from the man known as the "father of civil engineering", John Smeaton, who was born in East Leeds nearly 300 years ago and as well as building his own observatory, designed and built many bridges, canals, water mills, and lighthouses across the UK. And how is social media transforming comedy? Comedian Abi Clarke who’s in Edinburgh did standup for a year but gained more than 900,000 followers on TikTok after posting sketches since the pandemic. Comedy promoter Toby Jones believes it’s a bigger revolution than television and takes comedy directly to consumers, helping to improve diversity and build audiences without so much financial risk.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
02/08/2342m 20s

The Booker Prize longlist; Freddie Mercury's costume archive, Scottish theatre

As the Booker Prize longlist is announced, literary critic Alex Clark takes us through the contenders for the £50,000 literary award for fiction, to be announced on 26th November.In September, a treasure trove of personal items belonging to Freddie Mercury - from fine art to furniture and fashion - will be sold at auction. In the run up to the sales, the collection will go on display to the public at Sotheby’s New Bond Street Galleries. Ahead of the exhibition, Samira gets an exclusive tour of Freddie’s on and off-stage wardrobe by entertainment memorabilia specialists, Wallace and Hodgson.A new report into Scottish theatre is calling for a commercially driven theatre company specialising in new work to be established in Scotland. To find out why, we’re joined by David Brownlee, chief executive of the arts data specialists Data Culture Change, theatre critic of the Scotsman Joyce MacMillan, and Patricia Stead who's executive director and Joint CEO of the Tron Theatre company in Glasgow.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paula McGrath
01/08/2342m 8s

West End producer unmasked, Reassessing the poetry of Virgil, Adjani Salmon on Dreaming Whilst Black

Adjani Salmon is the writer of the award-winning web-series Dreaming Whilst Black, now on BBC Three. He tells Tom Sutcliffe about the reality and his fictional portrayal of the everyday struggles of being an aspiring filmmaker. Also on Front Row - the Aeneid, the epic poem written by Virgil more than 2000 years ago. As well as being one of the great works of classical literature, it's also one of the earliest examples of a work commissioned as political propaganda. Maria Dahvana Headley - the writer behind Vergil! A Mythological Musical, a new audiobook that fuses the life of the poet with that of his greatest work, and Sarah Ruden, who recently updated her translation of the Aeneid and publishes a new biography of the poet in October, discuss why the Aeneid still packs a punch today.And - the Twitter sensation known only as West End Producer, has finally removed his mask and revealed his true identity - one of the theatre industry's biggest secrets. He's... actor Christian Edwards and he's telling Tom about life behind the mask and why he did it.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry Parker
31/07/2342m 25s

Cellist Ana Carla Maza performs, the Mercury Music Prize shortlist

Cuban composer, cellist and singer Ana Carla Maza performs live in the Front Row studio, ahead of her appearance at WOMAD, and discusses the unusual combination of cello and vocals.Tom Sutcliffe is joined by critics Neil McCormick and Tara Joshi to review two of the week’s cultural highlights – the shortlist for this year’s Mercury Music Prize and a new documentary Reframed: Marilyn Monroe.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Corinna Jones
27/07/2342m 25s

Sinéad O'Connor tribute, Edinburgh Fringe previews, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Efua Traoré on children’s books

Kathryn Ferguson, director of the documentary feature Nothing Compares, pays tribute to Sinéad O'Connor whose death was announced today. The film explores the five years at the start of Sinéad O’Connor’s career.Before appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe many performers hone their acts in a series of previews round the country. How does road-testing the shows prepare them for the festival? To discuss, we're joined by experienced comedian Paul Sinha, by Ned Blackburn - producer of a student revue at the Fringe for the first time, and by the artistic director of the Clapham Omnibus Theatre, Marie McCarthy, who is running a season of previews.Frank Cottrell-Boyce's new book The Wonder Brothers tells of two young aspiring magicians who witness the disappearance of Blackpool Tower and vow to get it back. Efua Traoré was frustrated by the lack of diversity in children’s books so decided to write her own. In her latest, One Chance Dance, the hero Jomi heads to Lagos to audition for his missing mother's favourite television dance show so she will spot him. Frank and Efua discuss the magical appeal of pre-teen literature.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry Parker
26/07/2342m 28s

Pianist Christian Blackshaw, tech-inspired funding for artists, playwright Rabiah Hussain

Christian Blackshaw is a renowned classical pianist but has made only a handful of records preferring the concert platform. Ahead of his appearance at the Oxford Piano Festival on 29 July and as a prelude to that talks to Samira about his career and plays in the Front Row studio.What can the world of fine art learn from the tech start-ups of Silicon Valley? Samira speaks to entrepreneur and musician Joey Flores, the co-founder of Inversion Art, a company proposing a new training programme and business model for artists. We also hear from painter and sculptor Servane Mary, one of the first artists to sign up to the programme and from Melanie Gerlis, art market author and columnist for the Financial Times.Rabiah Hussain’s new play at the Royal Court explores the power of words – how the ripple effect of what someone in a position of power says publicly can influence views, create mindsets and even incite violence. She joins Samira to discuss. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Kirsty McQuire
25/07/2342m 13s

Elizabeth Fremantle on Artemisia Gentileschi, French horn player Felix Klieser, logo design

Elizabeth Fremantle talks about her novel ‘Disobedient’, which explores the story of the extraordinary C17th woman artist, Artemisia Gentileschi, and how the traumatic events of her seventeenth year influenced her visceral biblical paintings like ‘Judith Slaying Holofernes’.Ahead of his premiere at the Proms, French horn player Felix Klieser plays in the studio for Front Row and tells Samira Ahmed how, aged four, he surprised his family with his choice of instrument. Born without arms, he explains how he plays by pressing the valves with the toes of his left foot. The potential of digital logo design is investigated by graphic artists Adrian Shaughnessy and Marina Willer.
24/07/2342m 24s

Sarah Phelps on BBC drama The Sixth Commandment, Blur's new album reviewed

Sarah Phelps on BBC drama The Sixth Commandment, Blur's new album reviewed.
20/07/2342m 18s

Christopher Nolan on Oppenheimer, what is Cynghanedd?, club culture under threat

Presenter Nick Ahad meets Christopher Nolan, director of the much anticipated Oppenheimer film. It tells the story of the American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer who, in 1943, assembled a group of scientists in Los Alamos to create the world’s first atomic bomb. Ahead of the National Eisteddfod, the annual festival of Welsh poetry and music, we learn about the poetic tradition of Cynghanedd from Dr Mererid Hopwood and Ceri Wyn Jones. And as nightclubs continue to close across Britain, we look at club culture and why people need to dance together. Nick is joined by the music journalist John Harris and Emma Warren, author of Dance Your Way Home.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Simon Coe
19/07/2342m 18s

20 years of Podcasting, Black Venus, AI Songwriting Challenge

Aindrea Emelife and black women in art. Nigerian-British curator on her Somerset House exhibition Black Venus, addressing colonial history and the representation of black women in art as subject and artist, and her new curatorial role at the Edo Museum of West African Art, opening in Nigeria from 2024. Earlier this year a viral song purporting to feature Drake and The Weeknd was removed from streaming services when it emerged that vocals on the track were not the artists, but were generated by Artificial Intelligence. Songwriters are increasingly concerned that AI could put them out of business, but how worried should they be? The BBC’s Will Chalk is joined by two professional songwriters, Aaron Horn and Holly Henderson, to see who can write the most convincing pop hit – the humans or the machines. 20 years since the launch of the first ever podcast, we look back at the highlights of the medium’s explosive growth. Tom Sutcliffe is joined by podcast pioneer and host of The Allusionist, Helen Zaltzman, and by Dino Sofos, founder and CEO of audio production company Persephonica.
18/07/2342m 23s

Greta Gerwig, Tudor tapestry, Tanika Gupta, Jane Birkin farewell

This Friday sees the release of the much anticipated ‘Barbie’ starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. Samira meets director, Greta Gerwig to discuss the making of the film and her myriad of influences. A tapestry commissioned by Henry VIII has come up for sale in Spain. Historian of early modern textiles Isabella Rosner tells Samira why ‘Saint Paul Directing the Burning of the Heathen Books’ is so significant. We also hear from the collector and philanthropist behind the Auckland Project, Jonathan Ruffer, about why he's campaigning for the tapestry to be saved for the nation and installed at Auckland Castle.Last year, Tanika Gupta’s play, The Empress, was put on the GCSE curriculum for the first time. Set in the late 19th century, the play intertwines the story of Queen Victoria’s relationship with her Indian teacher Abdul Karim, with the story of Rani Das, a young Indian woman brought to the UK by an English family. It was premiered by the RSC in 2013 and Tanika joins Front Row to discuss updating it for a new production. Front Row bids farewell to the actress and singer, Jane Birkin, whose death was announced yesterday.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Corinna Jones
17/07/2342m 22s

Mission Impossible, Herzog & de Meuron, Walter Murch

Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One - the long awaited seventh film in the series - and the Royal Academy's new exhibition about architecture practice Herzog & de Meuron. Ryan Gilbey and Oliver Wainwright review. Plus Walter Murch. The renowned film editor and sound designer has won Oscars for his work with directors like Francis Ford Coppola and Anthony Minghella. On the occasion of his 80th birthday he leads Antonia Quirke through several key scenes from his films, including the Godfather and Apocalypse Now, and explains his use of sound. He also talks about his own films, Return to Oz and the documentary Coup 53.Presenter: Antonia Quirke Producer: Harry Parker
13/07/2342m 19s

Remembering Milan Kundera, author Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Northern Soul Prom, the winner of the Art Fund Museum of the Year

Front Row remembers the renowned Czech-born novelist, poet and essayist Milan Kundera who has died aged 94. Novelist Howard Jacobson and French journalist Agnès Poirier discuss the influence of his magical realist writing. Imagine a world where prison inmates fight to the death, for entertainment. That’s the premise of Chain-Gang All-Stars, the debut novel of Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, who joins Samira live in the studio to discuss writing inspired by his dislike of the American justice system.The first Northern Soul Prom is happening this weekend. Writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie, who has co-curated the Prom, joins Samira to discuss this celebration of the northern club culture of the 1960s and 1970s.And the £120,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year award is announced this evening. In recent weeks, we’ve been spotlighting all of the shortlisted nominees: The Burrell Collection, Glasgow; Leighton House, London; The MAC, Belfast; Natural History Museum, London and Scapa Flow Museum, Orkney. Samira will be speaking to the Director of the winning museum, live from this evening’s ceremony at The British Museum. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Kirsty McQuire
12/07/2342m 20s

Film-maker Sally Potter on her first music album, the British Library turns 50, romance in later life on stage

Sally Potter is best known as a filmmaker- from Orlando starring Tilda Swinton to The Roads Not Taken with Javier Bardem. But she's also a musician, collaborating on the scores for all of her films. Now Sally has released her first album as a singer-songwriter, Pink Bikini and joins Nick Ahad to reflect on this musical coming of age.This month the British Library celebrates its 50th anniversary - a half century of caring for the UK’s research collection. For Front Row, reporter JP Devlin hears the stories of the people gathered at the UK’s national library for their own unique purposes.Why are love stories so often centred on the young? Two playwrights join Nick to discuss dramatizing love in later life. Jennifer Lunn has written Es & Flo about two women in a four decades-long relationship that began in Greenham Common. In Ben Weatherill's Frank and Percy, two men, neither of whom will see sixty again, embark on a romance after meeting while walking their dogs. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
11/07/2342m 14s

PJ Harvey, the Scapa Flow museum, pianist Benjamin Grosvenor performs

PJ Harvey talks to Samira Ahmed about her new album, I Inside the Old Year Dying. She explains how her poetry and lyrics were influenced by the Dorset dialect and how the film-maker Steve McQueen helped her to find new inspiration. Benjamin Grosvenor wowed audiences for the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year competition when he was just eleven years old and is now regarded as one of the most exciting pianists working today. As he prepares for this year’s Proms, he performs in the Front Row studio and explains what drew him to the music he will play. Front Row is hearing from the museum’s shortlisted for this year’s Art Fund Museum of the Year award and tonight reporter Huw Williams is at the Scapa Flow Museum on the island of Hoy in Orkney. He hears about how the refurbished museum, which is named after the Scapa Flow body of water off the island of Hoy, reflects the area’s wartime history.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
10/07/2342m 22s

Kwame Kwei-Armah, Disney Pixar film Elemental reviewed

Kwame Kwei-Armah discusses his play Beneatha's Place, which imagines a future for Beneatha Younger, a character from Lorraine Hansberry’s ground-breaking 1959 play A Raisin in the Sun. He talks to Samira Ahmed about the themes of race and politics in the play, which is set in 1950s Nigeria and the present day. Samira is joined by critics Leila Latif and Ekow Eshun to review some of the cultural highlights of the week: A World in Common, an exhibition of contemporary African photography at Tate Modern in London and Disney Pixar film Elemental, which imagines a world where the inhabitants are all elements.The Edinburgh Film Festival re-launches today, following its forced closure in 2022 when the charity that ran it went into administration. The festival’s director Kate Taylor joins Samira to outline the plans for the re-vamped festival. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Corinna Jones
06/07/2342m 22s

Manchester International Festival Special

Yayoi Kusama: You, Me & The Balloons is the inaugural show in Aviva Studios, the new headquarters for the Manchester International Festival. In a variety of ways Kusama’s distinctive polka dots fill the new Warehouse space. Economics the Blockbuster – It’s Not Business As Usual at The Whitworth is a very different kind of visual art show which asks artists to re-imagine that most topical of subjects, the economy. Art critic Laura Robertson and novelist Okechukwu Nzelu review.In his illustrious career Benji Reid has moved from the world of breakdancing, to contemporary dance, to physical theatre, to hiphop theatre. After pursuing his interest in photography, he has now created a new art form which he calls Choreo-Photolism. He talks to Nick about the importance of curiosity both for artists and the arts. Grammy award winning composer John Luther Adams and the composer Ailís Ní Ríain have been commissioned to create brand new work inspired by the environment as part of the Manchester International Festival. The premiere is Friday, we’ll hear all about it on tonight’s programme. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
05/07/2342m 21s

Ben Okri, film director Shamira Raphaela, Leighton House Museum

The Booker Prize-winning author Sir Ben Okri joins Antonia Quirke to reflect on his new collection Tiger Work, intended as a wake up call for a warming world. It blends fiction, essays and poetry inspired by environmental activism in the face of climate crisis.Film director Shamira Raphaela discusses her documentary Shabu, which follows an aspiring teenage musician from Rotterdam during a single summer.Antonia visits Leighton House in London, one of five finalists for this year's Art Fund Museum of the Year award. The Victorian 'studio house' was once the home of Fredric Leighton, artist, collector and former president of the Royal Academy. Presenter: Antonia Quirke Producer: Olivia Skinner
04/07/2342m 20s

The legendary Dolly Parton and celebrating children's books

Dolly Parton, one of the few global stars to have truly earned the title icon, talks to Samira Ahmed about departing from her Country sound to record an album of Rock songs. Rockstar sees her collaborate with some of the biggest names in music including Paul McCartney, Sting, Elton John and new generation of musicians such as Miley Cyrus and Lizzo. She discusses her long career and mentoring women in music as well as her philanthropy, funding for the COVID vaccine, and the influence of her films and music on feminism.Are musicians at home being unfairly hit with noise abatement notices? Lewisham council have recently issued a notice which prevents one musician from practicing in her own home. We find out more. The Booktastic schools programme: author Patrice Lawrence on the importance of the UK’s only book festival to focus on engaging disadvantaged children and reflecting the diversity of children’s lives in literature.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paul Waters
03/07/2342m 20s

Front Row reviews Indiana Jones; author Brandon Taylor; Young V&A reviewed

Our critics Hanna Flint and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh watch Harrison Ford’s last outing as the title character in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, also starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Is it a crowd-pleasing exit? Presenter Tom Sutcliffe talks to Brandon Taylor about his new novel, The Late Americans. Taylor's debut, Real Life, was Booker Prize nominated and his collection of short fiction, Filthy Animals, won the Story Prize. He discusses interweaving tales of sex and aspiration, played out amongst friends in a mid-western university town.Hanna and Larushka also review Young V&A, the new incarnation of the Museum of Childhood in London’s Bethnal Green, which is reopening after a £13 million 3-year redevelopment. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry Parker
29/06/2342m 29s

Playwright Kimber Lee, the art of pattern discussed, Elgan Llŷr Thomas on queer culture in classical song

In 2019 Kimber Lee won the first International Award from the Bruntwood Prize, the UK’s biggest national competition for playwriting, with her work - Untitled F*ck M*ss S**gon Play. As the play’s world premiere production prepares to open this year’s Manchester International Festival, Kimber joins Front Row to discuss how Groundhog Day helped her to take on a century of East Asian stereotypes.Finding queer musical stories: tenor and composer Elgan Llyr Thomas has been exploring LGBTQ+ representation in vocal music and performs live.Eric Broug, writer and artist specialising in Islamic geometric design and Annemarie O’Sullivan, basket-maker and artist, join Nick Ahad to discuss the nature of pattern in their respective fields and its fundamental presence in culture.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
28/06/2342m 21s

Michael R Jackson on his hit musical, Ray BLK on Champion, the Natural History Museum

Playwright and composer Michael R Jackson talks about his musical A Strange Loop, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The musical is based on his own experiences and follows a black man working as an usher at the musical The Lion King, who is himself writing a musical about a black male usher writing a musical. Michael R Jackson talks about why his reflective drama was such a hit in the United States.Singer songwriter Ray BLK discusses making her acting debut in new BBC and Netflix drama Champion. Written by Candice Carty Williams, the series is set in the cut-throat world of the British music industry.Samira Ahmed is at the Natural History Museum in London, which has been shortlisted for the Art Fund Museum of the Year Award. She takes a tour of the Titanosaur exhibition and hears about the museum’s expertise in mammals and dinosaurs.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Kirsty McQuire
27/06/2342m 18s

Wes Anderson on Asteroid City, Bob Stanley on his biography of the Bee Gees

Wes Anderson, known for his quirky storylines and individual aesthetic, talks about his latest film Asteroid City. Set in 1955, at a science competition in the middle of the desert, it follows a cast of characters who are thrown into close contact when an alien appears. Wes Anderson discusses his fascination with America in the 1950s and working with his high profile cast, including Scarlett Johansson and Tom Hanks.The Bee Gees were megastars across four decades, but to musician and music journalist Bob Stanley, they remain critically underrated. In his new biography, Bee Gees: Children of the World, Stanley argues that the Gibb brothers were far more influential than they’ve been given credit for since they emerged in the 1960s. He joins Samira to discuss their rise, endless reinvention and why he believes they should be reclaimed.Stephen Smith reports on the opening up of Pompeii's treasures at the Naples Museum of Archaeology.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Corinna Jones
26/06/2342m 24s

Elliot Page, Wicker Man music, Jewish Museum and Holocaust Memorial

Oscar-nominated Elliot Page, best known as star of comedy drama Juno, on coming out as gay and as a trans man, all in the glare of the Hollywood spotlight - and sharing this now in his new memoir, Pageboy.Marking Jewish history. With proposals for a Holocaust Memorial in London, and the closure of the Jewish Museum building, historian Sir Simon Schama, and Aviva Dautch, poet and Executive Director at Jewish Renaissance, discuss what recent developments mean for Jewish culture.The Wicker Man. As the cult horror film turns 50, Scottish folk musician Alasdair Roberts and ex-Pogues hurdy gurdy player Jem Finer celebrate with music, live in the Front Row studio.Plus, writer on architecture Gillian Darley appreciates the work of the late Sir Michael Hopkins.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry ParkerThis programme has been edited since broadcast
26/06/2342m 21s

National Portrait Gallery refurbishment and play Dear England reviewed, violinist Rachel Podger

Tom is joined by reviewers Boyd Hilton and Susannah Clapp who look at Dear England, a new play by James Graham at the National Theatre which examines the changes in England’s football since Gareth Southgate became manager. And the National Portrait Gallery reopens today having had the most extensive refurbishment since 1896, including a redisplay, a new entrance and public spaces. Violinist Rachel Podger performs from the Baroque repertoire live in the Front Row studio.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Sarah Johnson
22/06/2342m 26s

The winner of the Yoto Carnegie Medal, the MAC in Belfast and does the UK need more music arenas?

Front Row hears from the winner of this year’s Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing, which is awarded for a book for children or young people. Manon Steffan Ros has won for her novel The Blue Book of Nebo, the first time the prize has been awarded to a book in translation. Originally written in Welsh, it explores Welsh identity and culture.There are plans for eight new arenas across the UK, including ones in Cardiff, Bristol, Gateshead and Dundee. But does the UK really need more arenas when smaller, grassroots music venues are said to be struggling, closing at the rate of one per week? Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust, and Tom Lynch of ASM Global, who run arenas all over the world, discuss. Steven Rainey reports from the MAC, the Metropolitan Arts Centre, in Belfast, which has been shortlisted for this year’s Art Fund Museum of the Year. The museum’s chief executive Anne McReynolds and creative director Hugh Mulholland discuss how the venue has thrived as a creative hub in a Belfast looking to the future after the Troubles. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
21/06/2342m 40s

The Beatles at Stowe, Nick Drake, Maggi Hambling

The Beatles at Stowe School: Front Row made the news with the discovery of the earliest recording of a concert by The Beatles in this country, at Stowe School in April 1963. Today Samira brings news of a new home for that recording, one where anyone interested will be able to hear it. And, remarkably, another Beatles recording, made that day, has surfaced too.Plus Maggi Hambling discusses her new exhibition, Origins, which has just opened at Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury in Suffolk. Like Gainsborough, Maggi Hambling was born in Sudbury and these works reflect on her early life as an artist and the influence of her parents and lifelong friends on her career. And Nick Drake. Today would have been the musician’s 75th birthday. He died aged 26, before he found worldwide fame and admiration. His sister Gabrielle Drake and biographer Richard Morton Jack join Samira to remember his life and music.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Emma Wallace
19/06/2342m 29s

Glenda Jackson remembered, Wayne McGregor, Black Mirror reviewed

Front Row plays tribute to Oscar winning actor Glenda Jackson, who has died aged 87. Theatre critic Sarah Crompton remembers the power of her stage performances, and Aisling Walsh discusses directing her in her TV drama Elizabeth is Missing. Choreographer Wayne McGregor talks about his new ballet, Untitled 2023, which was inspired by the works of Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera.And Tom Sutcliffe is joined by critics Erica Wagner and Isabel Stevens to review some of the week’s cultural highlights, including the new series of dystopian TV drama Black Mirror and the new novel from Lorrie Moore, I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Sarah Johnson
15/06/2342m 28s

The Burrell Collection, Accordion Quartet, Women's Prize Winner Barbara Kingsolver, Folk Film Gathering

Allan Little visits the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, which re-opened last year after a £68 million transformation and is now a finalist for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023. He talks to Director Duncan Dornan and Caroline Currie, Learning and Access curator. Ahead of their performance at the St Magnus Festival in Orkney which gets underway on Friday we have a live performance from members of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's Accordion Ensemble whose theatrical performances breathe new life into existing repertoire from tango to classical. We hear from one the players who'll be performing in the ensemble and in a number of other concerts throughout the festival; BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Ryan Corbett and Serbian born accordion professor at the RCS, Djordji Gajic who'll also perform with Ryan a duet of Puccini's Crisantemi.The winner of the Women's Prize is announced tonight. We hear live from the winner direct from the ceremony.Jamie Chambers founded The Folk Film Gathering in 2015. He explains what that is to Allan Little and introduces the focus this year on Ukrainian folk filmmaking. There are also documentaries about second sight in the Hebrides, and rarely screened Scottish classics from the 1970s. Each screening is preceded with live music and storytelling. Presenter: Allan Little Producer: Tim Prosser
14/06/2342m 14s

Two debuts: novelist Cecilia Rabess, film director Dionne Edwards; the cost of maintaining arts organisations' buildings

Author and former data scientist, Cecilia Rabess joins Samira Ahmed to discuss her debut novel, Everything’s Fine, which explores the unlikely and complicated relationship between a liberal black woman working in the world of investment banking and her conservative white male colleague, during the lead-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Following yesterday’s announcement that the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool is to close by the end of the month, Front Row takes a close look at the cost for arts organisations of maintaining infrastructure and cultural heritage sites across the UK. Joining Samira to discuss this are: architecture correspondent for The Times, Jonathan Morrison; Gillian Miller, CEO of Liverpool’s Royal Court, who reflects on the challenges of maintaining and modernising that grade II listed art deco theatre; and CEO of the Southbank Centre in London, Elaine Bedell, who thinks it’s time for new era of regeneration of the arts. Pretty Red Dress, which captured a lot of attention when first shown at the BFI London Film Festival last year, is the debut feature film of screenwriter and director Dionne Edwards. She joins Front Row to talk about how the eponymous red dress becomes a way for the black family members, at the heart of the film, to define and redefine themselves.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Oliver Jones
13/06/2342m 19s

Mad Musicals, Eric Whitacre, Women's Prize - Laline Paull

Surprising musicals: new musicals are packing in audiences - and some with quite unlikely subjects. Whilst the classic Broadway musical, like 42nd Street, Guys and Dolls, and Oklahoma!, remain as popular as ever, there’s now a musical based on Bake Off, and the plot of Operation Mincemeat is itself a plot - to hoodwink the Nazis with a corpse in disguise. Critic David Benedict, Natasha Hodgson, co-writer of Operation Mincemeat, and Matthew Iliffe, Assistant Director of Assassins, discuss what’s happening with the musical.Eric Whitacre is one of the world’s most popular living composers. He specialises in choral music and is a virtual choir pioneer, uniting thousands of singers all over the globe. He talks to Samira Ahmed about Home, his new album with acclaimed vocal ensemble Voces8.Plus, the Women’s Prize For Fiction. In the last of our interviews from authors on the shortlist, we speak to Laline Paull - whose novel Pod explores sealife in the Indian Ocean, with themes of war and migration under the shadow of climate change. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May
12/06/2342m 25s

Film Chevalier and new TV drama Significant Other reviewed

Gaming isn’t just something you play, it is also a spectator sport! Comedian and streamer Ellie Gibson and journalist and gamer Marie Le Conte join us to discuss the cultural phenomenon of game streaming. Linton Stephens, bassoonist and presenter of Radio 3’s Classical Fix, and filmmaker and journalist Catherine Bray join Front Row to review Chevalier, the new film about the life of the French-Caribbean musician Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, played by Kelvin Harrison Jr. They’ll also give their verdicts on ITV comedy drama Significant Other about neighbours thrown together in adverse circumstances, starring Katherine Parkinson and Youssef Kerkour.And to mark the start of Pride month, the UK’s annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, Front Row hears from the French music star Christine and the Queens, who is curating this year’s Meltdown festival. He discusses Jean Genet’s 1943 novel Our Lady of the Flowers and its significance as a queer work of art.
08/06/2342m 21s

Dave Johns on I, Daniel Blake; the Liverpool Biennial; why Dario Fo's plays speak to this moment?

The Liverpool Biennial, the UK’s largest contemporary visual arts festival, begins this weekend. Arts journalist Laura Robertson reviews, and the curator of the biennial, Khanyisile Mbongwa, discuss coming up with this year’s theme – uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost things – which reflects on Liverpool’s history as a slave port but also provides a sense of hope and joy.Nobel Prize-winning Italian playwright Dario Fo was famous for plays that careered between farce and current affairs. He wrote his most successful plays during Italy’s years of economic crisis in the 1970s, and there’s been an upsurge in productions of them in the UK this year. Playwrights Deborah McAndrew and Tom Basden discuss their respective adaptations of They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! and Accidental Death of an Anarchist.For Dave Johns, the lead role in Ken Loach’s multi-award winning film, I, Daniel Blake, marked his debut as a film actor. His performance as a man trapped and impoverished in the Catch-22 of the benefits system was admired by many. Now Dave has adapted the film for the stage. It opened at Northern Stage in Newcastle and begins a nationwide tour next week. He talks to Nick Ahad retelling the story of the film in a new way.Presenter: Nick Ahad Presenter: Ekene Akalawu
07/06/2342m 44s

Rufus Wainwright, hairdressing film Medusa Deluxe, the rise of the understudy

Rufus Wainwright talks to Samira Ahmed about his new album Folkocracy, a collection of reimagined Folk songs. The album includes collaborations with artists including John Legend, Chaka Khan and his sister Martha Wainwright.Thomas Hardiman talks about his new film Medusa Deluxe, a gritty murder mystery set at a hairdressing competition. He explains where his unusual idea came from and why he uses his films to explore obsession, whether with hairdressing or carpet sales. Before Covid, many theatre productions didn’t cast understudies at all but now plays are casting two for one role. The BBC’s Carolyn Atkinson investigates the rise of the understudy. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
06/06/2343m 16s

Author Maggie O’Farrell, New opera Giant, The consumerism in creativity

Charles Byrne was an 18th-century “Irish giant” whose skeleton was stolen and put on display against his wishes. 240 years after his death, he is being remembered in a new electro acoustic opera rather than as a museum-piece curiosity. Dawn Kemp of the Hunterian Museum discusses removing the famous skeleton from their collection, and composer, musician, and robotic artist Sarah Angliss tells us about her new opera, Giant, which celebrates Byrne on stage, and is opening the Aldeburgh Festival.The Irish writer Maggie O’Farrell’s last novel “Hamnet” is now playing on stage at the Globe Theatre and won the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her latest “The Marriage Portrait” has made it onto the 2023 shortlist, and was an instant Sunday Times Bestseller. Both focus on the lives of women hidden in history behind men of influence. In the next of our series meeting the Women’s Prize finalists, we’ll be finding out what it is about these stories that inspire her, and how it feels to make the shortlist for a second time.It is commonly accepted, including here at Front Row, that creativity is a good thing. But two new books: Samuel. W. Franklin’s The Cult of Creativity and Against Creativity by Oli Mould, challenge that view, arguing that creativity is a recent invention and that the artistic impulse has been co-opted by the capitalist military industrial complex. Both authors discuss their ideas with Tom Sutcliffe.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May
05/06/2342m 40s

Punk exhibition reviewed, Reality film director, TV drama White House Plumbers reviewed

Critics Katie Puckrik and Michael Carlson join Front Row to review the exhibition Punk: Rage and Revolution at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery and Soft Touch Arts.The American writer and director Tina Satter talks about her new film Reality, starring Sydney Sweeney. The script is based on the transcript of the FBI interrogation of the whistleblower Reality Winner, who leaked secret documents about Russian interference in the 2016 US election.And Katie Puckrik and Michael Carlson also review a new TV drama series about Watergate starring Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux, White House Plumbers. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Sarah Johnson
01/06/2342m 18s

Shane Meadows on The Gallows Pole, and GoGo Penguin perform live

Writer/director Shane Meadows and actor Michael Socha on the new BBC TV adaptation of Benjamin Myers' novel, The Gallows Pole.The Mercury Music Prize-nominated minimal jazz trio GoGo Penguin play tracks from their new album, Everything Is Going To Be OK, live in the studio – and discuss how they alter their instruments to extend their range of sound.As the interests and concerns of the First Nations people rise up the cultural agenda in Australia exemplified by the plan for the National Aboriginal Art Gallery, Ce Benedict, based in Australia and a Senior Producer at ABC Radio National, reports on how that story is resonating in their homeland and in the UK.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
31/05/2342m 50s

Chita Rivera, a new funding model for the arts discussed, Priscilla Morris

Broadway legend Chita Rivera, who made her name playing Anita in the original stage production of West Side Story, talks to Samira Ahmed about the highlights of her seven decade career, ahead of the publication of her memoir.Arts consultant Amanda Parker, formerly editor of Arts Professional magazine and now of the Forward Institute, and theatre director Tom Morris, who until recently ran Bristol Old Vic, discuss new approaches to funding the arts.Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist: Priscilla Morris on her nominated debut novel Black ButterfliesPresenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May
30/05/2342m 20s

The 75th anniversary of the Windrush - the cultural legacy of a generation

The Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks on 22 June 1948 from Jamaica. Front Row marks the artistic and cultural contribution of a generation of people from the Caribbean, now characterised as the Windrush Generation, who arrived then, soon before or in the years following. Samira talks to the Jamaican-born actor and director Anton Phillips about his career, including starring in the cult classic Space 1999 and directing James Baldwin's The Amen Corner in a landmark production on the London stage. Andrea Levy's highly acclaimed 2004 novel Small Island tells the story of four people caught up in the Caribbean migration story and has been adapted for radio, TV and stage. The playwright Patricia Cumper, poet and writer Hannah Lowe and novelist Louise Hare discuss the impact of the book on them and their own writing. The composer Shirley J Thompson OBE talks about how her Jamaican heritage shaped her music making and about composing for the Coronation. And Kevin LeGendre explains the impact of the arrival of calypso and steel pan on the musical life of the nation.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Sarah Johnson
29/05/2342m 18s

Jhalak Book Prize, Tate Britain Rehang, The Little Mermaid, Cannes

The Jhalak Prize is an annual literary prize for British or British-Resident writers of colour, established in 2016. Previous winners include Reni Eddo-Lodge and Johny Pitts. Tom speaks to the winners of this year’s Jhalak Prize and Jhalak Children’s and Young Adult Prize, announced at the British Library this evening.This week Tate Britain revealed a complete rehang of its free collection displays - the first in ten years. There are over 800 works by over 350 artists, featuring much-loved favourites and recent discoveries, including 70 works which entered the collection in the past 5 years. The rehang intends to reflect revolutionary changes in art, culture and society, and present new work by some of Britain’s most exciting contemporary artists. Associate arts editor of The Times, Alice Jones, and TV and film critic Amon Warmann give their view.Plus The Little Mermaid. In their 100th year, Disney have reworked their 1989 Oscar winning animated musical classic into a live action version, starring Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King and Melissa McCarthy. Alice and Amon review.And the Cannes Film Festival - critic Jason Solomons offers his round up of this year's films.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Corinna Jones
25/05/2342m 24s

Playing Putin on stage in Patriots, DJ Taylor on Orwell, new V&A Photography Centre

Patriots, Peter Morgan’s play set in Russia in 1991, traces the rise and fall of Boris Berezovsky, who helped Vladimir Putin take power. As Patriots transfers to the West End, Allan Little – who as the BBC’s Moscow correspondent met Berezovsky – talks to the director Rupert Goold and Will Keen, winner of an Olivier Award for his performance as Vladimir Putin. The V&A Photography Centre opens this week, the largest suite of galleries in the UK dedicated to a permanent photography collection. Allan is joined by curator Marta Weiss and AI deep fake photographer Jake Elwes.DJ Taylor won the 2003 Whitbread Prize for Biography for his first telling of George Orwell’s life. He reveals why, twenty years later, he’s returned to the subject with the publication of Orwell: The New Life. Presenter: Allan Little Producer: Timothy Prosser
24/05/2342m 5s

Sparks, EM Forster adaptations, nature mystery writer Bob Gilbert

Sparks, the American pop duo formed in 1960s Los Angeles, are back with their 26th album, The Girl is Crying in her Latte. Samira Ahmed meets brothers Ron and Russell Mael to discuss how Cate Blanchett came to be dancing in the music video for the title track and their extraordinary longevity.E. M. Forster’s 1908 novel A Room with a View is being dramatised for Radio 4, as is the novel The Ballad of Syd and Morgan, which imagines a meeting between Forster and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd. Samira is joined by the producers Marcy Kahan and Roger James Elsgood to explore Forster's enduring appeal and transposing prose into audio drama.Nature writer Bob Gilbert's new book The Missing Musk: A Casebook of Mysteries from the Natural World sets out to discover why, all over the world, a popular fragrant flowering plant has lost its scent. Samira talks to the former urban nature columnist about how his book has invented a new literary genre, the detective nature mystery. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
23/05/2342m 17s

Arlo Parks, Martin Amis remembered, depicting The Troubles

Singer songwriter Arlo Parks talks about following her highly acclaimed first album with a new release, My Soft Machine, which includes a collaboration with American musician Phoebe Bridgers.Film director James Bluemel discusses his new documentary, Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland, which reflects on the troubles using human stories. He’s joined by Craig Murray, curator of the Imperial War Museum’s new exhibition Living With The Troubles, which takes the same approach.The writer Martin Amis has died aged 73. To discuss how his novels defined an era and reflect on his literary criticism, Tom Sutcliffe is joined by critics John Self and Alex Clark. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May
22/05/2342m 31s

Caleb Azumah Nelson, Reviews of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret & China's Hidden Century

Caleb Azumah Nelson’s debut novel, Open Water, won the Costa First Novel award and critical acclaim. He joins Front Row to talk about his second, Small Worlds, the story of a young musician looking for his own space in the streets of Peckham, finding his way with love, family and his Ghanaian heritage. The exhibition China’s Hidden Century at the British Museum is billed as a world first, bringing together 300 artefacts from the Qing Dynasty’s ‘long 19th Century’- the final chapter of dynastic rule in China. Joining Tom Sutcliffe to review it are Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford and the film critic Larushka Ivan-Zadeh. Larushka and Rana have also been watching one of this week’s big film releases, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, starring Rachel McAdams and based on the classic young adult novel by Judy Blume, first published in 1970.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Corinna Jones
18/05/2342m 32s

Chuck D of Public Enemy on watercolours; author Jacqueline Crooks; artist Andy Holden

Chuck D on his watercolour art. He is regarded as one of hip-hop's greatest MCs with his powerful lyrical dexterity a key component in Public Enemy's international success, but what is less well known is that visual art was his first passion. It's a love that he has returned to in recent years and he joins Front Row to discuss the first collection of his watercolour and pen paintings.Plus author Jacqueline Crooks on her first novel, Fire Rush, which has been nominated for the Women’s Prize For Fiction. 16 years in the making, it draws on many of the author’s own experiences of loss, belonging and discrimination to create a music and memory-filled dramatic narrative.And artist Andy Holden on his exhibition Full of Days. Intrigued after discovering unknown amateur artist Hermione Burton’s body of work in a charity shop after her death, he turned it into her fantasy exhibition – along with his own new work inspired by her, including an animation with Saint Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell. Full of Days: Hermione Burton and Andy Holden is at the Gallery of Everything in London until 21 May and then tours. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
17/05/2342m 27s

Contemporary sari design; the politics of museum labelling; Mat Osman's novel The Ghost Theatre

Samira Ahmed talks to Priya Khanchandani, the curator of The Offbeat Sari, an exhibition of contemporary saris at the Design Museum in London.The art critic Louisa Buck and the journalist James Marriott consider the vexed politics of museum labels.Mat Osman, bass player with the band Suede, joins Samira to discuss his new novel, The Ghost Theatre, which dramatises the lives of boy actors in 1601. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
16/05/2342m 24s

Brokeback Mountain on stage, Venice architecture biennale, author Tan Twan Eng

Brokeback Mountain on stage: musician and librettist Dan Gillespie Sells discusses writing the songs for a new stage production of Brokeback Mountain, adapted from Annie Proulx’s short story about the romance between two men working as sheep herders in 1960s Wyoming.Venice Architecture Biennale: the exhibition at the British Pavilion this year draws on traditions practised by different diaspora communities in the UK - such as Jamaicans playing dominoes and Cypriots cooking outside - and explores how they occupy space, so this can be included in planning the built environment. Two of the curators, Meneesha Kellay and Joseph Henry, discuss how architecture goes beyond buildings and economic structures. Plus art generates art in Malaysian novelist Tan Twan Eng’s new book The House of Doors, inspired in part by the life of William Somerset Maugham and the stories he wrote drawing on his travels in Malaysia.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May
15/05/2342m 27s

June Givanni on the PanAfrican cinema archive, Gwen John at Pallant House Gallery reviewed

In 2021, June Givanni was presented with the British Independent Film Awards Special Jury Prize for what was described as “an extraordinary, selfless and lifelong contribution to documenting a pivotal period of film history” with her extensive archive focussed on African and African diaspora cinema. The archive is now the subject of a new exhibition - PerAnkh: The June Givanni PanAfrican Cinema Archive. June joins Front Row to discuss turning her personal passion into a public resource.Gwen John: the modern painter of interiors and solitary women, was once in the shadow of the men in her life - brother Augustus, Rodin, and Whistler. Critics Hettie Judah and Ben Luke review a new exhibition of her work at Pallant House Gallery, which considers her art and life, and her status as one of the most significant artists of the early 20th century. They also review Claire Kilroy’s novel Soldier Sailor: a searing portrait of new motherhood. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Eliane Glaser
11/05/2342m 29s

Author Louise Kennedy, Royal patronage in the arts, beatboxer SK Shlomo

Louise Kennedy's debut novel Trespasses has been shortlisted for this year's Women's Prize for Fiction. Set in Belfast in 1975 at the height of the Troubles it traces the love affair between a young Catholic schoolteacher and an older man, a married Protestant barrister. Front Row will be talking to the authors on the shortlist in the weeks before the announcement of the prize on June 14th.Musician and beatboxer SK Shlomo has collaborated with Björk, performed with Damon Albarn, Ed Sheeran and Rudimental, became World Looping champion and artist in residence at London’s Soutbank centre and played Glastonbury. They discuss their new show, which explores coming back to performance after struggling with their mental health. And how might the patronage of King Charles III impact the arts? Art critics Jonathan Jones and Ruth Guilding discuss the history of Royal patronage and what his tastes may mean for culture in the coming years. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry Parker
10/05/2342m 13s

Dennis Potter’s newly discovered play, Cathi Unsworth on goth culture, artist Isaac Julien

Samira Ahmed speaks to John Cook, Professor of Media at Glasgow Caledonian University about his discovery of a previously unknown early version of the seminal screenplay The Singing Detective by Dennis Potter. Samira is also joined in the studio by Ken Trodd, who co-produced The Singing Detective for television. Music writer Cathi Unsworth discusses her new book, Season of the Witch: The Book of Goth, which explores the enduring influence of Goth counterculture. And the artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien reflects on his major retrospective, What Freedom is to Me, at Tate Britain. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
10/05/2342m 7s

Eurovision comes to Liverpool

Recorded at the Hornby Library inside Liverpool Central Library, in front of a live audience, as Liverpool gears up to host The Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine. Two novelists from The Big Eurovision Read, a list of 12 books from The Reading Agency and BBC Arts talk to Nick Ahad about the unifying power of music: Pete Paphides on his autobiography Broken Greek, A story of chip shops and pop songs, and Matt Cain tells us about his novel The Madonna of Bolton.Yemeni British poet and activist Amina Atiq performs her poem Daifa, commissioned for the Big Eurovision Welcome concert.Former conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Vasily Petrenko is one of the city’s Citizens of Honour. He’s returned to the city for a concert with the orchestra. He explains how music can be a unifying force and why he has suspended his work in Russia. There’s music from the Liverpudlian electro pop band Stealing Sheep, along with local singer songwriter Natalie McCool, who open the EuroFestival with Welcome to Eurotopia.And Ukrainian singer and musician Iryna Muha performs her next single Come Back.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Andrea Kidd
08/05/2342m 14s

Playwright Jonathan Harvey on A Thong for Europe, Tom Hanks’s new novel reviewed

Merseyside-native Jonathan Harvey discusses his new play, A Thong For Europe, which combines his love of Liverpool with his passion for Eurovision to create an exuberant comedy where the Eurovision final really does become a family affair. And this week our panel of cultural critics review two debuts - Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks’s first novel The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, and Harka, the debut feature from the Egyptian-American filmmaker Lotfy Nathan. The literary critic Max Liu and the film critic Leila Latif join Samira Ahmed to give their assessment of Hanks’s time travelling tour of the film industry on the page and Nathan’s portrait of Tunisia on screen, set some ten years after the Arab Spring.
04/05/2342m 6s

Writer Jack Thorne, Derek Jarman’s Blue reimagined, music for the King’s coronation

Jack Thorne talks about his new play, The Motive and the Cue, which is about John Gielgud directing Richard Burton in a 1960s production of Hamlet on Broadway. He discusses the relationship between the two famous figures in the world of stage and screen.Composers Debbie Wiseman and Sarah Glass, who have both been commissioned to write music for the King’s Coronation, discuss composing for a landmark Royal occasion. To mark 30 years since the release of Derek Jarman’s final film Blue - which reflects his battle with HIV - director Neil Bartlett and composer Simon Fisher Turner have created a live performance of the film, called Blue Now. They explain the importance of Jarman and of Blue, both then and now. Presenter: Shahidha Bari Producer: Eliane Glaser
03/05/2342m 34s

Sir Lenny Henry on his new play, music from the Tashi Lhunpo monastery, publishing and net zero

Sir Lenny Henry is making his debut as a playwright for the stage with August in England, a one-man drama about the Windrush scandal. Tom Sutcliffe meets Lenny to discuss his move from stage to page and back again, as he takes on the title role of August at The Bush Theatre in London.50 years ago, after the Chinese invasion of Tibet, the ancient Tashi Lhunpo Monastery relocated to South India, where the exiled monks are dedicated to maintaining the culture and religion of their homeland. Simon Broughton reports from the monastery where he meets some of the monks about to tour the UK performing ritual dance and music. At the Gutor festival he witnesses elaborate masked dances and hears the awe-inspiring sound of Tibetan trumpets - four metres long. Can books ever be sustainable? How can publishing reach net zero? Children’s author Piers Torday, Chair of the Society of Authors’ Sustainability Committee, and commercial publishing veteran Amanda Ridout, CEO of Boldwood Books and Chair of the Independent Publishing Guild’s Sustainability Group discuss the challenges of making the book industry greener.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry Parker
02/05/2342m 19s

Rachmaninoff - the 20th century's great romantic

Samira celebrates the music and life of Sergei Rachmaninoff. With pianist Kirill Gerstein, who has released a new recording of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic, Marina Frolova-Walker, Professor of Music at Cambridge, pianist Lucy Parham, who has created a Composer Portrait concert about Rachmaninoff that she is currently touring across the UK. Plus film historian and composer Neil Brand discusses the use of Rachmaninoff's music in film classics such as Brief Encounter. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Timothy Prosser
01/05/2342m 6s

Patrick Bringley on being a museum guard and TV drama Citadel reviewed

Patrick Bringley sought solace after the death of his brother and found it as a guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York where he worked for ten years. He joins Front Row to talk about his memoir of that time, All the Beauty in the World.Novelist Tahmima Anam and film critic Jason Solomons review the Russo Brothers' new spy thriller series Citadel starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Stanley Tucci, as well as the satirical action comedy film Polite Society, directed by Nida Manzoor.And art critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston reacts to the Turner Prize shortlist, announced today.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Sarah Johnson
27/04/2342m 29s

The making of the new RSC production of Cymbeline

A special edition following the Royal Shakespeare’s Company’s new production of Cymbeline, the final play in Shakespeare’s First Folio - a collection that reaches its 400th anniversary this year. Acclaimed and award-winning Shakespearean, Greg Doran, has directed every play in the First Folio except Cymbeline. For him it’s one of Shakespeare’s most complex creations and he will be directing it for the first time as his swansong as the RSC's Artistic Director Emeritus. From the start of the production’s rehearsal period until its first performance, Front Row follows Greg and his team as they get to grips with a play criticised and celebrated for its genre-busting, location-hopping, multiple plotlines, topped by the appearance of the god Jupiter descending from the heavens on an eagle.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
26/04/2342m 24s

Playwright Ryan Calais Cameron, musician Stewart Copeland and is Morris dancing having a moment?

The playwright Ryan Calais Cameron's critically acclaimed play For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy has just transferred to London's West End. Samira Ahmed talks to him about its success and his new play at The Kiln in London, Retrograde, set in 1950s Hollywood and following a young Sidney Poitier.Stewart Copeland, founder member and drummer of The Police, now a composer for film, opera and ballet, has reinterpreted the 80s rock band's biggest hits. He talks to Samira about his operas, movie soundtracks and his new album and tour, Police Deranged for Orchestra. Next Monday is May Day when morris dancers will perform at dawn to greet the summer. Morris dancing is itself enjoying a moment in the sun: Boss Morris, an all-female folk dance group, performed with the Best New Artist winners, Wet Leg, at this year's Brit Awards. Samira is joined by Michael Heaney, author of a new history of the dance; the musician Rob Harbron, who composes new morris tunes; and Lily Cheetham of Boss Morris – who will dance for us. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paul Waters
25/04/2342m 17s

Patrick Radden Keefe on the Sackler family, Iestyn Davies performs live, sustainable theatre

Patrick Radden Keefe, who has been shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize of Prizes award, discusses his book Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty. It tells the shocking story of the Sackler family and the part their company, Purdue Pharma, played in America's opioid crisis.“The word ‘divine’,” Iestyn Davies says, ”has changed its meaning to indicate nowadays beauty as well as Divinity.” The songs countertenor Iestyn Davies has selected for his new album, Divine Music: An English Songbook, reflect this change. There are settings by Purcell, Britten and Butterworth and words by Shakespeare, de la Mare and Housman. That prolific artist Anonymous makes a significant contribution, too. Iestyn Davies talks to Tom Sutcliffe about his choices and, accompanied by pianist Joseph Middleton, performs one of them, appropriately titled, ‘A Hymn on Divine Music’.Theatre is not only becoming increasingly focused on telling stories about our climate crisis, but also thinking more about how sustainably it actually stages those stories. Paddy Dillon, theatre architect and founder of the Theatre Green Book, and Kate McGrath, director of Fuel Theatre Company, talk about cutting the carbon footprint of fixed theatres and touring productions. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May
24/04/2342m 9s

Everything But the Girl, French film Pacifiction and TV drama The Diplomat reviewed

Tom Sutcliffe meets Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt of Everything But the Girl as they release Fuse, their eleventh studio album and their first in almost 24 years following 1999’s Temperamental.Today's critics are Briony Hanson, Director of Film at the British Council and Carne Ross, former British diplomat and writer. They'll be talking about The Diplomat on Netflix which follows the story of the newly appointed US Ambassador to the UK.Briony and Carne will also review French film Pacifiction, which taps into the world of the high commissioner in French Polynesia. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Sarah Johnson
20/04/2342m 27s

Opera composer Jeanine Tesori, Margaret MacMillan on Paris 1919, new ideas in architecture

Composer Jeanine Tesori's Blue for the ENO; Baillie Gifford winner of winners for non-fiction shortlist - Margaret MacMillan; new ideas in architecture discussedPresenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Jerome Weatherald
19/04/2342m 21s

Jazz singer Georgia Cecile, the controversy surrounding Barcelona’s La Sagrada Família

Plans to finish Barcelona’s famous church, La Sagrada Família, have been causing controversy as they involve demolishing apartment blocks to make way for the new entrance. Journalist Guy Hedgecoe, who reports on Spain for the BBC, and the Twentieth Century Society’s director, Catherine Croft, discuss the issues raised as the completion of the emblematic building draws near. Singer Georgia Cecile topped the Jazz charts with her latest album, Sure of You. She joins Samira Ahmed to perform live in the Front Row studio and discuss the resurgence of Jazz. The Northumbrian police and crime commissioner has redirected some of the proceeds of crime into the arts. Bex Lindsey reports on how Tyneside based theatre company Workie Ticket are using the funding from “Operation Payback” to create productions with social impact. And Front Row remembers the actor and director Murray Melvin, best known for his role in Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey, who has died aged 90.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paul Waters
18/04/2342m 18s

Colin Currie performs live, author Catherine Lacey, the influence of Noel Coward

Percussionist Colin Currie performs live in the Front Row studio. He discusses his new interpretation of one of minimalist composer Steve Reich’s best known works, Music for 18 Musicians.50 years on from the death of playwright Noel Coward, biographer Oliver Soden and theatre director Michael Longhurst look at his legacy and ask what he means to theatre audiences today, as a new production of Coward’s Private Lives opens.Author Catherine Lacey on Biography of X, her genre redefining new novel about a mysterious artist, which includes fictionalised footnotes and references. Presenter: Shahidha Bari Producer: Julian May
17/04/2342m 27s

Front Row reviews Hamnet at the RSC and TV drama Obsession; Michael Frayn on his memoir

The RSC's production of Hamnet brings the bestselling, award-winning novel by Maggie O'Farrell to the stage. To review this reinterpretation of O'Farrell's imagined account of the short life of Shakespeare's son, which also foregrounds his wife Agnes, Tom Sutcliffe is joined by theatre critic Susannah Clapp and the novelist and screenwriter Louise Doughty. Michael Frayn is the author of almost 50 works, including the farce Noises Off, the novel Spies, and translations of Chekhov’s plays. In his ninetieth year, Frayn talks to Tom Sutcliffe about Among Others: Friendships and Encounters, a memoir less about him than the people who shaped him.Our critics Susannah Clapp and Louise Doughty also review the new Netflix drama Obsession, a tale of erotic obsession, based on the late Josephine Hart's 1991 novella Damage.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paul Waters
13/04/2342m 29s

Max Porter on new novel Shy, Chris Killip exhibition at the Baltic, Kevin Sampson on The Hunt for Raoul Moat

Screenwriter Kevin Sampson on the complexities of his new true crime drama for ITV, The Hunt for Raoul Moat.Max Porter found huge success with his first book, Grief is the Thing with Feathers, acclaimed as a tender, funny and original story of loss. His latest, Shy, completes the trilogy about grief that began with that book. It tells the story of a teenage boy in the 90s, setting off in the middle of the night from a residential house in the countryside for disturbed children. Opera director Adele Thomas on the reaction to her Twitter thread about what a stage director earns.Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, photographer Chris Killip immersed himself in communities in the north-east of England. The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead presents a career retrospective, with the stark yet tender images he made at its heart. The poet Katrina Porteous, who like Killip has worked on the Durham coast, reviews the exhibition. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
12/04/2342m 20s

Wade Davis on George Mallory, Benbrick on AI and creativity

A new exhibition of the Pre-Raphaelite Rossettis at Tate Britain in London explores the 'radicalism' of Dante Gabriel, Christina and Elizabeth (Siddal), and their 'revolutionary' approach to life, love and art in Victorian Britain. It emphasises Elizabeth as artist rather than muse, and charts the emergence of the Pre-Raphaelites through to Gabriel’s famous romanticised female portraits. However, despite their popularity, views of the Rosettis' art are often polarised. To discuss whether the Rossettis are radical or overrated, Samira is joined by the curator of the exhibition, Carol Jacobi, and by critic Jonathan Jones.Artificial intelligence can now write sonnets, paint portraits and compose symphonies. Benbrick, the Peabody Award-winning producer of the BBC Sounds’ series Have You Heard George’s Podcast?, reflects on the impact of AI on creativity and his own creative practice.In the latest of Front Row’s interviews with the shortlisted authors for this year’s Baillie Gifford, Winner of Winners Award, Samira talks to Wade Davis about his book - Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Kirsty McQuire
11/04/2342m 10s

The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio

Front Row marks the 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare's First Folio with former RSC Artistic Director Greg Doran, Guildhall Principal Librarian Peter Ross, and Shakespeare experts Emma Smith, Farah Karim-Cooper and Chris Laoutaris. Without the Folio we might not have had The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure and many others. Front Row considers the rich, complicated and sometimes paradoxical history of its compilation, printing, and significance over the centuries.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Sarah Johnson
10/04/2342m 9s

Ai Weiwei at the Design Museum and TV drama Rise of the Pink Ladies

Ai Weiwei: Making Sense. We look at the new exhibition which opens at the Design Museum in London tomorrow.Plus we review the new Grease prequel Rise of the Pink Ladies, streaming on Paramount+ from tomorrow. Samira is joined by reviewers Nancy Durrant, Cultural Editor of the Evening Standard, and critic Karen Krizanovich. Plus 25 years of the Good Friday Agreement. Two very different new plays marking the anniversary open this week. Agreement at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast dramatizes the negotiations that led to the deal, and Beyond Belief at the Derry Playhouse is a musical about the life of Irish politician John Hume - one of the architects of the peace agreement. Steven Rainey talks to the creative teams behind both productions about marking the moment. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Jerome Weatherald
06/04/2342m 18s

Boris Becker documentary, Commemorating the Good Friday Agreement in art, Artist-led organisations

For his latest project, the Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney has turned his attention to the original tennis wunderkind Boris Becker. He talks about the making of his documentary, Boom! Boom!: The World vs Boris Becker, and what it was like to follow the sports legend during the period which saw him land in jail.The BBC's Kathy Clugston looks at how artists are commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and talks to Gail Ritchie and Raymond Watson about the different approaches they have taken to marking moment when the agreement was made.What happens when a working artist leads an arts organisation and should artists be leading more organisations? Poet, writer, and performance artist Keisha Thompson, who is also the artistic director and CEO of Contact, the theatre and arts venue in Manchester, and visual artist-curator Gavin Wade, who is also the co-founder and director of Eastside Projects in Birmingham, discuss what artists bring when they are at the helm.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene Akalawu
05/04/2342m 14s

Joe Pearlman on his Lewis Capaldi film, author Craig Brown, Tartan at the V&A

BAFTA-winning director Joe Pearlman talks about his new Netflix documentary on Scottish pop superstar Lewis Capaldi, which is out tomorrow. In Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now, Joe follows Lewis as he struggles with his mental health and writing his second album during the pandemic.Tartan, the textile of tradition and rebellion is celebrated at the Victoria & Albert Museum in Dundee, which is apt - Queen Victoria loved tartan and Prince Albert designed several tartan setts. BBC Scotland arts correspondent Pauline McLean reports on the exhibition which tells the story of tartan and how the rules of the grid have inspired creativity around the world.Continuing Front Row's series of interviews with all the authors shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction ‘winner of winners’ award, Tom Sutcliffe speaks to Craig Brown about his book, One, Two, Three, Four: The Beatles In Time.The renowned Japanese musician and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto died at the weekend. In an interview for Front Row from 2018 Sakamoto reveals the inspirations behind some of his most famous film scores. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May
04/04/2342m 19s

Ria Zmitrowicz on The Power, The ENO’s The Dead City and God’s Creatures reviewed

Ria Zmitrowicz talks about her role in The Power, the TV adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s novel. She plays Roxy Monke, the daughter of a notorious crime boss whose aspirations to join the family business are realized when she gains a mysterious new power. Tom Sutcliffe is joined by author Michael Arditti and critic Alexandra Coughlan review the ENO’s new production of Korngold’s opera The Dead City and new film God’s Creatures, which stars Paul Mescal and Emily Watson .Lee Stockdale has won the National Poetry Competition for a poem about his father. His poem won out over 17,000 other entries from more than 100 countries. He explains how he became a poet and what winning means to him. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Kirsty Starkey
30/03/2342m 24s

Cash Carraway on BBC drama Rain Dogs, the might of the UK gaming industry, Kidnapped on stage

Rain Dogs, billed as ‘a love story told from the gutter,’ is a new comedy drama series starring Daisy May Cooper. Shahidha Bari is joined in the studio by the writer and creator of the series, Cash Carraway.Ahead of the BAFTA Games Awards we discuss the state of play in the UK games industry with Chris Allnutt, gaming critic for the Financial Times and with games producer Charu Desodt, whose interactive crime drama As Dusk Falls is nominated for Best Debut Game. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped is being retold as a swashbuckling rom-com by the National Theatre of Scotland. Shahidha speaks to Isobel McArthur and Michael John McCarthy about adapting the 1868 coming–of-age classic.Presenter: Shahidha Bari Producer: Harry Parker
29/03/2342m 31s

Musician Natalie Merchant, poet Victoria Adukwei Bulley, library funding

Singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant talks to Samira Ahmed about Keep Your Courage, her first album in nearly a decade.Libraries were awarded the smallest amount of money from the Cultural Investment Fund, which was announced last week. Front Row speaks to Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP, the Library and Information Association.And Victoria Adukwei Bulley discusses winning the Rathbones Folio Prize for poetry for her collection Quiet.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Kirsty McQuire
28/03/2342m 18s

Barbara Demick on North Korea; Dungeons and Dragons controversy; folk musicians Hack-Poets Guild

Award-winning journalist Barbara Demick’s book 'Nothing to Envy' has been short-listed for this year’s Baille Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction Winner of Winners Award; North Korean defectors spoke about love, family life and the terrible cost of the 1990’s famine.Front Row examines the controversy surrounding Dungeons and Dragons, the world's most popular table-top role playing game and now a Hollywood film, as fans protest against a clampdown on fan-made content. Professional Dungeons and Dragons player Kim Richards and Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law, Dr. Hayleigh Bosher, join Tom Sutcliffe to discuss what this means for fans and copyright owners.Hack-Poets Guild is a collaboration between the renowned folk musicians Marry Waterson, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann. Their new album Blackletter Garland is inspired by the collection of broadside ballads in the Bodleian Library, news sheets that circulated between the 16th and 20th Centuries.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Olivia Skinner
27/03/2342m 34s

Steven Knight on Great Expectations, After Impressionism at the National Gallery

Writer and director Steven Knight, whose work includes Peaky Blinders and SAS Rogue Heroes, discusses his new BBC adaptation of Great Expectations which stars Olivia Coleman as Miss Havisham.Tom Sutcliffe is joined by critics Ben Luke and Isabel Stevens to review some of the week’s cultural highlights including Spanish film The Beasts, the After Impressionism exhibition at the National Gallery and the return of TV drama Succession. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Sarah Johnson
23/03/2342m 24s

Touchstones Rochdale art gallery's radical 80s history, James Shapiro on Shakespeare

A Tall Order! Rochdale Art Gallery in the 1980s is the name of the show currently on at Touchstones Rochdale, which reflects on the gallery’s radical history supporting those who were, at the time, overlooked by the mainstream of the art world, some of whom have gone on to prestigious careers. Co-curators Derek Horton and Alice Correia join Front Row to discuss the show. We begin our interviews with the writers shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize’s Winner of Winners Award. The award picks an overall favourite from across the prize’s 25 year history. James Shapiro will be discussing 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, his portrait of the most impactful year of Shakespeare’s life during which he wrote Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and, most remarkably, Hamlet. And we talk to arts minister Lord Parkinson on the new £60 million Cultural Investment Fund. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene AkalawuMain Image: Touchstones Rochdale - Gallery 2
22/03/2342m 25s

Danny Lee Wynter and play Black Superhero; badly behaved theatre audiences; violinist Pekka Kuusisto

Are theatre audiences behaving badly? After recent complaints, we discuss expectations of audience etiquette. Tom is joined by: Dr Kirsty Sedgman, Lecturer in Theatre at University of Bristol, researcher of audiences, and author of The Reasonable Audience: Theatre Etiquette, Behaviour Policing, And The Live Performance Experience; Lyn Gardner, theatre critic and Associate Editor of The Stage; and by front of house worker Bethany North.British composer Anna Clyne and Finnish violinist and conductor Pekka Kuusisto discuss their new collaborations, including this week’s premiere of Anna’s clarinet concerto, Weathered, at the Royal Festival Hall in London, which Pekka will conduct. Plus they talk about their forthcoming partnership at the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in which Anna and Pekka will serve as Composer-in-Residence and Artistic Co-Director respectively. Plus, actor turned playwright Danny Lee Wynter on his new play Black Superhero at the Royal Court Theatre in London – revealing a world where fantasy and reality meet with devastating consequences. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Simon Richardson(Main image credit: Ajamu X)
21/03/2342m 28s

Lisa O’Neill performs live, Dance of Death from the National Theatre of Norway

Irish singer songwriter Lisa O’Neill talks to Samira Ahmed about her latest album, All Of This Is Chance, and performs live in the Front Row studio. The National Theatre of Norway have brought their production of Strindberg’s Dance of Death to the UK. Director Marit Moum Aune explains what led her to delve into the work of Strindberg, and acclaimed Norwegian actor Pia Tjelta reveals how she connected to her character. Africa’s biggest film festival, FESPACO, has just taken place in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou. The biannual festival is a showcase for African talent and a marketplace for the industry. Film curator Carmen Thompson talks Samira through the upcoming African films to look out for. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Tim Prosser
20/03/2342m 25s

Richard Eyre on his film Allelujah, and climate change TV drama Extrapolations reviewed

Richard Eyre on directing the screen version of Alan Bennett’s play Allelujah, starring Jennifer Saunders, set on the geriatric ward of a fictional Yorkshire hospital, the Bethlehem, and on raising questions about how society cares for its older population.We review the star-studded Apple TV+ climate change series Extrapolations, and a new exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, Souls Grown Deep like the Rivers - Black Artists from the American South. Our reviewers are writer and comic artist Woodrow Phoenix - and YA author, script editor and founder of the international Climate Fiction Writers League, Lauren James.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Sarah Johnson
16/03/2342m 19s

Scottish-Iranian film Winners, playwright Calum L MacLeòid, neurodiversity and creativity

Filmmaker Hassan Nazar talks to Kate Molleson about his new film Winners, a love letter to the art of cinema. Set in Iran, it follows two children who find an Oscars statuette. Playwright Calum L MacLeòid on his new Western, Stornaway, Quebec, which is set in 1880s Canada and performed in Gaelic, Québécois, and English.And to mark Neurodiversity Celebration Week, Front Row discusses neurodiversity and creativity with impressionist Rory Bremner, stand-up comedian Ria Lina, and psychologist Professor Nancy Doyle. Presenter: Kate Molleson Producer: Paul Waters
15/03/2342m 21s

Diversity at the Oscars and Baftas; plays and the cost of living; children's books; Phyllida Barlow

The conclusion of the Oscars marks the end of the film awards season, so Front Row took the opportunity to look at the progress made on representation in film and at awards. Tom is joined by the film critic Amon Warmann, Katherine Pieper of LA's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which looks at equalities at the Oscars, and Marcus Ryder of the Lenny Henry Centre For Media Diversity.Plus, with a host of new productions exploring the cost of living crisis, we look at how playwrights are tackling this. Writer Emily White talks about her new play, Joseph K and the Cost of Living, being staged as part of a three-part project at the Swansea Grand Theatre, and the writer and critic Sarah Crompton discusses theatre's response to social and political issues on stage. Bex Lindsay, presenter on Fun Kids Radio and children’s books expert, joins us for a round-up of some of the most interesting and engaging new releases for young independent readers. Books discussed: Like A Curse by Elle McNicoll Montgomery Bonbon: Murder at the Museum by Alasdair Beckett-King Skandar and the Unicorn Thief/The Phantom Rider by AF Steadman Jamie by L D Lapinski Onyeka and the Rise of the Rebels by Tola Okogwu I Spy, A Bletchley Park Mystery by Rhian Tracey Saving Neverland, by Abi ElphinstonePresenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Emma WallaceMain Image: Michelle Yeoh
14/03/2342m 24s

Author Percival Everett, director Pravesh Kumar on Little English

Author Percival Everett on his novel Dr No; Director Pravesh Kumar on his film Little English; the new Yeats Smartphones poetry trail in BedfordAward-winning US novelist Percival Everett on his surreal new book, Dr No – in which unlikely heroes and uber-wealthy super villains chase after a box containing absolutely nothing.Pravesh Kumar has been running a theatre company for over two decades and last year received an MBE in the New Year Honours List for services to theatre. As he makes his debut as a filmmaker with romantic comedy Little English - centred on a British South Asian family living in Slough - he discusses the importance of nuanced portrayals and overturning stereotypes.It’s a century this year since W. B. Yeats won the Nobel Prize in literature for his poetry, ‘which…gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.’ This is marked by a new guided, smartphone app trail around places where he lived and that influenced him early in life. It is narrated and with poems read by Oscar nominated actor Ciarán Hinds. But it is not, as you might assume, in Ireland. Front Row reports from the launch. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May(Picture of Percival Everett. Photographer credit: Nacho Goberna)
13/03/2342m 12s

Film My Sailor, My Love; Atwood’s Old Babes In The Wood; Baillie Gifford prize; Nicole Flattery

New Irish film, My Sailor, My Love, by Finnish director, Klaus Härö, and a new collection of short stories, Old Babes in the Wood, by Margaret Atwood. To review, Tom is joined by author Ashley Hickson-Lovence and academic Sarah Churchwell. Plus the Baillie Gifford prize – the six books shortlisted for the ‘winner of winners’ award. And Irish author Nicole Flattery on her debut novel Nothing Special.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paul Waters
09/03/2341m 53s

Pioneering play Top Girls turns 40, do publishers owe a duty of care to memoirists? and the benefits of stopping the show

A reimagining of Caryl Churchill’s ground-breaking and celebrated play, Top Girls, opens this week at the Liverpool Everyman which sets the play – about female ambition and success across centuries and cultures - in Merseyside. Playwright Charlotte Keatley and theatre critic Susannah Clapp discuss the play’s themes and its continuing impact forty years after its premiere.Prince Harry’s book Spare and the ripples it’s created have led to questions about the writing and publication of memoirs. In recent years, there has been a widening of the voices encouraged to write and getting published, but what is the impact on the authors, and should there be a greater duty of care? Agent Rachel Mills and Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love, a memoir about losing her brother, join Front Row to discuss.The show must go on has long been the mantra of those working in theatre but last August, David Byrne, Artistic Director of New Diorama Theatre, made an astonishing announcement which began with the words, “The end of the show must go on” and went on to state that the theatre would be closing its doors for at least six months to allow time for an artistic reset. As New Diorama Theatre reopens, David joins Front Row to discuss what the resetting has revealed.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene AkalawuPicture: Top Girls – Lauren Lane as Pope Joan – Photographer’s Credit Marc Brenner
08/03/2336m 30s

Daniel Mays on a new production of Guys and Dolls, and how accessible are venues and film sets for performers?

Daniel Mays talks to Samira Ahmed about starring as Nathan Detroit in a new immersive production of the musical Guys and Dolls at the Bridge Theatre in south London.Front Row investigates how accessible theatres and gig venues are, not just for audiences but for performers. Reporter Carolyn Atkinson talks to a comedian and a DJ who have struggled with access and asks how venues should be addressing the problem. And actor Julie Fernandez and producer Sara Johnson discuss a new scheme to train access co-ordinators in film and television. The scheme aims to make the industry more accessible for deaf, disabled and neurodivergent cast and crew. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian May
07/03/2342m 22s

Steven Moffat and Lucy Caldwell on writing about the Hadron Collider

Sherlock and Dr Who writer Steven Moffat, and Lucy Caldwell, winner of the BBC National Short Story Award, discuss writing short stories inspired by the science of the Large Hadron Collider for a new collection called Collision. The project pairs a team of award-winning authors with Cern physicists to explore some of the discoveries being made, through fiction. From interstellar travel using quantum tunnelling, to first contact with antimatter aliens, to a team of scientists finding themselves being systematically erased from history, these stories explore the dark matters that only physics can offer answers to. A new documentary called Subject explores the life-altering experience of sharing one’s life on screen, through the participants of five acclaimed documentaries. Samira Ahmed talks to Camilla Hall, one of the film’s directors, about the ethics of documentary making. Writer Mojisola Adebayo and director Matthew Xia talk about their new play Family Tree, which won the Alfred Fagon Best New Play Award. The play, which opens at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry, explores the extraordinary story of Henrietta Lacks, the African American woman whose cancer cells were taken without her permission or knowledge in 1951 and which are still informing medical science today.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Eliane Glaser
06/03/2342m 28s

Daisy Jones & The Six on TV. Lukas Dhont’s film Close. Edmund De Waal on potter Lucie Rie

Riley Keough and Sam Claflin star in the 10-part adaptation of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel Daisy Jones And The Six, the story of a fictional 70s band loosely inspired by Fleetwood Mac. Belgian director Lukas Dhont’s film Close, about two teenage boys whose close friendship is challenged by their schoolmates, won the Grand Prix at Cannes. Critics Tim Robey and Kate Mossman join Front Row to review both.Plus Edmund de Waal on late fellow potter Lucie Rie's life and work as a new retrospective opens at Kettle's Yard in Cambridge.Presenter: Shahidha Bari Producer: Sarah Johnson
02/03/2342m 28s

Barry Male Voice Choir, new play Romeo and Julie, WNO’s Blaze of Glory and Welsh culture minister Dawn Boden

On St David's Day Front Row is coming from Cardiff with Huw Stephens bringing the latest arts and culture stories of Wales. Welsh National Opera’s latest production is Blaze of Glory. The librettist Emma Jenkins and composer David Hackbridge Johnson talk to Huw Stephens about their new opera. Set in a Welsh Valleys’ village in the 1950s, it follows the a group of miners who raise spirits following a pit disaster by reforming their male voice choir. Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sports, and Chief Whip in the Welsh Government, discusses cultural policy in Wales.Gary Owen talks about his new play Romeo and Julie, the story of young lovers in the Cardiff district of Splott. They’re faced with circumstances that threaten to separate them but there the similarity to Shakespeare ends.And the Barry Male Voice choir, who are involved in the production of Blaze of Glory, perform live in the Front Row studio.Presenter: Huw Stephens Producer: Julian May and Rebecca Stratford
01/03/2342m 14s

Tracy-Ann Oberman, Director Michael B Jordan, Oldham Coliseum

Tracy-Ann Oberman on playing a female Shylock in the RSC's new 1936 version of The Merchant Of Venice at Watford Palace Theatre.As the Oldham Coliseum is forced to close at the end of March, reporter Charlotte Green updates the story of the diversion of Arts Council funding from the theatre to the local council. Actor Michael B Jordan tells Samira about making his directorial debut with Creed III, while reprising the role of boxing champion Adonis Creed in the third sequel to the Rocky franchise.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Eliane Glaser
28/02/2342m 25s

Conductor Antonio Pappano on Puccini’s Turandot and the Ukrainian cabaret artists performing in exile

Conductor Sir Antonio Pappano tells us about his two new versions of Puccini’s opera, Turandot – a revival on stage at the Royal Opera House, and a new recording with tenor Jonas Kaufman, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky and the Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.A year on from the invasion of Ukraine, Luke Jones hears from some of the Ukrainian performers living and working in exile. He joins Hooligan Art Community, a performance group that started in the bomb shelters of Kyiv, as they rehearse for their new show, Bunker Cabaret. There are two blistering performances on the London stage today: Janet McTeer in Phaedra at the National Theatre and Sophie Okonedo as Medea at Soho Place. The plays' directors, Simon Stone and Dominic Cooke, discuss the hold these stories of two transgressive and tragic women have had over audiences for two and a half millennia, and why they speak to us today.Presenter: Shahidha Bari Producer: Olivia Skinner
27/02/2342m 30s

Immersive David Hockney art and Korean film Broker reviewed; artist Mike Nelson; AI-generated writing

Reviews of the new immersive show David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away) at Lightroom in London and Korean film Broker, with Larushka Ivan Zadeh and Ekow Eshun.Installation artist Mike Nelson on the art in his new retrospective at the Hayward Gallery in London and the challenge of reconstructing such epic work.Plus AI writing. Neil Clarke, Editor of The American science fiction and fantasy magazine Clarkesworld, on suspending new submissions after being swamped by AI-generated stories, and why AI could be a serious challenge the way we think about literature.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Sarah JohnsonPhoto: David Hockney with his work at Lightroom. By Justin Sutcliffe
23/02/2342m 22s

New film The Strays, artists Chila Kumari Singh Burman and Dawinder Bansal, Janet Malcolm’s photography memoir

Nathaniel Martello-White on making his directorial debut with the psychological thriller The Strays, set between a south London estate and an affluent English suburb.Chila Kumari Singh Burman’s show at FACT in Liverpool, Merseyside Burman Empire, references her MBE for services to Visual Art, awarded last year in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and her experiences growing up in Bootle as the daughter of Punjabi-Hindu parents. Dawinder Bansal’s Jambo Cinema installation, which explored her life growing up in 1980s Wolverhampton with Indian-Kenyan parents, was one of the big commissions at last year’s Commonwealth Games Cultural Festival in Birmingham. Chila and Dawinder discuss making art that draws upon their South Asian heritage.Throughout her career, the distinguished writer Janet Malcolm, who died in 2021, was fascinated by photography. She came to prominence through her journalism for the New Yorker including six years as the magazine’s photography critic. Photography was the subject of her first book and it has turned out to be the subject of her final book, a memoir – Still Pictures: On Photography and Memory. Photographer of the Year Craig Easton reviews.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene AkalawuPhoto caption: Ashley Madekwe as Neve in The Strays Photo credit: Chris Harris/ Netflix © 2023
22/02/2342m 18s

Michael Douglas, culture in Ukraine a year after invasion, visual effects and animation in the UK

Hollywood star Michael Douglas talks about his double-Oscar winning movie career, how he’s still learning the craft of acting and about his new film, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, which is in cinemas now.As the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine approaches, we hear from two artists working in the country under conflict - Oksana Taranenko, director of the opera Kateryna in Odesa and Hobart Earle, Conductor of the Odessa Philharmonic. William Sargent, the founder of Framestore, the visual effects studio behind Top Gun: Maverick and Sean Clark, the CEO of Aardman, the creators of Wallace and Gromit, join Tom Sutcliffe to discuss their fears for the future of visual effects and animation in the UK.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry ParkerImage: Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas in the film Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.
21/02/2342m 21s

Hugh Jackman, Kevin Jared Hosein, the future of opera

Hugh Jackman talks to Samira Ahmed about his role in Florian Zeller's new film The Son, in which he plays a father struggling with his child’s mental health issues. Kevin Jared Hosein, who won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2018, talks about his first novel for adults. Hungry Ghosts tells the stories of the marginalised Hindu people of Trinidad, focusing on a family who, close by a luxurious estate, live in poverty in a ‘barrack’, in the early 1940s.Philip Oltermann, the Guardian’s Berlin bureau chief tells us why, despite it winning Best Film at the BAFTAs last night, critics in Germany are not showering praise on Netflix’s German-language film, All Quiet on the Western Front.And in the light of funding cuts and plans for English National Opera to be moved out of London, the former head of Opera Europa Nicholas Payne and English Touring Opera’s chief Robin Norton-Hale discuss what a strategy for opera in the UK could look like. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Paul Waters
20/02/2342m 6s

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, Alice Neel, Spitting Image

On today's Front Row, Samira Ahmed talks to stand-up comedian Al Murray about putting the puppets of the political satire TV show Spitting Image on stage for the first time, in a new production, Spitting Image - Idiots Assemble, at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. And she discusses the Oscar and Bafta-nominated animation Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, and a new exhibition of work by the American visual artist, Alice Neel, which opens at the Barbican in London today, with arts critics Hanna Flint and Louisa Buck.Producer: Kirsty McQuire
16/02/2342m 25s

Asif Kapadia's dance film Creature; the Barbellion Book Prize winner; South Asian and South East Asian galleries in Manchester

The Oscar-winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia tells Tom Sutcliffe about collaborating with the Olivier-winning choreographer Akram Khan on the dance film Creature. Originally conceived for English National Ballet on stage, Creature is inspired by Georg Büchner’s play Woyzeck and Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.Today Letty McHugh was announced as the winner of the Barbellion Book Prize, awarded annually to an author whose work has best represented the experience of chronic illness and / or disability. Letty joins us live from Yorkshire, to give an insight into the creation of her Book of Hours: An Almanac for The Seasons of The Soul, a collection of lyric essays and poetry.In Manchester, two cultural institutions reopen their doors- Manchester Museum, now with the UK’s first permanent gallery celebrating the South Asian diaspora, and esea- short for East and South East Asia- contemporary, formerly the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art. Shahidha Bari speaks to Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum and Xiaowen Zhu, director of esea contemporary.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry ParkerImage: Jeffrey Cirio in Creature, an Asif Kapadia film, based on an original concept by Akram Khan (courtesy of BFI Distribution and English National Ballet)
15/02/2342m 24s

Tracy Chevalier on Vermeer exhibition; live v streaming theatre audiences; American poet A. E. Stallings; The King's Singers

Tracy Chevalier discusses a historic Vermeer exhibition at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, the largest collection of his paintings ever assembled including Girl with a Pearl Earring, which was celebrated by Chevalier's 1999 novel of the same name.Bristol Old Vic is collaborating with four universities in the West Country for a major study into audience reactions in the theatre. Do reactions in the auditorium differ from those watching it online? Melanie Abbott investigates, talking to Iain Gilchrist from University of Bristol, Mike Richardson from University of Bath, Charlotte Geeves from Bristol Old Vic, actor Sophie Steer and Emma Keith, Director of Digital Media at the National Theatre. The finely wrought rhyming and metrical poetry of A. E. Stallings has won her prizes in the US, but until now she has not been published in the UK. Manchester-based publisher Carcanet is putting this right with This Afterlife, her Selected Poems. A. E. Stallings talks about living in Greece, drawing on classical mythology, making art out of the minutiae of life, and the joy of rhythm and rhyme.Jonathan Howard of The King's Singers tells us about the recent cancellation of a concert they were due to perform at Pensacola Christian College in Florida, over what the group says were "concerns related to the sexuality of members." Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paul Waters(Photo: Photo Rijksmuseum)
14/02/2342m 27s

Kate Prince on her suffragette musical, the art of casting, set design at the Brits.

Sylvia is a new hip hop, funk and soul musical telling the story the fight for women’s – and universal – suffrage, through the life of Sylvia Pankhurst. It wasn‘t just the patriarchy she had to struggle with, but her family, especially her mother, the indomitable Emmeline. Kate Prince has co-written, choreographed and directed it. She talks to Samira Ahmed about the story and the contemporary resonances of her show.In 2021, casting director Lucy Pardee won her first BAFTA for her work on the coming-of-age drama, Rocks, which was celebrated in part for the range and skill of its young cast. She's now up for another BAFTA for new film Aftersun, which tells the story of a troubled single father through the eyes of his 11-year-old daughter. She discusses the art of 'street casting' actors for their cinema debuts.Reporter Will Chalk goes back stage at the Brit Awards to meet production designer Misty Buckley, who specialises in creating sets for huge spectacles like the Brits, the Commonwealth Games and the Grammys.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian MayMain image: The Company in Sylvia at The Old Vic 2023, Photographer - Manuel Harlan
13/02/2342m 25s

Georgia Oakley director of Blue Jean, Burt Bacharach obituary, Salman Rushdie's Victory City and Peter Doig exhibition reviewed

Director and screenwriter Georgia Oakley talks about her BAFTA nominated debut feature film Blue Jean, which tells the story of a female closeted PE teacher in Newcastle in 1988 when Section 28 came into effect. The death of Burt Bacharach has been announced. The acclaimed lyricist Don Black pays tribute to the extraordinary composer and we hear archive of him talking on Front Row.Salman Rushdie was violently attacked last summer but before that had completed the novel Victory City, about a fantastical empire brought into existence by a woman, Pampa Kampana, who is given powers by the goddess Parvati. Bidisha Mamata and Ingrid Persaud review the novel and also visit the Peter Doig exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery in London highlighting recent work from the highly acclaimed artist who has returned from Trinidad to live in London. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Sarah JohnsonPhoto from Blue Jean credit Altitude Film Distribution
09/02/2342m 23s

The Reytons, film-maker Saim Sadiq, The Beekeeper of Aleppo

From a pop-up shop in Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield to the top spot in the album charts - The Reytons join Front Row to discuss their breakthrough second album, What’s Rock and Roll?, making their music videos with family and friends, and the power of telling your own story.Since Saim Sadiq’s feature film debut, Joyland, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year, it has swung between celebration and controversy. It was awarded the Jury Prize in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard category and selected as Pakistan's official entry for best international feature for this year’s Oscars but was banned throughout Pakistan and when that ban was revoked, it was banned in Sadiq’s home state of Punjab by the local government. As the film opens this month in the UK, he talk to Nick about the making and the showing of Joyland. Christy Lefteri’s novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, about a traumatized Syrian refugee couple, beekeeper Nuri and artist Afra, trying to get to and settle in the UK, became a bestseller and has now been adapted for the stage by Nesrin Alrefaai and Matthew Spangler. As the production premieres at Nottingham Playhouse, Nesrin and Matthew discuss working together to create a theatrical version of the popular novel.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene AkalawuMain Image: The Reytons, L-R Jamie Todd, Jonny Yerrell, Joe O'Brien, Lee Holland
08/02/2342m 7s

Les Dennis and Mina Anwar, writer Tania Branigan, Kerry Shale on Yentl

Mina Anwar and Les Dennis discuss their new production of Spring and Port Wine at the Bolton Octagon. They explain why the 1960s classic play about a family in Bolton, and tensions between the generations, still has resonance today. Writer Tania Branigan talks about her new book Red Memory. Based on her research as a journalist in China, it tells the story of the Cultural Revolution through the memories of individuals including a composer, an artist and a man who denounced his own mother.It’s nearly 40 years since Barbra Streisand’s film Yentl was released. Based on a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, it follows a young woman who lives as a man so that she can study Jewish scripture. Kerry Shale, who had a part in Streisand’s film, discusses returning to Singer’s story to adapt it for a new Radio 4 drama, Yentl the Yeshiva Boy.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia SkinnerImage Credit: Pamela Raith Photography
08/02/2342m 4s

Costume designer Sandy Powell, playwright Chris Bush, Donatello sculptures at the V&A

Sandy Powell is the first costume designer to receive a BAFTA Fellowship. She talks to Tom Sutcliffe about collaborating with directors Martin Scorsese and Todd Haynes and designing costumes for films including Velvet Goldmine and Shakespeare in Love.Postponed the pandemic, and after a second run at the Crucible in Sheffield, the musical At the Sky’s Edge at last reaches the National Theatre in London. Playwright Chris Bush tells Tom Sutcliffe about the new production of her love letter to Sheffield which, through the stories of the famous park Hill Estate, tells a history of modern Britain. ‘The greatest sculptor of all time’ is the claim as an exhibition of the work of Donatello is about to open at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Curator Peta Motture and art critic Jonathan Jones discuss how his creativity was a driving force of the Italian Renaissance.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May
06/02/2342m 21s

TV drama Nolly and film The Whale reviewed, director M Night Shyamalan

Noele Gordon was the star of Crossroads, the soap that ran on ITV from 1964 to 1988, attracting audiences of 15 million in its heyday. She was sacked from the show in 1981, returning briefly a few years later. What happened? And what was the role of TV soap at that time, with women at the heart of its casts and audience? Russell T Davies' new drama, Nolly, starring Helena Bonham Carter, tells the story. Our critics David Benedict and Anna Smith review that and new film The Whale. Brendan Fraser is Oscar-nominated for his performance as a man whose size means he can no longer leave his apartment and who tries to re-build his damaged relationship with his daughter.And director M. Night Shyamalan on his new film Knock At The Cabin – a home invasion thriller where a family must make a terrible choice in order to avert the apocalypse.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Sarah Johnson
02/02/2342m 28s

Sonia Boyce, The Quiet Girl, Theatre Freelance Pay, Oldham Coliseum

Sonia Boyce’s exhibition, Feeling Her Way, won the top prize at the Venice Biennale international art fair. As the sound, video and wallpaper installation arrives at the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate, Sonia tells Samira why she wanted to form her own girl band and help them to achieve imperfection through improvisation.Director Colm Bairéad on his film The Quiet Girl – a small scale Irish-language drama, but the highest grossing Irish-language film in history, and the first to be nominated for Best International Feature Film at the Oscars, and BAFTA nominated for Best Film Not In The English Language and Best Adapted Screenplay.Equity general secretary Paul Fleming and freelance theatre director Kate Wasserberg discuss the ongoing problem of low pay and poor conditions in the UK theatre sector.Artistic director and chief executive of Oldham Coliseum, Chris Lawson, discusses the decision to cancel its programme of shows after losing its Arts Council England funding.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Eliane GlaserMain Image - Sonia Boyce courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery. Photographer: Parisa Taghizadeh
01/02/2342m 15s

Beethoven's Für Elise, playwright Garry Lyons, film director Rajkumar Santoshi

Beethoven’s love life has long fascinated music scholars primarily because so little is known about it despite some tantalising clues. In his new book, Why Beethoven, music critic Norman Lebrecht, identifies the dedicatee of Beethoven’s well-loved melody Für Elise, while Jessica Duchen has written a novel, Immortal, which provides one answer to the question, who was Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved”? Both join Front Row to discuss why their explorations bring us closer to the composer.Garry Lyons on his new play Blow Down at Leeds Playhouse, written to mark the demolition of the iconic cooling towers at Ferrybridge Power Station. It’s based on stories collected from people in Knottingley and Ferrybridge in Yorkshire. Blow Down will go on tour with performances in theatres and community centres across Yorkshire and the North East.A new film about Mahatma Gandhi and his assassin Nathuram Godse has caused some controversy in India. Gandhi Godse Ek Yudh (War of Ideologies) imagines a world in which Gandhi survived and went on to debate with Godse, a premise that some have found offensive. Director Rajkumar Santoshi discusses the reaction to his film and BBC journalist Vandana Vijay explains why there’s increased sensitivity around some movies in India at the moment.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Emma Wallace
31/01/2342m 22s

Film director Sarah Polley, novelist Ann-Helen Laestadius and deep fakes on TV

Director Sarah Polley discusses her latest film, Women Talking, nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. Based on the true story of the women in a remote Mennonite colony who discovered men had been attacking the women in their community, the film focuses on their debate about what to do next. Deep Fake Neighbour Wars, the new ITVX comedy which uses digital technology to place international celebrities in suburban Britain, arrives at a time when the technology is under increasing scrutiny. Zoe Kleinman, the BBC’s Technology Editor, and television critic Scott Bryan review and discuss the issues raised by the new series.Swedish and Sami novelist Ann-Helen Laestadius talks about her bestselling novel, Stolen – a portrait of the plight of the reindeer-herding Indigenous Sámi people.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner
30/01/2342m 22s

The Fabelmans and Noises Off reviewed, Joe Cornish on new TV drama Lockwood and Co.

Tom Sutcliffe is joined by critics Karen Krizanovich and Michael Billington to review The Fabelmans and the 40th anniversary production of Noises Off. Steven Spielberg’s new film, The Fabelmans, is a portrait of the artist as a young man, chronicling the development of Sam Fabelman, a boy drawn irresistibly to film-making. He finds meaning, and achieves some power, through his art. Critics Karen Krizanovich and Michael Billington assess Spielberg’s fictional autobiography. They also review the fortieth anniversary production of Noises Off, Michael Frayn’s farce about a troubled touring company putting on a farce, as it opens in the West End with a cast including Felicity Kendal, Tracy-Ann Oberman and Joseph Millson.Director Joe Cornish, best known for his sci-fi comedy Attack the Block, talks about heading up a new TV drama series Lockwood and Co. Based on the young adult novels by Jonathan Stroud, it follows a group of teenage ghost hunters. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Kirsty McQuire
26/01/2342m 23s

Mel C on dancing with Jules Cunningham, film-maker Laura Poitras, musician Rasha Nahas

Melanie C, aka Sporty Spice, is best known for being in one of the most successful girl groups of all time. But this week she’s swapping the pop world for the dance world and performing a new contemporary piece by the choreographer Jules Cunningham at Sadler’s Wells. Melanie C and Jules Cunningham discuss their collaboration, How Did We Get Here?Rasha Nahas is a Palestinian singer-songwriter who was born in Haifa and now lives in Berlin. She tells Samira about her new album, Amrat, which is her first album in Arabic, and which explores nostalgia, sense of place, and the importance of authentic instrumental music. Film-maker Laura Poitras talks about her new documentary, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, which has been nominated for this year’s Academy Awards. Following the photographer Nan Goldin’s campaign against Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family, for their part in the opioid crisis, the film paints an intimate portrait of Goldin’s life, work and activism.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Eliane Glaser Photo of Mel C, Harry Alexander and Jules Cunningham credit: Camilla Greenwell
25/01/2342m 12s

Artist John Akomfrah, Oscar Nominations, Arts Council England responds

John Akomfrah was announced today as the artist chosen to represent the UK at the next Venice Biennale - the world's biggest contemporary art exhibition. Known for his films and video installations exploring racial injustice, colonial legacies, migration and climate change, he discusses why watching a Tarkovsky film as a teenager opened his mind to the possibilities of art. Film critics Jason Solomon and Leila Latif discuss the nominations for this year's Oscars, which are led by Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Banshees of Inisherin, and All Quiet of the Western Front. Darren Henley, Arts Council England Chief Executive, responds to criticism the organisation has been facing since its new funding settlement was announced last November.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Emma WallaceMain Image: John Akomfrah at his London studio, 2016 © Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.
24/01/2342m 41s

The play Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons; conductor Alice Farnham; the short film An Irish Goodbye.

Jenna Coleman (Clara in Dr Who) and Aidan Turner (Poldark) are appearing in a new production of Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons at The Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End, before touring to Manchester and Brighton. Playwright Sam Steiner tells Samira Ahmed about his romantic comedy in which the characters are restricted to speaking just 140 words a day. And the director, Josie Rourke, talks about bringing the play to the stage, and how, in the theatre, language isn’t everything. Alice Farnham, one of Britain’s leading conductors and the co-founder and artistic director of Women Conductors with the Royal Philharmonic Society, shares insights from her new book, In Good Hands- The Making of a Modern Conductor.And the filmmaking duo Tom Berkeley and Ross White join Samira to discuss their Bafta nominated short film An Irish Goodbye.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Julian MayImage: Aidan Turner as Oliver and Jenna Coleman as Bernadette in Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons at The Harold Pinter Theatre
23/01/2341m 59s

Spain and the Hispanic World exhibition, new film Holy Spider, artist Clarke Reynolds

Samira Ahmed and guests Maria Delgado and Isabel Stevens review two of the week’s top cultural picks. They discuss a new exhibition of Spanish art, Spain and the Hispanic World, at the Royal Academy in London and Holy Spider, a film by Iranian director Ali Abbasi based on the true story of a serial killer in the holy city of Mashhad in 2001.Blind artist Clarke Reynolds talks about his exhibition The Power of Touch and explains how he’s creating colourful tactile braille art for both blind and sighted audiences to enjoy.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Sarah JohnsonPicture Credit: Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, The Duchess of Alba, 1797, From the exhibition Spain and the Hispanic World: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library, Royal Academy of Arts
19/01/2342m 0s

Hepworth, Moore, landscape and cows' backs; fiddle player John McCusker; novelist Victoria MacKenzie

A new exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield celebrates the relationship that two of the UK’s greatest sculptors, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, had with the Yorkshire landscape they grew up in. Eleanor Clayton, the curator of the exhibition, Magic in this Country, joins the landscape photographer Kate Kirkwood - who has just published a new book, Cowspines, that blends the landscape of the Lake District with the backs of the cows that graze upon it – to discuss the power of landscape to draw an artist’s eye.John McCusker discusses and performs live from his new ‘Best of ‘Album, which celebrates his 30-year career as one of Scotland’s most acclaimed fiddle players and musical collaborators.Writer of fiction and poetry Victoria MacKenzie tells Shahidha Bari about her first novel, For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain, which is based on the lives of two extraordinary, trail-blazing fourteenth-century Christian mystics, Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe.Presenter: Shahidha Bari Producer: Eliane GlaserMain image from Cowspines by Kate Kirkwood
18/01/2342m 32s

Poet Anthony Joseph, new novels about witches and the fall in female film-makers

Over the last three weeks Front Row has broadcast a poem by each of the 10 writers shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry. The winner was announced last night: Anthony Joseph, for his collection Sonnets for Albert. Anthony talks to Samira Ahmed about his sequence of sonnets exploring his relationship with his often absent father, winning the prize and the attraction of the sonnet form.Research from the film charity Birds Eye View shows that the number of female made films released in UK cinemas fell by 6% last year. The charity’s director Melanie Iredale and film director Sally El Hosaini discuss why women are failing to progress in the UK film industry. Books about witches and witchcraft are increasingly popular, with several new novels published this year. Authors Emilia Hart, Kirsty Logan and Anya Bergman, who have all written about witches, explain why this subject matter provided such a rich source of inspiration.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Olivia Skinner Image: Antony Julius, picture credit: Adrian Pope
17/01/2342m 24s

Rebecca Frecknall on A Streetcar Named Desire, Rick Rubin, Clarinetist Kinan Azmeh

Nine-time Grammy winning record producer and Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin has produced hits for artists including Run DMC, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Johnny Cash. He discusses drawing on his experience for his new book The Creative Act: A Way of Being.Theatre director Rebecca Frecknall discusses her new production of A Streetcar Named Desire and the nuances that Tennessee Williams’s writing has for contemporary audiences. Syrian virtuoso Clarinetist Kinan Azmeh discusses the influence of his homeland, and combining performance, composition and improvisation, and plays live in the Front Row studio. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Julian May Image: Paul Mescal and Patsy Ferran in A Streetcar Named Desire. Credit: Marc Brenner.
16/01/2342m 17s

The Last of Us & Enys Men reviewed

The film critic Clarisse Loughrey and literary editor Sam Leith join Tom Sutcliffe live in the studio to review the new HBO series The Last of Us, based on the critically acclaimed video game, and the film Enys Men, a Cornish folk horror by Mark Jenkin, the BAFTA winning director of BAIT.In the most recent in an occasional series of interviews about the artistic influence of mentors, the musician and composer Nitin Sawhney discusses his relationship with his mentor, the sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar.Ahead of next week's announcement of the winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, Victoria Adukwei Bulley reads her poem The Ultra-Black Fish from her shortlisted collection Quiet. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Kirsty McQuirePicture: Pedro Pascal as Joel & Bella Ramsey as Ellie HBO / Warner Media© 2022 Home Box Office, Inc.
12/01/2342m 23s

Filmmaker Todd Field on Tár, Glyndebourne tour cancellation, Debut novelist Jyoti Patel

Tár is a psychological drama about an imaginary conductor, Lydia Tár, which has already made waves both for its central performance by Cate Blanchett and for its striking, sometimes dreamlike story about the abuses of power. It is tipped for awards and Cate Blanchett has already won the Golden Globe for her performance. The writer and director, Todd Field, joins Front Row.The news that the celebrated opera company Glyndebourne has cancelled its national tour for 2023, due to the recent cut to its Arts Council funding, was received as the latest bombshell on the UK’s opera landscape. Glyndebourne’s artistic director, Stephen Langridge, and the music writer and critic Norman Lebrecht discuss the company’s decision and explore what kind of support and vision opera in the UK needs.Jyoti Patel on winning musician Stormzy's Merky Books New Writer’s Prize in 2021 and now making her debut as novelist with her book, The Things We Have Lost.Continuing Front Row's look at the shortlist for this year's TS Eliot Prize For Poetry, today Anthony Joseph reads from his collection Sonnets For Albert – poems exploring being the Trinidad-born son of a mostly-absent father. The poem is called El Socorro.Presenter: Shahidha Bari Producer: Emma WallaceMain Image Credit: Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár - Universal
11/01/2342m 30s

How AI is changing art, the TS Eliot Prize for poetry and the folk music of wassailing

Designer Steven Zapata and artist Anna Ridler discuss whether AI art poses a threat to artists and designers. Imagine reading more than 200 new books of poetry. That was the task faced by the judges of the T S Eliot Prize. Jean Sprackland and fellow judge Roger Robinson talk to Tom Sutcliffe about their experience and what they learned about the art of poetry today.It’s the time of year when lovers of orchards, apples and cider gather to bless and encourage their trees. The tradition of wassailing is ancient, and modern too. Jim Causley from Whimple, Dartmoor, sings wassails old and new, and with artist Simon Pope talk about their project ‘Here’s to Thee’.And in the latest of the poems shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize, Jemma Borg read her poem Marsh Thistle from her collection Wilder. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paul Waters
10/01/2341m 57s

The Light in the Hall, The Shipping Forecast photographs, Nell Zink

The Light in the Hall, a crime drama starring Joanna Scanlan, has launched on Channel 4 following its previous incarnation in Welsh on S4C, as Y Golau. Director Andy Newbery joins Shahidha to discuss directing a bilingual ‘back to back’ TV production with a single cast and crew.Photographer Mark Power discusses his seminal book The Shipping Forecast, which has been re-released with over 100 previously unseen photographs.And the writer Nell Zink, known for her dark humour, discusses her latest novel, Avalon, which focuses on the life of the indefatigable teenager, Bran, who grows up in the pie-less version of America and embarks on a contradictory love affair.Presenter: Shahidha Bari Producer: Eliane GlaserImage: Joanna Scanlan as Sharon Roberts in TV drama The Light in the Hall on Channel 4/ Y Golau on S4C.
09/01/2342m 24s

Two of the year's major films, Till and Empire of Light, reviewed and John Preston on his TV drama Stonehouse.

John Preston, the Costa Award-winning biographer of media tycoon Robert Maxwell, makes his screenwriting debut with a drama about another infamous figure of the 1970s, the MP John Stonehouse. He joins Tom Sutcliffe to discuss the line between fact and fiction in dramatising the story of the MP who faked his own death.Reviewers Amon Warmann and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh give their verdicts on two major films out this week: Till, the story of Emmett Till’s mother Mamie’s fight for justice after her son was lynched in 1955, featuring a powerful performance by Danielle Deadwyler; and Empire of Light, written and directed by Sam Mendes. Set in a seaside town cinema in the 70s it stars Olivia Colman and Micheal Ward, and is inspired in part by Mendes’ mother’s experiences. And James Conor Patterson reads his poem “london mixtape” from his debut collection “bandit country”, which has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Poetry Prize. Front Row is featuring each of the 10 poets shortlisted and we’ll hear from the winner when they’re announced on Tuesday 17th January. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Paul Waters(Till picture credit: Lynsey Weatherspoon / Orion Pictures)
05/01/2342m 31s

Vocal ensemble Stile Antico, Fay Weldon obituary, director John Strickland

The English composer William Byrd died 400 years ago. To mark this the acclaimed vocal ensemble Stile Antico is about to release an album of his music. Five of the twelve members of the ensemble come to the Front Row studio to sing and talk about Byrd's extraordinary and moving music.The author and founder of the Women's Prize for Fiction Kate Mosse and actor Julie T Wallace, who played Ruth in the BBC TV production of The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, join Front Row to mark the work of writer Fay Weldon, whose death was announced today.Veteran director John Strickland talks about filming The Rig, a new 6-part big budget Amazon Prime eco-thriller set on an oil rig cut off from all communication in the North Sea. An ensemble cast of familiar faces from Line of Duty, Game of Thrones and Schitt's Creek contend with a mysterious deep-sea entity.And Zaffar Kunial reads his poem Brontë Taxis from his TS Eliot Prize-nominated collection England's Green.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Sarah JohnsonPhotograph of Stile Antico credit: Kaupo Kikkas
04/01/2342m 22s

Tom Hanks On A Man Called Otto, Author Deepti Kapoor, The London Ticket Bank

Tom Hanks talks about playing a curmudgeonly older man whose life changes when a young family moves in next door in his latest film, A Man Called Otto. Author Deepti Kapoor on her new novel, Age of Vice, which explores crime and corruption in the world of New Delhi’s elites.The London Ticket Bank – promising tens of thousands of theatre and music tickets across the capital to those most impacted by the cost-of-living crisis. Samira is joined by Co-Founder Chris Sonnex to explain the new initiative from the Cultural Philanthropy Foundation and Cardboard Citizens, in partnership with The Barbican, Roundhouse, and The National, Almeida, Bush, Gate, and Tara Theatres.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Tim Prosser
03/01/2342m 22s

Leeds 2023 Year of Culture

Front Row visits Leeds as the city prepares to celebrate culture throughout 2023.Following Brexit, Leeds’ bid for European Capital of Culture was ruled ineligible. Sharon Watson, Principal of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, reflects on the initial disappointment and the decision to press ahead anyway, and creating a new dance work for The Awakening - the opening event of Leeds 2023 Year of Culture. The Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage joins his LYR bandmates, singer-songwriter Richard Walters and instrumentalist Patrick Pearson, to perform two songs ahead of headlining at The Awakening. Kully Thiarai, Creative Director of Leeds 2023, explains why she thinks the city’s decision to press ahead with a year-long celebration of culture even after Brussels said no, has been transformative.Theatre maker Alan Lyddiard is gathering 1001 stories from those aged 60 and over for a takeover event at Leeds Playhouse this spring. He reveals why he feels Leeds was the perfect city for this project.The poet Khadijah Ibrahiim will be performing at The Awakening but for her 2023 is not just about Leeds’ cultural celebrations, it also marks the 20th anniversary of the creative writing organisation for teenagers, Leeds Young Authors, that she founded in 2003. She concludes tonight’s programme, with her poem, Roots Runnin II. Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene AkalawuImage credit (c) Lorne Campbell, Guzelian for LEEDS 2023
02/01/2342m 26s

The Pale Blue Eye and Happy Valley reviewed, Artist Alexander Creswell

Critics Tim Robey and Rhianna Dhillon join Front Row to watch the murder-mystery gothic horror film The Pale Blue Eye, starring Christian Bale, Gillian Anderson and Harry Melling, as Edgar Allan Poe, and the return of Happy Valley starring Sarah Lancashire and written by Sally Wainwright for what will be its final series. After the Windsor Castle fire in 1992, the artist Alexander Creswell was commissioned by the Queen to initially chart the destruction and five years later to capture the restoration of the castle. It was the only series of paintings that the Queen ever commissioned. Alexander Creswell reflects on the commission that led to him creating twenty-one watercolour paintings. The series is not currently on public display, but can be viewed on the Royal Collection Trust website.Picture credit of Harry Melling and Lucy Boynton in The Pale Blue Eye: Scott Garfield/Netflix © 2022Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Sarah Johnson
22/12/2241m 56s

Marie Kreutzer on the film Corsage, Film director Mike Hodges remembered, Artistic buzzwords, The T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry

Film director Marie Kreutzer on her new period drama film, Corsage, about the rebellious Elisabeth, 19th-century empress of Austria and queen of Hungary. Matthew Sweet joins Front Row to mark the work of Mike Hodges, the celebrated director of the classic films Get Carter and Flash Gordon, whose death has just been announced.When does an 'art-speak' buzzword, such as 'immersive' or 'liminal,' add to our aesthetic landscape and when does it get in the way? Times critic James Marriott and the artist Bob and Roberta Smith discuss how words shape our experience of art. And, ahead of the announcement of the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry in January, we hear a poem from nominee Fiona Benson’s shortlisted collection Ephemeron.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Jerome WeatheraldImage: Vicky Krieps as Empress Elisabeth of Austria in the film Corsage Photographer credit: Felix Vratny
21/12/2242m 18s

Terry Hall remembered, state of UK theatre, board games of the last 40 years

Terry Hall of The Specials remembered after his sad passing. We hear him talking to John Wilson in 2019, and Pete Paphides looks back on his life and music.Plus, the state of UK theatre and its future outlook. Samira is joined by Nica Burns, co-owner of Nimax, who runs seven West End theatres and recently opened Soho Place - the first new theatre to open in the West End in 50 years; plus Matthew Xia - Artistic Director of the Actors' Touring Company; and Matt Hemley – Deputy Editor of the industry newspaper The Stage. And the best board games of the past 40 years. For many, Christmas would not be complete without one. Ancient forms like chess, oware or backgammon, and more modern classics including Monopoly, Scrabble and Cluedo, have been joined in the last 40 or so years by new inventions such as Rummikub, Catan and Ticket to Ride - all winners of the German prize Spiel des Jahres, or Game of the Year, which started in 1979. James Wallis, author of a book on board games, Everybody Wins, explains the enduring popularity of the pastime and why he thinks the games are an artform.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Tim Prosser
20/12/2242m 20s

Lucy Prebble, immersive experiences, what next for ENO

Lucy Prebble, acclaimed playwright and Succession screenwriter, talks to Tom about the return of I Hate Suzie Too, her TV collaboration with Billie Piper about a B-list celebrity making a reality TV comeback, following an intimate phone hacking scandal.Immersive and interactive exhibitions, performances and ‘experiences’ are everywhere, from the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Reel Store in Coventry to a Peaky Blinders experience in London. Tom is joined by author Laurence Scott and art critic Rachel Campbell-Johnson to ask if we’ve reached peak immersion.After having its funding slashed and being told it must move out of London, where does the English National Opera go from here? Manchester has been mooted, although there are reports that the Arts Council may be about to grant the ENO a reprieve. The company’s chief executive Stuart Murphy will give us an update, and we’ll hear from Richard Mantle, chief executive of Leeds-based Opera North, which tours to cities including Greater Manchester. And Manchester-based opera singer Soraya Mafi, who has performed with ENO, explains what the move might mean to her.Image: Billie Piper as Suzie Pickles in I Hate Suzie Too Photographer: Tom Beard Copyright: Sky UK Ltd.
20/12/2242m 22s

Quentin Blake discussion, reviews of Avatar and Magdalena Abakanowicz

For our Thursday review, film critic Leila Latif and art critic Ben Luke join Samira to discuss the much anticipated release of the Avatar sequel, The Way of Water and the exhibition of the late Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz: Every Tangle Of Thread And Rope at Tate Modern in London. The much-loved and much-celebrated illustrator and author Sir Quentin Blake will be 90 on December 16th. He is well known for his collaborations with Roald Dahl, Michael Rosen and many others as well as for his own stories such as Cockatoos and Mrs Armitage on Wheels. Fellow illustrators and writers Lauren Child and Axel Scheffler join Front Row to celebrate the work and influence of this distinctive artist as plans proceed to open The Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration in 2024. Image: courtesy of the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration
15/12/2242m 24s

Neil Gaiman, China's art censorship in Europe, Decline of the working class in the creative industries

Neil Gaiman reflects on The Ocean at the End of the Lane as the stage adaption of his award-winning novel begins a nationwide tour.A new report investigating China's art censorship in Europe has just been published. Jemimah Steinfeld, Editor-in-Chief of Index-on-Censorship, and art journalist Vivienne Chow, discuss its findings.Professor Dave O'Brien from the University of Sheffield and poet and trustee of the Working Class Movement Library, Oliver Lomax, discuss the decline of the working-class in the creative industries.Presenter: Nick Ahad Producer: Ekene AkalawuImage: Neil Gaiman
14/12/2242m 18s

Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody; Qatar art, architecture & the World Cup; Hannah Khalil

Director Kasi Lemmons discusses her new film, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, a biopic of the performer Whitney Houston, whose unmatched vocal power saw her become one of the best-selling musical artists of all time. She talks about exploring the darker sides of Whitney’s life and working with British actor Naomi Ackie who stars in the title role.Hannah Khalil, writer-in-residence at Shakespeare's Globe theatre, tells Luke about her retelling of the classic 1001 Nights story cycle - Hakawatis: Women of the Arabian Nights, which reimagines Scheherazade's storytelling feat as a team writing effort.Plus, in the final week of the World Cup in Qatar, we look at the new art and architecture in the country: the huge public art programme featuring the work of over 100 artists, including Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois, and Olafur Eliasson, plus new galleries, museums, and stadiums. To discuss Qatar’s cultural ambitions, and the question of culture washing in the face of rights concerns, Luke is joined by Hannah McGivern of The Art Newspaper, and Rowan Moore, architecture critic at The Observer. Presenter: Luke Jones Producer: Julian May
13/12/2242m 22s

Zadie Smith on The Wife of Willesden, David Tennant on Litvinenko and Rick Wakeman's stolen gear

Zadie Smith talks about her play The Wife of Willesden, a modern re-telling of Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath starring Clare Perkins in the title role at Kiln Theatre, London. David Tennant discusses playing Russian Alexander Litvinenko in a new ITV drama based on the real life events of his shocking death. Keyboard player Rick Wakeman discusses how he's having to adapt his UK tour after a load of his musical gear was stolen from his van last week. And film critic Larushka Ivan-Zadeh expresses her frustration at the confusion surrounding current film releases since the start of the pandemic.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Jerome Weatherald Image: Clare Perkins as Alvita in The Wife of Willesden by Zadie Smith at Kiln Theatre, London Photographer credit: Michael Wharley
12/12/2242m 34s

Orlando starring Emma Corrin & Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio reviewed, Damian Lewis on A Spy Among Friends

Orlando starring Emma Corrin at the Garrick Theatre in London and Guillermo del Toro’s animated film Pinocchio are reviewed by Shon Faye, author of The Transgender Issue, and Observer theatre critic Susannah Clapp. The story of double agent and defector Kim Philby has been told many times. A Spy Among Friends, a new six-episode series on ITVX, focuses on Nicholas Elliott, Philby’s lifelong friend. Damian Lewis, who plays Elliott, and writer Alexander Cary talk to Tom Sutcliffe about telling the story of political and personal betrayal anew. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Harry ParkerPicture of Emma Corrin as Orlando credit Marc Brenner
08/12/2242m 14s

The Turner Prize winner, poet Kim Moore, Razorlight's Johnny Borrell

The winner of this year's Turner Prize will be announced at St George’s Hall in Liverpool. Art critic Louisa Buck reflects on this year’s Turner Prize and responds to the news of the winner of this prestigious award for contemporary art. Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell tells Samira about the band reforming, their new album - Razorwhat? The Best Of Razorlight, and a new documentary, Fall To Pieces, which charts the meteoric rise, break-up and make-up of the band. And poet Kim Moore was recently announced as the winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2022, for her second collection, All The Men I Never Married. It was described as 'phenomenal' by the judges. She talks about putting the complexities of past relationships and encounters into poetry.
07/12/2241m 59s

Antoine Fuqua on Emancipation, NDAs in film and TV casting, playwright April De Angelis

Film director Antoine Fuqua discusses his new film, Emancipation, which stars Will Smith. He discusses basing his film on the true story of an enslaved man in 1860s Louisiana. Earlier this year, Front Row revealed how non-disclosure agreements were being misused in film and TV casting, with actors being kept in the dark about the roles they were auditioning for. The actor’s union Equity has come up with new guidance on NDAs. Carolyn Atkinson explains what this means for auditions. April De Angelis discusses her new play Kerry Jackson, which is at the National Theatre in London. Starring Faye Ripley in the title role of café owner Kerry, it explores class and gentrification.Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Eliane Glaser
06/12/2242m 19s

Fergus McCreadie, Leyla Josephine, Scottish National Gallery

Jazz pianist Fergus McCreadie performs live from his latest album Forest Floor, which recently won the Scottish Album of the Year award and a Mercury Prize nomination. Performance poet Leyla Josephine discusses her debut poetry collection In Public / In Private. Patricia Allerston, chief curator of the Scottish National Gallery, on the transformation of the museum and creation of a new exhibition space. Plus Kate goes behind the scenes to meet conservators who are restoring the works of art, Lesley Stevenson and Keith Morrison. Anna Burnside reports on the significance of this Autumn's closure of the Modern Two Gallery in Edinburgh, part of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Presenter: Kate Molleson Producer: Carol Purcell
05/12/2242m 3s

Veronica Ryan - shortlisted for the Turner Prize, reviews of new Stormzy album and film White Noise

Veronica Ryan OBE is shortlisted for the Turner Prize. She talks to Front Row about her Windrush Commission sculptures in Hackney that have won the hearts of both the community and critics, how she uses materials from old fruit trays to volcanic ash, and how her work contains multitudes of meaning.Nii Ayikwei Parkes, writer, commentator and performance poet and Lisa Verrico, music critic for the Sunday Times review White Noise, an extraordinary film written and directed by Noah Baumbach and based on the novel by Don DeLillo, and the much-anticipated album by Stormzy, This is What I Mean. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Sarah Johnson Photo of Veronica Ryan credit Holly Falconer
01/12/2242m 16s

Maxine Peake on Betty! A Sort of Musical, Turner Prize nominee Heather Phillipson, Signal Film and Media in Barrow-in-Furness

Maxine Peake discusses playing Betty Boothroyd, former Speaker of the House of Commons in Betty! A Sort of Musical, which is about to open at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre. Turner Prize nominated artist Heather Phillipson, best known for her sculpture of a giant cherry topped ice cream on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth, discusses her exhibition 'RUPTURE NO 1: blowtorching the bitten peach', using recycled materials, video, sculpture, music and poetry, currently on display at Tate Liverpool.Laura Robertson visits Signal Film and Media in Barrow in Furness to hear about how the charity has benefited from the latest Arts Council funding announcement and to find out what they have planned for the future. The artist Tom Phillips has died at the age of 85. In a Front Row interview from 2012, he discusses his long running artistic projects as a painter, printmaker and collagist.Presenter: Shahidha Bari Producer: Olivia SkinnerImage: Maxine Peake as Betty Boothroyd, former Speaker of the House of Commons in Betty! A Sort of Musical at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.
30/11/2242m 30s

Clint Dyer on Othello, Turner Prize nominee Ingrid Pollard, should museums close controversial galleries?

Clint Dyer discusses directing Othello starring Giles Terera at the National Theatre, the first Black director to do so. He talks about how he is approaching the racism and misogyny in the play, and the history of previous productions.In the second of Front Row’s interviews with the artists nominated for this year’s Turner Prize, Ingrid Pollard discusses her work, Carbon Slowly Turning, and how she explores themes of nationhood, race, history and identity through portraiture and landscape.And as the Wellcome Collection decides to close an exhibition described as sexist, racist and ableist, Front Row discusses whether museums should display historical objects that may offend gallery visitors. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Eliane Glaser Image: Giles Terera as Othello and Rosy McEwan as Desdemona. Image credit: Myah Jeffers
29/11/2242m 21s

Turner Prize nominee Sin Wai Kin, Katherine Rundell on John Donne, Ballet Black

Author Katherine Rundell talks to Tom Sutcliffe about her book Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne, which has won this year’s The Baillie Gifford. In the first in a series of interviews with the artists shortlisted for this year’s Turner Prize, Sin Wai Kin discusses how they use performance to challenge misogyny and racism. The acclaimed dance company Ballet Black, known for giving a platform to Black and Asian dancers and choreographers, turns 20 this year. Michael McKenzie visits rehearsals to hear how they are marking the anniversary.And as the Horniman Museum in London hands back their collection of Benin Bronzes to Nigeria, Professor Abba Tijani, the Director General of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments, discusses what receiving the artworks means for Nigeria. Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Emma Wallace Image credit: Sin Wai Kin by Holly Falconer
28/11/2242m 30s

Joan Armatrading, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye exhibition and film She Said reviewed

The much-celebrated singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading on her 50-year career, her book of lyrics, The Weakness in Me, and new album Live at Asylum Chapel.Arts journalist Nancy Durrant, and art historian and writer Chloe Austin review Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s new show at the Tate Britain, and the film She Said, starring Carey Mulligan, which details the New York Times investigation into Harvey Weinstein.Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe Producer: Ellie Bury
24/11/2242m 12s