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Front Row: Archive 2012 Podcast Cover
Front Row: Archive 2012 Podcast Profile

Front Row: Archive 2012 Podcast

English, Public-Community, 1 season, 257 episodes, 5 days, 2 hours, 23 minutes
Interviews with leading novelists, musicians, film directors, artists and more, from Radio 4's flagship arts show, presented by Mark Lawson, Kirsty Lang and John Wilson.
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The Rolling Stones in conversation with John Wilson

Following the announcement of the death of the musician Charlie Watts, tonight’s Front Row is an archive edition featuring John Wilson in conversation with the band he was a member of - The Rolling Stones. The programme was recorded in 2012 to mark 50 years since the band’s first performance. In it, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood reflect on life in the Rolling Stones as they prepare to return to the stage.
8/25/202127 minutes, 44 seconds
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Neil Young interviewed

With John Wilson. In a rare extended interview, the Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young discusses his latest disc, a selection of traditional songs, recorded with the uninhibited rock band Crazy Horse. The album includes a version of God Save The Queen, the anthem Young recalls singing as a schoolboy in Canada. Young, who topped the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic 40 years ago with his LP Harvest, also reflects on the role of the protest song in the age of the TV talent show, and considers his own instinctive approach to music-making, and his reluctance to become a crowd-pleaser. Producer John Goudie.
8/6/201429 minutes, 38 seconds
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Julian Fellowes, Rumer and Maureen Lipman in the Front Row Quiz

Mark Lawson turns quizmaster to test the cultural knowledge of two teams in the Front Row Quiz of the Year. Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and film-maker Asif Kapadia join team captain Natalie Haynes to compete against actress Maureen Lipman and singer Rumer, under the captaincy of crime writer Mark Billingham. Questions cover a wide range of the year's events, and there's a teasing round of Nordic TV crime drama clips - in their original languages. Producer Claire Bartleet.
12/31/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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British actors in America

With Mark Lawson. Damian Lewis, Hugh Laurie, Thandie Newton, Adrian Lester, Clive Owen and Ashley Jensen are among the actors who discuss the highs and lows of working as British performers in America. Many high profile American TV shows and films are casting British actors in key roles. The success of programmes such as Homeland and House are testament to the strong parts tempting British actors across the pond. Director Stephen Frears explains his theory that there is a crisis in American acting, prompting producers and directors to seek talent on this side of the Atlantic. Hugh Laurie and Damian Lewis reflect on the pros and cons of the long contracts and extended seasons on prime time US TV shows and Adrian Lester and Thandie Newton explore the reasons behind the success of many black British actors in America. Producer Ellie Bury.
12/28/201228 minutes, 18 seconds
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The creative backstage stars of Strictly, Downton and the Olympics

Kirsty Lang turns the spotlight on the backstage stars, some of the key individuals behind-the-scenes who play a key role in big events and major TV shows. The band from Strictly Come Dancing lurk at the back of the stage in the shadows as the brightly-lit action takes place on the dance floor in front of them. Band leader Dave Arch, bass player Trevor Barry and singers Haley Sanderson and Lance Ellington give us an insight into the view from the back, and what they can do when things don't quite go according to plan. Costume designer Caroline McCall is in charge of creating, sourcing, designing and hiring the wide selection of period dress for Julian Fellowes' ITV1 hit drama series Downton Abbey. She takes Kirsty round her main costume suppliers who provided the extensive high-end wardrobe for Shirley MacLaine in Series 3, and describes what it's like to see the script for the first time and find there's a big wedding, a jazz party and a trip to London, and filming starts in two weeks. And Patrick Woodroffe, lighting designer of choice for the Rolling Stones since 1982, has had a busy year lighting the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace, the Stones' 50th anniversary tour, and not least the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics and Paralympics. He discusses the pleasures of creating a new show from scratch and the challenges that faced him when Danny Boyle described his vision for his opening ceremony - and why the big orange Olympic rings so nearly didn't light up. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
12/27/201228 minutes, 26 seconds
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Neil Young, Pete Townshend, Mick Jagger and more on their musical roots

John Wilson talks to musicians including Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Paul McCartney, Emeli Sandé, Jonny Greenwood and Pete Townshend about their first musical influences. Neil Young reveals why he recently recorded a version of God Save The Queen, the anthem he sang regularly during his Canadian childhood. Paul McCartney discusses how songs by the great American tunesmiths of the 1930s, which he heard in his childhood home, influenced his own approach to writing. Pete Townshend contrasts his love of abrasive rock and roll with the music performed by his father, who played the saxophone in a dance band. Soul singer Bobby Womack remembers how he also rebelled against his father, who wanted his sons to perform only gospel music, rather than anything more secular. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards reflect on their early shared love of raw American blues records. And Neil Diamond, Emeli Sandé and Jonny Greenwood, from the band Radiohead, recall the early musical encounters which shaped their subsequent careers. Producer John Goudie.
12/26/201228 minutes, 26 seconds
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Working with the family

With Mark Lawson. Jack Whitehall, Greg Davies, Niamh Cusack and Frances de la Tour are among the performers and artists who share memories and reflections on working with close members of their families. Christmas is the time when people are most likely to spend time with their closest relatives. But for some in showbusiness the holidays are not a rare family reunion but a continuation of a professional relationship or, for writers and comedians, an encounter with the relatives who have been the source of their best material. Comedians Greg Davies, Jack Whitehall and Sarah Millican regularly exploit cringeworthy family moments in the service of comedy. They describe how it feels to perform the material with the family members in question in the audience. Actress Niamh Cusack reflects on the experience of appearing in Chekhov's Three Sisters with two of her sisters and her father, and Andy and Frances de la Tour discuss working together in Alan Bennett's People, and why they are banned from laughing while watching each other perform. Singer Donny Osmond reveals why he and sister Marie's chemistry on stage does not necessarily reflect the reality off-stage and the conductor Alan Gilbert explains why having his violinist mother in the orchestra prevents the other musicians from indulging in a much-loved pleasure. Producer Ellie Bury.
12/25/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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People of the Year 2012, part 2

Mark Lawson unwraps interviews with arts headline makers of 2012, in the second of two programmes. Writer E L James reflects on a year in which she became a global publishing phenomenon, with her best-selling trilogy which began with Fifty Shades of Grey. Mark looks back at the Olympic Opening Ceremony, with director Danny Boyle and designer Thomas Heatherwick, who created the highly original cauldron for the Olympic flame. Singer Emeli Sandé remembers how nervous she felt moments before performing at the Opening Ceremony, and discusses a year in which she has become one of the UK's most high-profile musicians. Broadcaster and writer Clare Balding considers her role as a presenter at the Olympic and Paralympic games, and reveals how she allowed her mother three chances to veto content in her best-selling memoir, published this year. Writer Lolita Chakrabarti and actor Adrian Lester talk about their collaboration on the acclaimed play Red Velvet, based on the life of Ira Aldridge, an African-American actor whose arrival on the 19th century London stage provoked debate and dissent. Producer Ella-mai Robey.
12/24/201228 minutes, 25 seconds
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People of the Year 2012

Mark Lawson unwraps new interviews with arts headline makers of the year, in the first of two special programmes. In the wake of the record-breaking success of the James Bond film Skyfall, Judi Dench reflects on her role as M, and director Sam Mendes discusses the pressures of working on such a high-profile movie - and whether he knew about Bond's secret role in the Olympic opening ceremony. Hilary Mantel remembers the night when she won the Man Booker Prize for the second time - the only woman to do so - and Sheridan Smith looks back on a year in which her roles have ranged from Hedda Gabler on stage to the wife of train robber Ronnie Biggs on TV. Dramatist James Graham won acclaim for This House, his play about the struggles of the Labour government between 1974 and 1979. He reveals how he has seen many key politicians of the period in the audience, comparing his version of events with their own memories. Rebecca Front, winner of a British Comedy Award for her role in the political TV comedy The Thick Of It, considers how the latest series regularly seemed to predict the news headlines, and members of the Mercury Prize-winning band alt-J talk about their approach to rehearsals, with strict rules about attendance and mobile phone use. Producer Ella-mai Robey.
12/21/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Impossible; Simon Amstell; Arts Funding

With Kirsty Lang. A new film The Impossible, starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, focuses on the powerful tsunami which occurred in the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day 2004, and killed over 280,000 people. The film shows how events affected one family on a Christmas holiday in Thailand. Novelist Kamila Shamsie reviews. Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, and Tom Morris, Artistic Director at Bristol's Old Vic Theatre, discuss the future of arts funding. Leading figures in the arts, including Sir Nicholas Hytner and Danny Boyle have expressed concerns about how government funding cuts could affect regional theatre. Following the news that Arts Council England will have its funding cut by a further £11.6m before 2015, Ed Vaizey outlines his thoughts on the future of UK arts organisations. Comedian Simon Amstell's stand-up show, Numb, is on TV on New Year's Eve. The former host of Never Mind The Buzzcocks, who also wrote and starred in the autobiographical TV comedy, Grandma's House, reveals how creating Numb from his own insecurities, led him to a happier place - helped by a pungent potion in Peru. With Christmas on the horizon, Front Row takes a look at the wealth of festive television programmes. Time Out's TV Editor Gabriel Tate, discusses a selection of the drama, factual and children's programmes on offer, and recommends some must-see shows. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
12/20/201228 minutes, 30 seconds
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Dustin Hoffman's Quartet reviewed; singer Katy Carr; comedy DVDs

With Kirsty Lang. Barry Norman reviews Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut, Quartet. The film is set in a home for retired opera singers and features Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly and Michael Gambon among the all-star cast. Katy Carr is a singer, songwriter and aviator. She's half Polish and her album, Paszport, focuses on Polish stories from World War II, including a veteran who escaped from Auschwitz. She reflects on how she turns personal histories into songs. The release of new DVDs by leading stand-up comedians has become a Christmas tradition. Stephen Armstrong offers his guide to the best of this year's stocking-fillers. Many of today's newspapers feature a photograph of the Queen and the Cabinet, with the monarch flanked by politicians who are laughing, looking away or unprepared. Jeremy Selwyn, the photographer who took the memorable shot, discusses the art of the group photo. According to a Mayan prophecy, the world will end on 21 December. Making good use of the remaining time, David Quantick has pulled together a selection of music for an apocalypse. Producer Olivia Skinner.
12/19/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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Salman Rushdie, Victoria Wood, Christmas Jukebox Jury

With Mark Lawson Salman Rushdie has written his first ever screenplay, an adaptation of his own Booker Prize-winning novel Midnight's Children. He reflects on condensing the family saga which follows India from Colonialism to Partition, about filming in Sri Lanka, and about the experience of writing his memoir, Joseph Anton. Victoria Wood discusses her TV drama Loving Miss Hatto, in which Francesca Annis and Alfred Molina play real-life concert pianist Joyce Hatto, who died in 2006, and her husband Barrington Coupe. He caused a storm when he hoodwinked the classical music world by releasing recordings by other pianists under his wife's name. It's time for Front Row's Christmas Jukebox: music writers David Hepworth and Rosie Swash join Mark for their annual assessment of the merits of a host of Christmas singles. Producer Claire Bartleet.
12/18/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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Don McCullin; Martin Freeman; albums of the year

With John Wilson. Photographer Don McCullin was on Front Row earlier this year talking about an exhibition of some of his most famous photographs of conflict, from Vietnam to Iraq. He said then that - at the age of 75 - his days on the frontline were over. But this morning The Times newspaper published new McCullin photographs of life on the streets of Alleppo, Syria, taken over the last few days. He explains why he decided to go back. Martin Freeman discusses playing Bilbo Baggins in the first of the trilogy of films that form the screen-version of Tolkien's classic, The Hobbit. The story focuses on events 60 years before The Lord Of The Rings, when Bilbo was still a young hobbit. Martin reflects on how he'll cope with the possibility that he'll forever be identified with this role. Gemma Cairney, Suzy Klein and Kate Mossman look back at 2012 in music, choosing their CDs of the year and talking about the importance of record labels, the role of technology and the Olympic opening ceremony. Since the start of 2012, The Listening Project has been collecting conversations between friends and family throughout the country. To mark its first year, composer Gary Carpenter has been commissioned to set fragments of the conversations to music. The result is The Listening Project Symphony which receives its premiere on Radio 4 tomorrow evening. Gary discusses how he approached creating music to fit the words. Producer Ellie Bury.
12/13/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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William Boyd; Ravi Shankar remembered; video games of the year

With Kirsty Lang. Writer William Boyd discusses the television adaptation of his novel, Restless, which stars Michael Gambon, Michelle Dockery and Charlotte Rampling. Ravi Shankar, who has died at the age of 92, took the sitar to a global audience, and was a huge influence on many musicians. Choreographer Akram Khan pays tribute. Dramatist Martin Crimp discusses his new play In the Republic of Happiness. It centres on a family Christmas interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Uncle Bob, who's not seen his relatives for a long time. Their world will never be the same again. The video gaming year is reviewed by writer Naomi Alderman. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
12/12/201228 minutes, 14 seconds
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Paul Thomas Anderson on The Master; Jim Cartwright returns to the stage

With Mark Lawson. Director Paul Thomas Anderson reflects on his film The Master, which has already won numerous awards and is heavily tipped for Oscar success. In the week that Green Day release the third in a trilogy of albums and Peter Jackson announced that The Hobbit will be divided into three parts, Mark asks whether three is the magic number for films, novels and albums, with Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Toby Litt and David Hepworth. Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars in the film Smashed, a comedy drama which examines the strains experienced by an alcohol-dependent married couple, when the wife decides to get sober. Critic Mark Eccleston gives his verdict. Playwright Jim Cartwright, best known for Road and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, has just written his first play in 12 years. A Christmas Fair is a commission by The Milton Rooms in Ryedale, Yorkshire, and is a community project staffed by volunteers. Jim Cartwright discusses the play and what it was about the Yorkshire venue that appealed so much to him. Producer Stephen Hughes.
12/11/201228 minutes, 22 seconds
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Paul Auster, Tom Robinson plays Beck

With John Wilson. Paul Auster is the best-selling author of The New York Trilogy and Moon Palace. His latest book, Winter Journal, takes him in a more reflective direction, examining his own life through a series of autobiographical fragments and memories. He explains why he refuses to call the book a memoir and why - despite priding himself on being a safe driver - he has given up driving completely. The musician Beck has sold millions of CDs, but his latest album Song Reader exists only as sheet music. No recording is available. Singer-songwriter Tom Robinson brings his guitar to the studio to try out a selection from the album. Trevor Noah is a South African comedian whose talent was spotted by Eddie Izzard. The son of a black South African mother and a white Swiss father, Noah is currently performing a stand-up show called The Racist, with tales of growing up under apartheid. He reflects on his early years and the importance he places on the precise use of language. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
12/7/201228 minutes, 34 seconds
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Ali Smith, Dave Brubeck, crime fiction

With Mark Lawson. The 1992 film The Bodyguard, starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston, was a huge box office hit. Now a stage musical version of the film has opened, with Heather Headley in the leading role. Music critic Rosie Swash gives her verdict. Writer Ali Smith combines fiction and essays in her new book Artful. She discusses the challenges involved in working in different forms. The pioneering jazz pianist Dave Brubeck has died at the age of 91. Front Row pays tribute to the musician whose 1959 release, Time Out, was the first jazz album to sell a million copies.There is another chance to hear an interview Brubeck recorded with Mark in which he revealed one of the secrets of his long career. Jeff Park returns to Front Row with one of his regular round-ups of the best new crime fiction. Producer Olivia Skinner.
12/6/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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All-female Julius Caesar; writer Mike Bartlett on The Town

With Mark Lawson. Mamma Mia and The Iron Lady director Phyllida Lloyd returns to the stage with a new all-female staging of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. It's set in a women's prison and contains a heavy-metal soundtrack. Harriet Walter takes the role of Brutus alongside Frances Barber as Caesar. Writer and critic Bidisha reviews. Playwright Mike Bartlett is known for writing Earthquakes in London, Love Love Love, 13 and for adapting Chariots of Fire into a stage production. His first television drama is The Town - a three part exploration of a young man's return to his home town after a ten year absence. Bartlett talks about writing around the ad breaks, recession drama and balancing champagne glasses on hurdles. John Rutter is one of the best-loved contemporary British composers. He is best known for his choral compositions, especially his carols and Christmas music. He discusses his latest project, composing and arranging music for the harp, and his commission for a piece of music to celebrate the Royal Wedding. Producer Claire Bartleet.
12/5/201228 minutes, 15 seconds
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Ben Folds; Elizabeth Price; Charles Dickens museum

With John Wilson. Elizabeth Price has won this year's Turner Prize for work including her video installation The Woolworths Choir of 1979. She discusses her inspirations and what winning the prestigious art prize might mean for her future plans. Ben Folds is best known for his musical career, notably with his band Ben Folds Five, but he is also a keen photographer and takes his camera on tour, sometimes capturing images of the audience at his gigs from the stage. Ben Folds discusses why Ben Folds Five are back together after a 13 year break, his collaborations with the novelist Nick Hornby and why taking photographs is similar to song-writing. The Charles Dickens Museum, the author's former Bloomsbury home, is about to re-open following a £3.1 million refurbishment project. Historian Kathryn Hughes and actor and author Simon Callow explore the rooms where Dickens lived at the start of his career, and where he wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. Hip hop musician and producer RZA, of the Wu-Tang Clan, has also acted in several movies. He now makes his directing debut with The Man With The Iron Fists - and he also plays the title role and co-wrote the screenplay. Inspired by kung fu classics and featuring an international cast including Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu and Chinese star Daniel Wu. the film is set in 19th century China, and follows the fortunes of a series of lone warriors forced to unite to defeat a common enemy. Film critic Mark Eccleston gives his verdict. Producer Olivia Skinner.
12/4/201228 minutes, 26 seconds
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Seven Psychopaths, Beryl Bainbridge's art

Martin McDonagh won the 2008 Best Original Screenplay Oscar for In Bruges, starring Colin Farrell as an unlucky hit-man. In McDonagh's new film, Seven Psychopaths, Farrell is a struggling screenwriter dragged into the Los Angeles crime world when his quirky friends (Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken) kidnap a dog belonging to a gangster (Woody Harrelson). Kamila Shamsie reviews. Novelist Beryl Bainbridge, who died in 2010, won the Whitbread Prize twice and was nominated for the Booker Prize five times. But she was also an accomplished and prolific painter, whose subjects include The Titanic, Napoleon, and Captain Scott's journey - as well as Liverpool memories and portraits of her children. As The Museum Of Liverpool prepares to open the exhibition, Beryl Bainbridge: Painter, her longtime friend A.N Wilson talks about her paintings and their relationship to her writing. This week Young Voices launches its latest national arena tour in Birmingham NEC, with 7,000 UK schoolchildren. To discuss the pros and cons of different choir sizes, Mark Lawson is joined by Jeremy Summerly from the Royal Academy of Music and Suzi Digby of BBC TV's Last Choir Standing. Two of the best known faces on television are returning to our screens this week, but both will be out of their comfort zone. Richard Madeley, best-known for being one half of Richard And Judy, is investigating squatting in the UK in the documentary, Madeley Meets The Squatters - and Jamie Oliver is sharing the limelight with his good friend Jimmy Doherty in, Jamie And Jimmy's Food Fight Club. Gabriel Tate joins Mark to discuss whether the new formats have worked. Producer Nicki Paxman.
12/3/201228 minutes, 13 seconds
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The Mouse and His Child; Sightseers; Robert Greene; Cecilia Bartoli

With Kirsty Lang. Following the huge success of Matilda, the RSC has a new Christmas show for family audiences. The Mouse and His Child is based on a book by Russell Hoban, and features the adventures of two wind-up mice, a purple elephant, and Manny Rat who pursues the mice as they try to find their home. Writer Jamila Gavin reviews.. Writer Robert Greene has inspired rappers such as Jay-Z and 50 Cent and attracted hard-to-reach readers, including prisoners, with his best-selling books which reveal strategies to gain influence and power. Greene discusses whether he has mellowed with his new book which focuses on obtaining Mastery. Mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli has established a reputation for releasing challenging material which doesn't follow the opera hits formula. Her latest release is Mission, an exploration of the life and work of largely forgotten Italian composer Agostino Steffani. She explains why Steffani merits revival and how writer Donna Leon became involved in the project. A caravan trip around England turns into a killing spree in the bleak comedy film Sightseers, an unsettling mixture of Mike Leigh and Grand Guignol. Critic Natalie Haynes goes along for the ride. Producer Ellie Bury.
11/30/201228 minutes, 30 seconds
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Roddy Doyle, Boris Godunov, The Staves, TV Drama The Fear

With Kirsty Lang, Booker Prize-winning novelist Roddy Doyle talks about his new novella, Two Pints. It's a year's dialogue between two men in a Dublin pub over their pints. Beginning with the landmark Royal visit to Ireland in May 2011 and ending with the Paralympics last September, they set the world to rights and talk about the day's news. Michael Boyd's last production as Artistic Director of the RSC is an adaptation of Pushkin's Boris Godunov. Theatre critic Andrew Dickson reviews the play and assesses Boyd's tenure. The Staves are three singing sisters from Watford. They grew up singing harmonies around the kitchen table at home, and are on a sell-out UK tour. Jessica, Emily and Camilla Stavely-Taylor tell Kirsty how it all began. Peter Mullan stars as Brighton crime-boss-turned-entrepreneur Richie Beckett in a new four-part Channel 4 TV drama The Fear, which chronicles the disintegration of a criminal mind. Crime writer Dreda Say Mitchell gives her verdict. Producer Penny Murphy.
11/29/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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Daniel Radcliffe in A Young Doctor's Notebook, Oliver Sacks, the Hunt

With Mark Lawson. Daniel Radcliffe and John Hamm star in A Young Doctor's Notebook, a new four-part TV comedy drama based on a collection of short stories by the celebrated Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov. Including graphic scenes, the series is partly based on the author's experiences as a young country doctor working at the dawn of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Leading neurosurgeon Henry Marsh reviews. Oliver Sacks' seminal 1985 book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat described some of the most intriguing case histories he encountered through his work in neurology. Sacks discusses his latest book Hallucinations, a collection of mind-altering episodes experienced by his patients and himself. The Danish director of Festen, Thomas Vinterberg, has returned to the controversial subject of child abuse for his latest film. The Hunt is the story of a primary school teacher who is accused of exposing himself to one of his pupils and is subsequently ostracized by his friends and community, even though there is no real proof of a crime. Briony Hanson delivers her verdict. And as Antony Gormley fills the entire space at the White Cube gallery in south London with his vast new sculpture Model, created from 100 tons of weathering sheet steel, Mark and art critic Rachel Campbell Johnston explore the large-scale artwork. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
11/28/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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Great Expectations; Bryan Ferry; Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong

With Mark Lawson. Bryan Ferry discusses The Jazz Age, a new album of instrumental versions of his greatest hits including Love Is The Drug, Virginia Plain and Avalon. Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong are the writing duo behind Channel 4 comedies Peep Show and Fresh Meat. In the week that Peep Show began its eighth series and the current series of Fresh Meat ends, they reflect on their unusual collaborative methods and the perils of getting to know the actors too well. Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes and Robbie Coltrane star a new film adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, directed by Mike Newell. Rachel Cooke reviews. Producer Stephen Hughes.
11/27/201228 minutes, 18 seconds
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Trouble With the Curve; Sports Book of the Year; theatre awards

With Mark Lawson. Dame Judi Dench, Danny Boyle and Simon Russell Beale were just some of the winners at last night's Evening Standard Theatre Awards. Despite the glamour of the ceremony, the mood was reflective, with speeches addressing proposed funding cuts to arts organisations. The night's winners reflect on the past year on stage. Clint Eastwood returns to the big screen in baseball drama Trouble With The Curve. He plays a veteran scout on a last trip before retirement. Joining him on the journey is his daughter (Amy Adams) and the pair bond as they share the crucial talent spotting decisions that her father's entire career will be judged by. Larushka Ivan-Zadeh gives her verdict. The winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year is announced today, from a varied shortlist which features cycling, the Isle of Man TT races, squash, Ironman, running, cricket and football. Each of the shortlisted authors discuss their subjects and the chair of the judges, John Inverdale, assesses the current state of sports writing in this country. Producer Ellie Bury.
11/26/201228 minutes, 21 seconds
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Brian Eno; Michael Hoffman; Spike Lee's Michael Jackson documentary

With Kirsty Lang Producer and musician Brian Eno discusses his new album Lux and his new app, which allows listeners to create their own music by selecting a variety of shapes and sounds. The story behind Michael Jackson's multimillion selling album, BAD 25, is shown in a new Spike Lee documentary. A fan of Jackson, Spike Lee wanted his film to remind audiences of the talent and creativity behind a singer whose troubled life and early death has overshadowed his musical career. Music journalist Jacqueline Springer reviews. The Coen Brothers have written the screenplay for an updated version of the 1966 Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine classic film, Gambit. The American director of this new release is Michael Hoffman - whose last film was the Oscar-winning The Last Station, about Leo Tolstoy. He discusses working with Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman, and the challenge of making a film whose roots lie in classic British film and TV comedy. This week sees the release of the film, Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger! - in which David Tennant plays twins. Adam Smith considers other actors who've been given the chance to double their screen-time, if not their salaries. Producer Olivia Skinner.
11/23/201228 minutes, 28 seconds
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With Mark Lawson. When Matthew Bourne established the dance company Adventures in Motion Pictures in 1987, his pioneering fusion of contemporary dance, classical ballet, and theatre thrilled audiences worldwide, won prizes on both sides of the Atlantic, and divided critics. He discusses his new production of Sleeping Beauty and what he's learned from Strictly Come Dancing. It's exactly 99 years since the birth of composer Benjamin Britten, and next year's centenary celebrations include numerous concerts, operas and broadcasts. But the events of recent weeks have renewed the focus on Britten's friendships with adolescent boys, a subject covered in biographies and documentaries - although there is no evidence of criminal behaviour. Singer Ian Bostridge, Jonathan Reekie of Aldeburgh Music and writer Martin Kettle reflect on Britten's current reputation. The American actor John Lithgow takes the title role in The Magistrate, in a new National Theatre staging of Pinero's farce about a respectable man caught up in a series of scandalous events. Sarah Crompton reviews. Producer Nicki Paxman.
11/22/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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The Mousetrap at 60, Calixto Bieito on Carmen, New Russian Art

With Mark Lawson. Agatha Christie's classic murder mystery play The Mousetrap has now been continuously in performance in London for 60 years, and the first ever touring production of the show is currently on a 60 date tour. Front Row sent three crime writers - Frances Fyfield, Mark Billingham and Suzette A Hill - to see The Mousetrap at three different locations. All three join Mark to debate whether the production has aged well. The theatre director Calixto Bieito is renowned for his radical productions of classic operas. His version of Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera opened with a row of singers on toilet seats, trousers down. As his sexually-explicit production of Carmen opens, Bieito reveals how travels to Morocco, seeing his first bull fight and the plight of women in Spain fed into his vision of Bizet's very popular opera - and the relevance of Henrik Ibsen's unusual pet. A new exhibition of contemporary Russian art at the Saatchi Gallery showcases work by emerging young artists. Gaiety is the Most Outstanding Feature of the Soviet Union: Art from Russia, charts their response to the break-up of the Soviet Union. Author and former Moscow correspondent A.D. Miller discusses what the work tells us about politics and society in a changing Russia. Producer Ella-mai Robey.
11/21/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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Neil Diamond; Costa Shortlists

With John Wilson. Front Row reveals the shortlists for this year's Costa Book Awards. Gaby Wood of the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian's Alex Clark join John to discuss the nominations for the best first novel, novel, biography, poetry and children's book. The morning after appearing on The Royal Variety Performance, American singer-songwriter Neil Diamond talks to John about his five decades in music. Relationships, mental illness and a dance competition all come together in the film Silver Linings Playbook - starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro. After losing everything, and spending 8 months institutionalised, Pat Solitano (Cooper) returns to his family home with the goal of remaining positive and being reunited with his wife. Antonia Quirke reviews. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
11/20/201228 minutes, 27 seconds
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Derek Jacobi, End of Watch, Denise Mina

With Mark Lawson. Actor Derek Jacobi talks about his new TV series, Last Tango In Halifax, co-starring Anne Reid, Sarah Lancashire and Nicola Walker. He also reflects on moving away from traditional character roles, his desire to appear in a film franchise, and whether he would ever return to the role of King Lear. Crime writer Denise Mina discusses how she has worked on a graphic novel version of Stieg Larsson's best seller The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and plans to adapt all three volumes of the Millennium Trilogy - each in two parts. Jake Gyllenhaal stars in police drama End Of Watch. Based around the patrol teams in one of LA's toughest neighbourhoods, South Central, the film chronicles the day-to-day work of Gyllenhaal and his partner (Michael Peña). Naomi Alderman reviews. David Gilmour's concert DVD is being released as an App. Beck's forthcoming work, Song Reader, is to be released in the form of 20 new songs available only as online sheet music. Neil McCormick, author and the Daily Telegraph's chief rock music critic, considers why musicians are finding new ways of bringing their music to listeners. Producer Claire Bartleet.
11/19/201228 minutes, 29 seconds
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Jimmy Page; natural history programmes over the years

With Kirsty Lang. Jimmy Page is the guitarist and founder member of Led Zeppelin. As Celebration Day, a film of their one-off 2007 reunion concert is released on DVD, Jimmy reflects on the performance, and why it's very unlikely the band will re-form. Sir David Attenborough is celebrating six decades of natural history programmes for the BBC. Charles Lagus was his cameraman in the 1950s when they worked as a two-man team on Zoo Quest. Simon King is a cameraman and film maker who's worked with Attenborough more recently. They consider the huge changes in technology in making wildlife programmes. Suranne Jones and Tom Ellis star in The Secret of Crickley Hall, a new TV adaptation of a novel by James Herbert. Natalie Haynes reviews the programme. Producer Ellie Bury.
11/16/201228 minutes, 36 seconds
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Ben Elton, Danny Boyle on regional theatre cuts, computer art

With John Wilson Ben Elton began his career as a stand-up comedian, and went on to write TV comedies, musicals and novels including Popcorn. His latest novel is Two Brothers, inspired by his family history about adopted brothers who go on to fight on opposite sides of the second world war. He reveals why this is a story he'd always wanted to tell. Danny Boyle - film-maker and impresario behind the London Olympics Opening Ceremony - joins regional theatre directors from across the UK who are meeting at the National Theatre to raise concerns about their funding and the potential cuts they may soon face. Creating art on a computer is commonplace now, but in the early days of computing, it was quite unexpected. As new solo shows of work by pioneering computer artists Ernest Edmonds and Manfred Mohr open this week, Catherine Mason, author of A Computer in the Art Room, discusses how they created a new area of art in the 1960s and changed the way that computers are viewed. As Silver Linings Playbook is released in cinemas next week, critic Jane Graham considers other film titles which may seem baffling or too long and considers whether a bad title can affect a movie's box-office takings Producer Jerome Weatherald.
11/15/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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Billie Piper in The Effect; Twilight; author Phil Rickman

With Mark Lawson Billie Piper stars in The Effect, a new play by Lucy Prebble about drugs trials and mental health. It's Prebble's first major new work since her success with ENRON, her play about the American financial scandal. Senior consultant neurosurgeon Henry Marsh reviews. The Heresy of Dr Dee is the latest in a series of novels about the Tudor astrologer and magician Dr John Dee by writer Phil Rickman. The novel explores the mysterious death of Amy Dudley, wife of Elizabeth I's favourite Lord Robert Dudley. Phil Rickman explains his fascination with Dee and why self-publishing is a temptation he's keen to resist. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart star in Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, the final instalment in the globally successful vampire film franchise. Larushka Ivan-Zadeh gives her verdict. Death: A Self Portrait is a new exhibition with more than 300 works - from images by Rembrandt and Goya to a chandelier made from 3000 plaster-cast bones - which confront our mortality. Dr Sarah Jarvis considers how attitudes have changed over the centuries. And we mark 90 years of BBC radio by remembering the moment when playwright Joe Orton was discovered by a young drama producer. Producer Penny Murphy.
11/14/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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A Bigger Splash; The Hour returns; photography from the Middle East

With Mark Lawson. This week sees the return of The Hour, the drama set in a TV newsroom in the 1950s. The series picks up where the last one left off with ambitious producer Bel, played by Romola Garai, attempting to keep Dominic West's newsreader Hector in check, with a little help from Peter Capaldi as the new head of news. Former Deputy Director of BBC News Mark Damazer gives his verdict. A new Tate Modern exhibition takes David Hockney's A Bigger Splash and Jackson Pollock's action painting Summertime as its starting point, and surveys modern art movements which claimed that the making of art is as important as the art itself, whether it's Yves Klein painting nude models blue and imprinting their figures on rolls of paper or Niki De Saint Phalle shooting her paintings with air rifles. Lionel Shriver delivers her verdict. Dramatist Nick Dear's new play is the story of poet Edward Thomas, scraping a living in the Hampshire countryside in the winter of 1913. He meets the American poet Robert Frost and as their friendship blossoms, so does Thomas's work. Nick Dear and director Richard Eyre discuss the play, The Dark Earth and the Light Sky, and its approach to biography. Light from the Middle East at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is the first major UK museum exhibition of contemporary photography from the region, spanning North Africa to Central Asia. It includes a series of images of Mecca, which on closer inspection are of architect's models of the city; photojournalism from the streets of Kabul and portraits of professional women in Saudia Arabia. Shahidha Bari reviews. Producer Dymphna Flynn.
11/13/201228 minutes, 34 seconds
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Quentin Blake interviewed; Hitler's dark charisma discussed

With Mark Lawson. Quentin Blake is known for his illustrations of books by Roald Dahl and Michael Rosen, as well as his work as a writer and an exhibiting artist. In his 80th year and as he publishes a new book of drawings, he reflects on how the breadth of his work, from children's books to hospital wards, makes him one of Britain's most recognized artists. Dramatist Anya Reiss, who was a teenager when her first play ran in 2010 at the Royal Court in London, has now adapted Chekhov's The Seagull. She and actor Matthew Kelly, who stars in the production, discuss the new version, and reveal why one of the play's most famous lines has disappeared. A new TV series examines how Adolf Hitler managed to persuade millions of people to support his vision for Europe that led to the deaths of 60 million people. Historian and documentary maker Laurence Rees is the writer and producer of The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler, and he explains his theories. Producer Stephen Hughes.
11/12/201228 minutes, 26 seconds
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Jeff Wayne; The Orphan of Zhao

With Kirsty Lang. Jeff Wayne has made a new version of his 1978 hit album The War Of The Worlds, now starring Liam Neeson as the narrator, stepping into Richard Burton's shoes - with Ricky Wilson, Gary Barlow and Joss Stone taking on the roles sung originally by David Essex, Justin Hayward and Julie Covington. Jeff Wayne reflects on the original appeal of HG Wells' story, and the aspects of the show he has now changed. Gregory Doran's first production since taking over as Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company is a Chinese play called The Orphan of Zhao - which dates from 4th Century BC and has been described as the Chinese Hamlet. The production generated some debate, covered on Front Row, as the cast includes few Asian actors. Front Row sent critic Andrew Dickson to see the play, as it takes to the stage. Crime Stories is a new daily TV drama, which follows two detectives as they spend their day in a police station talking to witnesses and suspects connected to a particular crime. The dialogue is part-improvised, and one of officers is played by a retired real-life policewoman, making her acting debut. Crime writer NJ Cooper reviews. Five pianos - stripped bare and hanging above pools of water - play themselves while the voices of people such as William S Burroughs and Malcolm X echo within a vast concrete hall. This is Stifter's Dinge, a composition by German composer Heiner Goebbels, inspired by the Austrian author, painter, and poet Adalbert Stifter. Jeremy Summerly of the Royal Academy Of Music shares his impressions of his encounter with the work. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
11/9/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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Alan Bennett's play People; Michael Winterbottom's film Everyday

With Mark Lawson, Alan Bennett's new play People stars Frances de la Tour as a former model living in her family's crumbling stately home. The comedy, staged at the National Theatre, focuses on the future preservation of the house, with options ranging from a heritage site to location hire for a porn film. Writer Kate Saunders reviews. Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov - whose books include Death and the Penguin - talks to Mark about how he was almost seduced by the Writer's Union into being an official writer in the old Soviet Union, why his books might not be considered Ukrainian literature by some, and how he was helped by the protection mafia while trying to sell his books on the streets of Kiev. Director Michael Winterbottom's latest film Everyday was filmed over five years and portrays a family living through a prison sentence, with John Simm as the prisoner and Shirley Henderson as his wife. Their children are very young at the start of the story, but visibly age in the course of the film. Writer and critic Bidisha gives her verdict. The powerful Mughal Empire dominated the Indian subcontinent from the 16th to the 19th century. The British Library has brought together over 200 objects, including paintings and literature, to create a major exhibition examining the entire reign of the Mughals. Curator Malini Roy discusses what the exhibits reveal. Producer Claire Bartleet.
11/8/201228 minutes, 29 seconds
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Director Michael Haneke; how to cry on stage; Full English

With Mark Lawson. In a rare interview, acclaimed director Michael Haneke talks about his most recent film, Amour, which won the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Festival. Haneke, whose previous films include Funny Games and The White Ribbon, discusses how he works with actors, and the films he has turned down. Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, 9 to 5 The Musical and Our Boys are just three of the many current stage productions featuring actresses and actors who have to cry on stage. Actors Laurence Fox, Mariah Gale and Natalie Casey discuss the art of acting tearfully, and Christian Burgess from the Guildhall School Of Music And Drama reveals how he teaches crying. Full English is a new animated TV comedy series aimed very much at adults, and broadcast late at night. Writer Stephen Armstrong joins Mark to consider adult animation past and present. The celebrated American composer Elliott Carter has died at the age of 103. In tribute, there's another chance to hear his thoughts on his education, and his views on contemporary music, from a Front Row interview recorded shortly before his 100th birthday. Producer Ella-mai Robey.
11/6/201228 minutes, 35 seconds
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Anna Friel in Uncle Vanya, The Sapphires, letters from the Mary Whitehouse archive

With Mark Lawson. Anna Friel returns to the stage in a new production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, with a cast which also includes Ken Stott, Laura Carmichael and Sam West. Writer and performer Viv Groskop reviews. In 1964, a devoutly Christian Shropshire schoolteacher co-launched a Clean Up TV campaign - and it turned her into a media star. Mrs Mary Whitehouse wrote letters of complaint to programme-makers, politicians, pop stars and playwrights. A selection of her correspondence, preserved in the archives of her National Viewers And Listeners Association, has now been published. Its editor Ben Thompson discusses her targets and the reactions to her attacks. Chris O'Dowd stars as a talent scout in The Sapphires, an Australian film about four Aboriginal women who form a group - Australia's answer to The Supremes - and whose first gig is to travel to Vietnam in 1968 to sing for the troops. Kate Mossman reviews. The Charles Dickens novel Nicholas Nickleby receives a modern makeover in a new TV adaptation, where penniless hero Nick finds himself fighting corruption within care homes. Novelist Kamila Shamsie discusses this latest updating of Dickens, and reflects on other adaptations of literary classics, including works by Jane Austen, Chaucer and Shakespeare. Producer Ella-mai Robey.
11/5/201228 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Shining, Lucy Kirkwood, Colm Toibin, Some Girls

With Kirsty Lang. As the longer, American version of The Shining is released in the UK for the first time, a new documentary about the film's obsessive fans is also in cinemas. Room 237 documents the various theories about Stanley Kubrick's horror classic and what it really means. Jon Ronson, the director of Stanley Kubrick's Boxes, gives his response to the documentary and the longer version of The Shining. Lucy Kirkwood is one of the UK's most high-profile young playwrights. Her new play NSFW examines society's attitudes to women's bodies through daily life at men's magazine Doghouse and women's publication Electra. Lucy Kirkwood explains why the subject appealed to her and what she makes of the 'political playwright' tag. Colm Toibin, whose award-winning novels include Brooklyn and The Master, discusses his new novel The Testament of Mary, which explores the life of Mary, mother of Jesus, in her old age. Some Girls, a new TV drama series, focuses on a group of 16-year-old girls who play on the same school football team and live on the same inner city estate. We follow them as they make their journey through adolescence, taking in boys, sex, teachers and heartbreak along the way. Rosie Swash reviews. Producer Penny Murphy.
11/2/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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John Goodman, Orhan Pamuk, Andrew Rawnsley on Secret State

With Mark Lawson. Actor John Goodman discusses his latest role in Argo, Ben Affleck's film about a high-risk cinematic solution to the Iranian hostage crisis in the late '70s, which is based on a true story. Secret State is a new TV adaptation of Chris Mullin's novel A Very British Coup. Gabriel Byrne stars as the Deputy Prime Minister thrown into the limelight when his boss disappears. Political journalist Andrew Rawnsley reviews the programme. Orhan Pamuk was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006, recognized for novels including Snow and My Name is Red. Silent House is his second novel and has just been translated into English for the first time. The Turkish writer reflects on what makes his writing political and why Silent House is oddly prophetic. As the Vatican newspaper gives its blessing to the new James Bond movie, Papal expert John Cornwell surveys the history of the Catholic Church's complex relationship with cinema. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
11/1/201228 minutes, 19 seconds
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Rust and Bone, Aerosmith, paper art, and hotels on film

With Kirsty Lang. Rust and Bone, Jacques Audiard's follow-up to his award-winning prison drama A Prophet is an earthy romantic fable about the unlikely relationship between a bare-knuckle boxer and a trainer of killer whales. Marion Cotillard, the star of Rust and Bone, talks to Kirsty, and critic Sandra Hebron reviews the film. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from Aerosmith discuss their album, Music From Another Dimension. The band members talk about working with Julian Lennon and Johnny Depp, and why it's been over a decade since they last released new material. Paper is the subject of a new exhibition, The First Cut, at Manchester Art Gallery. The show features 31 artists from around the world who use this most basic of artistic materials to create their art. Kirsty Lang talks to Rob Ryan, one of the artists involved in the show who is known for his detailed papercuts, and curator Fiona Corridan. As Secret Cinema launch a Secret Hotel, writer Adam Smith acts as our guide on a whistle-stop tour of the great hotels in film, from The Shining to Psycho, and imagines what your experience might be if you were to stay there. Producer Ellie Bury.
10/31/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Master; Seduced by Art; Thomas Adès

With Mark Lawson. The film The Master is an impressionistic tale of an American war veteran who drifts into a cult led by a charismatic writer. Paul Thomas Anderson's follow-up to There Will Be Blood is partly inspired by the activities of novelist and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and the director even invited Scientologist Tom Cruise to a personal screening. Lionel Shriver, author of We Need To Talk About Kevin, delivers her verdict. Seduced By Art is the National Gallery's first major exhibition of photography. Recent photographs by Martin Parr hang next to a painting by Thomas Gainsborough from 1750, as the exhibition explores the relationship between historical painting, early photography and works created by photographers today. Photographer Jillian Edelstein and art critic William Feaver give their reaction. In a rare broadcast interview recorded in New York, composer Thomas Adès discusses his opera The Tempest, which he is currently conducting at Metropolitan Opera. He also reveals why he fled from a performance of Britten's Peter Grimes, and why he was unable to produce a score for a libretto written by James Fenton. And James Grant, film locations manager on Skyfall, talks about the most desirable movie locations world-wide, as Big Ben opens for filming. Producer Dymphna Flynn.
10/30/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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Tom Wolfe in conversation with Mark Lawson

Mark Lawson interviews the American writer Tom Wolfe, as he publishes a new novel, Back to Blood, which is set amidst the wealth, sex and crime of contemporary Miami. It's now 25 years since Wolfe published his first novel, the controversial best-seller Bonfire Of The Vanities, and his new book is also a dissection of racial tension in urban America. The writer reflects on what, if anything, has changed in the intervening years. In a wide-ranging conversation, Wolfe also discusses political correctness, online pornography, his chances of winning a Nobel Prize and why he believes the French ruined American literature. Producer Stephen Hughes.
10/29/201228 minutes, 28 seconds
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Jez Butterworth, Wizards vs Aliens, soundscapes for journeys

With Mark Lawson Dramatist Jez Butterworth talks about the pressures of following on from the success of his play Jerusalem, which starred Mark Rylance. His new play The River stars Dominic West and is being staged in a very small theatre. Jez Butterworth explains the choice of venue, and the unusual ticketing arrangements introduced to cope with demand. Doctor Who and Sarah Jane Adventures writers Russell T Davies and Phil Ford have created a new action thriller, Wizards vs Aliens. In the CBBC series, a 16 year old wizard and his best friend are the only people who can protect Earth from magic hungry aliens. Novelist Matt Thorne and his young son give the verdict from different generations. The idea of music on the move has inspired two specially-commissioned soundscapes to fit specific journeys. Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley has created a piece of music for the National Trust, to accompany a walk at Croft Castle in Herefordshire, and composer Philip Sheppard has written a score to accompany the Gatwick Express rail route between Victoria and Gatwick Airport. They discuss the art of responding in music to very specific locations. Producer Ella-mai Robey.
10/26/201228 minutes, 30 seconds
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Mark Gatiss as Charles I; Posy Simmonds; 2013 City of Culture plans

With Mark Lawson. Mark Gatiss stars as King Charles I in Howard Brenton's play 55 Days, which focuses on the period culminating in the trial and execution of the monarch, as Oliver Cromwell takes control. Peter Kemp reviews. Cartoonist and writer Posy Simmonds, whose creations include Tamara Drewe, discusses Mrs Weber's Omnibus - a collection of the newspaper comic strips she began in 1977 and continued for more than a decade. The strips centre on three middle-class, middle-aged school friends and their families, and Posy Simmonds reflects on finding inspiration from everyday life, and how she approached the ageing of her characters. At lunchtime today Derry~Londonderry City of Culture 2013 announced its programme of events. Executive Programmer Graeme Farrow reveals what's happening, and the decisions behind his choice. Seal Team Six: the Raid on Osama Bin Laden is a new film to be broadcast on TV in America two days before the Presidential election - and it has prompted controversy following reports that producer Harvey Weinstein, a Democrat supporter, had added more footage to highlight the role played by the current President. David Darcy reports from New York. Producer Ella-mai Robey.
10/25/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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Thomas Keneally, Dan Stevens, 25 years of Michael Palin's TV travels

With Mark Lawson. Thomas Keneally, who won the Booker Prize for Schindler's Ark, discusses the inspiration for his new novel The Daughters of Mars. Set in 1915, the book focuses on two Australian sisters who join the war effort as nurses, bringing a guilty family secret with them. Keneally talks about his technique of taking historic subjects and showing them from an individual perspective. Dan Stevens, best known for his role as Matthew Crawley in ITV's Downton Abbey, is making his first appearance on Broadway. He plays the charming suitor Morris Townsend in a revival of The Heiress, a play based on Henry James' novel Washington Square. He reflects on making Broadway history as the first actor to take a break from performing to judge the Man Booker prize. Michael Palin's career after Monty Python has taken him literally around the world. For 25 years he has been making travel documentaries, starting with Great Railway Journeys of the World, and his latest series takes him to Brazil. Rebecca Nicholson and Chris Dunkley discuss Palin's global exploration over the decades. Producer Olivia Skinner.
10/24/201228 minutes, 29 seconds
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Poet Sharon Olds, Squeeze on tour

With Kirsty Lang. When poet Sharon Olds' husband told her he was leaving her, she took out her notebook and started writing. Her new volume, Stag's Leap, charts the death of that marriage in a collection of poems now shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry. Sharon Olds is known for being a poet of the personal, and she joins Kirsty to discuss her latest revelations. A black female lead character is a rare sight in television, which is why Scandal - a new drama from the US about political corruption - has attracted attention. It stars Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a crisis-management expert in Washington DC, and is loosely based on Judy Smith, former press aide to President George H. W. Bush. Gaylene Gould reviews. Elena, a new film from Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev, won the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize earlier this year. Elena is forced to fight for an inheritance from her wealthy husband, in a modern take on the classic noir. Author A D Miller, a former Moscow correspondent for The Economist, discusses what the film tells us about contemporary Russia. Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook of the band Squeeze are preparing to tour the UK next month. Following each performance they will be behind the counter of their Pop-Up Shop, where they'll be selling recordings of that evening's concert. Tilbrook and Difford discuss this new venture, the first music they've written together for 14 years, and what it's like to sing the old hits more than 30 years on. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
10/23/201228 minutes, 19 seconds
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Skyfall director Sam Mendes, Kevin Costner's TV series

With Kirsty Lang. Sam Mendes, director of the new James Bond film Skyfall, discusses the vital ingredients needed to make a successful 007 adventure, and the art of updating Ian Fleming's classic character for a contemporary audience. Kevin Costner won the Best Actor in a mini-series award at the Emmys this year for his performance in the TV drama Hatfields & McCoys. He's not the only Hollywood star winning acclaim on TV - Claire Danes, Julianne Moore and Jessica Lange all also won Emmys this year for their small-screen work. As Hatfields & McCoys comes to the UK, Sarah Churchwell reviews the programme, and considers the allure of TV for cinema stars. Biographer Tom Reiss discusses the real Count of Monte Cristo: General Alexandre Dumas was an idol of Revolutionary France, famed for his military exploits and physical courage. He inspired the adventure novels The Three Musketeers and The Count Of Monte Cristo, which were written by his son, also called Alexandre. Tom Reiss discusses how General Dumas, the son of a black slave, rose to a position of power, which brought him into conflict with Napoleon. Producer Claire Bartleet.
10/22/201228 minutes, 34 seconds
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Ginger & Rosa, Ralph Steadman on birds, the man who lights the Rolling Stones

With Kirsty Lang. Ginger & Rosa is a coming-of-age drama set during the Cuban missile crisis about two teenage girls who find that the bomb has brought them together. A heady mix of jazz, love, politics and shrink-to-fit jeans, it's a partly autobiographical tale from director Sally Potter, best known for Orlando. Writer and Spare Rib founder Rosie Boycott delivers her verdict. Ralph Steadman is famous for his illustrations accompanying the work of Hunter S Thompson and his political and social caricatures. His latest project is the book Extinct Boids, a collaboration with film-maker Ceri Levy which aims to draw attention to the risk of extinction faced by many bird species. They explain how what started off as a one off commission became 130 drawings. Lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe has spent the last 30 years creating light shows in the worlds of music, fashion, art, architecture and film. He has done the lighting design for large-scale concerts by the likes of Lady Gaga, Elton John and Michael Jackson, and is currently working on the new show for The Rolling Stones, announced this week. Patrick Woodroffe discusses the challenge of the collaborative process, whether it's the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert or the current arena show of Jesus Christ Superstar. Producer Stephen Hughes.
10/19/201228 minutes, 21 seconds
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Rod Stewart, The Lost Prince, Hebburn

With Kirsty Lang. Rod Stewart, the gravelly-voiced singer, songwriter, and stadium-filling star behind hits such as Maggie May and You Wear It Well - and chart-topping covers including I Don't Want To Talk About It - talks to Kirsty about his passion for art, how his less than perfect harmonica playing opened doors for him, and his only regret. Hebburn is a culture clash TV sit-com about what happens when a Geordie twentysomething brings his Jewish wife home to meet his family. Critic Boyd Hilton delivers his verdict. The Lost Prince at the National Portrait Gallery is an exhibition which focuses on the life of Henry Prince of Wales, son of James I, who was destined to become King Henry IX, but died at the age of 18. The exhibition includes his post-mortem report as well as miniatures, manuscripts and paintings and gives a glimpse into the culturally rich life of the young prince. Historian Suzannah Lipscomb reviews. Singer Lana Del Rey opens her new song with a long spoken section. The track joins an illustrious back-catalogue of songs where singers choose to speak over the music. David Quantick talks his way through his favourites, including Meat Loaf, Julian Cope, David Bowie and Diana Ross. Producer Ellie Bury.
10/18/201228 minutes, 30 seconds
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Hollywood costumes, rock docs, Damien Hirst's harbour sculpture

With Mark Lawson. Some of the most famous costumes in Hollywood history, including John Travolta's suit from Saturday Night Fever and Judy Garland's ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, are on show in a major new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Curator Deborah Nadoolman Landis and Deborah Scott, costume designer for Titanic and Avatar, discuss the collection. Three new rock documentaries are released this week, focusing on blues legend BB King, the rock group Status Quo, and the former frontman of Queen, Freddie Mercury. Music critics Rosie Swash and David Hepworth compare and contrast the films' styles and content. A vast bronze statue of a pregnant woman by the artist Damien Hirst now stands near the seafront in Ilfracombe, Devon. The 20-metre statue called Verity has been given to the seaside town by Hirst on a 20-year loan. Travis Elborough, writer of Wish You Were Here: England on Sea, went to take a look, and gives his verdict on the work, and its role in the town's life. During the 2008 election for the American Presidency, the media spotlight fell on Barack Obama's youngest half-brother, George Hussein Obama. Much was made of the difference in their lives, one running for the highest Office in the USA and the other living in poverty in Kenya. A new play based on George's life has just opened in Leicester. George Hussein Obama and the writer Kevin Fegan discuss the drama. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
10/17/201228 minutes, 25 seconds
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Graham Norton; Peter Hook; Beasts of the Southern Wild

With Mark Lawson. As Graham Norton prepares for the return of his TV show, he discusses whether the chat show has become sanitized, and also considers if it's right to address rumours which sometimes surround high-profile guests. Beasts Of The Southern Wild is an incantatory, award-winning evocation of a small community precariously positioned near the waterline in a Louisiana bayou. Seen through the eyes of a six year old waif, Benh Zeitlin's magical realist drama follows events as the storms arrive and wash away the ramshackle homes in a tide of mud. Diane Roberts delivers her verdict. Joy Division were one of the most influential bands of the modern era, inspiring books and a feature film, Control. Their bassist Peter Hook has now written his version of the band's story, and he reflects on their troubled career, including the illness and eventual suicide of singer Ian Curtis. Producer Stephen Hughes.
10/16/201228 minutes, 36 seconds
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Tim Burton's Frankenweenie, David Walliams, US TV series Girls

With Mark Lawson. Tim Burton's new black-and-white animated film Frankenweenie tells the story of a young boy Victor, who harnesses the powers of science to bring his faithful pet dog Sparky back to life, with monstrous consequences. Critic Mark Eccleston reviews. David Walliams, the comedian and co-creator of Little Britain with Matt Lucas, has just published his memoir Camp David. The autobiography includes his TV work, his charity fundraising - including swimming the Channel and the Thames - and the difficulties he's faced coping with depression. He reflects on the experience of re-assessing his life for the page. Girls is the latest hit American show to come to British TV screens. It's written and directed by Lena Dunham, who also stars as Hannah, an aspiring writer living in Brooklyn whose parents decide they will no longer fund her income-free lifestyle. Like Sex and the City, Hannah is surrounded by friends who each embody a female archetype. Writer and comedian Viv Groskop gives her verdict. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
10/15/201228 minutes, 25 seconds
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On the Road - the film, American Idiot, Agyness Deyn

With Kirsty Lang. Jack Kerouac's novel On The Road has finally been turned into a film - directed by Walter Salles and starring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley and Kristen Stewart - 60 years after he wrote it. The original manuscript, written over three weeks on one long scroll, is currently on view at the British Library. Writer Iain Sinclair discusses whether the book has made a successful trip from scroll to screen The Broadway musical American Idiot, based on the music of rock band Green Day, has just begun a British tour. It follows the fortunes of three young friends, finding their way in post 9/11 American suburbia. Music critic Kate Mossman reviews. The Cold War has fascinated artists Jane and Louise Wilson ever since they established themselves with two works, Gamma, about the Greenham air force base, and Stasi City, examining the secret police HQ in East Berlin. They tell Kirsty about their latest show, the culmination of a three year project looking at the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster Supermodel Agyness Deyn talks about her first major film role, in the thriller Pusher, playing a stripper and drug-dealer's girlfriend. She also describes making the transition to acting, and the art of mastering tricky accents for her forthcoming role in Terence Davies' film Sunset Song. Miranda Hart, Cheryl Cole, Tom Daley and Pudsey the dancing dog are among the wide range of the celebrities who have just published their memoirs. As the rush to top the Christmas book charts begins, The Bookseller's Benedicte Page analyses the state of the autobiography market. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
10/12/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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Comedy performer David Mitchell, Nobel Prize for Literature

With Mark Lawson. Comedy performer David Mitchell, best known for his role in Peep Show, discusses his autobiography, Back Story. The book charts events in Mitchell's life through a series of walks through London. He reflects on whether comedians need misery to be funny, his partnership with Robert Webb and his first sketch at a student comedy night. The Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to Chinese writer Mo Yan, whose work has been described as combining "hallucinatory realism" with folk tales, history and contemporary life. John Freeman, the editor of Granta magazine, who recently spent time with the new Nobel laureate in China, assesses his work. Bertie Carvel stars in a new National Theatre production of Damned by Despair, a 17th century Spanish morality tale by Tirso de Molina. Playwright Frank McGuinness has written a new version of the play, which follows the intertwining fates of two strangers. Writer Kate Saunders gives her verdict. Recent screen roles for British actors Damian Lewis and Emma Watson have demanded American accents, and American actors including Dakota Fanning and Maggie Gyllenhall have recently used British accents for parts set in the UK. Voice coach Elspeth Morrison discusses the techniques needed for these transatlantic accent swaps. Producer Claire Bartleet.
10/11/201228 minutes, 18 seconds
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The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour, Anne-Marie Duff, David Shrigley

With Kirsty Lang. When The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour was broadcast on BBC One on Boxing Day in 1967, it marked what some saw at the time as their fall from grace and others saw as an audacious countercultural moment. As the BBC prepares to screen the film again, and it's released on DVD, poet Paul Farley decides whether the trip is worth a detour. Actress Anne-Marie Duff first reached a wide audience playing Fiona in the acclaimed TV drama Shameless. She discusses her latest stage performance, in the title role in Jean Racine's Berenice, and also reflects on her interest in writing, and her love of a particular long-running Radio 4 drama serial. Artist David Shrigley is about to open his second major exhibition of the year, and is also publishing his version of a self-help book. His exhibition How Are You Feeling? features drawings, paintings, sculpture, videos and live performance in his humorous deadpan style. He reveals why he wants to help us cope with "an increasingly crazy and poorly signposted world". The romantic view of the pop or rock band is that ambition and charisma matter more than technical ability on musical instruments. The Royal Northern College of Music thinks it's high time that approach received a polish, and is launching a degree in popular music performance. Course Director Andy Stott outlines why he believes a conservatoire training will help tomorrow's chart and stadium stars. Producer Ekene Akalawu.
10/11/201228 minutes, 27 seconds
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This House - Roy Hattersley reviews; Jo Nesbo; Prince biography

With Mark Lawson. Roy Hattersley, former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, gives his verdict on James Graham's new play This House. Philip Glenister, Phil Daniels and Vincent Franklin star as Labour whips who will do anything to win the vote in the hung parliament in 1974. The best-selling Norwegian writer Jo Nesbø was a footballer, stockbroker and the singer in one of Norway's biggest rock bands, before turning his hand to crime fiction in 1997, when he started a series of books featuring Detective Harry Hole. As his debut book in the series - The Bat - is published in English for the first time, he discusses turning crime clichés into crime gold. The influential and reticent musician Prince remains something of an enigma. A new biography aims to shed light on a performer who was a chart star in the 1980s, but has steered his own idiosyncratic course ever since. Its author Matt Thorne joins Mark to discuss how Prince's life informs his music. Producer Nicki Paxman.
10/10/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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Pete Townshend

Musician Pete Townshend reflects on the highs and lows of a career which spans almost half a century, in conversation with John Wilson. Townshend remembers his motivation for writing songs such as My Generation and I Can't Explain for The Who in the mid-1960s. He also recalls how his father, a dance-band saxophonist, did not encourage his musical ambitions. In the light of his new memoir, Townshend examines his troubled childhood, and how it shaped him. He also looks back to the events surrounding his caution by the police in 2003, after entering his credit card details on a website which hosted pornographic images of children. And after the deaths of band members Keith Moon and John Entwistle, he reflects on how he feels about taking to the stage with The Who now, including this year's performance at the Olympic closing ceremony. Producer John Goudie.
10/10/201228 minutes, 47 seconds
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Ruby Sparks, Roy Willliams,The Plane Crash, William Klein

With Mark Lawson. Ruby Sparks is the new film from the directors of the Oscar-winning Little Miss Sunshine, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. It explores the writer's fantasy of having a character come to life. Novelist Meg Rosoff reviews. Alan Sillitoe's classic story, The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner, has been adapted for a new touring stage production by the playwright Roy Williams. He has swapped Sillitoe's 1950s Nottingham setting for London in 2012 just after the Olympics. Mark talks to Williams, director Marcus Romer and the star of the new production, Elliot Barnes-Worrell, about re-imagining the story for a contemporary audience - and the art of running on stage. The Plane Crash is a TV documentary which delivers what the title says: scientists, pilots and aviation experts deliberately crashed an airliner in a remote Mexican desert, to find out what actually happens in such situations. Writer Henry Sutton, whose novels include Flying, set on a plane, gives his verdict. The photographer and film maker William Klein, now 84, reflects on a career in which he trained as a painter before working in fashion and street photography. His work is about to go on display at Tate Modern, in an exhibition in which his images are shown alongside pictures by the Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama. Producer Nicki Paxman.
10/8/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Reader author Bernhard Schlink, Homeland returns, Caryl Churchill's new play

With Mark Lawson. Homeland, the acclaimed US TV series starring Damian Lewis and Claire Danes, returns to our screens for a second series this weekend. Sarah Crompton reviews the drama which focuses on a CIA officer (Danes) who believes that US Marine and now Congressman Nicholas Brody (Lewis) was turned by Al-Qaeda when held captive in Iraq for eight years. Bernhard Schlink is the author of the controversial novel The Reader, which relates the story of a young German's love affair with an older woman, who turns out to have had a Nazi past. Schlink explains why he never expected the controversy, and reveals why the theme of deception dominates his latest collection of stories, Summer Lies. Alex Katz, now aged 85, is considered one of the most important living American artists. With exhibitions opening in Margate and London, he reflects on a career that spans six decades and why he never thought of himself as a Pop artist. When playwright Caryl Churchill attended rehearsals of her new play Love and Information at the Royal Court Theatre, she brought along another new play, Ding Dong the Wicked, which now opens this week. It's a short play about a family whose son is about to go to war. Writer Bidisha reviews. Producer Stephen Hughes.
10/4/201228 minutes, 27 seconds
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Howard Barker, Welcome to India, attracting young opera audiences

With Mark Lawson. Welcome to India is a new BBC series which aims to lift the lid on the reality of life for India's 1.2 billion residents. The poet Daljit Nagra reviews the programme, and also considers previous Western documentaries about the country. The playwright Howard Barker - who coined the term 'Theatre of Catastrophe' - shares his uncompromising views on collaboration, accessibility, and art as an ordeal. And as his play Scenes from an Execution receives a new production at the National Theatre, he offers a theory as to why his works have never been staged there before. For younger audiences, opera can seem an unwelcoming art-form, and its reputation for high ticket prices can also make it seem unattractive. As the English National Opera launch a scheme designed to encourage young people to try opera, artistic director John Berry explains how Damon Albarn and Terry Gilliam are part of the plan to bring in new audiences. In the week that Channel 4 gathers a whole host of its presenting talent under one roof for its week-long Hotel GB series - including Gok Wan, Mary Portas, Gordon Ramsay and Katie Piper - David Quantick considers such celebrity supergroups, and whether they can ever be more than (or even as much as) a sum of their parts. Producer Ellie Bury.
10/3/201228 minutes, 36 seconds
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BBC International Short Story Award, Mumford and Sons

John Wilson reports live from the BBC International Short Story Award ceremony, where chair of judges Clive Anderson presents the winner with the £15,000 prize. John also talks to members of the band Mumford and Sons about their latest album, Babel, their encounter with the Obamas and borrowing a line or two from a Booker Prize winner. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
10/2/201228 minutes, 46 seconds
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Emma Watson in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Turner Prize, Hunted

With Mark Lawson. Emma Watson returns to the big screen in a new film The Perks of Being a Wallflower, in which a young man falls for Sam (played by Watson) while under the protective eyes of two fellow students who take him under their wing. Rebecca Nicholson reviews. The 2012 Turner Prize exhibition opens tomorrow, featuring works by the four shortlisted artists. Spartacus Chetwynd, Luke Fowler, Paul Noble and Elizabeth Price are competing for the £25,000 award. Art critic Jackie Wullschlager gives her verdict. The production company behind Spooks and Ashes To Ashes now bring us Hunted, a TV drama series which focuses on a highly-skilled operative for an elite private intelligence firm. She has faced a threat to her life which might have been an inside job. Gabriel Tate reviews. And as Halifax-based theatre company Northern Broadsides celebrate their 20th anniversary, founder Barrie Rutter and company members reflect on their tradition of performing classic plays in northern voices in non-velvet spaces. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
10/1/201228 minutes, 35 seconds
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The Thick of It, Cerys Matthews, Lucy Liu in Elementary

With Kirsty Lang The plot lines from the BBC political comedy The Thick of It - school breakfast club closures, texting in cabinet meetings and the launch of a community bank - have been an uncannily accurate reflection of recent announcements from our real-life politicians. Kirsty Lang talks to Sean Gray and Ian Martin, both writers on The Thick of It, and wonders if they have been gazing into a crystal ball or have a mole in Westminster. Singer Cerys Matthews gives the verdict on a new Country Music album which celebrates the women who were pioneers in a field previously dominated by men. Matthews, who has lived in Nashville, assesses the influence of artists such as Kitty Wells, Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. The adventures of Sherlock Holmes are set to hit our screens again, this time in the US-produced series Elementary. It comes hot on the heels of Guy Ritchie's films and the BBC TV series Sherlock. Boyd Hilton discusses this latest version, starring Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as his sidekick Dr. Watson. New Yorker cartoonist Chris Ware discusses his non-linear graphic novel, Building Stories. It comes in the form of a big box containing 14 separate strands of narrative, in different shapes and sizes, which when pieced together in a random order build a picture of a New York Brownstone building and the psychological landscape of its inhabitants. Producer Claire Bartleet.
9/28/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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Front Row - J K Rowling

J K Rowling discusses the inspiration for her new novel The Casual Vacancy, her first book for adult readers, in a wide-ranging conversation with Mark Lawson. She considers her use of strong language and adult themes, and also reflects on her role in the Olympic opening ceremony, her global success with Harry Potter, and whether she will ever return to her most famous character. Producer Erin Riley.
9/27/201228 minutes, 25 seconds
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Muse interviewed, Andy Williams remembered, Short Story contenders

With Mark Lawson. The death of the singer Andy Williams at the age of 84 was announced today. Michael Grade pays tribute to one of the most high-profile performers of the 1960s and 1970s, and we hear the voice of Andy Williams himself, recalling his early career, from a Front Row interview in 2007. Matt Bellamy and Dom Howard from the band Muse reflect on their new album, and how it's influenced by science, and discuss the pressures of performing at the Olympic closing ceremony. And after 18 years together, they also consider tensions within the band and their gruelling tour schedules. This year - in celebration of the Olympics - the BBC's annual National Short Story Award has become the BBC International Short Story Award. Front Row is interviewing the 10 authors shortlisted for the £15,000 prize. Tonight novelists Carrie Tiffany and Julian Gough discuss their stories, to be broadcast tomorrow and on Friday. Producer Nicki Paxman.
9/26/201228 minutes, 23 seconds
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Bruce Willis in Looper, Ashley Jensen, BBC Short Story author

With Mark Lawson. In the new sci-fi thriller Looper, time-travel exists, but is illegal and only available on the black market. Organised crime bosses send their victims into the past, to be murdered by a Looper - a hired gun. Bruce Willis plays a successful Looper who is sent back in time to assassinate his younger self, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Writer Matt Thorne reviews. Ashley Jensen, best known for her TV roles in Extras and Ugly Betty, talks about working with Ricky Gervais, relocating to Hollywood, the appeal of her Scottish accent and returning to the stage in Alan Ayckbourn's A Chorus of Disapproval, with Rob Brydon and Nigel Harman. The phrase Plan B has entered current debates about the economy - but it's also a London musician, it appears in the title of the latest Van Morrison album and it's the name of a Hollywood production company. Craig Leyland from the Oxford English Dictionary discusses the origins of the phrase, and its many re-appearances. This year - in celebration of the Olympics - the BBC's National Short Story Award has become an International Short Story Award. Front Row has been interviewing the 10 authors shortlisted for the £15,000 prize. Tonight American novelist Adam Ross discusses his story, In The Basement, to be broadcast tomorrow at 3.30pm. Producer Claire Bartleet.
9/25/201228 minutes, 38 seconds
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Holy Motors, The Paradise, BBC Short Story contender

With Kirsty Lang. The French film Holy Motors, which provoked boos and cheers at the Cannes film festival, arrives in UK cinemas this week. The cast includes Kylie Minogue as an enigmatic singer. Jason Solomons and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh debate whether the film adds up to more than its parts. The Paradise, a new TV drama series, is a romance set in a glamorous department store in 1875. It's based on a novel by Zola, given a British setting - and the love it depicts includes the female customers' adoration of the products on sale. Biographer Kathryn Hughes reviews. The RSC's latest production of Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Iqbal Khan, is set in contemporary India. Writers Jatinder Verma and Hardeep Singh Kohli have done the same for Moliere's The Miser, transporting it from 17th century France. A forthcoming Radio 3 production of Ibsen's A Doll's House, adapted by Tanika Gupta, takes place in 19th century India, rather than Norway. Iqbal Khan, Hardeep Singh Kohli and Tanika Gupta discuss how relocating these dramas to India offers new perspectives on classic works. The latest contender for the £15,000 BBC International Short Story Award is Australian Chris Womersley. He's also a crime writer, and explains why he enjoys working in shorter forms. His story is broadcast tomorrow at 3.30pm. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
9/24/201228 minutes, 23 seconds
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Untouchable review, Louise Wener interview, Ryszard Kapuscinski biography

With Kirsty Lang. Untouchable, a French comedy film about a wealthy disabled man and his young impoverished carer, has proved an unlikely hit across Europe, even taking more than Avatar in some countries. Critic Agnes Poirier explains its unexpected popularity and delivers her verdict. Shout To The Top is a new music drama coming to BBC Radio 2, about a young girl band starting out in the 1980s. Writers Roy Boulter, drummer of The Farm, and Louise Wener, former singer with the Britpop band Sleeper, discuss how they set about creating radio drama and how far they drew on their own experiences of the music industry. The Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski was one of the most influential eyewitness reporters of the 20th century. Artur Domoslawski has written a new biography which examines the complex relationship between fact and fiction in Kapuscinski's work. He describes his feelings when he realised that he was going to have to be critical of his friend, whom he greatly admired. As Radio 4 broadcasts the 10 short stories competing for the £15,000 BBC International Short Story Award, Front Row talks to each of the writers. Today, Miroslav Penkov discusses East Of The West, which will be broadcast on Monday at 3.30pm. Producer Stephen Hughes.
9/21/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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Rupert Everett, novelist Deborah Levy, and Big Boys Go Bananas!*

With Kirsty Lang. The actor Rupert Everett is just about to publish a second memoir, Vanished Years, in which he describes what he sees as a precarious career in film and theatre since his early success in Another Country. He reflects on how Noel Coward inspired the book's title, and reveals his plan to direct a film about the last weeks of Oscar Wilde's life. 2012 Man Booker-shortlisted author Deborah Levy is also on the shortlist for this year's BBC International Short Story Award. She discusses her story Black Vodka, to be broadcast on Radio 4 tomorrow, read by Rory Kinnear. Swedish film-maker Fredrik Gertten fell foul of the fruit company Dole when he made his 2009 documentary Bananas!*, about a lawsuit filed against the company for using banned pesticides. Dole responded with a lawsuit against Gertten in an attempt to get him to withdraw the film. His new documentary Big Boys Go Bananas!* charts the David and Goliath battle between the independent film-maker and the fruit giant. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
9/20/201228 minutes, 25 seconds
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Oliver Stone, Jesus Christ Superstar with Mel C

With Mark Lawson. Oliver Stone, director of Wall St, Nixon, JFK and Natural Born Killers, discusses his latest film Savages, which focuses on a pair of young men in California who run a lucrative and peaceful business growing marijuana. But trouble and violence loom when they come up against an aggressive and powerful Mexican drugs cartel who demand their share. Mark talks to Mel C, Chris Moyles and Tim Minchin, the stars of a new production of Jesus Christ Superstar which is set to tour arenas around the country. 40 years after Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's original stage show opened, this production features Ben Forster as Jesus, a role he won in ITV's Superstar talent show in May. As Radio 4 broadcasts the 10 short stories competing for the £15,000 BBC International Short Story Award, Front Row talks to each of the writers.Tonight M J Hyland talks about her story Even Pretty Eyes Commit Crimes which will be broadcast tomorrow afternoon. Producer Erin Riley.
9/19/201228 minutes, 30 seconds
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Brad Pitt's latest reviewed, Gareth Malone, Greg Davies

With Mark Lawson. Gareth Malone first found fame in the TV series The Choir, where he encouraged reluctant teenagers to sing. Most recently he led the Military Wives choir, who scored a Christmas number one last year. With a new TV series Sing While You Work about to be broadcast, Gareth Malone reflects on the insights he gained from writing a book about his experiences, and why he will never make a programme in a prison, despite being asked many times. Brad Pitt's latest film, Killing Them Softly, is a gangster movie about the credit crunch and America's economic woes. Adrian Wootton delivers his verdict. Comedian Greg Davies reveals why his parents want him to keep making jokes at their expense. As Radio 4 broadcasts the 10 short stories competing for the £15,000 BBC International Short Story Award, Front Row talks to each of the writers. Tonight South African writer Henrietta Rose-Innes discusses the inspiration for her story Sanctuary, to be broadcast tomorrow afternoon. Producer Stephen Hughes.
9/18/201228 minutes, 26 seconds
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Now Is Good director Ol Parker, and Caryl Churchill's new play Love and Information

With Mark Lawson. Director Ol Parker, who wrote the screenplay for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, discusses his new film Now Is Good, about a young woman - played by Dakota Fanning - who has terminal cancer and is compiling a list of the things she wants to do before she dies. Caryl Churchill's first play for six years, Love And Information, has 57 scenes and over 100 characters played by 16 actors. The novelist and critic Bidisha delivers her verdict. Ferdinand von Schirach, one of Germany's leading crime fiction writers, discusses his new novel The Collini Case, in which he explores the mark left on the Ministry of Justice by its Nazi part. He also reflects on the legacy of his grandfather's surname: Baldur von Schirach was the leader of the Hitler Youth. And as Radio 4 broadcasts the 10 short stories competing for the £15,000 BBC International Short Story Award, Front Row talks to each of the writers. Tonight South Korean-born writer Krys Lee reveals the background to her short story The Goose Father. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
9/17/201228 minutes, 30 seconds
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John Cale; BBC International Short Story Award

With John Wilson. Clive Anderson, the chair of judges and fellow judge Anjani Joseph announce the 10 contenders for the £15,000 BBC International Short Story Award. All the stories can be heard on Radio 4 from 17 - 28 September, and each writer will be interviewed on Front Row, starting tonight with the author of the story to be broadcast on Monday afternoon. The ten shortlisted stories for the BBC International Short Story Award are: Escape Routes, by Lucy Caldwell The Goose Father, by Krys Lee Sanctuary, by Henrietta Rose-Innes Even Pretty Eyes Commit Crimes, by MJ Hyland Black Voda, by Deborah Levy East Of The West, by Miroslav Penkov A Lovely And Terrible Thing, by Chris Womersley In The Basement, by Adam Ross Before He Left The Family, by Carrie Tiffany The iHole, by Julian Gough Musician John Cale first entered the spotlight as a member of The Velvet Underground in the mid-1960s. Cale, who celebrated his 70th birthday this year, is about to release a new disc, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood. He reflects on his troubled Welsh childhood, his current feelings about his musical past, and whether he would work again with Lou Reed. The John Moores Painting Prize is a long-standing award, with past winners including David Hockney and Richard Hamilton. The presentation of the £25,000 first prize signals the start of the Liverpool Biennial which opens tomorrow. John talks to this year's winner and to George Shaw - one of this year's judges - who was himself a John Moores Painting Prize winner in 1999. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
9/14/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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Downton Abbey reviewed, Sheridan Smith as Hedda Gabler, David Byrne

With Kirsty Lang. Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes' series about the Earl and Countess of Grantham and their household, has become a love it or hate it phenomenon of TV costume drama. This weekend the third series arrives, taking the Crawley family into the Roaring Twenties, with Shirley MacLaine as an outspoken mother-in-law. David Hepworth reviews. Sheridan Smith takes on Ibsen's dark heroine Hedda Gabler at The Old Vic Theatre, after her award-winning stage performances in Legally Blonde: The Musical and Terence Rattigan's Flare Path. Rachel Cooke reviews. The musician, songwriter and Talking Heads front-man David Byrne reflects on the influence of his Scottish roots, how small venues shaped the sound of his songs and the future of the music industry, as he publishes a book called How Music Works. As Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a cycle courier pursued across New York City by assorted bad guys in the film Premium Rush, Adam Smith charts innovations in the cinematic chase sequence, from The Spy Who Loved Me to Kung Fu Panda ll. Producer Philippa Ritchie.
9/13/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Jonathan Pryce's Lear, Thomas Heatherwick, Mercury Prize

With Mark Lawson. Jonathan Pryce tackles the title role of Shakespeare's King Lear for the first time, in Michael Attenborough's new production at the Almeida Theatre in London. Novelist Kamila Shamsie reviews. Thomas Heatherwick reflects on his design for the London 2012 Olympic Cauldron. Unveiled at the climax of the opening ceremony in July, its 204 copper petals were carried into the stadium by competing teams to join up into one flame which burned throughout the Olympics and Paralympics. As it is dismantled, each country is taking home one of the petals. The contenders for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize for album of the year are revealed today. Chair of Judges Simon Frith discusses the 12 acts in the running, which range from guitar bands to folk and rap acts. Last year's winner was P J Harvey, who is the only artist to have won twice. Producer Nicki Paxman.
9/12/201228 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Killers, Booker Prize shortlist, Woody Allen film, Bronze

With Mark Lawson Las Vegas band The Killers are in the UK ahead of the release of their new album, Battle Born, next week. In a rare interview recorded shortly before going on stage to roadtest their new material, singer Brandon Flowers and drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr discuss writing and performing their fourth album. Woody Allen's cinematic tour of Europe continues with his new film To Rome With Love. The romantic comedy takes the form of four separate stories played by an all-star cast, including Allen as an opera director, Penelope Cruz and Alec Baldwin - all of whom find themselves in Italy's capital city. Comedian Tiffany Stevenson reviews. The shortlist for the Man Booker Prize for fiction is announced today. Chair of judges Sir Peter Stothard and fellow judge actor Dan Stevens discuss the six titles competing for the £50 000 prize. Bronze sculptures from 5,000 years ago until the present day come together at the Royal Academy in London in an exhibition called Bronze. Works from Asia, Africa and Europe, ancient Greece and Rome sit alongside pieces by Rodin, Picasso, Giacometti, Henry Moore and Louise Bourgeois. Historian Tom Holland reviews. Producer Nicki Paxman.
9/11/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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Meryl Streep in Hope Springs, Pre-Raphaelites exhibition

With Mark Lawson In Meryl Streep's latest film, Hope Springs, she and Tommy Lee Jones play a middle-aged couple whose marriage has become stale, after more than three decades together. They attend a series of therapy sessions in an attempt to revive their relationship. Writer and critic Gaylene Gould reviews. The work of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood has been brought together in a major exhibition, for the first time in nearly 30 years. The show at Tate Britain aims to display the breadth, influence and radical intentions of the group, and includes major works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt. Rossetti biographer Dinah Roe reviews. Daniel Evans, Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres, discusses his new production of Macbeth and why he has no fear of saying the play's name. As a new documentary, released today, charts how independent record shops are disappearing from our high streets, David Hepworth recalls the very specific pleasures of hours spent flicking through the racks of LPs and singles. Producer Claire Bartleet.
9/10/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Charles Sturridge, Iraq War novel, revival of silent cinema

With Kirsty Lang. Charles Sturridge, the director of the landmark TV series Brideshead Revisited, discusses his latest project, a TV adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's The Scapegoat, a tale of two identical looking men who swap lives. He also reflects on how television drama has changed since the days of Brideshead. Iraq war veteran Kevin Powers has drawn on his own experiences in his novel The Yellow Birds, the story of a young recruit sent to Iraq's Nineveh Province in 2004, and his struggle to adapt to civilian life on his return. Kevin reveals the frequently asked question that was the starting point for the book. Not since the invention of sound cinema have silent movies been so popular, partly due to the unexpected Oscar success of The Artist. This week sees two new films which pay homage to the silent era - Tabu, which has no dialogue in its last half hour and takes its name from a famous F W Murnau drama, and a Spanish adaptation of Snow White which looks like it's been made in the 1920s and not the 21st century. Historian Matthew Sweet and silent film accompanist and composer Neil Brand explain why we've learned to stop worrying and love silent cinema The Art of Chess is a new exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery which brings together 16 chess sets designed by some of the world's leading contemporary artists, including Jake and Dinos Chapman, Rachel Whiteread, Damien Hirst and Tim Noble and Sue Webster. Each set is individually crafted in a wide variety of different materials including wood, porcelain, glass, amber and silver. Scotland's strongest chess Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson reviews. Producer Erin Riley.
9/7/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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Darcey Bussell, Bob Dylan reviewed, and the Bristol Old Vic reopens

With John Wilson. Ballerina Darcey Bussell reflects on her career, in the light of a new photographic book chronicling her remarkable time with the Royal Ballet. She also looks ahead to her new role as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing. Bob Dylan's new album Tempest is released next week. It is the singer's 35th studio album in 50 years of recording, and features three tracks of over seven minutes, with the title track about the sinking of the Titanic coming in at almost a quarter of an hour. The New Statesman's music critic Kate Mossman reviews. BBC Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders reviews The Queen of Versailles, a new documentary that explores the financial crash in America through the riches to rags tale of an incredibly wealthy couple, who build their dream home to resemble the French palace. As the Bristol Old Vic theatre throws open its doors following 18 months of refurbishment, artistic director Tom Morris takes John on a tour of Britain's oldest continually-working theatre, revealing some Georgian stage secrets. Producer Ellie Bury.
9/6/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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Donny Osmond, AN Wilson on Cecil Beaton, the return of Dallas

With Mark Lawson. As Donny Osmond prepares for a series of British concerts with his sister Marie, the 1970s teen star-turned middle-aged grandfather looks back over his career, including his adolescent years, sharing a stage with the Jackson Five, and his parents' role in the Osmonds phenomenon. Cecil Beaton was one of Britain's most celebrated photographers and designers, best known for documenting royalty and celebrity, but a new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London explores a lesser-known side of his work. Cecil Beaton: Theatre of War follows Beaton on his travels during the Second World War as he explored the impact of war on people and places. Writer A N Wilson reviews. A new series of the long-running US TV soap Dallas returns tonight. Viewers last saw the Ewing family two decades ago, and now everyone is gathering at Southfork Ranch where old family rivalries are about to erupt. TV critic Chris Dunkley considers how the new model compares with the old, and Dallas rookie Larushka Ivan-Zadeh gives her initial response to the every day story of Texan oilfolk. Art of Change: New Directions from China is a new exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London which focuses on contemporary installation and performance art from China from the last two decades. Charlotte Mullins reviews. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
9/5/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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Novelist Howard Jacobson; actor Damian Lewis; Lawless reviewed

With Mark Lawson. The Booker Prize-winning writer Howard Jacobson has just published Zoo Time, the tale of an author who fears the novel is dying. He explains where his fictional hero ends and he begins. Fresh from the success of his portrayal of Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody in the US TV series Homeland, British actor Damian Lewis's latest role is in Nick Love's new film version of The Sweeney, based on the TV series. Lewis plays Frank Haskins, the office boss of the notoriously violent and rule-breaking unit who 'act like criminals to catch criminals'. Damian Lewis discusses The Sweeney and his 'uniform' roles - Homeland and Band of Brothers. Scripted by rock star Nick Cave, Lawless is a new film set in Prohibition-era America and tells the story of a band of brothers who produce moonshine under their floorboards and go toe-to-toe with a new law enforcer in an increasingly violent turf war. Sarah Churchwell gives her verdict. Producer Stephen Hughes.
9/4/201228 minutes, 25 seconds
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Hermione Norris, Anna Karenina reviewed, Henning Mankell

With Mark Lawson Hermione Norris, who played Ros Myers in the BBC TV spy series Spooks, returns to our screens tonight in A Mother's Son, a two-part ITV drama about a mother who suspects her son might have committed a murder. The actress discusses the challenge of the role and looks back over her award-winning television career which has included the series Cold Feet, and Kingdom, alongside Stephen Fry. Keira Knightley and Jude Law star in a new film version of Anna Karenina, directed by Joe Wright with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard. Writer and broadcaster Viv Groskop reviews. Henning Mankell is best known in the UK for his Wallander series of crime novels, but the crime genre represents only a small part of his output. His latest novel explores the secretive world of Sweden's immigrant community, and the impact it has on Swedish society. He explained why he felt this story needed to be told. Today the world's largest human form sculpture is unveiled. A quarter of a mile long, Northumberlandia is a landform sculpture of a reclining naked woman, designed by Charles Jencks and shaped from the waste from a surface mine in the village of Cramlington in Northumberland. The poet and historian Katrina Porteous gives her verdict. Producer Ellie Bury.
9/3/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Opera star Alfie Boe, TV drama The Bletchley Circle, organist Cameron Carpenter

With John Wilson, including an interview with singer Alfie Boe, as he publishes an autobiography My Story, about his rise from car mechanic in Blackpool to international opera, music and recording star. ITV1's new murder mystery drama, The Bletchley Circle, stars Anna Maxwell Martin and Rachael Stirling. Set in 1951, the series follows four highly intelligent women who were code-breakers at Bletchley Park during WWII. Having returned to civilian life, the four women reunite to use the skills they acquired during the war to crack a murder case. Natalie Haynes reviews. As Cameron Carpenter prepares for two afternoon Proms taking place this weekend, John met the flamboyant and unconventional organist while he rehearsed late into the night on the Royal Albert Hall's Grand Organ. Subjects up for discussion included Cameron's special organ shoes, why size doesn't matter, and how the launch of his digital organ looks set to rock the organ world. And film critic Jason Solomons reports from the Venice Film Festival, which got underway this week. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
8/31/201228 minutes, 48 seconds
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Bobby Womack, with Damon Albarn and Peter Guralnick

With John Wilson. Singer and songwriter Bobby Womack is one of soul music's great survivors. He reflects on a career which spans more than half a century, in which he's confronted illness, addiction and controversy. He discusses his return to the studio for the first time in almost a decade, at the invitation of Damon Albarn, and Albarn himself looks back at the dramatic conclusion to their first recording session for a Gorillaz album. Bobby Womack also recalls his less-than-positive first reaction to the news that The Rolling Stones had recorded his song It's All Over Now - although he readily admits that his views changed when he received the first of many large royalty cheques. And music biographer Peter Guralnick charts how singer and entrepreneur Sam Cooke played a key role in Womack's early career: Bobby Womack remembers Cooke's ready advice, which included always to own a good ring and a good watch - valuables which could be pawned if a concert promoter failed to pay up. Producer John Goudie.
8/30/201228 minutes, 15 seconds
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The e-book debate - threat or opportunity?

Mark Lawson chairs a debate on whether e-books and digital distribution represent a terminal threat or a new chance for authors, traditional publishers, agents and bookshops, in a session recorded at the Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. Contributors include authors Steve Mosby and Stephen Leather, literary agent Philip Patterson, Ursula Mackenzie, Chair of Publishers Association, and independent bookseller Patrick Neil. Producer Ekene Akalawu.
8/30/201228 minutes, 29 seconds
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Mrs Biggs, Joyce Carol Oates, Berberian Sound Studio

With Mark Lawson. Sheridan Smith takes the lead role in the new ITV1 drama series Mrs Biggs, which focuses on the story of Charmian, the wife of notorious train robber Ronnie Biggs. It follows her as she falls in love with Ronnie, discovers his role in the Great Train Robbery, and then secretly emigrates to Australia with him. Sarah Crompton reviews. The American author Joyce Carol Oates discusses her prolific writing career, and how her memoir about becoming a widow brought new readers with different reactions to her work. She also reflects on America's great post-war writers. Toby Jones (Frost/Nixon, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games) stars in the film Berberian Sound Studio, directed by Peter Strickland. Jones plays a mild-mannered sound effects specialist, whose work on a 1970s Italian horror film finds him stuck in a small room with only the grisly and sinister sounds for company. Critic Mark Eccleston gives his verdict. William Letford discusses his debut poetry collection Bevel, and how his work as a roofer since the age of 15 has inspired his writing. Letford often inscribed poems onto the joists of the roofs he worked on. Producer Ella-mai Robey.
8/28/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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Adrian Lester takes questions from young actors

In a special edition recorded at the Radio 1 Academy in Hackney, Mark Lawson talks to Adrian Lester, star of the BBC TV drama Hustle, who also answers questions from an audience of young actors. Adrian Lester reflects on his career so far, which includes Rosalind in an all-male production of As You Like It, along with leading roles in musicals, television and film. He also offers advice to young people hoping to follow in his footsteps. Their questions cover topics such as how to make a living as an actor, the experience of going to drama school, and what you can learn from sharing a stage with Hollywood stars. Producer Claire Bartleet.
8/28/201228 minutes, 16 seconds
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Harrogate Crime Writing Festival Special

Mark Lawson reports from the annual Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, with guests including Harlan Coben, Ann Cleeves and John Connolly. Producer Ekene Akalawu.
8/24/201228 minutes, 25 seconds
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Booker T, novelist cricketers and Charlie Brooker's new comedy

With John Wilson. Organist Booker T Jones, leader of Booker T and the M Gs, remembers the day he created the classic tune Green Onions, and discusses the mystery surrounding the death of his drummer. Junot Diaz won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with his first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. His new book, This is How You Lose Her, is a collection of short stories around the theme of infidelity. He explains why despite many similarities between his own life and that of his characters, his books may not be as autobiographical as they seem. AA Milne, JM Barrie and Arthur Conan Doyle were among the writers who played in the Authors cricket team, a group of enthusiasts who last took to the crease in 1912. 100 years on, the team is being revived and includes Tom Holland, Nicholas Hogg and Dan Stevens. John reports on their match against actors' team The Gaieties. Charlie Brooker's new spoof TV crime drama stars John Hannah as DCI Jack Cloth: A Touch of Cloth parodies the last decade of British police procedurals, good and bad. Denise Mina reviews. Producer Stephen Hughes.
8/23/201228 minutes, 35 seconds
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Ian McEwan, recorded before an audience in Edinburgh

Mark Lawson interviews Ian McEwan, as he publishes a new novel Sweet Tooth, in an edition recorded before an audience at the Edinburgh Festival. Ian McEwan reveals the inspiration for Sweet Tooth, which is set in the early 1970s, and brings together the worlds of British espionage and literary ambition. He also discusses how he has plagiarised himself, considers the role his family background has played in his life and work, and reflects on whether he would ever write a memoir. Producer Ella-mai Robey.
8/22/201228 minutes, 29 seconds
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James Meek, The Three Stooges reviewed, Stockhausen in helicopters

With John Wilson. Best known for gross-out comedies There's Something About Mary and Dumb And Dumber, the Farrelly Brothers pay homage to the tradition of American slapstick with their take on The Three Stooges. Adam Smith delivers his verdict. Writer James Meek discusses his latest novel The Heart Broke In, a sweeping family saga set in the digital age. With a string quartet playing in four helicopters, musicians suspended in the air and a dancing camel, Karlheinz Stockhausen's opera Mittwoch has long been considered almost unstageable. John reports from Birmingham on the eve of the work's world premiere. Cork Street in London has long been famous for its art galleries. Many notable 20th century artists first came to wider attention there, but now a number of galleries face an uncertain future in the wake of redevelopment plans. The Mayor Gallery, opened in 1925, was the first to open, and its current owner James Mayor explains how Cork Street's role as a centre for visual art is threatened. Producer Ellie Bury.
8/21/201228 minutes, 27 seconds
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Tom Stoppard, The Watch, Tony Scott remembered, cellist Natalie Clein

With Mark Lawson. Dramatist Tom Stoppard discusses his TV adaptation of Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall, and his screenplay for Anna Karenina, with Keira Knightley in the title role. The Watch, the latest vehicle for Ben Stiller, is a comedy about a group of neighbours who have defend the earth from alien invasion. Larushka Ivan-Zadeh reveals whether it's out of this world. Director Tony Scott's credits include Top Gun, True Romance and Enemy of the State. Following the news of his death at the age of 68, Front Row pays tribute with another chance to hear an interview from 2009, in which Tony Scott recalled his approach to shooting action, his love of painting and his relationship with his older brother Ridley. Cellist Natalie Clein is the latest artist to spend time in A Room for London, a boat-like structure on the roof of the Hayward Gallery, overlooking the Thames in the centre of London. As she prepares to perform a recital to be streamed live online, she talks about her choice of music, which reflects her riverside location. Producer Dymphna Flynn.
8/20/201228 minutes, 25 seconds
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Philippa Gregory, The Last Weekend, Dirty Dancing at 25

With Kirsty Lang. Philippa Gregory discusses her latest novel on the Plantagenets. The Kingmaker's Daughter focuses on Anne Neville, daughter of 15th century power magnate the Earl Of Warwick. As a girl, Anne is used as a pawn in her father's political battles. After his death she chooses to marry the handsome and ambitious Duke of Gloucester, the future King Richard III. Rupert Penry-Jones and Shaun Evans star in The Last Weekend, a TV adaptation of Blake Morrison's novel about male jealousy. Two couples spend the weekend in a remote holiday cottage, and the tension mounts as the men return to a 20 year old bet, with horrifying consequences. Rachel Cooke reviews. Jorge Amado, one of Brazil's most successful and prolific novelists, was born in August 1912, and enjoyed a writing career spanning more than 60 years. Kirsty explores Amado's work with Louis de Bernieres, whose Latin American trilogy predated the success of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, JP Cuenca, who recently featured on Granta's list of the best young Brazilian novelists, and writer Benjamin Moser. The film Dirty Dancing premiered in New York 25 years ago today. This coming-of-age drama, set in 1963 and starring Jennifer Grey as Baby and Patrick Swayze as Johnny, became an international hit, spawning a successful soundtrack album, sequel and stage musical. Writer Zoe Williams and broadcaster Paul Gambaccini consider the film's continuing appeal. Producer Nicki Paxman.
8/17/201228 minutes, 30 seconds
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Jeanette Winterson; Birger Larsen, director of The Killing

With Mark Lawson. Writer Jeanette Winterson discusses her new novella, The Daylight Gate, which is based on real characters from the notorious Pendle witch trials from 1612. The story shows how politics, religion, magic and superstition were gruesomely intertwined following the Gunpowder Plot against James I - especially in Jeanette Winterson's home county of Lancashire. Danish TV drama The Killing was an international hit - as was the jumper worn by its main character. Its director Birger Larsen is now making his UK debut with Murder, a crime drama set in Nottingham starring Stephen Dillane. Larsen and the co-creator of Murder, Robert Jones, talk about the series - and there's a revelation about that famous knitwear. As the US presidential election grows nearer, musicians are entering the campaign. Both Ry Cooder's latest album Election Special, and new wave band Devo's new song Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro! (inspired by Mitt Romney's road trip with the family dog in a kennel strapped to the car roof) seem timed for maximum political impact. Music writer David Hepworth joins Mark to discuss what does and doesn't work in political songs, and whether they ever do more than preach to the converted. Producer Nicki Paxman.
8/16/201228 minutes, 23 seconds
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Edinburgh Festival, David Hayman, Virginia Ironside

With Mark Lawson. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has just reached the half-way mark, and this evening Front Row comes from the world's largest arts festival. Recorded in front of a live audience in the big blue tent, Mark Lawson will be providing at taste of this year's Fringe. Guests include the Scottish actor David Hayman, whose show Six and a Tanner is a solo performance of one man railing against his dead father; Australian beatboxer Tom Thum demonstrates his extraordinary vocal talents; the writer of a new play based on the story of Anders Breivik who killed 77 people in Norway last summer.discusses the background to his play The Economist. Virginia Ironside and Tiffany Stevenson have one subject in common for their shows - the ageing process - and they'll be reflecting on that from the perspective of different generations, and comic Paul Chowdhry from Channel 4's Stand Up for the Week discusses his new show What's Happening White People in which considers the state of modern Britain Producer Jerome Weatherald.
8/16/201228 minutes, 49 seconds
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Alanis Morissette, Take This Waltz

With John Wilson. Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette reflects on her career so far, and her latest album, Havoc And Bright Lights. Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman star in the film Take This Waltz, a story of eroticism and infidelity that plays out through a sweltering Toronto summer. The film is directed by Sarah Polley. Antonia Quirke reviews. The author of the music business satire Kill Your Friends, novelist John J Niven, reveals why he's written his first crime thriller, Cold Hands American composer John Cage is celebrated for the way he challenges assumptions about what constitutes music. His work Branches uses cactuses as instruments. Ahead of a performance at the BBC Proms, cactus-player Robyn Schulkowsky brings cactuses to the studio, to demonstrate what Cage had in mind - and why. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
8/14/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Alice Cooper, Clive Owen, and TV drama Person of Interest

With Mark Lawson. Actor Clive Owen discusses his latest role in Shadow Dancer, the new film from director James Marsh (Man on Wire, Project Nim). Set in 1990s Belfast, a member of the IRA (played by Gillian Anderson) turns informant in order to protect her son. Alice Cooper's School's Out went to number one in the UK pop charts 40 years ago this week. The American rock star reflects on his career, including encounters with Salvador Dali, George H W Bush, John Lennon and Johnny Depp. Created by JJ Abrams (Lost) and Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises), Person of Interest is a TV crime drama in which a former CIA agent - played by Jim Caviezel - is recruited by a billionaire to prevent violent crimes in New York City. Rebecca Nicholson reviews. Producer Ella-mai Robey.
8/13/201228 minutes, 12 seconds
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Nicola Benedetti interviewed; Paralympic drama The Best of Men reviewed

With Kirsty Lang. Violinist Nicola Benedetti discusses the importance of music education and why being a classical musican is not unlike being an Olympic athlete. As the musician Beck announces that his new album will be released as sheet music only, Paul Gambaccini tells Kirsty how this is an echo of an earlier age in the music industry, when a song's popularity was judged by its sheet music sales Rob Brydon and Eddie Marsan star in The Best of Men, a TV drama which tells the story of the birth of the Paralympic Games in 1948. Sports writer and former cricketer Ed Smith reviews the programme. Three of the best reviewed movies of the year have now come to DVD - Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, Kid With A Bike and Le Havre. Sandra Hebron delivers her verdict. In celebration of the Olympics, the BBC - in partnership with the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh - has selected and recorded a poem representing every single country competing. Each is read by a native of that country who's made their home here in Britain. Every night for the Olympic fortnight Front Row features one of these poems. Producer Stephen Hughes.
8/10/201228 minutes, 22 seconds
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New TV comedies set at school; Edinburgh round-up

With Kirsty Lang. Writer John O'Farrell reviews two new TV comedies set in and around schools. Bad Education is written by and stars comedian Jack Whitehall as a teacher who seems less mature than most of his students. Gates stars Joanna Page and Sue Johnston and focuses on the relationships formed by parents at the school gates. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is underway, with more acts than ever competing for audiences. Comedy critic Stephen Armstrong reports on the trends and highlights emerging from the first frenetic week. How much should you pay for theatre? What's it worth? Kirsty reports from the Bush Theatre, London, which has opened up all its spaces for Bush Bazaar, a theatrical marketplace, where audiences pay performers according to the quality of the work. Artistic Director Madani Younis and the founders of Theatre Delicatessen discuss the project. In celebration of the Olympics, the BBC - in partnership with the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh - has selected and recorded a poem representing every single country competing. Each is read by a native of that country who's made their home here in Britain. Every night for the Olympic fortnight Front Row features one of these poems. Producer Ellie Bury.
8/9/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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Bourne writer Tony Gilroy, large-scale public theatre, Jackpot review

With John Wilson. Tony Gilroy wrote the original Bourne trilogy of films starring Matt Damon and has written and directed the latest, The Bourne Legacy, following the departure of director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon. Gilroy, who wrote and directed the George Clooney film Michael Clayton, discusses the latest re-incarnation of the spy franchise, and the challenge of creating a Bourne sequel without the central character whose name appears in the title. Jackpot, a crime caper based on a story by bestselling Norwegian author Jo Nesbo, is the latest slice of Nordic noir to arrive in our cinemas. Kim Newman reviews. 7,500 volunteers performed in the Olympic opening ceremony, 1700 volunteers are involved in this year's production of the York Mystery plays, and for the National Theatre of Wales's new production of Coriolanus, 450 audience members walk around with the actors, playing an active part in 'the crowd scenes'. John finds out why theatre is increasingly expecting audiences to get up and join in, talking to theatre directors Damien Cruden and Mike Pearson, and the critic Natalie Haynes. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
8/8/201228 minutes, 34 seconds
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Tributes to Marvin Hamlisch and Robert Hughes

With John Wilson. The lyricist Don Black remembers his friend the composer Marvin Hamlisch whose death has been announced today. There is another chance to hear Hamlisch - best known for the musical A Chorus Line and the score and song for The Way We Were - at the Front Row piano three years ago, explaining how he wrote the songs which won him Emmys, Grammys,Oscars and a Tony. The art critic Richard Cork assesses the influence of Robert Hughes whose death has also been announced today. How did his writing change criticism ad critics? And, as Jamaica celebrates its 50th year of Independence we find out about Studio 17, one of Kingston's best-known recording studios, record shops, and meccas for reggae music in the late 60s and 70's. The studio is also celebrating its 50th anniversary and Front Row has been offered the chance to hear some of their newly discovered archive recordings from reggae greats like Dennis Brown, Lord Creator, and John Holt. Reshma B, Reggae & Dancehall correspondent talks to John. Producer Erin Riley.
8/7/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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New Pixar film Brave, Mike Scott of the Waterboys, pop stars changing names

With Kirsty Lang, Brave is the latest animated film from Pixar and features the voices of Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly and Julie Walters. Set in the Scottish highlands in the 10th century, the film tells the story of a Princess who defies her family's expectations by refusing an arranged marriage. Writer Denise Mina reviews. Brave and another major film The Bourne Legacy are set to be released next Monday, five days before the traditional Friday opening, Front Row discusses the possible impact upon the industry with historian Ian Christie, cinema owner Kevin Markwick and critic Nigel Floyd. Scottish-born musician and lead singer of The Waterboys discusses his new memoir Adventures of a Waterboy. The autobiography takes him from his early years as a struggling musician in Ayr to Ireland, New York, Dublin, and the Findhorn spiritual community in northern Scotland. In celebration of the Olympics, the BBC - in partnership with the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh - has selected and recorded a poem representing every single country competing. Each is read by a native of that country who's made their home here in Britain. Every night for the Olympic fortnight Front Row features one of these poems. And as Lily Allen and Snoop Dogg announce they've decided it's time for a name-change, Danny Robins considers the ramifications for those who've chosen a nomenclature makeover in the past. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
8/6/201228 minutes, 23 seconds
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Curious Incident onstage, Alan Davies, Olympic puppeteers

With Kirsty Lang Alan Davies, QI panellist and star of Jonathan Creek, discusses returning to stand-up after a ten year break. He also talks about coming last on QI, his run-ins with the tabloids and how maturity enables him to perform material based on painful life experiences for the first time Mark Haddon's best selling book, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, has been adapted for the stage by playwright Simon Stephens. It stars Luke Treadway as the Aspergic boy in a cast that includes Niamh Cusack and Una Stubbs. Alex Clark reviews When Danny Boyle conceived the opening ceremony of this year's Olympics, special effects company Artem helped him realise his visions. The 20 metre Voldemort, grinning Cruella de Ville, and smoking chimneys of the industrial revolution were all made by Artem, who also designed a 6 metre tall Lady Godiva, now travelling from Coventry to London as part of the West Midlands' contribution to the Cultural Olympiad. Artem CEO, Mike Kelt, explains how these giant puppets were brought to life and reveals just a little about what to expect at the Olympic closing ceremony Undefeated is an Oscar-winning documentary following a group of underprivileged school athletes from inner-city Memphis, on and off the football field. Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London, discusses this take on contemporary America, and the formula behind Oscar-winning documentaries In celebration of the Olympics, the BBC - in partnership with the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh - has selected and recorded a poem representing every competing country. Each is read by a native of that country who has made their home here in Britain. Every night for the Olympic fortnight FRONT ROW features one of these poems Producer Nicki Paxman.
8/3/201228 minutes, 30 seconds
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Meera Syal in Much Ado About Nothing

With Kirsty Lang Meera Syal has made her professional Shakespeare debut playing Beatrice in the RSC's new production of Much Ado About Nothing. Directed by Iqbal Khan, this latest adaptation sets the comedy in modern-day India - with Paul Bhattacharjee playing Benedict. Author Bidisha gives the critical verdict. Director Lynn Alleway discusses her experiences making a documentary, which follows an Old Order Amish family in America. According to the strict rules of the Amish church, filming is not permitted, so by opening up their homes and life to the cameras Miriam and David risk being ex-communicated and excluded from their society. Glasgow writer Louise Welsh talks about her latest novel, The Girl on the Stairs, a thriller set in Berlin - and also about the libretto she's written for a short opera called Ghost Patrol, about soldiers returning from an unspecified war. The opera is part of a Scottish Opera season opening at the Edinburgh Festival. With Kate Moss appearing in a video for George Michael's track White Light, and Daniel Radcliffe in a Snow Club video - David Quantick considers cameos in pop videos. In celebration of the Olympics, the BBC - in partnership with the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh - has selected and recorded a poem representing every country that's competing. Each poem is introduced and read by a native of the country in question, who has made their home here in Britain. Every night during the Olympics, Front Row features one of these poems. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
8/2/201228 minutes, 43 seconds
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With John Wilson, who pays tribute to Gore Vidal, and visits the William Morris Gallery.

With John Wilson, We pay tribute to the American writer Gore Vidal who died yesterday, following a seven decade career as novelist - he wrote the best selling Myra Breckenridge, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and political activist. Often associated with high profile feuds, notably with Norman Mailer and John Updike, he also had close associations with J. F. Kennedy's family and Hollywood stars Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Literary critics Harold Bloom and Christopher Bigsby reflect on the career of Gore Vidal and we here part of an interview he gave to Front Row in 2008. Two Chinese films are released this week - Zhang Yimou's war epic The Flowers of War starring Christian Bale and Ann Hui's moving art-house movie A Simple Life with Chinese super star Andy Lau. Front Row asked cultural commentator David Tse Ka-Shing to take a look at two very different sides to Chinese film. John visits the newly renovated William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, North London - the place of Morris' birth in 1834. The eighteenth century merchant house illuminates all aspects of Morris' work from the design of fabrics, wallpaper and stained glass windows to his social campaigning - against the industrialisation of the Victorian era, and for the preservation of buildings, Epping Forest and the principle of quality in everybody's life. To mark the Olympics, the BBC - in partnership with The Scottish Poetry Library - has selected and recorded a poem representing every country taking part. Each is read by a native of that country who lives here in Britain. Every night during the Olympics, Front Row features one of the poems.Tonight, the British poem - Jim Broadbent celebrates our first gold medals. Producer Claire Bartleet.
8/1/201228 minutes, 54 seconds
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Mark Thomas on his father's love of opera; Bernard of Hollywood's images of Marilyn

With John Wilson. Comedian Mark Thomas discusses his latest show Bravo Figaro, which reveals how his father, a builder, cultivated a love of opera. After his father was diagnosed with a degenerative disease, Mark Thomas put together this very personal show, which has involved taking opera singers to perform in his father's bungalow. To mark the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death, Susan Bernard discusses the images of the star taken by her father - the renowned photographer known as Bernard of Hollywood. These range from early shots of Norma Jean, through to the famous Seven Year Itch subway image. She remembers meeting Monroe, and her father's relationship with the troubled star. Andrew Lloyd Webber predicted that this summer would be a difficult one for the capital's theatres, and already some are finding it hard to fill their seats. Leading producer Nica Burns discusses the situation so far, and possible solutions. To mark the Olympics, the BBC - in partnership with The Scottish Poetry Library - has selected and recorded a poem representing every country taking part. Each is read by a native of that country who lives here in Britain. Every night during the Olympics, Front Row features one of the poems. Producer Nicki Paxman.
7/31/201228 minutes, 28 seconds
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Mark Wahlberg in Ted, James Kelman, Mark Ravenhill

With John Wilson. Booker Prize-winning writer James Kelman (How Late It Was, How Late) discusses his new novel Mo Said She Was Quirky, a story which explores fear, trust, and relationships through the eyes of a woman who worries about everything. Seth MacFarlane is best known as the creative force behind the TV cartoon series Family Guy. Ted, his first live-action feature film, stars Mark Wahlberg as a 35 year old man with a boozing, swearing teddy bear. Seth himself provides the voice of Ted. Laroushka Ivan-Zadeh reviews. The RSC's new Troilus and Cressida is a collaboration with the New York experimental theatre company The Wooster Group. The two companies have been rehearsing separately: Mark Ravenhill directs the Stratford team who play the Greeks, and Elizabeth LeCompte directs the Americans who play the Trojans. John meets them both in rehearsal, to discuss the art of creating one show involving two companies with very different approaches. To mark the Olympics, the BBC - in partnership with The Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh - has selected and recorded a poem representing every country taking part. Each is read by a native of that country who lives here in Britain. Every night during the Olympics, Front Row features one of the poems. Producer Ella-Mai Robey.
7/30/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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'Woman in a Dressing Gown', Louis Nowra, Newton Faulkner

With Kirsty Lang. Another London is a new exhibition at Tate Britain which reveals the capital as seen through the eyes of photographers from all over the world, from 1930 until 1980. The images chart the city's transformation, from bombed- out ruin to punk playground. Craig Taylor, author of Londoners, considers the capital's many changes. Louis Nowra is an acclaimed Australian dramatist, who has written two new plays for BBC Radio 4. He tells Kirsty how a serious head-injury, and being the son of an infamous murderess, have shaped his writing - and why he avoids arty types, preferring instead to have a beer with the labourers in his local bar. Britain's first ever kitchen-sink movie, Woman In A Dressing Gown, is re-released in cinemas this week. Front Row finds out why the film, starring Sylvia Syms and Anthony Quayle, has been neglected for the last 50 years, despite winning several prestigious awards. Newton Faulkner's first album Hand Built by Robots topped the charts in 2007, and his third album Write It on Your Skin did the same earlier this month. He reflects on the impact of parenthood on his music, and why he was star-struck when he met The Proclaimers. Producer Ella-mai Robey.
7/27/201228 minutes, 34 seconds
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Mark Rylance as Richard III, Herman Koch, Searching for Sugarman

With Kirsty Lang. Mark Rylance returns to the stage for the first time since his award-winning performance in Jez Butterworth's play Jerusalem. Andrew Dickson reviews Rylance in the lead role in a new production of Richard III at Shakespeare's Globe in London. Dutch novelist Herman Koch discusses his novel The Dinner, which has sold over a million copies in Europe. Set during one evening in a restaurant in Amsterdam, it tells the story of two couples who meet over dinner to discuss both their 15-year-old sons who have committed an atrocity, and shattered the comfortable worlds of their families. A new film documentary Searching for Sugarman tells the story of Rodriguez, a singer/songwriter from Detroit who was discovered by two music producers in the '60s who thought he'd be bigger than Bob Dylan. When his 2 albums flopped Rodriguez fell into obscurity, but unbeknownst to the musician himself, he became an inspiration to a generation of South Africans. In this award-winning film two of his fans set out to find out more about Rodriguez and discover the truth behind the story that he'd spectacularly killed himself on stage. The South African-born novelist and playwright Gillian Slovo reviews. The Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang established herself as one of the leading young violinists of her generation when she performed with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 12. More recently she won a Classic BRIT Award for Best Newcomer. Vilde Frang discusses the appeal of Scandinavian music and how her father put her off playing the double-bass in favour of the violin. Producer Dymphna Flynn.
7/26/201228 minutes, 46 seconds
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The Man Booker longlist; The Doctor's Dilemma reviewed.

With Mark Lawson. The long-list for the Man Booker Prize for fiction is announced this afternoon. Chair of the judges Peter Stothard and actor Dan Stevens, a member of the panel, discuss their choices. Bernard Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma is being staged at the National Theatre. Revolving around a doctor who must choose a limited number of patients to treat, the play echoes the present day 'postcode lottery' debates. Dr Sarah Jarvis reviews the play as well as the Wellcome Collection's new exhibition Superhuman, an exploration of how we have altered our bodies from false teeth to plastic surgery. Director Fernando Meirelles and writer Peter Morgan discuss their film 360, a loose adaptation of La Ronde, with a cast including Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and Anthony Hopkins. Producer Erin Riley.
7/25/201228 minutes, 50 seconds
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Colin Dexter, Kronos Quartet, and Starkey on Churchill

With Mark Lawson. Colin Dexter received the Theakston's Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction award at this year's Harrogate Crime Writing Festival. Dexter wrote his last Inspector Morse novel, The Remorseful Day, in 1999, but his Oxford-based detective remains a giant on the crime fiction landscape. He talks to Mark Lawson about starting the Morse series and life after Morse. Crime expert Jeff Park presents his list of the best of current crime fiction. Kronos Quartet's David Harrington and composer Nicole Lizee discuss their latest collaboration, The Golden Age of Radiophonic Workshop, a tribute to the work of Delia Derbyshire and the other composers who produced some of the most memorable and unusual music for the BBC, including the Dr Who theme. Michael Dobbs, politician and best-selling author of House of Cards - and four novels about Winston Churchill - casts his critical eye over the latest televisual offering from David Starkey, The Churchills. Producer Ellie Bury.
7/24/201228 minutes, 47 seconds
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Ruby Wax interviewed; The Lorax reviewed

With Mark Lawson. Mark reports on the latest work to be created for the vast Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. This year Tino Sehgal is the artist who has taken on the challenge. Ruby Wax is aiming to tackle the workplace stigma of mental illness in a new Channel 4 documentary, Ruby's Mad Confessions. In it she encourages three high flyers to reveal a mental health condition to their colleagues. She explains the importance of speaking up about mental health at work. Danny DeVito and Zac Efron are among the stars providing the voices in The Lorax, the latest Dr Seuss book to be adapted for the big screen. The plot revolves around a young boy's quest to find the last real tree, after the environment has been destroyed to satisfy consumer demand. Children's writer Meg Rosoff reviews. With a wealth of Olympic-themed television in the offing, sports writer Alyson Rudd reviews three of the week's highlights - a special edition of Absolutely Fabulous; Bert and Dickie, starring Matt Smith in a tale of two British rowers in the 1948 Games; and Mike Leigh's short film A Running Jump. Producer Stephen Hughes.
7/24/201228 minutes, 24 seconds
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Terry Jones on giving 'The Owl and the Pussycat' an operatic makeover

With Kirsty Lang. Ex-Monty Python Terry Jones and Oscar-winning composer Anne Dudley (The Full Monty) discuss creating "A Water-Bound Spectacle" inspired by Edward Lear's 1871 poem The Owl and the Pussycat. The poem has been given an operatic makeover and performances will take place on a barge. Two film releases this week take the audience on a 3000-mile musical journey across the USA. In the documentary film Big Easy Express, the British folk group Mumford & Sons join up with two other bands on a train travelling from California to Louisiana for a celebration of music and performance. And in a new Indie feature film The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best, two musicians take a road trip east to-west to take part in a battle of the bands. Music critic Kate Mossman reviews. With a week to go until the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, with its British pastoral theme - the concept of film-maker Danny Boyle - Adam Smith imagines what the ceremony would look like if other British film directors had the chance to impose their own artistic vision on the event. Kneehigh Theatre's Emma Rice talks about adapting Galton and Simpson's scripts from the original TV series, Steptoe and Son, for the stage. The Play opens in Cornwall this weekend in Kneehigh's trademark tent , known as The Asylum, and moves to West Yorkshire playhouse in Leeds in September. Producer Philippa Ritchie.
7/20/201228 minutes, 17 seconds
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Rapper Ice-T, Monica Mason's farewell to the Royal Ballet, Tom Hanks' new online project

With Kirsty Lang. American musician and performer Ice-T has directed a cinema documentary Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap in which he talks to leading performers including Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre and Eminem about the culture of hip-hop. Ice-T discusses the origins of the music, and its continuing influence. Tom Hanks, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry King are just three high-profile entertainers who have launched new online film and video projects. Boyd Hilton considers the growing phenomenon of big stars creating productions solely for the internet. On the eve of her retirement Monica Mason, director of The Royal Ballet Company, reflects on her 54 years with the company which she joined as a 16 year old dancer in 1958. She recalls working with stars such as Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev, becoming a muse to the choreographer Kenneth MacMillan, and why, as a young dancer, she was terrified of Royal Ballet founder Ninette de Valois. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
7/19/201228 minutes, 27 seconds
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Madonna in the UK; Simon Russell Beale in Timon of Athens

With Mark Lawson. Madonna's MDNA world tour arrived in the UK last night, including new live versions of three decades worth of hits, performed with dancers, flying drummers, tightrope walkers, cheerleaders and a Basque folk trio. Rosie Swash assesses whether Madonna still commands the stage. Simon Russell Beale takes the title role in Timon of Athens, in a new National Theatre production of Shakespeare's tale of conspicuous consumption, debt and corruption. Andrew Rawnsley reviews. The World's Two Smallest Humans is the title of the new collection of poetry by Julia Copus. The poems cover a range of subjects from music to the classics, and the collection features a series of personal poems on the subject of IVF, a process Julia Copus underwent without success. Iranian-born Mahan Esfahani gave the first ever harpsichord recital in the history of the BBC Proms last year. This Saturday he returns with The Academy of Ancient Music to perform his own orchestration of Bach's keyboard masterpiece, The Art of Fugue. He talks about collaboration, authenticity and adapting things on the spot. Producer Claire Bartleet.
7/18/201228 minutes, 43 seconds
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Hattie Morahan and Dominic Rowan on booing at the theatre; John Lydon; literary letters

With Mark Lawson. Hattie Morahan and Dominic Rowan are currently starring in Ibsen's drama A Doll's House, and audiences have been booing Dominic's portrayal of the heroine's chauvinistic husband. The actors discuss handling negative audience reaction, which also happened when Dominic played an egotistical hunk in Penelope Skinner's play, The Village Bike. John Lydon, lead singer of the iconic 1970s punk band The Sex Pistols, says it would be a compliment if their song, God Save the Queen, was included in the Olympic opening ceremony. He explains why the song is not a vicious assault and, as his band PiL release a new album, he talks about his National Treasure status and why retiring is not an option. A third volume of T S Eliot's correspondence has just been published, the product of many years of scholarship - but will such collections continue in the age of email and text message? Professor Steve Connor, from Birkbeck College, London, and Megan Barnard, from the Harry Ransom Centre in Texas, consider the future of the literary letter. A mention in fiction bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey has pushed Thomas Tallis' 40 part motet Spem in Alium to the top of the classical chart. We count down other unexpected cultural hits which have followed an appearance in fiction or film. Producer Nicki Paxman.
7/17/201228 minutes, 27 seconds
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The Dark Knight Rises; The Tanks; Asif Kapadia

With Mark Lawson. The Dark Knight Rises is the third of director Christopher Nolan's Batman films. Christian Bale stars as Bruce Wayne, with Tom Hardy as an evil terrorist, and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Writer Naomi Alderman reviews. The first phase of Tate Modern's extension programme is unveiled this week with the opening of The Tanks, two enormous chambers in former oil tanks, which will show art in live form - performance, installations and film. Mark meets architect Jacques Herzog and artist Sung Hwan Kim. Director Asif Kapadia, whose motor-racing documentary Senna won considerable acclaim, discusses his film Odyssey, a portrait of London since it won the bid to host the Olympic games. Starting on 6 July 2005, the film shows the euphoria of winning the bid, the devastation of the 7/7 terrorist attacks, the impact of the credit crunch and the 2011 riots. Birger Larsen, the director behind the Danish crime series The Killing, reveals that the now-famous jumper worn by the show's main character Sarah Lund was an after-thought - and that the original costume paid tribute to a big-screen gunslinger. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
7/16/201228 minutes, 23 seconds
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Eoin Colfer; Catherine the Great; loneliness of a soloist

With John Wilson. Author Eoin Colfer reveals the reason that he decided to put an end to the saga of his best-selling hero Artemis Fowl, despite his publisher's wishes. Tonight is the start of the BBC Proms 2012 - but what's it like being a world-class classical soloist? Mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, violinist Maxim Vengerov and trumpeter Alison Balsom reveal some of the pressures they face, and Colin Lawson, director of the Royal College of Music, discusses whether students can be prepared for life on the international stage. To mark the 250th anniversary of the coup d'état which placed Catherine the Great on the Russian throne, the National Museum of Scotland is holding an exhibition exploring how she used artworks to express her power. Dr Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director of the State Hermitage Museum, explains what the collection tells us about Catherine herself. John revisits Afghan war veterans Rifleman Daniel Shaw and Sapper Lyndon Chatting-Walters, as they prepare to go on tour with Owen Sheers' play The Two Worlds of Charlie F. John first met them in rehearsal, and they now reflect on their stage nerves and their readiness to take to the road. Producer Ellie Bury.
7/13/201228 minutes, 37 seconds
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Antony Gormley; the man behind Angelos Epithemiou revealed

With Mark Lawson, including an interview with the The Angel Of The North sculptor Antony Gormley as a new exhibition, Still Standing, opens in London and a project about Beckett called Godot Tree is unveiled in Enniskillen. In an exclusive interview the creator of chat show host Angelos Epithemiou, Dan Renton Skinner, reveals for the first time the inspiration behind his comedy character. Jason Manford is currently starring as an Italian barber in Sweeney Todd yet despite having presented The One Show briefly, the programme does not appear in his credits. Actor Michael Simkins reflects on the art of crafting an actor's CV. Art crime investigator Dick Ellis reveals what measures can be taken against the theft of sculptures in the wake of the disappearance of a Henry Moore sundial from the grounds of a Hertfordshire museum Producer Stephen Hughes.
7/12/201229 minutes, 2 seconds
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James Fenton, rained-off festivals, and author Nicola Barker

With Mark Lawson. James Fenton reflects on how his years as a war reporter fed into his poetry, and why it moves him so much to hear that his poem For Andrew Wood is popular at funerals. And he reveals how the words of the Roman poet Catullus happily fit the Archers theme tune. Author Nicola Barker is known for her distinctive dialogue and unpleasant characters. She discusses her new novel and explains why she wanted to set it in Luton. Bank Of Dave is a Channel 4 documentary which follows the fortunes of Dave Fishwick, who sets up his own small bank. Dave is also the name of a TV channel. David Quantick - David rather than Dave - charts the Daves and Davids in popular culture. Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan were set to be reunited in a huge concert in Hyde Park this evening. But along with many other summer music events it has been cancelled due to the wet weather. Insurance expert Jeff Park explains how our increasingly wet summers will affect festival prices. Producer Ellie Bury.
7/11/201228 minutes, 37 seconds
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Wynton Marsalis interview; review of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

With John Wilson. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis discusses his approach to the history of jazz, his feelings about hip-hop, and the rhythms of Congo Square, New Orleans, which have inspired a major composition. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a new film from director Lorene Scarfaria, starring Keira Knightley and Steve Carrell. With three weeks to go before the apocalypse, a man decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Rachel Cooke reviews. Philippe Halsman was a celebrity photographer who often used to get his subjects to jump - arguing that, in jumping, they drop their "mask" and reveal their true personality. The little-known story of his life - which included a false charge of murder - has been turned into novel, by Austin Ratner. He and Joanna Pitman, photography critic for The Times discuss Philippe Halsman's life, influence and legacy. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation's Minimum Income Standards report says that a family with two children needs an income of nearly £37,000 to have a 'socially acceptable' standard of living. But how much of this should be spent on experiencing arts and culture? Abigail Davis who helped write the report explains how the report defines cultural activities and how their perceived importance has withstood the recession. Producer Erin Riley.
7/10/201229 minutes, 5 seconds
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Magic Mike; Twenty Twelve writer John Morton.

With Mark Lawson. Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum star in Magic Mike, the latest film from Traffic and Ocean's Eleven director Steven Soderbergh. The film explores the world of all-male dance shows with Channing Tatum as the young stripper who dreams of something more. Antonia Quirke reviews. As John Morton's mockumentary Twenty Twelve - about the challenges facing the team charged with staging the 2012 Olympics - reaches its climax in three final episodes, he discusses the difficulty of making comedy just to the side of reality, and why he had no time to buy tickets to the real Olympic Games. Italian writer Andrea Camilleri, winner of this year's Crime Writers' Association International Dagger Award for the best crime novel translated into English, reflects on his famous creation - the food-loving Sicilian detective, Inspector Montalbano. Niall Leonard - the husband of E.L.James, creator of the best-selling 50 Shades of Grey series - also has a book deal. Professor John Sutherland joins Mark to discuss husband-and-wife writing careers. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
7/9/201228 minutes, 48 seconds
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Amy Winehouse and Katy Perry films; William Fiennes on Joseph Mitchell

With Kirsty Lang. Singers Amy Winehouse and Katy Perry are the focus of two new documentaries. Katy Perry: Part of Me follows the American performer on tour, as her marriage to Russell Brand was ending. Amy Winehouse - the Day She Came to Dingle includes footage of the late singer performing in a small Irish church in 2006. Mark Frith reviews. Singer Sam Lee gave up being a visual artist, a teacher of wilderness survival skills and a burlesque dancer, to learn folk songs. He talks about collecting material from gypsy and traveller communities for his CD, Ground of its Own, and the sounds - including birdsong and drones - that he has added to his interpretations. As Damien Hirst announces plans to erect a 20-metre statue of a pregnant woman in Ilfracombe, and London City Airport unveils what is claimed to be the UK's tallest bronze sculpture, art critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston considers the continuing appeal of large-scale art. Salman Rushdie has described the American writer Joseph Mitchell as a 'buried treasure'. Working on the New Yorker from 1938 until his death in 1996, he specialized in portraits of eccentrics, workers, bohemians and their haunts. As a new edition of Mitchell's writings is published, writer William Fiennes and Janet Groth, receptionist at the New Yorker and a long-standing friend, reflect on why his work deserves a wider audience. Producer Philippa Ritchie.
7/6/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Bryn Terfel, scoring Hitchcock, the Shard, Sinbad

With Kirsty Lang. Leading bass-baritone Bryn Terfel talks about the intrinsic character of Welsh music, as his four day BrynFest takes place with a 500 strong male voice choir and an open air Big Sing which anyone can join. Arabian Nights hero Sinbad the Sailor gets a modern makeover in a new TV series, from the production company behind Primeval. Critic Bidisha discusses Sinbad's contemporary appeal. As part of a major Hitchcock season, the BFI have restored his nine surviving silent films which will be given gala screenings with brand new scores. Composers Neil Brand, Nitin Sawhney and Mira Calix discuss the art of creating a signature Hitchcock sound for the 21st Century. The Shard is Western Europe's tallest building and tonight celebrates its official completion with a light show. Architect Renzo Piano's 72 level tower near London Bridge has been 12 years in development. Architecture writer Hugh Pearman reflects on the role of the skyscraper and its future. Producer Nicki Paxman.
7/5/201228 minutes, 48 seconds
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Julian Barnes on Jean Dujardin's new film, Nick Hewer, new Bond exhibition

With Mark Lawson. Julian Barnes reviews The Players (Les Infidèles), the new film by Jean Dujardin, the writer and lead actor of Oscar-winning movie The Artist. The film is a series of vignettes by different directors on the theme of infidelity, starring Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche. Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style is a new exhibition which charts the design and fashions of the James Bond films, half a century after Thunderball arrived in our cinemas. The golden gun, the flick-knife shoes, costumes, vehicles and set design are all on display. Writer Anthony Horowitz reviews. Writer and actor Ray Cooney pays tribute to Eric Sykes, whose death at the age of 89 was announced today. Nick Hewer, who found fame alongside Lord Sugar on The Apprentice, now moves onto agriculture. In The Farm Fixer he applies 40 years of business experience to aid struggling farms, starting close to his roots in Northern Ireland. He reflects on his TV career so far. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
7/4/201228 minutes, 40 seconds
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Richard Wilson's Italian Job re-creation; Mark Damazer on The Newsroom

With Mark Lawson Mark reports from Bexhill on Sea, as artist Richard Wilson recreates the final scene of the film The Italian Job, balancing a full-sized replica coach on the roof of the De La Warr Pavilion. Wilson discusses his inspiration, and the practical problems it poses. Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing and Oscar-winning writer of The Social Network, returns to TV with a new drama series, The Newsroom. This behind-the-scenes look at a TV news programme stars Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer. Former BBC news editor Mark Damazer reviews. The Trinidad-born author Monique Roffey was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2010 for her novel The White Woman on the Green Bicycle. Her new book, like her last, is set in the Caribbean and tells the story of a man devastated by the loss of his wife in a flood. In an attempt to escape, he sets off from Trinidad on a boat voyage with his six year old daughter and elderly dog for crew, aiming for the Galapagos Islands. Monique Roffey explains how she herself made just such a voyage as research for the book. Producer Claire Bartleet.
7/3/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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Christopher Eccleston in Blackout; on the Chariots of Fire track; ping pong

With Mark Lawson. In the new three-part TV thriller Blackout, Christopher Eccleston plays a disillusioned, heavy-drinking local politician, who is dealing with the consequences of an alcohol-fuelled fight. Author and former MP Chris Mullin reviews. The new stage version of Chariots of Fire has just transferred to the West End, with the actors put through their paces on a running track which extends five rows out into the stalls. Mark puts on his running shoes and tries out the track for himself, alongside the set designer Miriam Buether. A new film Ping Pong follows a group of eight pensioners from different corners of the globe as they compete in the over-80s category of the World Table Tennis Championships in Inner Mongolia. Three-time Commonwealth table tennis champion and two-time Olympian Matthew Syed reviews. Photographer Stuart Roy Clarke has spent 20 years with his focus on football, taking over 100,000 photographs at more than 4000 matches around the world. As an exhibition of his work opens at the new National Football Museum in Manchester, Clarke discusses his work with the Rochdale manager John Coleman. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
7/2/201228 minutes, 48 seconds
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Bobby Womack, Jake Arnott, and Killer Joe reviewed

With John Wilson. Veteran soul singer Bobby Womack talks to John about surviving serious illness and a 50 year career that started in gospel and included writing hits for the likes of Janis Joplin and The Rolling Stones, and working with Damon Albarn on his new album. Matthew McConaughey is cast against type in his new film, Killer Joe, as a police detective who moonlights as a hit man. This controversial thriller comes from William Friedkin, best known as the director of The Exorcist, and is based on a play by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Tracy Letts. Briony Hanson, Director of Film at the British Council, reviews. Jake Arnott talks about his new book The House of Rumour, which weaves stories of the occult, science fiction and espionage from the Second World War to the present day. It enlists real people - Ian Fleming, Aleister Crowley, Rudolf Hess, L Ron Hubbard - and places them in a cast of fictional science fiction writers, spies and actors. Jake reveals how Fleming met Crowley in real life, and how Dr John Dee, magician at the court of Elizabeth I, was the first agent 007. Producer Ella-mai Robey.
6/29/201228 minutes, 49 seconds
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With Mark Lawson Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter Macy Gray talks about her latest disc, Covered, her own take on the cover album. The songs come largely from the indie scene of the last decade, with versions of tracks by Arcade Fire, Radiohead and My Chemical Romance - as well as a special appearance by actor Idris Elba. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey discusses why he's optimist about the future of library services in England, and why he believes giving responsibility for library development to the Arts Council will help individual libraries stay relevant to their local communities. Composer Michael Berkeley and writer Adam Mars-Jones discuss the many attempts by novelists over the years to replicate the condition of music in their prose, from James Joyce to Anthony Burgess to the latest example, Sound by T.M. Wolf. The British Museum is re-opening a gallery dedicated to its extensive collection of money, at a time when the global economic system is in extraordinary focus. The Citi Money Gallery gives a historical context to today's concerns, starting 4500 years ago, and ending with the latest developments in digital technology. The BBC's Economics editor Stephanie Flanders gives her verdict. Producer Lisa Davis.
6/28/201228 minutes, 38 seconds
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The Amazing Spider-Man; Joe Penhall

With Mark Lawson. The Amazing Spider-Man is the latest summer blockbuster, a reboot of the tale of nerdy teenage Peter Parker, who acquires superpowers after he's been bitten by a spider. This time Andrew Garfield takes the title role, with Martin Sheen as his uncle Ben, and Rhys Ifans as an evil genius. Natalie Haynes gives her verdict. Joe Penhall on how watching his wife going through labour gave him the inspiration for his new play Birthday, why it had to star a pregnant man instead of a pregnant woman, and the audiences reaction to Stephen Mangan's prosthetically enhanced full-frontal. American academic and author Elaine Showalter and playwright Marcy Kahan pay tribute to Nora Ephron whose death was announced today. The Robben Island Bible is a copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare, smuggled into South Africa's Robben Island prison, disguised as a religious text. Many political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, read and annotated the book. Writer Matthew Hahn has written a play based on this, and the book itself is in a forthcoming exhibition at the British Museum. Matthew Hahn and British Museum curator Becky Allen reflect on the book's significance. Producer Erin Riley.
6/27/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Friends with Kids, Edvard Munch

With Kirsty Lang Zoe Williams, critic and author of What Not To Expect When You're Expecting, reviews the film Friends With Kids - a new comedy starring many of the cast of Bridesmaids, about a couple of friends who decide to have a child together, but not a relationship. A new exhibition of the art of Edvard Munch aims to make us look again at the artist best known for The Scream. It reveals his obsession with the rise of photography, film and stage production, features around sixty paintings and fifty photographs - and also includes his lesser-known filmic work. Critic Jackie Wullschlager of the Financial Times gives her verdict. The Poetry Parnassus is a London 2012 project which has worked to bring together the poetry from all two hundred and four nations competing in the Olympics. Simon Armitage discusses the project and introduces Audrey Brown-Pereira of the Cook Islands and Zeyar Lynn of Burma - who reflect on their involvement in the project. Author Clare Clark talks to Kirsty about her latest novel, Beautiful Lies. Set in Victorian London when society is all a flutter over Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, the story examines questions of authenticity and faith. Clare Clark considers why the period in question holds such fascination for her. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
6/26/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Terry Pratchett; Your Sister's Sister; Jed Mercurio

With Mark Lawson. Terry Pratchett has teamed up with science fiction author Stephen Baxter to write The Long Earth, the first book in a projected series, which centres around a string of alternate earths accessed via a low-tech portal powered by electricity from a potato. They discuss why they decided to work together, what they argue about and who writes what. Emily Blunt and Rosemary Dewitt star in Your Sister's Sister, a romantic comedy about love, grief and sibling rivalry. Director Lynn Shelton is known for her improvised dialogue and indie sensibility. Gaylene Gould reviews. Jed Mercurio, writer of the TV medical dramas Cardiac Arrest and Bodies, talks about his new series Line Of Duty, which focuses on a corrupt police officer. Mercurio, who trained as a doctor, discusses the similarities and differences between TV drama's two favourite genres, and explains why the changes in modern policing make it perfect for his brand of gallows humour and unnerving realism. Producer Dymphna Flynn.
6/25/201228 minutes, 45 seconds
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Crow with Handspring puppets, guitarist Milos, Mark Wallinger

With Kirsty Lang. The Handspring Puppet Company, the creators of the award-winning War Horse horses, have turned to Ted Hughes' sequence of Crow poems for their new show, combining puppetry, music, dance and extracts of the verse. It's part of the London 2012 Festival. Bidisha reviews. In the week that Jimmy Carr has apologised for taking part in tax avoidance schemes, the comedy critic Stephen Armstrong explains why successful comedians have always been rich and why they've always needed to hide it. Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger has a large-scale solo show Site opening at the Baltic in Gateshead this week, to be followed next month by a film commission at Turner Contemporary in Margate, and a collaboration with the Royal Opera House and the National Gallery in London on a new ballet based on paintings by Titian. In his studio Wallinger takes stock of his workload and has the latest news on his plan to erect a 50-metre high statue of a white horse in the Kent countryside. Gordon Ramsay goes to Brixton prison in his new TV series Gordon Behind Bars, as he attempts to set up a successful food business with the prisoners, giving himself a deadline of six months. Rebecca Nicholson reviews. Milos Karadaglic is a classical guitarist from Montenegro. Generally known as just Milos, he was the UK's best-selling classical recording artist last year, and Gramophone magazine's Young Artist of the Year. With a new CD of Latin American music and a BBC Proms concert this summer, he talks about his love for the guitar and the importance of looking after his nails.
6/22/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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Prunella Scales, Jenny Saville, Coogan and Iannucci on TV

With Mark Lawson. On the eve of her 80th birthday, Prunella Scales discusses acting roles from Basil Fawlty's wife Sybil in the British comedy Fawlty Towers, to Queen Elizabeth II in the British film A Question of Attribution, and reveals secrets of family life with fellow thespians husband Timothy West and elder son Samuel West. Steve Coogan returns to TV in a one hour special, Alan Partridge: Welcome to The Places of my Life, and his occasional writing partner Armando Iannucci launches Veep, a new TV political sitcom about a woman senator - played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus from Seinfeld - who unexpectedly becomes vice-president (Veep) of the United States. Both are reviewed by Boyd Hilton. Artist Jenny Saville became known in the mid-1990s for monumental and distorted paintings of nude women - after Charles Saatchi bought up her entire post-graduate show. Saville discusses about her first ever solo exhibition in a UK public gallery, which opens at Modern Art Oxford this week and includes works inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
6/21/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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Julie Walters back on stage, Adrian Lester, and Ed Stoppard on Alan Turing

With Mark Lawson. Julie Walters returns to the stage playing an old hippie, in The Last of the Haussmans, a debut play by Stephen Beresford. The play also stars Helen McCrory and Rory Kinnear as Judy's grown-up children and the victims of a rackety 60s upbringing. Valerie Grove reviews. A new exhibition at the Science Museum celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, the wartime codebreaker and pioneering computer scientist. Actor Ed Stoppard, who played Turing in a recent TV docudrama, reviews. Actor Adrian Lester, star of hustle on BBC One, discusses his career and takes questions from a group of young would-be actors in a session recorded in Hackney at the Radio 1 Academy. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
6/20/201228 minutes, 50 seconds
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Sam Mendes; news of the Art Fund Prize winner

With Mark Lawson. Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes is the executive producer of a series of Shakespeare's history plays, filmed for TV. He discusses why he believes in bringing Shakespeare to the small screen, and also considers the similarities between the Bard and his next film project, the new James Bond film Skyfall. In the new film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the 16th President of the United States discovers blood-thirsty vampires are planning to take over his country. The action horror film imagines Lincoln's secret identity as a vampire-hunter. Elaine Showalter reviews the film whose cast includes Rufus Sewell and Benjamin Walker. Lord Smith, former Culture Secretary, announces the winner of the £100 000 Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries, following the deliberations of his judging panel. Producer Philippa Ritchie.
6/19/201228 minutes, 37 seconds
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Yoko Ono's art; Bruce Willis in Lay the Favourite

With Kirsty Lang, A major Yoko Ono exhibition called To The Light opens this week with art installations, films with soundtracks by John Lennon, a maze and a room in which you're invited to record your smile. Writer Iain Sinclair gives his verdict. Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta Jones star in Stephen Frears' new film comedy, Lay the Favourite, set in the world of Las Vegas sports gambling. Larushka Ivan-Zadeh reviews. The British Paraorchestra has been founded by conductor Charles Hazlewood to showcase disabled musicians, aiming to end the limitations placed on them, not by their physical ability but by lack of opportunity. Kirsty attended a rehearsal, to meet members of the orchestra. Pia Juul is a leading Danish literary author whose new book The Murder of Halland opens with a woman answering the door to be greeted with the words 'I am arresting you for the murder of your husband...'. Pia Juul discusses her crime-novel-with-a-difference, and her portrayal of one woman's grief as she comes to terms with her partner's death. Producer Claire Bartleet.
6/18/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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Fast Girls, Gatz

With Kirsty Lang Gatz is a unique adaptation of The Great Gatsby, requiring an actor to read all 49,000 words of the novel as the rest of the cast bring it to life, in a production that lasts almost 8 hours. But is this more than just a feat of memory? Andrew Dickson delivers his verdict. Olympic gold medal winner Denise Lewis reviews Fast Girls, a new British drama about a women's relay team, and considers whether fiction can ever compete with the real drama of sport. In the last of FRONT ROW's reports on the four shortlisted contenders for this year's £100,000 Art Fund Prize, Kirsty visits Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, in Exeter - to see the results the results of their multi-million-pound redevelopment. Helene Hegemann's novel, Axolotl Roadkill, published when she was 18, was a literary sensation in her native Germany. A grim tale of drugs, sex and mental illness, it features 15 year-old Mifti, an abused child in freefall. When claims of plagiarism were made its author was pilloried in the press. Now, as the book is published in the UK, Helene Hegemann puts her side of the story. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
6/15/201228 minutes, 47 seconds
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Rachel Whiteread; Dallas reviewed; Watts Gallery

With Mark Lawson. Three decades after TV viewers around the world asked 'Who shot JR?', the saga of the Ewing family arrives in the 21st century, with a revamp of Dallas. In the new version, JR, Bobby and Sue Ellen are joined by the next generation - with just as many rivalries and power-struggles as before. David D'Arcy reviews. Turner Prize-winning artist Rachel Whiteread discusses her new commission, the facade of the Whitechapel Art Gallery. She explains how she found inspiration. The Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals are awarded for writing and illustrating books aimed at young people. Unusually this year the same book has won both medals: A Monster Calls was written by Patrick Ness, completed from an idea left by the late Siobhan Dowd, herself a winner of the Carnegie in 2009, and Jim Kay provided the book's atmospheric illustrations. They join Mark to reflect on their collaboration. Front Row is reporting from the four contenders for the Art Fund Prize for museums. Ten years ago, the Watts Gallery near Guildford, which is dedicated to the work of neglected Victorian painter G.F. Watts, was in a sorry state with a leaking roof, broken windows and an average attendance of five visitors a day. But, thanks to a multi-million pound restoration, the gallery has been returned to its former glory, when it was one of the major centres for art in this country. Producer Ellie Bury.
6/14/201228 minutes, 49 seconds
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Rock of Ages reviewed; Scottish National Portrait Gallery; Afghan War fiction.

With John Wilson, John reports from the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, one of the contenders for the Art Fund Prize for museums, in the company of Alexander McCall Smith who has used it as a location in his novels. Front Row is reporting from all four shortlisted museums, before announcing the winner next Tuesday. Tom Cruise and Russell Brand star in Rock of Ages, a film adaptation of the jukebox musical, where classic 80s rock songs form the backdrop to a love story set on LA's Sunset Strip. Music writer Kate Mossman gives her verdict. The author of Afghan war novel The Watch, Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya, explains how he wrote the book without setting foot in the country or talking to a soldier, and offers his own thoughts on the reasons why other novelists have not tackled this controversial subject. And, an interview with Jon McGregor, winner of the lucrative International Impac Dublin Literary Award is which is voted for by libraries around the world. Producer Erin Riley.
6/13/201228 minutes, 36 seconds
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Alan Howard interviewed; True Love reviewed

With Mark Lawson. Front Row is reporting this week from the four remaining contenders for the Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries. Our first visit is to the Hepworth, Wakefield, which recently celebrated its first birthday. Actor Alan Howard is known for his high profile RSC roles including Henry V and Hamlet. His latest project is the stage premiere of a series of monologues by Samuel Beckett. He and director Jonathan Holmes reflect on the challenges of bringing these texts to the stage. In the early 1770s Denmark was rocked by a scandalous love affair between Caroline Mathilda, the English-born Danish queen, and Johan Struensee, doctor to her husband King Christian VII. Now the story has been made into a film, starring Mads Mikkelsen as the doctor. Biographer Kathryn Hughes reviews. BAFTA winning writer-director Dominic Savage returns to TV with a new series exploring five overlapping love stories, all set in Margate - where he grew up. The tales have been created by Savage, but the dialogue is largely improvised by the cast, who include David Tennant, David Morrissey, Billie Piper, Ashley Walters and Jane Horrocks. Rachel Cooke gives her verdict. Producer Stephen Hughes.
6/12/201228 minutes, 42 seconds
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Janet Suzman; Invisible Art; Cosmopolis review

With Mark Lawson. Novelist Toby Litt reviews David Cronenberg's new film Cosmopolis, based on the novel by Don DeLillo. It stars Twilight's Robert Pattinson as a billionaire cocooned in his limousine, crossing Manhattan to get a haircut. Janet Suzman has played most of the major theatrical roles for women, including Cleopatra, Ophelia, Shaw's Saint Joan and Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. Now she has published a book, Not Hamlet, in which she reflects on the 'frail position of women in drama', arguing that they do not enjoy the same status as their male counterparts. A major new exhibition called Invisible: Art of the Unseen includes plans for an architecture of air and a pair of blank canvases entitled Magic Ink. Richard Cork reviews this unexpected collection of works. American writer Ben Marcus talks about his new novel, The Flame Alphabet, a dystopian story about an epidemic hitting America - the sound of children's speech has become lethal. Producer Dymphna Flynn.
6/11/201228 minutes, 59 seconds
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Rapper Professor Green interviewed; Dürrenmatt re-examined

With Mark Lawson. Swiss writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt is probably best known for his play The Visit. Now director Josie Rourke has included his lesser known work The Physicists in her first season at the Donmar Warehouse. Mark considers Dürrenmatt's life and legacy with writer Jack Thorne, Josie Rourke, performer and director Simon McBurney, and Jerzy and Mary Olson Kromolowski who wrote the screenplay for The Pledge, a film based on the novella Requiem for the Detective Novel. Professor Green is a Hackney-born rapper who gained a reputation as a formidable performer after winning successive freestyle competitions. He went on to win MOBO and NME awards and has worked with artists including Lily Allen and Emeli Sande. He reflects on how his life has changed since entering the limelight. Mario Vargas Llosa won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2010, and today his latest novel, The Dream of the Celt, is published in English. Front Row examines the effect of winning the Nobel Prize on authors including Doris Lessing, Seamus Heaney, Toni Morrison and Harold Pinter. Producer: Philippa Ritchie.
6/11/201228 minutes, 30 seconds
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With Mark Lawson, Woody Allen has allowed his life and creative process to be documented on-camera. With unprecedented access, filmmaker Robert Weide followed the notoriously private film legend over a year and a half; discussing topics including his creative choices and response to his critics, the split with Mia Farrow and reveals that when he finished Manhattan he didn't like the film and didn't want it to be shown. Antonia Quirke assesses what we learn about the prolific film maker. American writer Richard Ford's new novel Canada opens in the vast landscape of Great Falls, Montana, in the 1950s, where a young solitary child Dell Parsons' world is turned upside-down when his parents commit a bank robbery. Richard Ford discusses the background to the book, and why readers usually have a five-year wait for his next novel. Two comedies with women in the starring roles are coming to our television screens. Dead Boss was co-written by and stars Sharon Horgan as a woman who has been falsely imprisoned for murdering her boss. Sally Phillips takes the lead in Parents, a sit-com about returning back to the family home, with her own teenage children. Rebecca Nicholson reviews. And, the novelist Joanne Harris and Professor Roger Luckhurst pay tribute to the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, whose death has been announced. Producer Claire Bartleet.
6/6/201228 minutes, 47 seconds
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Hilary Mantel talks to Mark Lawson

In an extended interview, Mark Lawson talks to writer Hilary Mantel, who won the Booker Prize with her novel Wolf Hall, and has now written a sequel, Bring Up The Bodies. Producer Nicki Paxman.
6/5/201228 minutes, 37 seconds
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Neneh Cherry interviewed; the Transit of Venus in art

Neneh Cherry first made her name performing her hit Buffalo Stance on Top of the Pops while seven months pregnant. She later went on to collaborate with other artists including Youssou N'Dour and Michael Stipe. Her new album The Cherry Thing is another collaboration, this time with Swedish jazz trio The Thing, and includes covers of artists like The Stooges and Neneh's father Don Cherry. She explains how her upbringing informed her sound and why jazz is more than a musical genre. Kirsty Lang talks to Maria Semple, formerly a writer on US TV shows including Ellen and Arrested Development. Her novel Where'd You Go, Bernadette is an epistolary comedy about paranoid parenting, loathing Seattle and a loving daughter's journey to Antarctica to find her troubled mum. As the Transit Of Venus makes a rare appearance on June 5th and 6th, Front Row considers the various ways that it's inspired art, literature and music over the centuries. Death Watch predicted reality television a good ten years before it became a reality itself. But as so often with science fiction, a dark future has transformed into the dull present, as Professor Roger Luckhurst explains. Producer Stephen Hughes Neneh Cherry photo: copyright Jamie Morgan.
6/1/201228 minutes, 48 seconds
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Michael Morpurgo; Ridley Scott's Prometheus reviewed

With Mark Lawson. Director Ridley Scott returns to science fiction with Prometheus, starring Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender. It follows a group of scientists who travel to a distant world, where they encounter a threat to human existence. How does it compare to Scott's earlier blockbuster, Alien? Naomi Alderman gives her verdict. Michael Morpurgo and his biographer Maggie Fergusson discuss how they have collaborated on his life story, From War Child to War Horse. In seven chapters she describes how the unbookish boy who wanted to be an army officer became a best-selling children's author; and Michael responds with seven new stories. They reflect on the sometimes painful aspects of his childhood and his relationship with his own children. Jodie Whittaker and Christopher Eccleston star in a new National Theatre production of Antigone by Sophocles. Peter Kemp reviews. Ken Loach recently complained about the certificate awarded to The Angels' Share by the British Board of Film Classification. In order to qualify for a 15 certificate, several swear words had to be removed, prompting the director to observe that the middle class "is obsessed by what they call bad language." The BBFC's Head Of Policy, David Austin, defends the decision and reveals the detailed negotiations that take place behind the scenes between the board and film-makers. Producer Ellie Bury.
5/31/201228 minutes, 42 seconds
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John Irving; African art; Thomas Heatherwick

With Mark Lawson. Novelist John Irving discusses his new book In One Person, which has, like all of his novels, been written back to front with the ending first. It's a doorstop rather than a novella, but Irving explains that when you're looking at the impact of 30 or 40 years on a life it's hard to be brief. Trade and politics forged a bond between Manchester and the countries of West Africa that dates back to the 19th century. A new citywide festival - We Face Forward: Art from West Africa Today - seeks to update that bond through contemporary art and music. Writer Jackie Kay, whose memoir exploring her Scottish and Nigerian heritage won the Scottish Book of the Year Award last year, joined Mark on the festival's art bus and took a tour round the exhibitions. British designer Thomas Heatherwick was described by Terence Conran as a "Leonardo da Vinci of our times". His range of creations includes a bridge that rolls open and closed, the new Routemaster bus, a seed-bank and the cauldron to hold the Olympic Flame. Sarah Crompton of the Daily Telegraph considers two displays of Heatherwick's work: a forthcoming exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and a new book. Producer Erin Riley.
5/30/201228 minutes, 38 seconds
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Patti Smith, Ben Drew (aka Plan B)

With John Wilson. Musician and writer Patti Smith joins John to talk about her new album, BANGA, which features a song in memory of Amy Winehouse. Film critic Larushka Ivan-Zadeh reviews Snow White And The Huntsman, a twist on the classic fairy tale - which stars Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron. Ben Drew, aka rapper Plan B, discusses his directorial debut Ill Manors and explains why he's always thought of himself as a film director who sings rather than vice versa. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
5/29/201228 minutes, 43 seconds
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Ken Loach review; Rumer; James Sallis interview

With Mark Lawson. Ken Loach's latest film, The Angels' Share, is a comedy set in Scotland, following the fortunes of Robbie, a young Scottish gangster who discovers that he has a "nose" - a natural aptitude for judging whisky. Columnist Suzanne Moore gives her verdict. Singer Rumer released her first album Seasons of My Soul to much acclaim in 2010. Her second album is a collection of songs originally made famous by male artists. She discusses how she chose the songs and how she coped with her nerves at a recent performance at the White House, singing for President Obama. American writer, poet and musician James Sallis discusses his latest crime novel, Driven - a sequel to Drive, which was adapted as a film last year, starring Ryan Gosling. Driven is set seven years after the events in Drive, and the nameless Driver finds that his past still stalks him. Writer Travis Elborough charts the close connections between British crime fiction and British beaches - not just for readers sitting by the sea with a book, but for writers including Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Peter James. Producer Ellie Bury.
5/28/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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Tracey Emin in Margate; Cannes Film Festival

With Kirsty Lang. Tracey Emin discusses how she feels about returning to her home town of Margate with an exhibition including new works conceived specially for Margate and exploring themes of love, sex and eroticism. In January 1937 in Peking the body of a teenage British girl was discovered, with her heart removed. She was the daughter of an ex-British consul and the crime, which shook both the Chinese and western community, was never solved. Writer and historian Paul French explains why he became obsessed by the story and how, 75 years on, he has come up with a solution to the mystery. Jason Solomons brings news from the Cannes Film Festival, as the jury prepares to announce the winners of the main prizes. Music and speech played an important role in the 1960s Black Power movement in America. Writer Pat Thomas has spent years tracking down rare recordings, which include spoken word discs from Motown's Black Power imprint. Music writer Kevin LeGendre joins Pat to consider how musicians and performers responded to political change. Producer Philippa Ritchie.
5/25/201228 minutes, 30 seconds
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Tom Phillips, writing final TV episodes, Arnold Wesker at 80

With Mark Lawson. The artist Tom Phillips is celebrating his 75th birthday today. To mark this, his classic book A Humument is being reprinted which he first embarked on in 1966, and there is a new exhibition of his recent and early art works. Phillips discusses his constantly-evolving book, and his long-term artistic projects, including The Seven Ages of Man, which takes the form of a series of tennis balls covered in the artist's own hair. The last episode of the award-winning medical drama House is being broadcast tonight. As Hugh Laurie says goodbye to his maverick role, the writers are playing with viewer expectations by titling the finale 'Everybody Dies'. Writers Sam Vincent, Stephen Churchett and Matthew Graham, who were behind the final episodes of Spooks, Inspector Morse, Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars, discuss the challenges of wrapping up a hit series. On the day Arnold Wesker celebrates his 80th birthday, young playwrights Ryan Craig and Amy Rosenthal discuss the influence of Wesker's plays on their own work and whether he has changed the course of British theatre. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
5/24/201228 minutes, 15 seconds
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Chariots of Fire on stage; Henry Moore indoors.

With Mark Lawson. The Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire now arrives on stage, with the Hampstead Theatre turned into the arena of the 1924 Paris Olympics. And the new cinema documentary Personal Best has followed young British sprinters over the last four years, on the road to London 2012. Sports presenter Eleanor Oldroyd compares these stories of athletic dedication. Henry Moore: Large Late Forms is a new exhibition for which a series of the artist's giant bronze sculptures have been transported from their usual place in the fields outside Moore's home in Hertfordshire to a central London gallery on the back of a vast flatbed truck. Curator Anita Feldman discusses the logistical challenge of bringing these enormous artworks indoors. Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky talks about his fascination with the environment, in the light of two new exhibitions. Burtynsky: Oil considers the mechanics, distribution and use of some of the world's most highly contested resources, while Monegros - Dryland Farming depicts the semi-arid terrain of the agricultural region in Spain, which has created a vast lattice-work of patterns which he observes from the air. After 17 years the Orange Prize for Fiction has lost its sponsor, and now needs to find new investors. Changing circumstances have also led to the re-branding of the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Book Awards. Graham Hales, from the consultancy firm Interbrand, considers the links between sponsors and arts awards. Producer Nicki Paxman.
5/23/201228 minutes, 18 seconds
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Actor John Simm, author George RR Martin

With Mark Lawson John Simm, star of the TV series Life on Mars, reflects on his return to the stage in Sheffield in Betrayal, Harold Pinter's drama of marital infidelity told backwards. Engelbert Humperdinck is aiming for UK Eurovision success with Love Will Set You Free at the contest's final on Saturday. But what about the competition? David Hepworth and Rosie Swash, our Eurovision Jukebox Jury, identify this year's hits and misses. Writer George R.R. Martin discusses his bestselling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, which is the source of the television series Game of Thrones. He admits that the scale of the books has led to some continuity errors, and reveals how far some of his fans are prepared to go when expressing their enthusiasm. Producer Claire Bartleet.
5/22/201228 minutes, 28 seconds
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Moonrise Kingdom, Joanne Harris, artist Richard Wilson

With Kirsty Lang. Wes Anderson's new film Moonrise Kingdom is set in New England in the summer of 1965. Two 12 year olds fall in love and run away together into the wilderness, with a local search party out to find them. Natalie Haynes reviews the film which stars Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand. Joanne Harris discusses her new novel Peaches for Monsieur le Curé, which returns to the fictional French village of Lansquenet, first seen in her her best-seller Chocolat, which was also adapted into a feature film. Richard Wilson, the installation artist, is best known for the work 20:50 - a room half-filled with highly-reflective sump oil. He reveals details of Slipstream, his new sculpture for the 2014 opening of the new Heathrow Terminal 2. Over 70 metres long and weighing 77 tons, the aluminium work will describe the shape carved through space by a stunt plane. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
5/21/201228 minutes, 41 seconds
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Rolf Harris on his art; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau obituary

With Mark Lawson A retrospective of Rolf Harris' art and other talents - from singing to swimming - is about to open in Liverpool. He discusses his work, his love of gum-trees, and what he and the Queen chatted about whilst he was painting her portrait. How does an actor convincingly play drunk without forgetting his lines or falling off stage? Actors Michael Caine, David Suchet and Leo Bill reveal their tips, and National Theatre stage manager Ian Connop offers a guide to mixing stage drinks. As part of the BBC's Shakespeare Unlocked season Paul Whitehouse chooses his favourite piece of Shakespeare. Singer Ian Bostridge pays tribute to German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, whose death was announced today. Producer Lisa Davis.
5/18/201228 minutes, 36 seconds
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Screenwriter Paul Abbott; The Dictator reviewed

With Mark Lawson. Shameless creator Paul Abbott and writer Sean Conway discuss their unusual new TV drama series Hit & Miss, about a pre-op transgender contract killer. American suburban life turns sour as new neighbours meet in Lisa D'Amour's play Detroit, acclaimed in the US and now receiving its British premiere at the National Theatre. Gaylene Gould reviews. After Ali G, Borat and Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen's latest creation is an African tyrant, for his new film The Dictator. Ryan Gilbey gives his verdict. The poet Benjamin Zephaniah reflects on the character of Puck, from A Midsummer Night's Dream, as part of the BBC's Shakespeare Unlocked season. We pay tribute to the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes who has died aged 83. Producer Ellie Bury.
5/16/201228 minutes, 29 seconds
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Kevin Rowland from Dexys Midnight Runners; Ballgowns at the V&A

With John Wilson. Kevin Rowland discusses the changing face of Dexys Midnight Runners, who topped the charts three decades ago with Come On Eileen, and now release their first album in 27 years. Painter Brice Marden reflects on the golden age of American art and his early years as Robert Rauschenberg's assistant and as a guard on a Jasper Johns retrospective. British ballgowns from the past 60 years are the focus of a major new exhibition, which features dresses from the days of the debutante, as well as contemporary pieces from Alexander McQueen and Giles Deacon. Fashion writer and historian Bronwyn Cosgrave reviews. The Archbishop Of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, chooses his favourite piece of Shakespeare, as part of the BBC's Shakespeare Unlocked season. Producer Stephen Hughes.
5/15/201228 minutes, 34 seconds
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Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths interviewed; the Art Fund Prize shortlist announced

With Mark Lawson. Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths discuss their theatrical collaboration in The Sunshine Boys and their plans to perform Shakespeare in a pub for one night only. The shortlist for the Art Fund Prize 2012 is announced today. Chris Smith, chair of judges, reveals the four remaining contenders for the £100,000 award, given annually in recognition of excellence and innovation in museums and galleries. Poet Wendy Cope reveals her favourite lines from the Bard as part of Radio 4's Shakespeare Unlocked Season. Briony Hanson reviews an Indonesian thriller directed by a Welshman and a Latin American drama written by a Scot - The Raid and Even The Rain Producer Stephen Hughes.
5/14/201228 minutes, 34 seconds
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Coronation Street musical; Anish Kapoor's Olympic sculpture

With Kirsty Lang. Street of Dreams is a new arena musical based on Coronation Street, Britain's longest-running tv soap. Hosted by Paul O'Grady and starring cast members including Julie Goodyear (Bet Lynch) and William Roache (Ken Barlow), it opened last night in Manchester. Author and Corrie fan Livi Michael reviews. Anish Kapoor discusses Orbit, his towering steel sculpture for the Olympic Park, which was unveiled today. Kirsty ascends to the viewing platforms, and critic Richard Cork gives his verdict. The Proclaimers, Craig and Charlie Reid, discuss the inspiration behind their new album Like Comedy. As the Brighton Festival opens, Kirsty reports from a disused market, the setting for a drama based on a murder case from Belgium; and on a piece of waste-land at the end of the promenade, we eavesdrop on lovers in their cars. Producer Philippa Ritchie.
5/11/201228 minutes, 44 seconds
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Hilary Mantel, Tim Burton, 56 Up

With Mark Lawson. Hilary Mantel discusses her novel Bring Up The Bodies, a sequel to her Booker Prize-winner Wolf Hall. It focuses on the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn and, like Wolf Hall, the story is told from the point of view of Henry VIII's minister Thomas Cromwell. Mantel reflects on the art of writing historical fiction. Tim Burton's latest film Dark Shadows stars Johnny Depp as a 200 year old vampire, who finds himself in the 1970s. Burton explains how he was inspired by a 1960s gothic soap opera. 56 Up is the latest instalment of the landmark TV documentary series which has returned every seven years to focus on a group of people from varying social backgrounds who were first filmed at the age of seven. The new series revisits all but one of the original group. Rachel Cooke and Chris Dunkley review. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
5/10/201228 minutes, 27 seconds
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Writer John Hodge; Naxos Records; plot against Edward VIII

With Mark Lawson. Edward VIII: The Plot to Topple a King is a new TV drama/documentary which tells the story of Archbishop Cosmo Gordon Lang, played by David Calder. He believed that Edward VIII's love for Wallis Simpson made a mockery of all that he stood for, and so assembled a group of grandees to oust the King. AN Wilson reviews. Trainspotting screenwriter John Hodge discusses his first play, Collaborators, which recently won the Olivier Award for Best New Play. Collaborators focuses on an imagined encounter between Joseph Stalin and playwright Mikhail Bulgakov. Hodge discusses the differences between writing for stage and screen. Klaus Heymann, the founder of the bargain classical music label Naxos, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, is joined by music critic Jessica Duchen to reflect on how his label revolutionised the music industry, whether there is a downside to affordable recordings and if the record business has a profitable future. Producer Nicki Paxman.
5/9/201228 minutes, 29 seconds
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Mel Gibson reviewed and Pianist Mitsuko Uchida

With Mark Lawson. Mel Gibson returns to the screen this week in How I Spent Last Summer, in which he plays a career criminal arrested by the authorities in Mexico and sent to a tough prison where he learns to survive with the help of a 9-year-old boy. Larushka Ivan-Zadeh reviews the film (called Get the Gringo for its US release) which Gibson co-wrote. Today, Japanese born classical pianist, Dame Mitsuko Uchida is awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal - one of the highest honours in classical music. Created to commemorate the centenary of Beethoven's birth in 1870, it counts Brahms, Delius, Elgar, Stravinsky, Britten, Bernstein, Alfred Brendel; Simon Rattle; Plácido Domingo and Daniel Barenboim among previous recipients. Maxine Peake discusses returning to the role of Martha, an ambitious barrister, in a second series of Silk, the advantages of working in both TV and theatre and why Kate Bush's music helps her approach Strindberg. We pay tribute to Maurice Sendak, the US author of the best-selling children's book Where the Wild Things Are, who has died aged 83 Producer Claire Bartleet.
5/8/201228 minutes, 50 seconds
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Damon Albarn in his studio

In a special edition, John Wilson meets Damon Albarn at work in his studio, surrounded by instruments, as he prepares for a busy summer. He's helping to launch the London 2012 Festival with the return of his opera Dr Dee, which is inspired by the Elizabethan alchemist and visionary, and his band Blur are marking the end of the Olympics with a big Hyde Park concert. Damon begins his day spinning a 78rpm disc on his wind-up gramophone, and the tour of his studio includes the sounds of his specially-commissioned church bells and a Soviet-era Russian synthesizer. Turning the pages of a large 17th century book about Dr Dee and the angels, he reflects on his interests in the magical ideas of the period. He also reveals his views on the future of his band Blur - and turns to his studio piano to perform the opening section of a brand new Blur song, which will be released later this year. Producer John Goudie.
5/7/201228 minutes, 23 seconds
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With Kirsty Lang Artist Michael Craig-Martin reviews a major new exhibition about the art and architecture created and inspired by the Bauhaus school. He reflects on the movement's influence on modern design, children's toys and his own career. Irish poet Paul Durcan is renowned for his uncompromising poems about sectarian violence and failings in the Catholic Church, as well as confessional pieces about love and loss. He discusses his new collection, which takes in the decline of the Celtic tiger, condemnations of bankers and "bonus boys" - and the bliss of being old enough to get a free travel pass. Comedian Isy Suttie is best known for playing the geeky Dobby in Channel 4's Peep Show. Her musical comedy show Pearl and Dave was a hit at last year's Edinburgh Fringe and she's now taking it on tour. She reveals why growing up in Matlock was such a big influence and the strange requests she gets from Peep Show fans. As John Huston's bio-pic of Freud is released on DVD for the first time, historian Matthew Sweet reveals the Freudian drama that unfolded behind the scenes involving Huston and his star Montgomery Clift, who was drinking himself to death. Producer Erin Riley.
5/4/201228 minutes, 45 seconds
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A controversial play about Apple; Shirley Hughes; the original Homeland

With Kirsty Lang. The Agony And The Ecstasy Of Steve Jobs is a one-man theatre piece by Mike Daisey, describing the appeal of Apple products and a visit Mike made to a factory where they're made in China. Created in 2010, the piece hit controversy this March, when the US Public Radio show This American Life revealed that some elements of the show were not true. Mike Daisey has come to the UK to perform the piece, and he discusses his response to the controversy. Shirley Hughes is a much-loved picture-book maker for younger children and has illustrated more than 200 books. She's now written her first novel, aimed at older children and teenagers, set in occupied Italy during the 1939-45 war. She discusses her choice of subject and the experience of writing for an older readership. Sandra Hebron reviews Goodbye First Love, an acclaimed film about first love set against the backdrop of modern Paris. International hit US TV dramas In Treatment and Homeland are versions of shows first created in Israel. Naomi Alderman considers why Israeli programmes are proving so popular. Producer Stephen Hughes.
5/3/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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Jason Isaacs; South Sudan theatre company

With John Wilson. Actor Jason Isaacs on his new high concept TV drama Awake and why British actors are storming Hollywood. South Sudan is the world's youngest country, gaining statehood less than a year ago. The South Sudan Theatre Company was formed immediately and has now come to the UK to perform Shakespeare's Cymbeline in Juba Arabic, as part of the Globe to Globe Shakespeare festival. John Wilson reports on how company members and the British Council think this new cultural institution can help shape a new national identity. The Scream by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch is among the world's most famous pictures, and one of his pastel drawings of the image will be auctioned tonight in New York. It is likely to achieve a sale price of nearly £50 million, close to the record for an art-work. Art market watcher Godfrey Barker reflects what this says about the value of art. Paddy Moloney is one of the founders of the Irish band The Chieftains, who this year celebrate their 50th birthday. He reflects on the band's many collaborations, and recalls how their music headed into orbit. Producer Ellie Bury.
5/2/201228 minutes, 40 seconds
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Mark Haddon; Turner Prize shortlist; Norah Jones

With John Wilson. Novelist Mark Haddon found fame with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, an adventure story from the perspective of a boy with Asperger syndrome. His latest book is The Red House which explores modern life through the prism of a family holiday. The shortlist for the 2012 Turner Prize for art is announced today. Critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston gives her verdict on the contenders. Norah Jones, singer-songwriter and daughter of sitar legend Ravi Shankar, achieved great success with her debut album Come Away with Me, which sold more than 10 million copies. Her new album Broken Little Hearts details a recent break-up. She reflects on why this is such a rich theme in her music. Roy Hodgson is the new manager of the England football team but that's not the only thing he shares with predecessor Fabio Capello. Both men are fans of the artist Wassily Kandinsky. Football writer Jim White reflects on why the artist might particularly appeal to these football heavyweights. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
5/1/201228 minutes, 6 seconds
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Leonardo Da Vinci reviewed; Maxim Vengerov interviewed

With John Wilson. Professor Robert Winston surveys a major exhibition of Leonardo Da Vinci's anatomical drawings, on show at the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace. Acclaimed violinist Maxim Vengerov reveals why he unexpectedly stopped performing as a soloist, and why he's now returning to the concert platform. Poet Lemn Sissay discusses how his poem for the Olympic Park, inspired by a local match factory, has gained a new meaning following the news about the possible placement of surface-to-air missiles in the area. Andrew Collins decides whether American Reunion, the latest film in the American Pie series, is fully or half-baked. Producer Stephen Hughes.
4/30/201228 minutes, 36 seconds
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Enquirer - a play about UK Newspaper journalists

Enquirer is a new rapid-response, verbatim work mounted by the National Theatre of Scotland investigating the current crisis in UK newspaper journalism. Performed promenade style in a Glasgow office block, it is based on over 50 interviews with journalists. Directors John Tiffany and Vicki Featherstone explain how they came up with the idea and what they hope the project will achieve. Toni Morrison's new novel, Home, tells the story of a self-loathing African-American veteran of the Korean war who returns home to a racist America. Suffering serious trauma, he sets out to rescue his beloved sister, who is dying as a result of medical abuse, and take her back to the small Georgia town they grew up in. Professor Diane Roberts reviews. Picasso's Vollard Suite is on show at the British Museum - a series of 100 etchings named after the avant-garde Paris art dealer who commissioned them. They show Picasso's interest in sculptural forms in the 1930s, and include images of passionate sexual imagery and bullfighting - which became central to his later work. Andrew Graham-Dixon reviews. Tracie Bennett won the Best Actress Olivier Award last year for her performance as Judy Garland in End Of The Rainbow. The production recently transferred to the US, with Tracie as the only British member of the cast. After a run in Judy's home state, Minnesota, the show has now opened in Broadway - and Tracie talks to Kirsty Lang about her "coals to Newcastle" experience. Producer: Nicki Paxman.
4/27/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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Brodsky Quartet; Edward Bond; TV Impressionists

With Mark Lawson. Very Important People is Channel 4's new sketch show which claims to reinvigorate the world of impressions. Performers Morgana Robinson and Terry Mynott discuss the physical and vocal transformations necessary to take on roles such as Adele, Bear Grylls and President Obama. The Brodsky Quartet, the British string quartet, celebrate their 40th birthday this year. As well as concentrating on the traditional quartet repertoire, they have also worked with Bjork, Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney. As they prepare to perform the complete Shostakovich Quartets this weekend, they discuss their work over four decades. Veteran playwright and director Edward Bond has been a controversial figure in British theatre, not least for his best-known play Saved, the violence that lies at the heart of much of his work and his outspoken views about today's theatre. As a UK premiere of a trilogy of his plays is staged in London, Bond gives a rare interview as he reflects on his theatrical career. Producer Philippa Ritchie.
4/26/201228 minutes, 41 seconds
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Michael Frayn, Derek Walcott, and David Hare's play South Downs

With Mark Lawson. Michael Frayn discusses his new novel Skios, a story of mislaid identity, confusion and miscalculated consequences set on a Greek island. And in the light of an acclaimed new revival of his stage farce Noises Off, he also reflects on the hits and misses of his theatrical career. David Hare's latest play South Downs was commissioned by Chichester Festival Theatre as a companion piece to Terence Rattigan's one act play The Browning Version. Anna Chancellor takes a leading role in the two plays, which are both set in minor public schools half a century ago. Kathryn Hughes reviews. The Nobel Prize-winning Caribbean poet Derek Walcott is in the UK to direct a professional production of his 1978 play Pantomime. He considers his approach to the stage and to poetry, and why he chose this particular play for revival. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
4/25/201228 minutes, 45 seconds
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Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs; Harry Shearer on Nixon

With Mark Lawson. Glenn Close takes the title role in the film Albert Nobbs, the tale of a woman pretending to be man in order to work as a butler in 19th century Dublin. Booker Prize-winning novelist John Banville wrote the screenplay. Antonia Quirke reviews. Actor Harry Shearer is known for providing the voices for a number of characters in The Simpsons, including Mr Burns, as well as starring in the 1984 spoof rockumentary This is Spinal Tap. This week he steps into the shoes of Richard Nixon in a new TV comedy-drama Nixon's the One, which reveals what went on behind the scenes, based on an archive of more than 198 hours of recordings made between February 1971 and 1973. Dramatist Robert Holman's triptych of plays Making Noise Quietly has just received a new London production. The Yorkshire-born playwright looks back at a career which goes back to the 1970s, and includes work at the RSC, the National Theatre and in the West End. The BAFTA Television Awards nominations are announced today. Last year's drama series winner Sherlock has received three acting nominations, but is not in contention for a drama award. Gabriel Tate, TV editor of Time Out, discusses the categorisation and selections for the drama prizes. Producer Claire Bartleet.
4/24/201228 minutes, 41 seconds
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World Book Night; Mark Ravenhill; Winning Words at Olympic Park

With John Wilson. Last year on Front Row poetry publisher William Sieghart announced that a line from Alfred Tennyson's Ulysses would be displayed prominently on a wall in the London Olympic Village. Now the wall, which is part of the Winning Words poetry project, has been finished. John visits the Olympic Park with William Sieghart and artistic commissioner Sarah Weir as they see the completed wall for the first time. On Shakespeare's birthday, Front Row focuses on his sonnets. Now in its second year, tonight's World Book Night sees 2.5 million books given away as part of an international initiative to encourage people to make reading a part of their lives, including prisons, hospitals and homeless shelters. Each of the books in the UK will include a Shakespeare sonnet, selected by poet Don Paterson. He and writer Meg Rosoff discuss how the sonnets fit with the chosen titles. Playwright Mark Ravenhill reads his new sonnet, commissioned by the RSC, to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday and the official opening of the World Shakespeare festival. He also discusses the challenges of writing it. Naomi Alderman reviews the week's big multiplex release, Marvel Avengers Assemble, starring Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
4/23/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Barbara Windsor, Cillian Murphy and Enda Walsh

With Mark Lawson. Barbara Windsor reflects on her career, as she receives a lifetime achievement award at the Bradford International Film Festival. Long before her best-known roles in the Carry On films and as Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, she worked with Joan Littlewood at Theatre Royal, Stratford East and was nominated for awards for her performances in Sparrers Can't Sing and Oh, What A Lovely War! Playwright Enda Walsh and actor Cillian Murphy first collaborated on the acclaimed play Disco Pigs in 1996. Both have gone on to forge successful careers in theatre and film, and have re-united for Misterman, a one-man play at the National Theatre. They reflect on how they've both changed over time, and why it is impossible to be a celebrity in Ireland. Timothy Mo's new novel is called Pure - which is also the title of Andrew Miller's recent prize-winning novel . And the new biography of Simon Cowell is called Sweet Revenge, a title found on a number of romantic novels. Professor John Sutherland reflects on some of the most frequently used titles in literary history. Producer Erin Riley.
4/20/201228 minutes, 38 seconds
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David Suchet, BBC Proms 2012

With Mark Lawson. Actor David Suchet discusses his role in a new production of Long Day's Journey Into Night and laments the passing of Poirot. Roger Wright, controller of Radio 3, joins Mark to share a few highlights of this summer's BBC Proms concerts: Daniel Barenboim conducting his first ever Beethoven symphony cycle in London; operas including Nixon In China, Congolese musicians Staff Benda Bilili and Radio 4's Desert Island Discs celebrating its 70th birthday with a live prom; and this year's Children's Prom launches the audience into the wonderful world of Wallace and Gromit. To celebrate the centenary of the British Board of Film Classification, The British Silent Film Festival is hosting an examination of the early days of film censorship. Bryony Dixon of the British Film Institute and Lucy Brett, education officer at the BBFC, tell Mark how and why censorship came about, what sort of person was hired as a sensor of silent films - and what sort of things they cut out. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
4/19/201228 minutes, 23 seconds
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Stanley Booth; Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

With John Wilson. Larushka Ivan-Zadeh reviews the film adaptation of the bestseller Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, about an unlikely scheme to introduce fly-fishing to the desert, which results in an equally unlikely love triangle. Salmon Fishing is one of 17 films scheduled to be released in cinemas this week, an all-time high for an already overcrowded market. Box office analyst Charles Gant explains why the numbers are so great and if anybody is actually watching many of them. Writer Stanley Booth travelled with The Rolling Stones as they toured the US in 1969, gaining unique access to the band. His account of what he saw has just been re-published, and he recalls the sometimes shocking events he witnessed, and also remembers the moment when he heard Otis Redding record (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay. The Fontana Modern Masters series were as known for their covers as their content - colourful, geometric patterns that have acquired the status of art, with several being sold as prints in their own right. Now artist Jamie Shovlin has added his own contribution, by painting covers for books that were commissioned but, for some reason, never published. And 100 days before the start of the Olympics, John talks to Damon Albarn ahead of a Front Row special with the musician, about his three separate contributions to the Cultural Olympiad. Producer Ellie Bury.
4/18/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Irvine Welsh; Bob Marley film; Orange Prize shortlist

With John Wilson. Marley is a feature length documentary about the life and legacy of the reggae superstar Bob Marley. David Hepworth, who saw Bob Marley live in London in 1975, reflects on the unexpected history the film unearths. Irvine Welsh discusses his prequel to Trainspotting, Skagboys. Mark Renton is set for university and an escape from working-class Edinburgh - but when his family falls apart and life in 1980s Britain gets too tough, heroin offers a different way out. Novelist Joanna Trollope is chair of the judges for this year's Orange Prize for fiction, and she reveals the decisions behind this year's shortlist, which was announced today. Simon Armitage discusses the Poetry Parnassus, an ambitious project to bring together poets from all the nations competing in the Olympics - and appeals for poets to come forward from the nations as yet unrepresented. Producer Stephen Hughes.
4/17/201228 minutes, 37 seconds
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Sir Tim Rice and Pamela Stephenson

With Mark Lawson. Sir Tim Rice, who last night received the Olivier Special Award for his contribution to theatre, reflects on his career, his relationship with Andrew Lloyd Webber and his new musical adaptation of From Here To Eternity. Pamela Stephenson made her name as a comedy performer on Not the Nine O'Clock News. She moved on to train as a clinical psychologist and has used both experiences in a new Channel 4 documentary called The Fame Report. She explains her hypothesis that becoming famous is a mental trauma, and why her husband Billy Connolly found her stint on Strictly Come Dancing difficult. After the success of the Danish TV drama The Killing, crime writer John Harvey reviews the latest Nordic noir to reach our screens: The Bridge centres on the discovery of a body halfway along the bridge linking Denmark and Sweden. Producer Stephen Hughes.
4/16/201228 minutes, 49 seconds
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Horrible Histories on TV; ballerina Tamara Rojo; Mozart's Sister

With John Wilson. Prima Ballerina Tamara Rojo will be the new Artistic Director of English National Ballet, it was announced today. She discusses what this means for her dancing career and how she intends to strike the difficult balance between choreographic innovation and balancing the books. The children's TV series Horrible Histories returned this week, offering a comic take on often gruesome parts of the past. Series producer Caroline Norris and actor Simon Farnaby talk about how they take inspiration from adult shows such as Blackadder, and the role of their musical numbers, including turning RAF fighter pilots into a dancing boy band. The new film Mozart's Sister argues that she - like her brother - was a musical prodigy, but was prevented from performing or composing because of the period's repressive attitudes towards women. Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican Centre, London, reviews. Roger Ballen's photographs of working-class white South African life are renowned for their square, black and white format, and uncompromising subject matter. As a retrospective of his 30 year career opens at Manchester Art Gallery, he reflects on how he hopes his camera captures the souls of his subjects. Producer: Philippa Ritchie.
4/13/201228 minutes, 34 seconds
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Dara O Briain; Whit Stillman; Butch Cassidy rides again

With John Wilson. Dara O Briain's School of Hard Sums is a new TV series in which the comedian uses numbers and equations to tackle life problems, such as trying to predict football scores and how many people to date before choosing a partner. Dara discusses why maths brings out his competitive side, and how it influences his comedy. The new film Blackthorn imagines the ageing outlaw Butch Cassidy living in exile in a secluded village in Bolivia. Sam Shepard plays Cassidy, now using the name James Blackthorn, who decides to return to the USA. Antonia Quirke reviews. 'I waited so patiently for God to bring someone...and then he blessed my soul': so runs the lyric on I Found You, just one of the songs which invokes God on the much-anticipated album by the US band Alabama Shakes. Kitty Empire considers why American musicians draw on religious faith more readily than their British counterparts. Director and writer Whit Stillman won an Oscar nomination for the screenplay of his first film Metropolitan. His new film Damsels in Distress focuses on three beautiful girls who want to change life at an American university, and comes 13 years after his last release. He reflects on his career, and the long gap between films. Producer Nicki Paxman.
4/12/201228 minutes, 17 seconds
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Anne Frank

With Mark Lawson. The Diary of Anne Frank is, for many, the book that best exemplifies the tragedy of the Jewish experience during World War II. Millions of school children read the book, which is seen as an important preventative reminder of the holocaust. In this Front Row special, writers including Shalom Auslander, Nathan Englander, Ellen Feldman, Meg Rosoff and Bernard Kops discuss why the life and writing of Anne Frank inspire writers of fiction. They also reflect on her continuing significance, while the actress Amy Dawson discusses how she approaches playing Anne on stage. Producer Ellie Bury.
4/11/201228 minutes, 35 seconds
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Clive James and The Cabin in the Woods film review

With Mark Lawson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon co-wrote his latest film in three days. The Cabin in the Woods takes on the seemingly familiar story of five friends staying in a remote cabin where unexpected things happen, and promises surprises. Crime writer Mark Billingham gives his verdict. Clive James found fame as a critic, TV presenter and memoirist, but has also written and published poetry for more than 50 years. He discusses his new collection of verse Nefertiti in the Flack Tower. Two TV shows with high-profile names attached are about to arrive on our screens. Ricky Gervais stars in his new comedy Derek, which is set in an old people's home. The American musical drama Smash is co-produced by Steven Spielberg, and is set behind the scenes of a new Broadway show. Rebecca Nicholson reviews. Madani Younis is the new artistic director of the Bush Theatre, London, a venue with a strong reputation for developing new writers. He discusses his plans and reflects on how his own background shapes his approach to his work. Producer Claire Bartleet.
4/10/201228 minutes, 42 seconds
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Theatre Producers Special

Mark Lawson talks to leading theatre producers, including Cameron Mackintosh, Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bill Kenwright and Sonia Friedman, about the art of creating a hit show. The theatre impresarios discuss the impact of having a successful show and how long running productions such as Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera changed the theatre industry. Along side the hits, the producers talk about the millions of pounds lost when they have a flop; and they address the criticism that ticket prices are often too high. Producer Claire Bartleet.
4/9/201228 minutes, 36 seconds
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Photography special: Bailey, McCullin, O'Neill, Benson

John Wilson talks to four leading photographers of the same generation whose careers began in the 1960s and whose images have become classics of their time, from the pages of Vogue magazine to the Vietnam war, and the death of Bobby Kennedy. David Bailey, Don McCullin, Terry O'Neill and Harry Benson discuss their approach to their new craft at a time when magazines and newspapers were beginning to change the way they used images, and offer tips on how to take the perfect photograph. David Bailey discusses his approach to getting the best out of his fashion models in the studio, Terry O'Neill reflects on the changing role of photography and the arrival of the culture of celebrity; Don McCullin revisits the Vietnam war and its lasting effect on him as a photographer, and Harry Benson remembers the night he was standing next to presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy when he was shot, and describes the challenge of getting his images of the dying senator. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
4/6/201228 minutes, 37 seconds
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Graham Coxon interviewed; Mirror, Mirror reviewed

John Wilson talks to Blur guitarist Graham Coxon about his latest solo album A + E. He reveals his plans for the future of the band and his own career Historian Tom Holland discusses his latest opus, In The Shadow Of The Sword, a history of Islam. Connie Fisher found fame when she won the role of Maria, in a West End production of The Sound of Music, through a BBC talent competition. But after vocal surgery, it's a role she'll never be able to sing again. She's back on stage, with a new voice, in a new production of Leonard Bernstein's musical comedy Wonderful Town. Writer Martin Jameson reviews. Larushka Ivan-Zadeh reviews Mirror, Mirror, the first of two screen adaptations of Snow White due out this year. In this version, Julia Roberts essays the part of the wicked Queen. But will she be the fairest in the land ? Producer Stephen Hughes.
4/5/201228 minutes, 42 seconds
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Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in HBO's Game Change

Julianne Moore and Ed Harris star in Game Change, HBO's television dramatisation of the 2008 Presidential Election. Moore plays Sarah Palin, the Alaskan governor plucked from relative obscurity to give Ed Harris' John McCain some much needed star power. Clare Short and Peter Hitchens review the programme. Brit Award and Mercury Music Prize-nominated musician Richard Hawley first found success as a member of the Longpigs and later, Pulp. His subsequent solo music has been strongly influenced by his childhood in Sheffield but his latest album is a change of musical direction. Standing at the Sky's Edge is a psychedelic rock album that Hawley describes less black and white than previous material. He told Mark why it was time to focus on more intricate guitar playing. As Swedish author Sven Lindqvist celebrates his 80th birthday, he explains why he thinks all his books are the same. Producer Nicki Paxman.
4/4/201228 minutes, 54 seconds
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Labrinth interviewed; Headhunters reviewed

Norwegian author Jo NesbØ's best-selling thriller Headhunters has just been turned into a film - the first of his novels to be adapted for the cinema. It tells the story of Roger Brown, a successful corporate headhunter, who spends his nights as a prolific art thief.Critic Ryan Gilbey reviews. Iain Sinclair considers the murals that Jean Cocteau painted in a London church in 1960 that have now been restored to their former glory. Labrinth is a singer-songwriter and rapper who has produced hit singles for Tinie Tempah and collaborated with artists including Ms Dynamite and Emeli Sande. He's the first non-talent show artist to be signed to Simon Cowell's label for six years and his debut album is out this week. He reflects on how growing up as one of nine siblings influenced his music. The Undateables is a new Channel 4 series exploring the experiences of several extraordinary singletons on the dating circuit. They include a stand-up comedian with Tourette's, a skateboarder with a facial disfigurement, a trapeze artist with brittle bones. The programmes follow each of them as they enter a world of blind dates, matchmakers and speed-dating.Mark Lawson talks about the making of the programmes to series producer Lucy Leveugle, and to Alison Walsh, Channel 4's disability director. Producer Stephen Hughes.
4/3/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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Damien Hirst, Michael Grade

With Mark Lawson. A major Damien Hirst retrospective exhibition opens this week at Tate Modern. Damien Hirst discusses his success and the reaction he gets from cab-drivers, and critic Jackie Wullschlager gives her verdict. In his new film This Must Be The Place, Sean Penn is almost unrecognisable as Cheyenne, a fifty year-old Goth and former rock star, who sets off on a journey of discovery after his father's death. Jenny McCartney reviews. Michael Grade has held top positions at the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. He's now presenting a Radio 2 series examining Britain's television industry. The former BBC Chairman discusses commissioning Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective in the BBC toilets, being asked to lower ratings at ITV, and the moment he thought that Bob Geldof had ended his career. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
4/2/201228 minutes, 41 seconds
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Kirsty Lang in New York with the director of the Metropolitan Museum

With Kirsty Lang in New York. Thomas Campbell, the British director of the vast Metropolitan Museum, talks about his plans for the future and coping with the financial restraints of a recession. The British TV series Downton Abbey has proved to be a spectacular success in the US. Some of New York's die-hard fans analyse why it appeals to Americans. Trumpeter and composer Nicholas Payton caused a storm in a recent blog, when he wrote that the word jazz should be replaced by the term Black American Music. He feels "the J-word" has become outdated, and he explains why. Gatz, an eight hour long stage version of the classic American novel The Great Gatsby, is coming to the UK in the summer. Director John Collins and lead actor Scott Shepherd tell Kirsty why their production is so long, and how Scott ended up learning the entire book off by heart. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
3/30/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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Harry Potter studio tour; unfilmed screenplays

With Mark Lawson. A new attraction The Making of Harry Potter opens its doors this weekend. Visitors to the Leavesden film studios can look behind the scenes of the making of the most successful film series ever. Actors Rupert Grint and Warwick Davis and special effects designers take Mark on a tour which includes the Great Hall, the Knight Bus, Diagon Alley and Ron Weasley's kitchen. Award-winning American poet Adrienne Rich has died aged 82. During a career which spanned seven decades, Rich was a pioneering feminist, who tackled topics such as racism, sexuality and economic justice. Writer Jeanette Winterson pays tribute, and we hear archive of Adrienne Rich herself. Mark reports on the screenplays which were never filmed. On Saturday actor Brian Cox will perform Orson Welles' complete but unmade script for Heart of Darkness, based on the book by Joseph Conrad. His performance takes place inside a boat created by artist Fiona Banner, inspired by the vessel in Conrad's novella. Fiona Banner reveals her long interest in Welles' script, and David Hughes, author of Tales From Development Hell, considers other notable Hollywood unmade screenplays. And Mark also discusses This Is Not a Film, a new release from Iranian director Jafar Panahi, which is an account of how he's unable to make a scripted film in Iran. Producer Nicki Paxman.
3/29/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Dr John, Tim Lott, and Janet Street-Porter on British Design 1948-2012

With John Wilson, New Orleans-born singer, songwriter and pianist Dr John reflects on the role of magic in his career, and discusses his new album Locked Down, produced by Dan Auerbach from the band The Black Keys. Janet Street Porter reviews a new exhibition British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age at the V&A in London, which celebrates the best of British post-war art and design from the 1948 'Austerity Games' to the summer of 2012. Over 300 objects highlight significant moments in the history of British design, arguing that the country continues to nurture artistic talent and be a world leader in creativity and design. Tim Lott's new novel Under The Same Stars draws on the writer's own experience of sibling rivalry, with one 40-year-old man trying to come to terms with his troubled relationship with his older brother. Tim Lott candidly discusses the personal issues at the heart of the book, and the emotionally challenging Texas road trip he took with his brother by way of research. With theatre increasingly experimenting with new ways of providing the live stage experience via the internet, cinema screenings and other digital media, Andrew Dickson considers the merits and disadvantages of watching stage performances on screens large and small. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
3/28/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Brendan O'Carroll; John Eliot Gardiner; Gillian Wearing.

With Mark Lawson. Brendan O'Carroll, the creator and star of the comedy Mrs Brown's Boys, reflects on the genesis of his raucous alter-ego Agnes Brown and her loving but dysfunctional family. Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner first made his name with interpretations of baroque music on period instruments, but this week he tackles Verdi's Rigoletto for the very first time. He discusses his approach to performing it at the Royal Opera House. A major retrospective of the Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing is about to open at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, featuring her films and photographs which explore public faces and private lives. The exhibition includes her 1992 series of images in which people were offered paper and pen to communicate their message or thoughts. Sarah Crompton reviews. Producer Jerome Weatherald
3/27/201228 minutes, 41 seconds
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Aardman Animations' Pirate film; Jodi Picoult; Ben Okri

With Mark Lawson. Hugh Grant leads the cast providing the voices for Aardman Animations' latest film The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, which takes the lawless seafarers from the shores of Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Mark Eccleston reviews. Novelist Jodi Picoult discusses her new book, which focuses on a pair of siblings trying to decide whether or not to remove life support from their father. She reflects on her approach to fiction, and the response she received from the Christian right in the USA to her last novel. Madonna's twelfth album, M.D.N.A, is a new collection of tracks aimed at the dancefloor, and released ahead of an international tour this summer. Rebecca Nicholson gives her verdict. Booker Prize-winning writer Ben Okri has published his first new collection of poetry for 13 years, with many of the poems featuring dedications. He considers the process of dedicating verse, and we hear from one of his dedicatees, musician and producer Brian Eno. Producer Nicki Paxman.
3/26/201228 minutes, 37 seconds
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Jonny Greenwood and composer Krzysztof Penderecki; Brains - the exhibition.

With John Wilson. The new TV drama series The Syndicate, written by Kay Mellor, is the tale of a group of supermarket workers who win the lottery. It stars Joanna Page and Timothy Spall. Heat TV Editor Boyd Hilton reviews. Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood and Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki discuss how their music appears side by side on a new recording. Penderecki inspired a new orchestral work by Greenwood, and they reflect on their approaches to composition. A major new exhibition focuses on the brain, both in the name of science and culture, with exhibits ranging from a specimen of Einstein's brain to paintings by Descartes. John looks at the brains with neuroscientist Tali Sharot and cultural historian Marius Kwint. This week Disney announced that their film John Carter, which is set on Mars, is likely to lose $200m. Adam Smith examines why so many films about Mars and Martians flop at the box office. Producer Tim Prosser.
3/23/201228 minutes, 42 seconds
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Greg Doran; Molly Dineen on Werner Herzog

With Mark Lawson. Greg Doran discusses his appointment as the next Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which was announced today, and reflects on his priorities in his new role. Award-winning documentary maker Molly Dineen reviews Werner Herzog's new television series based on interviews with inmates on Death Row in the United States. The renowned Complicite theatre company's new production is a staging of The Master And Margarita, based on Bulgakov's novel. Sarah Churchwell gives her first-night verdict. Singer and bass player Esperanza Spalding reflects on her unexpected success at last year's Grammy Awards, and discusses her approach to song-writing. Producer Stephen Hughes.
3/22/201228 minutes, 40 seconds
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Luther creator Neil Cross; re-imagining Ballets Russes

With Mark Lawson. Writer Neil Cross created Luther, the tormented detective played by Idris Elba on TV, and also wrote for the acclaimed spy series Spooks. He discusses why he hopes Luther will move from the small screen to the cinema. A century after Diaghilev's Ballets Russes caused a sensation in Paris, two major British ballet companies are re-imagining the Ballets Russes' most famous works. Mark talks to the 21 year-old choreographer George Williamson who has re-worked Stravinsky's Firebird for English National Ballet, and Mark Baldwin from the Rambert Dance Company, who has created a contemporary take on Debussy's L'Apres-midi d'un faune. Novelist Naomi Alderman reviews Journey, the acclaimed new video game in which players find themselves in a vast and empty desert. This week Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner announced he would change a piece of music in the first episode of the new series, set in 1965, after canny preview audiences spotted the song hadn't been written yet. Music writer David Hepworth considers what happens when writers get their musical references wrong. Producer Ellie Bury.
3/21/201228 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Hunger Games; Kensington Palace; Paul Weller on beat poetry

With John Wilson. The film The Hunger Games, based on the best-selling book by Suzanne Collins, is set in a future dystopia in which young people are forced to kill each other as entertainment. Antonia Quirke gives her verdict. Kensington Palace is about to re-open to the public after a multi-million pound transformation, including an exhibition about Queen Victoria in the apartments in which she grew up. Writer and biographer A N Wilson reviews. The BBC's new talent show The Voice begins this weekend, in which the judging panel cannot see the contestants when they first appear, relying only on what they hear. Pop critic Kitty Empire and James Inverne, former editor of Gramophone magazine, consider whether image plays too great a role in musical success. Poet Michael Horovitz, who is now in his late 70s, has written a new long poem, commissioned by Paul Weller for the cover of his new album Sonik Kicks. They discuss the energy of beat poetry, and the relationship between poems and song lyrics. Producer Timothy Prosser.
3/20/201228 minutes, 28 seconds
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Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton; Russell Banks

With Mark Lawson. Mark talks to Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, who star as the demon barber of Fleet Street and his partner in crime Mrs Lovett in Stephen Sondheim's musical Sweeney Todd. Having created the hugely successful Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes has turned to the Titanic story for his new ITV mini-series. Writer and critic Kate Saunders gives her verdict. Novelist Russell Banks discusses the issues surrounding his latest work The Lost Memory Of Skin, which follows a convicted sex offender on probation. Producer Ellie Bury.
3/19/201228 minutes, 26 seconds
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Andrew Motion; violinist David Garrett; 1001 TV sets

With John Wilson. Virtuoso violinist David Garrett began his professional career at the age of 10, and now has an international career as a classical and crossover performer. He reflects on the pressures of youthful fame and his uneasy relationship with his father. He also plays his Stradivarius in the studio. Artist David Hall has filled a cavernous room with 1001 old cathode ray tube TV sets, which are tuned to the five analogue channels, creating a cacophony with the sound turned up loud. David Hall describes the origins of the project, and veteran TV critic Philip Purser and The Telegraph's Digital Media Editor Emma Barnett give their reactions to it. Poet and writer Andrew Motion discusses his return to Treasure Island in his follow-up novel Silver. Young Jim Hawkins and Natty, the daughter of Long John Silver, take to the high seas in search of Captain Flint's bounty, left behind by their fathers years before. Singer and songwriter Plan B's new single ill Manors is an abrasive protest rap, with references to last summer's riots and looting, while Bruce Springsteen is top of the UK album charts with Wrecking Ball, which includes angry attacks on Wall Street. Music writer Dorian Lynskey considers whether we are going to see a rise in political pop. Producer Erin Riley.
3/16/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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Jerwood Gallery in Hastings; One Night on TV; Tobias Jones

With John Wilson. Jessica Hynes and Douglas Hodge star in the four part TV drama One Night. Each episode takes the point of view of a different character during the course of a hot summer evening, as underlying social tensions and race issues come to the boil. Rachel Cooke reviews. John reports from Hastings, as the new Jerwood Gallery prepares to open its doors. The Gallery has provoked some local protests, and John sounds out current attitudes and meets the Gallery's director Elizabeth Gilmore. Blood on the Altar, by journalist and novelist Tobias Jones, tells the true crime story of the murder in 1993 of a teenage girl in the remote Basilicata area of Italy. The crime was only solved in 2010 in the light of a similar killing in Bournemouth. Tobias Jones discusses his fascination with the story and its Italian context. Producer: Philippa Ritchie.
3/15/201228 minutes, 37 seconds
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Miró's grandsons on his sculptures; The Devils on DVD

With Mark Lawson As the UK's largest exhibition of the sculpture of Joan Miró opens at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Mark meets Miró's grandsons, Emilio Fernández Miró and Joan Punyet Miró. They discuss the career of an artist who at the age of 81 described himself as "an established painter but a young sculptor". In the new film thriller Contraband, Mark Wahlberg stars as a family man and former smuggler, dragged back into crime by his naive brother-in-law. Novelist M J Hyland reviews. What did Shakespeare's plays sound like when first performed? The British Library is releasing a Shakespeare CD in what is claimed to be the original pronunciation. Actor Ben Crystal discusses how listening to Shakespeare performed this way changes our understanding of his language. As Ken Russell's notorious 1971 film The Devils becomes available on DVD for the first time, in its original X certificate version, the film's editor Michael Bradsell and original cast member Murray Melvin share their memories of making it. Producer Ekene Akalawu.
3/14/201228 minutes, 30 seconds
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Irving Berlin's daughters; playwright Helen Edmundson

With Mark Lawson Irving Berlin's three daughters reflect on their father's career as one of America's most successful songwriters. They also discuss their inherited responsibilities for his music and the continuing appeal of songs such as Cheek to Cheek and Puttin' On the Ritz, the light of a new UK stage version of the film Top Hat. The National Gallery's new exhibition Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude, features the two paintings Turner donated to the gallery on the strict condition that they be hung alongside two specific paintings by the 17th century Old Master, Claude. The exhibition's curator Susan Foister and art critic William Feaver discuss the conditions and stipulations artists have made about how their work is displayed during their lifetime and beyond. Dramatist Helen Edmundson discusses her new play Mary Shelley, based on the life of the author of Frankenstein. The play centres on the scandalous relationship between Mary Shelley and her husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the impact it had on their families. Producer Claire Bartleet.
3/13/201228 minutes, 40 seconds
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Lesley Sharp; Noah Stewart; We Bought a Zoo

Actress Lesley Sharp talks about returning to her role as Manchester police officer DC Janet Scott in the TV drama Scott and Bailey, alongside Suranne Jones. She reflects on how the series approaches the work of the murder squad, and discusses her career which includes The Full Monty and Mike Leigh's Vera Drake. Matt Damon stars in the new film We Bought A Zoo, based on a British true story about a man who decided to take on a struggling zoo. Directed by Cameron Crowe, the film moves the action to California. Gaylene Gould reviews. Noah Stewart is a young American tenor who grew up in Harlem and has already played Don Jose in Carmen, Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly and Rodolfo in La Boheme. This week he releases a CD of songs, and opens at the Royal Opera House in Judith Weir's new opera Miss Fortune. He reflects on working with a living composer, flying with a blanket over his head to avoid germs, and the views of his mother on his career so far. Producer Nicki Paxman.
3/12/201228 minutes, 41 seconds
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New York Special: John Tiffany, Lyndsay Faye, Mike Daisey's play about Apple

British director John Tiffany, who had a huge success with the play Black Watch, is now working on a Broadway musical version of the romantic film Once. The film, set in Dublin, won an Oscar in 2007 for best original song - but wasn't a musical. John Tiffany discusses how he's brought an Irish bar to the New York stage. Writer Lyndsay Faye's new crime thriller, Gods Of Gotham, is set in 1840s New York, when the city's police force was founded. Much of the novel is written in Flash, the criminal slang of the day, which was documented by the city's first police chief. Lyndsay Faye reflects on how she researched the era. Kirsty visits Lincoln Hospital, in the South Bronx, where they've introduced a scheme to allow artists and performers without health insurance to trade their creative talents for treatment. Writer and performer Mike Daisey is a self-confessed geek, whose latest show, The Agony And Ecstasy Of Steve Jobs, describes his love affair with technology. He describes how this led him to China, to seek out the workers who labour in the factories assembling Apple's computers - and he reveals what he found.
3/9/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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Gilbert and George; Nanci Griffith; John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe

With Mark Lawson. Artistic double-act Gilbert and George discuss their working methods, as they open a new exhibition called The London Pictures, based on words taken from newspaper billboards. Novelist and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce re-assesses the work of writer Alun Owen, best known for A Hard Day's Night, as three of his 1969 TV dramas, with Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Paul Scofield, are released on DVD. "I've had a hard life and I write it down", sings Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith on the title track of her new album, Intersection. It examines a difficult period of her life, fraught with relationship bust-ups and turmoil. As she starts a UK tour, she also reveals why she so enjoys performing in Bristol and Milton Keynes. Novelist and critic Kim Newman reviews John Cusack as the latest incarnation of Edgar Allan Poe in the new film The Raven, and consider Poe's long cinematic history. Producer Stephen Hughes.
3/8/201228 minutes, 43 seconds
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Andrew Lloyd Webber on Phantom sequel Love Never Dies

Mark Lawson talks to Andrew Lloyd Webber, who reflects on Love Never Dies, his follow-up to Phantom of the Opera, which is now released on DVD. In a special edition of Front Row, Lloyd Webber explains what was wrong with the original production of Love Never Dies, why he regrets taking Cats off the West End stage, what his plans are for the new ITV talent search for Jesus Christ Superstar, and why his next project is a musical based on the tragic life of osteopath Stephen Ward, one of the central figures in the 1963 Profumo affair. Producer Timothy Prosser.
3/8/201228 minutes, 45 seconds
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Lloyd Newson; Michael Winterbottom; cinematic soccer team

With John Wilson, who meets Lloyd Newson, director of DV8 physical theatre, whose new work focuses on questions of freedom of speech in a multicultural society. Michael Winterbottom explains why he transposed Thomas Hardy's Tess Of The D'Urbervilles from 19th century Dorset to 21st century India. Love Life is a new ITV drama written by Bill Gallagher, whose previous credits include Lark Rise to Candleford. The three part series explores the complications inherent in romantic relationships. Writer and critic Natalie Haynes gives her verdict. Jim White lines up his fantasy team of footballers who have transferred their talents to the silver screen. Producer Stephen Hughes.
3/6/201228 minutes, 37 seconds
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Andrew Stanton; William Byrd; sports documentaries

With Mark Lawson. Andrew Stanton is an Oscar-winning film-maker whose credits include Toy Story and Finding Nemo. His latest film is John Carter, a sci-fi time travel fantasy set on Mars. He reflects on working with Steve Jobs at Pixar and how directing live action differs from animation. Alyson Rudd reviews two new TV documentaries which both focus on a sporting challenge - Racing With The Hamiltons, looking at the motorsport aspirations of Lewis' brother Nic, and David Walliams' Big Swim. Andrew Carwood and his early music choir The Cardinall's Musick are touring the UK this year performing music by the Elizabethan composer William Byrd, for which they recently won the Gramophone Recording of the Year Award. Carwood reflects on how difficult it must have been for the devoutly Catholic Byrd in Reformation England and how this double-life produced such majestic music. Producer Ellie Bury.
3/5/201228 minutes, 23 seconds
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Therapy in fiction, film and TV drama

With Naomi Alderman. Therapists and their patients now play a key part in drama and fiction, whether it's Watson meeting his analyst in the BBC series Sherlock or the recent return of Freud and Jung to our cinema screens in the film A Dangerous Method. Naomi Alderman reports on current portrayals of therapy, talking to Sophie Hannah, who recalls her own experiences of hypnotherapy as research for her new novel, and to Yael Hedaya, one of the writers on the original version of the TV drama In Treatment, an Israeli production now available in the UK. Matthew Sweet and Deborah Levy reflect on depictions of psychoanalysis from the days of silent cinema to the acclaimed series The Sopranos and beyond. Psychotherapist Brett Kahr offers an insider's assessment of his fictional counterparts, and also considers why some writers fear that any kind of therapy might undermine their creativity. French psychiatrist and writer Francois Lelord, whose novels feature a questing psychiatrist called Hector, discusses whether books can inform our self-understanding. Producer Erin Riley.
3/2/201229 minutes, 7 seconds
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Titian saved; Bruce Springsteen's new album

With John Wilson. Antonia Fraser and Caitlin Moran have both recorded audio versions of their memoirs. They discuss the challenges of reading their intimate thoughts aloud. Bruce Springsteen's new album Wrecking Ball mixes his muscular rock with folk influences and a strong sense of anger. Kate Mossman, Reviews Editor of Word Magazine, gives her response to it. Today the National Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland announced that they have found the funds needed to buy Titian's painting Diana and Callisto, saving it for the nation. John asks John Leighton of the National Gallery of Scotland whether the £45m price-tag represents good value at this time. Radio 4 is inviting you to nominate New Elizabethans - people who have made an impact on the UK from 1952 to today. This week Front Row is asking writers and artists for their suggestions, and tonight architect Amanda Levete suggests a man who's made a significant contribution to the urban environment around the world. Producer Philippa Ritchie.
3/1/201228 minutes, 36 seconds
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Christina Ricci; Nick Park; writer Errol John reassessed

With Mark Lawson. Christina Ricci discusses her role in Bel Ami, a film based on Maupassant's novel about a young man's scheming rise to power in Paris, through his relationships with influential women. Ricci reflects on how she first read the book as a teenager, her transition from child to adult star and how she combines films with TV roles such as Maggie in Pam Am. Make Bradford British is a two-part documentary series which aims to see if people of different racial, religious and cultural backgrounds can live happily together. Eight people from Bradford, who all failed a citizenship test, are asked share a house in a microcosm of a multicultural society. Gabriel Tate reviews. The Trinidad-born actor and playwright Errol John died in 1988, and is largely overlooked, but next week his play Moon on a Rainbow Shawl receives a new National Theatre production. Written in 1953, the play focuses on soldiers returning to Trinidad after the second world war. Writer Kwame Kwei-Armah, director Michael Buffong and actress Jacqueline Chan, who worked with Errol John, re-assess John's life and career. Radio 4 is inviting you to nominate New Elizabethans - people who have made an impact on the UK from 1952 to today. This week Front Row is asking writers and artists for their suggestions, and tonight Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park suggests not only a man in an ill-fitting suit who's big in Albania, but also a mischievous boy with a naughty dog. Producer: Jerome Weatherald.
2/29/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Tom Hardy in This Means War; Ian Rankin's New Elizabethan

In the new film This Means War, Tom Hardy and Chris Pine play two CIA agents waging an epic battle against each other when they find they are dating the same woman, played by Reese Witherspoon. Larushka Ivan-Zadeh reviews. Radio 4 is inviting you to nominate New Elizabethans - people who have made an impact on the UK from 1952 to today. This week Front Row is asking writers and artists for their suggestions, and tonight novelist Ian Rankin nominates a pioneering English singer and songwriter who had a habit of reinventing himself. The award-winning screen-writer Paula Milne talks about her new six-part TV drama White Heat, starring Juliet Stevenson and Lindsay Duncan. The series charts the lives of seven characters who share a student flat in 1960's London and follows their interwoven lives up to the present. Shalom Auslander's novel, Hope: A Tragedy, is a satirical exploration of what it would mean to find an elderly Anne Frank living in one's attic. The novel examines the burden of history and remembrance for the Jewish community. Shalom Auslander discusses why he wasn't afraid of portraying a revered historical figure. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
2/28/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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Jennifer Aniston in Wanderlust and comedian Sarah Millican

With Mark Lawson, John Adams' controversial opera The Death of Klinghoffer, based on the true story of a hijacked cruise liner in 1985, has just had its first performance at English National Opera in a new production directed by Tom Morris, co-creator of the National Theatre's adaptation of War Horse. Sarah Crompton gives her response to the first night. Award-winning comedian Sarah Millican discusses moving her comedy from the stage to the TV screen, and also reflects on her row with a fan who recorded one of her shows on a mobile phone. In the new comedy film Wanderlust, Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd play an over-stressed couple who leave the pressures of Manhattan to join a freewheeling community where the only rule is 'to be yourself'. Antonia Quirke reviews. Radio 4 is inviting you to nominate New Elizabethans - people who have made an impact on the UK from 1952 to today. This week Front Row is asking writers and artists for their suggestions, and tonight playwright Mark Ravenhill nominates a pioneering theatre director. Producer Claire Bartleet.
2/27/201228 minutes, 34 seconds
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Naomi Alderman on video games

Novelist and games writer Naomi Alderman asks why video games haven't received the cultural recognition of other art forms. On her quest, she meets some of the most important and powerful people in today's entertainment industry. They run companies worth millions of pounds and make games played by tens of millions of people around the world, yet they rarely find their way into the spotlight. She also finds out how writers contribute to the shaping of new game narratives, and looks to the future, when games might well react to the personality of the player. Producer Stephen Hughes.
2/24/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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Fourth Plinth; Peter Ackroyd; new Water Music

With Mark Lawson. Mark reports on the latest art-work to adorn the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar - a golden boy on a rocking horse designed by Elmgreen and Dragset. and unveiled today by Joanna Lumley, who discusses the work. Peter Ackroyd reflects on his biography of Wilkie Collins, author of the Moonstone and The Woman in White, and friend of Charles Dickens, whose personal life was full of secrets. In Basildon is a new play by David Eldridge about a close knit Essex family coming to terms with a recent death. Writer Tim Lott gives his verdict. And Mark speaks to two of the ten composers taking inspiration from Handel's Water Music for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The new works will be performed as part of the 1000 boat flotilla travelling down the Thames on June 3. Debbie Wiseman, whose film scores include Tom and Viv and Wilde, and Christopher Gunning, whose music includes the theme for Poirot, talk about the challenges of re-imagining Handel's famous score. Producer Timothy Prosser.
2/23/201228 minutes, 42 seconds
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Olivia Colman, Rampart, e-books

With Mark Lawson. The actress Olivia Colman talks about her breakthrough year, in which she has followed supporting roles in Peep Show and Rev with an award-winning lead in Paddy Considine's film Tyrannosaur and the role of Carol Thatcher alongside Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. She's now appearing in a new stage production of Noel Coward's play Hay Fever. Woody Harrelson stars as a wayward LA policeman in Rampart, a film exploring the fallout of the LAPD's 1990s corruption scandal. Crime writer Dreda Say Mitchell gives her verdict on this bad cop, bad cop story. As e-books account for an increasing percentage of total book sales, many in the publishing industry are keen for the UK to instigate an e-book chart, along with the other readily-available sales figures. Jonathan Nowell from chart compilers Nielsen and Philip Jones from The Bookseller discuss why this is yet to happen. Producer Ellie Bury.
2/22/201228 minutes, 49 seconds
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Sue Townsend, Charlotte Keatley, Black Gold

With Mark Lawson. Mark Eccleston reviews Black Gold, a film about warring Arabian tribes during the 1930s oil boom, which was financed by Qatar and stars Antonio Banderas as a desert sheikh and Freida Pinto as a harem charmer. Three decades after publishing the first of her hugely successful Adrian Mole books, Sue Townsend talks about her new novel about modern family life, The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year, and how losing her eyesight has affected her writing process. Charlotte Keatley's play My Mother Said I Never Should is, according to the National Theatre, one of the most significant plays of the 20th Century. Charlotte tells Mark about her latest play, Our Father, and explains why writing a play is like unravelling a dream. Producer Timothy Prosser.
2/21/201228 minutes, 43 seconds
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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

With John Wilson. Dame Judi Dench leads a cast of British stars, including Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith, in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a film which follows a group of pensioners attracted by the prospect of spending their golden years in India. Joan Bakewell gives her verdict. Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller is about to open a new exhibition which brings together almost all his major works to date, including installations, videos, photographs, performance works and sound pieces. Some works also feature volunteers as participants. John talks to Jeremy and to three of the volunteers. On the eve of the 2012 Brit Awards, John speaks to nominees who have found inspiration in great literary figures, with Kate Bush and Laura Marling on James Joyce and Charlotte Bronte, Critics' Choice Winner Emeli Sande on Virginia Woolf, Guy Garvey from Elbow on Alan Bennett; and PJ Harvey on Harold Pinter. Plus producer Paul Epworth on working on the album which dominated 2011 - Adele's 21. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
2/20/201228 minutes, 45 seconds
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Walter Mosley, Phil Agland and Rory Gallagher

With John Wilson. Bestselling author Walter Mosley discusses his novel All I Did Was Shoot My Man, which continues his thriller series featuring New York City Private Investigator Leonid McGill. In this latest installment McGill is trying to help a woman he put in prison. TV documentary-maker Phil Agland revisits the Baka tribe of Cameroon, West Africa, 25 years after he first filmed them in their isolated home in the jungle. He discusses his shock at what he found on his return, which he documents in his film Baka: A Cry From The Rainforest Rory Gallagher has been described as Ireland's first rock star. This year marks the 40th anniversary of his solo career which began with the release of his first album in 1971. Rock critic Neil McCormick explains why Gallagher was inspirational to his generation. And, following Hugo and The Artist, the latest cinema release with a canine star is Red Dog, an Australian film based on Louis de Bernieres's novel about the legendary true story of the red dog who united a disparate local community while roaming the Australian outback in search of his long-lost master. Natalie Haynes reviews. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
2/17/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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Director Josie Rourke; conductor Alan Gilbert; artistic friendships

With Mark Lawson. Josie Rourke, artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse theatre, discusses her choice of first production, the lack of women running theatres despite a plenitude of acclaimed female directors and whether she's brought a woman's eye to the venue's décor. Conductor Alan Gilbert is Music Director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and is the first New York-born musician to hold the post. He reflects on his role, and on the experience of conducting his mother, who is a violinist with the orchestra. In the week that Angelina Jolie's controversial directorial debut was screened in Sarajevo, depicting Serbian atrocities during the Bosnian War, and Sean Penn has accused Britain of colonialism in deploying Prince William to the Falklands, actor Michael Simkins considers whether actors should speak out on political issues. A new exhibition focuses on the creative relationship between the artists Piet Mondrian and Ben Nicholson during the 1930s. Richard Cork reflects on how friendships between artists have influenced both their work and their reputations. Producer Philippa Ritchie.
2/16/201228 minutes, 40 seconds
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AS Byatt on Picasso, and tenor Vittorio Grigolo

With Mark Lawson. Novelist A S Byatt discusses a new exhibition Picasso and Modern British Art at Tate Britain, which examines Picasso's relationship with the country and how British artists including Francis Bacon, David Hockney and Henry Moore have responded to his work. As a child, Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo sang for the Sistine Chapel choir, before making his debut at La Scala in Milan at the age of 23. Grigolo explains why he likes to cross over from classical to pop, from Keane's Bed-Shaped to La Donna E Mobile, and why he never talks to his wife before a concert. Kate Saunders reviews a new French film Hadewijch, about a young Christian fanatic who befriends a group of Muslims and finds herself being led down paths which put her life in danger. And with David Guetta's single Titanium doing well in the charts, David Quantick considers how chemical elements and the periodic table have inspired a variety of songwriters. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
2/15/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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Mad Men's Jon Hamm; rain on stage

With John Wilson. Jon Hamm is best known for playing Don Draper in Mad Men, the award-winning American drama about the ruthlessly competitive world of advertising. The actor discusses the show's unforeseen global success, the problems he's faced playing Draper and hints where Mad Men is heading for its finale. A stage version of Singin' In The Rain opens on the West End stage tonight, featuring one particularly essential ingredient - water. John Wilson talks to the show's star, Adam Cooper, and the production manager about the technical challenges of singin' and dancin' in the rain - keeping electricity and gallons of water apart. TV property presenter Sarah Beeny has curated a new exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects. A Place to Call Home: Where We Live and Why charts the story of the design of everyday homes in the UK, exploring the advent of mass building from the late 18th century through to the present day via suburban expansion and post-war experiment. With the price of cotton remaining a hotly debated issue, a new exhibition uses contemporary artists such as Yinka Shonibare to illuminate the history of the production and use of this most versatile of natural fibres. Polly Leonard, Editor-in-Chief of Selvedge magazine, reviews. Producer Philippa Ritchie.
2/14/201228 minutes, 25 seconds
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Daniel Radcliffe; Big Fat Gypsy Weddings producers

With Mark Lawson Daniel Radcliffe's latest post-Harry Potter project is a film version of Susan Hill's novel The Woman in Black, a tale of loss, vengeance and mourning. Daniel Radcliffe looks back at growing up in front of the lens for the Harry Potter films, and discusses the challenges he now likes to set himself as he leaves Harry behind. On the eve of Valentine's Day, conductor Jeremy Summerly offers an alternative classical music playlist for the ups and downs of love. The documentary series Big Fat Gypsy Weddings returns to our TV screens tomorrow night promising to be "Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier." The series producer Jes Wilkins, together with producer Osca Humphreys, discuss the pressures of making a second series and meeting audience expectations. Producer Claire Bartleet.
2/13/201228 minutes, 24 seconds
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Paul McCartney, Inspector Montalbano

With John Wilson. Paul McCartney discusses the art of classic song writing as he releases his 15th solo LP, Kisses on the Bottom - an album made up of songs McCartney grew up listening to, plus two originals. Lizzie Siddal was a Pre-Raphaelite supermodel and phenomenon - most recognisable as Ophelia in the painting by John Everett Millais. Ahead of the 150th anniversary of her death, John talks to Lizzie's biographer Lucinda Hawksley about her short life, punctuated with illness, addiction and tragedy. Hot on the heels of the Danish political drama series Borgen comes Inspector Montalbano, a crime series based on the Sicilian detective created by Italian writer Andrea Camilleri. Boyd Hilton, TV editor of Heat Magazine, gives the verdict - and considers the success of these Saturday-night Euro-dramas on BBC Four. Producer Katie Langton.
2/10/201228 minutes, 34 seconds
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Don McLean, Yayoi Kusama

With John Wilson. Don McLean, winner of a lifetime achievement award at the Radio 2 Folk Awards last night, discusses his classic album American Pie 40 years after it topped the British charts. Yayoi Kusama is perhaps Japan's best known living artist. In the 1960s and 1970s she became an important figure in the New York avant-garde. As a major retrospective of her work opens at the Tate Modern, she reflects on the mental illness that has informed her art and her influence on artists from Andy Warhol to Damien Hirst. The Golden Collar Awards - the Oscars for dogs - take place on Monday, and Martin Scorsese has been campaigning for Blackie, the canine star of his film Hugo, against stiff opposition from The Artist's Uggie. John and his dog, Jock, meet Blackie and her trainer Julie Tottman, to find out what it takes to be a dog star. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
2/9/201228 minutes, 47 seconds
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Lucian Freud, Stephen Daldry, RIBA Gold Medal

With Mark Lawson Novelist Lionel Shriver reviews a major retrospective of Lucian Freud's work at the National Portrait Gallery, including his final, unfinished portrait, which is on show for the first time. Dutch architect Herman Hertzberger believes passionately that architecture can help bring people together. The Royal Institute of British Architects has just awarded him the 2012 Royal Gold Medal, given in recognition of a lifetime's work. He tells Mark why he thinks a recession is good for architects. Stephen Daldry made history when he received a best director Oscar nomination for his first three films - Billy Elliot, The Hours and The Reader. His latest film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close deals with loss and grief in the aftermath of 9/11. He reflects on why it has divided critics. Producer Ellie Bury.
2/8/201228 minutes, 28 seconds
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2012 Art Fund Prize Longlist

With Mark Lawson The longlist for the 2012 Art Fund Prize for Museums and Galleries is announced on Front Row by the chair of the judges Lord Smith of Finsbury. The £100,000 prize is to recognise and stimulate originality and excellence in museums and galleries in the UK - and the winner will be announced on 19 June. Christopher Hampton has adapted his own stage play about the birth of psychoanalysis, into a film: A Dangerous Method. It stars Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung, Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud, and Keira Knightley as a young Russian patient. Film critic Jenny McCartney gives the verdict. The Dreyfus Affair is known as the most infamous miscarriage of justice in French history. A French officer was found guilty of treason at the end of the 19th century based on slender evidence and many believed that he was a victim of anti-Semitism. Front Row brings together two authors who have just published two books on the controversy: Jacqueline Rose and Piers Paul Read The sitcom Roger And Val Have Just Got In returns for a second series this week. It follows the everyday ups and downs of a middle-aged married couple, played by Dawn French and Alfred Molina, over the half-hour when they have just arrived home from work. Mark discusses domestic life with the show's co-writers, twin sisters Emma and Beth Kilcoyne Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
2/7/201228 minutes, 44 seconds
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The influential people in theatre; the return of The Muppets

With Mark Lawson. Husband and wife theatre producers Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, recently named the most influential people in British theatre by The Stage newspaper, discuss how they now run 39 venues around the UK. Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the Muppets make their cinematic comeback this week, 12 years after their last big screen outing. The new film sees the cast re-unite to save their old theatre from the clutches of an evil oil baron. Natalie Haynes gives her verdict. Novelist Ian Rankin dissects Death Unexplained, a new TV documentary series about a coroner's office. To celebrate the centenary of the neglected composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Surrey Opera is staging a world premiere of his recently discovered opera Thelma. Mark finds out why Coleridge-Taylor is now so often overlooked, with composer Errolyn Wallen and music historian Roderick Swanston. Producer Stephen Hughes.
2/6/201228 minutes, 26 seconds
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Homeland, the Syrian poet Adonis and Restoration Comedy

Mark Lawson and Emily Bell preview the hit US television series Homeland, a political thriller which stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. The 81 year old Syrian poet Adonis is one of the Arabic-speaking world's most celebrated writers and one of the most provocative. He regularly crops up on the shortlists of major literary prizes and as a tribute to him opens in London he talks to Mark Lawson about about his long literary career. Restoration comedy is a distinctive style of British theatre. As a new production of William Congreve's famous play of money and morals opens, cast members Deborah Findlay, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, and Leo Bill talk about the art behind this 17th century dramatic form And with the news that composer Paul Mealor is on a quest to find a singer who can sing a note so low that it is thought never to have been sung before for his new work, bass baritone Stephen Richardson discusses the challenge of hitting those deep 'money' notes, from Purcell to Tavener. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
2/3/201228 minutes, 55 seconds
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Martha Marcy May Marlene and author Anne Rice

Martha Marcy May Marlene has received very good reviews in the States, and the film's director - first-timer Sean Durkin - won Best Director for it at Sundance last year. The psychological thriller focuses on Martha, played by Elizabeth Olsen - sister of the twins - who escapes from an abusive rural hippie-like cult after two years but has trouble erasing the haunting memories of her past. Jason Solomons reviews. The Aylesbury and Heygate estates in South London have served as the backdrop for countless films and TV dramas over the years, including Spooks, The Bill and Harry Brown. But now residents have had enough and all filming has been banned. John visited the estates to find out more. Best-selling author Anne Rice redefined the vampire genre with her Vampire Chronicles. Now in her new book The Wolf Gift she has turned to werewolves. She explains why the hero of her new book is a werewolf with a difference: he has a sense of morality. Howard Hodgkin owns one of the most important collections of historical Indian art in the world. As the complete collection goes on display for the first time at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, John Wilson talks to the artist. Producer Claire Bartleet.
2/2/201228 minutes, 38 seconds
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Actor Ashley Walters; Howard Hodgkin's Indian art; Katherine Kelly

With John Wilson. Ashley Walters made his name in the urban music collective So Solid Crew, before starting a successful acting career, including an award-winning performance in British film Bullet Boy. He's now starring in a new BBC drama, Inside Men. He reflects on how a prison sentence helped to get his acting career back on track. Katherine Kelly from Coronation Street stars as Kate Hardcastle in a new production of She Stoops To Conquer, Oliver Goldsmith's classic comedy of manners. This new National Theatre staging also features Steve Pemberton and Sophie Thompson. Rachel Cooke reviews. Howard Hodgkin owns one of the most important collections of historical Indian art in the world. As the complete collection goes on display for the first time at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, John Wilson talks to Hodgkin and to the curator Andrew Topsfield. In Man On A Ledge, a new film out this week, the majority of the action takes place high up on the outside of a Manhattan hotel. Film historian Ian Christie and critic Adam Smith consider the enduring appeal to film-makers of the vertiginous setting of the high-rise building, from Harold Lloyd in the '20s to Tom Cruise clinging on to the windows of the world's tallest building in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Producer Philippa Ritchie.
2/1/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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Charlize Theron in Young Adult; Kate Grenville

With Mark Lawson. Charlize Theron plays a writer of teen literature who returns to her small hometown to reclaim her happily married high school sweetheart, in her new film Young Adult. But things don't go according to plan. The film is directed by Jason Reitman, who also brought us Juno and Up in the Air. Ryan Gilbey reviews. The Orange Prize-winning novelist Kate Grenville discusses her novel Sarah Thornhill in which she returns to early Australia and the story of the Thornhill family, whose story she told in her novel The Secret River. The Singing Detective, the TV drama series written by Dennis Potter and starring Michael Gambon, returns to our screens 26 years after it was first shown. Chris Dunkley and Rebecca Nicholson re-assess this TV classic. And writer Joanne Harris visits a new exhibition in Sheffield with a focus on the family, with artists ranging from William Hogarth to Rachel Whiteread. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
1/31/201228 minutes, 47 seconds
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Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster in Polanski's film, Carnage

Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster star in Roman Polanski's film Carnage, an adaptation of Yasmina Reza's play about two couples who meet to discuss their sons, one of whom has knocked out the other's front teeth. Although things start out cordially, cracks soon begin to show. Novelist Julie Myerson gives her verdict. Director Sacha Mirzoeff discusses the years of negotiation behind his three part TV documentary series Protecting Our Children. Given unprecedented access to social workers and families in Bristol, Mirzoeff reveals the pressures of filming the complex dilemmas faced by child protection teams. The first-ever British production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot with a cast of black actors is about to open at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Actors Jeffery Kissoon and Patrick Robinson and director Ian Brown reflect on how this casting changes the play. Migrations, a new exhibition at Tate Britain, explores how British art has been shaped by artists from abroad over the last five centuries. The show moves from works by the Dutch artists van Dyck and Maurice Gheeraerts to contemporary artists such as Steve McQueen and Mona Hatoum. Jackie Wullschlager reviews. Producer Nicki Paxman.
1/30/201228 minutes, 43 seconds
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Alice Coote; Turner in Margate; Lana del Rey

With John Wilson. Novelist and psychogeographer Iain Sinclair reviews Turner and the Elements, a new exhibition at the Turner Contemporary gallery in the artist's old stomping ground of Margate. Alice Coote is one of the world's most acclaimed mezzo-sopranos, famous for taking on the male parts or "trouser roles" in opera. She talks to John about assuming the gait of a man, the demands of being jet-setting soloist, and how a car crash made her realise the importance of music. In 1962 the playwright Joe Orton was sent to prison for six months for defacing books in Islington Public Library. Fifty years later, barrister Greg Foxsmith is staging a re-trial to examine what sentence Orton might have received today. He tells John why. Singer Lana Del Rey releases her debut album on Monday. Although her song Video Games was one of the most acclaimed tracks of 2011, her decadent image has provoked debates about her authenticity and her recent live performances have drawn criticism. Kitty Empire gives her verdict. Producer Ellie Bury.
1/27/201228 minutes, 26 seconds
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Hajj at the British Museum

With John Wilson. Hajj: Journey To The Heart Of Islam, at the British Museum, is the first major exhibition dedicated to the pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Historian Thomas Asbridge and Mehdi Hasan of the New Statesman give their verdict. The film Like Crazy was a hit at last year's Sundance Festival, winning the Grand Jury Prize. British actress Felicity Jones - who played Emma in The Archers - won best actress for her starring role in this largely improvised film, which tracks a long-distant relationship. Rebecca Nicholson reviews. Last year, writer and actor Chris Larner accompanied his chronically ill ex-wife, Allyson, to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. His one-man show about the experience won a Fringe First Award in Edinburgh, and he's about to take it on a national tour. He tells the story of its creation, and discusses what it's like to go straight from playing a pantomime dame to this more reflective show. Comedian and actress Andi Osho is now an established figure on the stand-up circuit. She tells John about why she thinks her early acting career featured so many medical roles - and what drew her to comic performance. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
1/26/201228 minutes, 50 seconds
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Andrew Miller and Nicholas Hytner

With Mark Lawson. Andrew Miller last night won the Costa Book of the Year with his historical novel Pure, set in pre-revolutionary Paris. Mark talked to the author just after hearing the news. National Theatre Director Nicholas Hytner announces his plans for the year ahead. Jens Lapidus is a Swedish criminal defence lawyer and author. His debut novel is Easy Money, set amongst gangsters and criminals in the Stockholm underworld. He told Mark how he made the transition from criminal defence to crime writing. New film Acts of Godfrey, starring Simon Callow and Harry Enfield, is written entirely in rhyming couplets. Poet Paul Farley gives his verdict in rhyme. Producer Katie Langton.
1/25/201228 minutes, 43 seconds
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2012 Academy Award nominations

Mark Lawson reports on this year's Academy Award nominations, announced today, with comments and critical assessment from film critics Chris Tookey and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, and contributions from the following nominees:- Kenneth Branagh: best supporting actor; Meryl Streep and Viola Davis: best actress; Stephen Daldry: best director; J.C.Chandor: best original screenplay; Peter McDonald: best short live-action film; Lucy Walker: best documentary; David Vickery: best visual effects Producer Timothy Prosser.
1/24/201228 minutes, 42 seconds
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With Mark Lawson. Suzanne Moore reviews the Oscar-tipped George Clooney in The Descendants, directed by Alexander Payne, who made the Academy Award winning comedy Sideways. In a candid interview, author Edmund White discusses his life and work as his new novel is published. This week sees the start of three new series following members of the medical profession. Mark meets Dr Ben Allin from BBC Three's Junior Doctors and Mr Mark George, veteran of the original 1980s Horizon series Doctors to Be, to find out how the filming process has changed. As Jean Vigo's barge-set classic film L'Atalante is re-released, critic and houseboat dweller Antonia Quirke reveals why it still makes waves almost 80 years after it was made. Producer Stephen Hughes.
1/23/201228 minutes, 38 seconds
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Norma Percy on Putin; soldiers' stories on stage

With John Wilson Soldiers injured in Afghanistan and Iraq are starring in The Two Worlds of Charlie F, a play in London's West End written by the poet Owen Sheers and inspired by the soldiers' own stories. John Wilson talks to Rifleman Daniel Shaw, a soldier in the Infantry who lost both legs in Afghanistan, Sapper Lyndon Chatting-Walters, a combat engineer who suffered serious spinal injury in Afghanistan and to Owen Sheers. Blues Singer and Radio 2 presenter Paul Jones pays tribute to the singer Etta James whose powerful and evocative voice has inspired audiences and singers alike, most recently Adele and Amy Winehouse cited her as an influence. Award-winning TV documentary maker Norma Percy discusses her latest project - Putin, Russia and the West - which began last night. Vladimir Putin, current Prime Minister of Russia, is the focus of the four-part series, which includes interviews with members of Putin's inner circle as well as leading figures from the West, including Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and Tony Blair's former Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell. Placido Domingo and Joyce DiDonato are starring at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in The Enchanted Island - an opera inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest and featuring the lovers from A Midsummer Night's Dream. The British composer and director Jeremy Sams has created the piece using original Baroque arias by Handel, Vivaldi and Rameau. David D'arcy reviews. Producer Erin Riley.
1/20/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Leonard Cohen; Abi Morgan interviewed

With Mark Lawson. Playwright and screenwriter Abi Morgan's recent credits include The Hour on TV and The Iron Lady and Shame in the cinema. Her TV adaptation of Sebastian Faulks' best-selling novel Birdsong begins on Sunday. She reflects on her approaches to writing for the screen and stage. Ralph Fiennes makes his debut as a film director with a contemporary version of Shakespeare's political thriller Coriolanus. Fiennes also takes the title role, with Vanessa Redgrave as his fierce mother Volumnia and Gerard Butler as his rival Aufidius. Andrew Dickson reviews. Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen tells Mark how his new album Old Ideas was partly inspired by the responses of audiences around the world during his last tour. Mark Ellen reviews the disc, Cohen's first studio album for eight years. Antony Sher stars in Nicholas Wright's new play about the early days of cinema and the contribution of Jewish Eastern European immigrants to the Hollywood film industry. Peter Kemp reviews. Producer Philippa Ritchie.
1/19/201228 minutes, 31 seconds
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Madonna's W.E. reviewed; Ian Rankin's unpublished novel

With Mark Lawson. Madonna makes her feature film debut as director and co-screenwriter of W.E. The film intercuts the love story of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII with a modern-day tale of a woman obsessed by Wallis. A N Wilson reviews. Chad Harbach discusses his debut novel The Art of Fielding, which took him 10 years to write and has been garlanded with praise by some of America's best-known writers. It has been reported that some cinema goers have asked for refunds on finding that the award-winning film The Artist is silent. Lawyer Duncan Lamont discusses the rights of a dissatisfied arts consumer in this and other cases. Crime writer Ian Rankin will give a reading from his first unpublished novel this weekend at the First Fictions festival, organised by Sussex University. He and crime writer Frances Fyfield, who also wrote an unpublished first book, look back on their early efforts, and how their styles have changed. Producer Claire Bartleet.
1/18/201228 minutes, 18 seconds
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William Boyd on David Hockney, and new film Haywire

With Mark Lawson. Novelist William Boyd gives his response to a major new exhibition of landscape paintings by David Hockney, and also re-assesses the film A Bigger Splash, made in the early 1970s, which focuses on Hockney and his circle of friends at the time. In Steven Soderbergh's new film Haywire a black ops soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission. Gaylene Gould reviews the film, whose cast includes Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender . Carolina Chocolate Drops are an African-American string band, using the fiddle, banjo and jug to revive often-overlooked folk music from the Piedmont region of the American south. They discuss how they rediscover old tunes, and their approach to tradition. And in a new comic film The Sitter, Jonah Hill plays a student who is coaxed into babysitting the kids next door. Film critic Mark Eccleston considers what movies tell us about choosing the right babysitter, from Three Men and a Baby to Halloween. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
1/17/201228 minutes, 35 seconds
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Leonardo DiCaprio in Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar. TS Eliot Prize

With John Wilson. Clint Eastwood's new film as a director focuses on J Edgar Hoover, the first head of the FBI. Leonardo DiCaprio takes the title role in J Edgar, which shows Hoover at various stages of his controversial career. Jonathan Freedland reviews. Lord Smith discusses his review of the British film industry, A Future for British Film, published today. It offers 56 recommendations, including a British Film week, funding from TV companies and audience testing for new film releases. Director Roger Michell, whose films include Notting Hill and Venus, offers his perspective. Front Row announces and talks to the winner of the 2012 T S Eliot Prize for Poetry, announced this evening. Now in its 19th year, the prize offers £15,000 for the best collection of poetry, as chosen by a judging panel who are themselves poets. Michael Kiwanuka has won the BBC's Sound of 2012 poll, an accolade previously awarded to Jessie J and Adele. The singer-songwriter reveals how he discovered his sound and why he grew up in a house with very little music. Producer Nicki Paxman.
1/16/201228 minutes, 43 seconds
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Heidi Thomas on Call the Midwife; trumpeter Alison Balsam

With John Wilson Screenwriter Heidi Thomas, whose credits include Cranford, discusses her forthcoming TV adaptation of Jennifer Worth's best-selling memoir Call The Midwife, set in the East End of London in the 1950s. John talks to the trumpeter Alison Balsom, twice-winner of the Female Artist Of The Year award at the Classic Brits, whose latest CD showcases 20th century works for trumpet, including a piece written for Alison by the composer James MacMillan Publisher Jamie Byng tells the story behind The Last Holiday, the posthumous memoir of singer-songwriter Gil Scott-Heron In a year where arts organisations around the UK are calling for volunteers for a range of projects, Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller explains why he's advertising for people to help with his own installations, which include a fully-functional cafe. Producer Rebecca Nicholson.
1/13/201228 minutes, 39 seconds
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Antony Gormley; painting Blair; beyond popcorn

With Mark Lawson. Artists Jonathan Yeo and John Keane have both painted the portrait of Tony Blair - the former in an official commission in 2008, and the latter in an unofficial series of new paintings which depict Blair at the Chilcot Inquiry. The artists discuss what they found looking into the face of the former Prime Minister. Sculptor Antony Gormley has teamed up with choreographer Hofesh Shechter for Survivor, a new musical work which features 150 amateur drummers, audience participation and live video projection. They explain how they divided up the creative work and how Shechter's artistic anger informed the piece. As a cinema joins forces with chef Leigh Rowley to offer film-goers a meal while watching their movie, popcorn historian Andrew F Smith discusses the long history of eating while gazing at the big screen. The chain of bookshops originally founded by Tim Waterstone has decided to drop the apostrophe in its name. Linguistics expert David Crystal considers this decision, and assesses whether it spells the beginning of the end for the apostrophe. Producer Stephen Hughes.
1/12/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Crusades; Emeli Sande; Guy Martin

With John Wilson Historian Thomas Asbridge discusses his forthcoming three-part TV series about the Crusades, which considers the medieval holy war from both the Christian and the Muslim perspectives. Scottish singer-songwriter Emeli Sande has won the Brits Critics' Choice for 2012 - a prize for new talent, with previous winners including Adele, Jessie J and Florence And The Machine. She reflects on her unusual career path - she studied medicine and neuroscience before entering the music business full-time. Early in 2011, photographer Guy Martin travelled to Egypt and Libya to record the unfolding Arab Spring. This project was cut short, when he was seriously injured in a rocket attack. Two of his colleagues, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Tim Hetherington and photojournalist Chris Hondros, were killed in the same attack. Now images Guy produced up to that point are on show, and he reflects on the experience of working under fire. Gentrification is having an unexpected effect on Hollywood, as it's running out of dark New York alleys to film in. According to reports, only two remain, and even they are under threat of closure. Adrian Wootton of Film London discusses whether the UK will soon suffer a similar shortage of grimy urban locations. Producer Ellie Bury.
1/11/201228 minutes, 36 seconds
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JC Chandor on his film Margin Call; composer Anna Meredith

With Mark Lawson. Writer-director J C Chandor discusses his acclaimed feature directorial debut Margin Call, about an American investment bank during the financial crisis, starring Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons and Demi Moore. The writer and former cricketer Ed Smith reviews a TV documentary by former England cricket captain Freddie Flintoff about depression in sport. Scottish composer Anna Meredith discusses her new piece, entitled Hands-Free. It's written for the National Youth Orchestra but uses no instruments, involving instead clapping, body-percussion and beat-boxing. David Quantick tucks into the long history of songs featuring food - from Oliver, via The Beatles and Bob Dylan, to reggae, ska and beyond. Producer Timothy Prosser.
1/10/201228 minutes, 43 seconds
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Steven Spielberg on War Horse; Philip Larkin's poetry

With Mark Lawson. Oscar-winning film-maker Steven Spielberg discusses his new adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's book War Horse. Andrew Collins reviews the audio version of cultural theorist Marshall McLuhan's most famous work. The Medium Is The Massage is a mash-up of musings, music and bizarre effects and is re-released 40 years after it first assailed the ears of the general public. Archie Burnett discusses his collection of Philip Larkin's complete poems, which is considerably larger than the slim volumes that the poet published in his lifetime. Mark Lawson finds out if he has unearthed any lost treasures. Producer Katie Langton.
1/9/201228 minutes, 35 seconds
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Puppets take centre stage

Kirsty Lang reports on how puppets have entered the theatrical mainstream. She speaks to Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones of the Handspring Company, who made the puppets for the international theatre hit War Horse and to Joe Wright, director of the films Atonment and Hanna, whose new cinema version of Anna Karenina features puppets in a central role. Wright says all his films are influenced by growing up in a puppet theatre - the Little Angel Theatre in London. Kirsty pays a visit and meets Joe's mother, Lyndie Wright, who founded the theatre in 1961 with her husband John Wright. She also discovers an unexpected link between the Little Angel and the award-winning War Horse puppets. Producer Philippa Ritchie.
1/6/201228 minutes, 33 seconds
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New TV comedies; Tom Hooper on life after The King's Speech

With Mark Lawson. Two new TV comedies, both with a central female role, begin tomorrow. Stella is a comedy drama written by and starring Ruth Jones as a single mother living in the Welsh valleys. New Girl stars Zooey Deschanel as a teacher who moves into an apartment with three single men, after breaking up with her boyfriend. Rachel Cooke reviews. In the third of three reports on the art of following up a great success, film director Tom Hooper, who won an Oscar for The King's Speech, discusses his next project - a big-screen version of the musical Les Miserables. Annette Bening and Naomi Watts star in the film Mother and Child, which focuses on women whose lives are profoundly affected by adoption. Antonia Quirke reviews. American writer Padgett Powell is not afraid of experimentation. Every single sentence in his novel The Interrogative Mood is a question, and he followed this with You & I, a book written entirely in dialogue between two unnamed people. He discusses his move away from what he describes as 'comfy realism'. Producer Claire Bartleet.
1/5/201228 minutes, 45 seconds
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Actor Michael Fassbender, and Julian Lloyd Webber on Delius

With Mark Lawson. Actor Michael Fassbender is hotly-tipped for Oscar nominations this year, which will be welcome reward for shooting six films in the last 20 months, three of which are about to open: Shame, directed by Steve McQueen - his former collaborator on the Irish hunger-strike film Hunger - Haywire with Steven Soderbergh, and A Dangerous Method with David Cronenberg. Fassbender discusses the challenges of the quick succession of demanding roles. Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and violinist Tasmin Little discuss the music and reputation of the composer Frederick Delius as the 150th anniversary of his birth approaches. In the new TV drama series Eternal Law, the daily life of a York law firm is mixed with the magic of angels. Samuel West and Ukweli Roach star as Zak and Tom, angels working as lawyers, with strict instructions to help humans without getting emotionally involved. Matt Thorne reviews. How do you follow up a smash hit? In the second of this week's series, One Man, Two Guvnors writer Richard Bean and National Theatre Director Nicholas Hytner discuss what's next after the James Corden comedy became one of the theatre successes of 2011. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
1/4/201228 minutes, 41 seconds
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Costa Book Awards category winners announced; Tony Marchant; Ronald Searle Tribute

The category winners of the Costa Book Awards 2011 are announced live on Front Row by the awards' director Bud McLintock. Literary editors Gaby Wood and Will Skidelsky give their response to the winners of the five categories - novel, first novel, biography, poetry and children's book. The winner in each category receives £5,000, and one of the five winning books will then selected as the Costa Book of the Year, announced on 24 January, receiving a further £30,000. Multi-award winning writer Tony Marchant discusses his new drama Public Enemies about the relationship between a convicted murderer recently released from prison, played by Daniel Mays, and his probation officer, played by Anna Friel, who is returning to work after being suspended after a shocking crime was committed by an offender under her supervision. Mark Lawson is joined by Ralph Steadman and Posy Simmonds in paying tribute to Ronald Searle, the British cartoonist best known for creating the fictional girls' school St Trinian's, who died today aged 91. This week Front Row talks to an artist, a playwright, and a film director who each face the challenge of following up on especially successful projects. First, ceramic artist Edmund de Waal talks about what comes after his memoir, The Hare With The Amber Eyes, which won several literary prizes last year, and was the biggest selling non fiction paperback . Producer Nicki Paxman.
1/3/201228 minutes, 51 seconds
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Kate Bush, Nick Mason and Brian Wilson on new life for old tapes

John Wilson talks to musicians including Kate Bush, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, Ray Davies of The Kinks and Nile Rodgers of Chic, as they re-visit old recordings, re-assess the out-takes left in the vaults and consider why some tracks - and even complete albums - lie unreleased for years. Producer John Goudie.
1/2/201228 minutes, 32 seconds
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The Boxing Day Quiz

It's the Boxing Day Quiz, as question-master Mark Lawson poses cultural brain-teasers to test the knowledge of two teams. Historian Antonia Fraser, actor Dan Stevens and crime-writer Mark Billingham compete against playwright Roy Williams, comedy performer and writer Natalie Haynes and actor Michael Simkins. Producer Claire Bartleet.
12/26/201128 minutes, 46 seconds