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Front Row


Radio 4's daily live magazine programme reporting on the world of arts, literature, film, media and music.

Radio 4's daily live magazine programme reporting on the world of arts, literature, film, media and music.
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London, United Kingdom




Radio 4's daily live magazine programme reporting on the world of arts, literature, film, media and music.






St Vincent, Andrew Michael Hurley, The Tin Drum, Daljit Nagra

The American singer St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, discusses her new album Masseduction. Andrew Michael Hurley's debut novel The Loney was a runaway success, winning the 2015 Costa Book Award in the First Novel category. The author discusses his follow-up, Devil's Day, which like The Loney is a gothic horror story set in Lancashire. The Tin Drum by Nobel Laureate Günter Grass centres on Oskar, who refuses to grow from the age of 3 and has a voice that can shatter glass. The Cornwall-based...

Duration: 00:28:55

Armando Iannucci on the Death of Stalin, Kwame Kwei-Armah directs Ibsen's Lady from the Sea

Armando Iannucci, writer of The Thick of It, discusses his new film satire The Death of Stalin and his love of classical music as explored in his book, Hear Me Out. Kwame Kwei-Armah has been running the Center Stage Theater in Baltimore and in February will take over the Young Vic in London. Meanwhile he's directing The Lady From the Sea, in a new version by Elinor Cook that transports Ibsen's Scandi drama of a woman's tussle for her independence to the Caribbean. John Wilson finds out why,...

Duration: 00:30:30

Kit Harington, Kele Okereke, Dynasty, Porridge

Kit Harington on playing his own ancestor in Gunpowder, the new BBC1 drama series about the 17th Century plot to blow up Parliament. Kele Okereke, lead singer of Bloc Party, talks to Stig about his new solo album Fatherland, which includes a love duet with Olly Alexander, and he performs live in the studio. As 80's supersoap Dynasty returns with a remake on Netflix, Karen Krizanovich gives her verdict. As artists such as Liam Gallagher, Beck and St Vincent release albums on coloured vinyl...

Duration: 00:39:52

George Michael: Freedom, John Banville, Michael Fassbender, Performance art

Kate Mossman reviews George Michael: Freedom, the film George Michael was working when he died, in which he and a host of A-List names talk about his songs, his career, his relationships and his battles with the music industry. The Irish writer John Banville is the highly acclaimed winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize, The Sea. His novels include The Book of Evidence, Ghosts and now, Mrs Osmond. It's a sequel to Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady. That novel famously ends inconclusively:...

Duration: 00:31:16

Dustin Hoffman; Jon Boden plays live; the new gallery at Tate St Ives

In his latest film, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), Dustin Hoffman plays an old, bitter, self obsessed sculptor, whose children from several marriages nonetheless crave his approval. He and the director, Noah Baumbach, discuss grumpiness, fatherhood and the nature of success with Kirsty Lang. In St Ives the Tate is about to reopen with refurbished rooms rehung with wonderful work, by international artists - Rothko, Gabo, deKooning - and those working there who achieved such...

Duration: 00:36:24

Director Sally Potter, Composer Jimmy Webb, Anorexia on screen

In Sally Potter's latest film, The Party, a group of friends meet to celebrate a promotion but their lives begin to unravel as shocking secrets are exposed. The writer-director speaks to John about the film which stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Timothy Spall and Emily Mortimer. Writer and critic Hadley Freeman and the playwright and TV writer and actor Eva O'Connor discuss the challenges of depicting anorexia on screen. Eva's drama Overshadowed on BBC 3 has been widely praised for its...

Duration: 00:29:28

Audre Lorde, Dan Brown, Art connoisseurship

Audre Lorde described herself as "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet". A writer of the 70s and 80s, this month her poetry and prose is published in the UK for the first time in a new anthology: Your Silence Will Not Protect You. Akwugo Emejulu, Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick discusses the resurgent interest in Lorde's work and her importance to contemporary activists Dan Brown came to the fame in 2003 with his novel The Da Vinci Code which became a worldwide...

Duration: 00:31:35

Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling on Blade Runner 2049

As Blade runner 2049 hits cinemas around the country, John Wilson speaks to Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling about what the film offers to fans of the original. On the day that Liam Gallagher releases his debut studio solo album As You Were, the former Oasis frontman discusses his music and looks back over the years since the breakup of the band and his feud with his brother Noel. James Franco becomes the latest actor to play two roles at the same time on screen in David Simon's HBO drama...

Duration: 00:30:48

Kazuo Ishiguro wins the Nobel Prize, Latonia Moore, Loving Vincent

Kazuo Ishiguro wins the Nobel Prize in Literature. The literary critic, Alex Clark, assesses his contribution to the literary canon. Latonia Moore has just made her debut at the English National Opera in a visually spectacular new production of Aida. The soprano, from Houston, Texas, hit the headlines in 2012 when she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, stepping into the title role of Aida at 36 hours' notice, a performance broadcast around the world. Loving Vincent...

Duration: 00:29:18

Kate Winslet, Sparks, Jenny Uglow on her book about Edward Lear

Kate Winslet's latest film, The Mountain Between Us, is an epic romance shot at 10,000 feet above sea level and at -38 degrees Celsius. The actress talks to Samira about working with co-star Idris Elba, the legacy of Titanic, and looks forward to making her next film, when she will be working with Woody Allen. Californian brothers Ron and Russell Mael formed the band Sparks in the early '70s, and their first hit This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us made them household names in the...

Duration: 00:32:19

BBC National Short Story Award

Join John Wilson for a celebration of the power and possibilities of the short story as Chair of Judges Joanna Trollope announces the winner of the 2017 BBC National Short Story Award live from the Radio Theatre. The judging panel Eimear McBride, Jon McGregor and Sunjeev Sahota discuss the merits of the entries from the shortlisted authors. In contention for the £15,000 prize are Helen Oyeyemi, Benjamin Markovits, Cynan Jones, Jenni Fagan and Will Eaves. Radio 1 presenter Alice Levine will...

Duration: 00:29:20

Matt Lucas on his memoir, Tamsin Greig and Martin Freeman on Labour of Love

Matt Lucas talks to Stig Abell about his autobiography 'Little Me: My life from A-Z', in which he writes about the challenges of his childhood, his start on the comedy circuit 25 years ago, and the phenomenal success of TV show Little Britain. Tamsin Greig and Martin Freeman discuss James Graham's new play Labour of Love, about the three decade battle between old and new Labour in a North Nottinghamshire constituency, in which they play a labour party agent and an MP. Jacky Klein on the...

Duration: 00:32:46

A Front Row special from Hull's Contains Strong Language festival

A Front Row special from Hull which is hosting the BBC's new poetry and spoken word festival - Contains Strong Language. John Wilson talks to James Phillips, the playwright behind Flood, the epic year-long, four part multi-media theatrical event that has been one of the big commissions in Hull's year as City of Culture. Poet Louise Wallwein on Glue - the story of her search for her birth mother, and the impact of meeting her, which she has turned into a one-woman show, a debut collection...

Duration: 00:33:18

Benny Andersson, Sophie Wu, National Poetry Day

Benny Andersson, the musical mastermind behind all those Abba hits and the musical Chess, talks to Kirsty about his new album on which he presents solo piano versions of many of his best loved tunes. Sophie Wu is known as an actor for her roles in series such as 'Fresh Meat' and the film 'Kick Ass'. Now she has written a play. Ramona Tells Jim is about two teenage outsiders who fall for one another, before Ramona tells Jim something that changes everything. Sophie talks to Kirsty Lang...

Duration: 00:34:30

Carlos Acosta, Opera at the V&A, Michael Winterbottom

Since he retired last year, the international ballet Star Carlos Acosta has set up a dance company in his native Cuba, Acosta Danza. The company will debut in the UK at Sadler's Wells in London late this September. Carlos spoke to John Wilson in between rehearsals. John reviews the V&A's exhibition about 400 years of opera with top soprano Mary Bevan and critic Peggy Reynolds. John Wilson speaks to Michael Winterbottom about his new film On the Road, and the decision to include actors in...

Duration: 00:33:39


Arts news, interviews and reviews.

Duration: 00:37:39

Nancy Meyers, Jenny Erpenbeck, Literary modern classics, Turner Prize show

Nancy Meyers has made her career making hugely popular romantic comedies such as The Holiday, It's Complicated and What Women Want. As her latest venture, Home Again, comes to cinemas we speak to Nancy Meyers about the rom-com and her career in Hollywood. Last week, UK book publishers Bloomsbury launched their first 'Modern Classics' series, joining the likes of Picador, Faber & Faber and of course Penguin, who established their iconic series way back in 1961. But why are certain books...

Duration: 00:33:22

Gerald Scarfe, Novelist Maja Lunde, The Judas Passion

The political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe discusses Stage and Screen, a new exhibition at House of Illustration of his designs for theatre, rock, opera, ballet and film over the last 30 years, from Orpheus in the Underworld for English National Opera to Pink Floyd's 1982 film The Wall. Maja Lunde, author of the best-selling novel The History of Bees, tells Kirsty why she was inspired to write about these insects whose future is under threat, and how this led her to explore what the world...

Duration: 00:29:35

Juliet Stevenson, Basquiat, Tony Blackburn, NSSA shortlisted Jenni Fagan

Last time they worked together director Natalie Abrahami buried Juliet Stevenson up to her neck in Samuel Beckett's play Happy Days. In their new collaboration, Stevenson spends almost the entire evening flying about above the stage, for her role as a stuntwoman who suffers a stroke. Juliet Stevenson and Natalie Abrahami talk to Samira Ahmed about staging Arthur Kopit's Wings. The New York street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died at the age of 27 in 1988, is the subject of a...

Duration: 00:29:19

Benedict Cumberbatch, Giles Coren, Borg vs McEnroe, Will Eaves

Benedict Cumberbatch on bringing Ian McEwan's novel The Child in Time to BBC1, playing a children's writer whose marriage breaks down following the disappearance of his daughter. Giles Coren talks about the new Front Row television programme which begins this Saturday, and discusses his recent remarks about theatre which caused controversy in the press. Sports journalist Eleanor Oldroyd reviews Borg vs McEnroe, a feature film about the intense 1980's rivalry between the two tennis...

Duration: 00:32:18

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