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Taylor Swift, who recently won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards, has today released a new album called Fearless (Taylor's Version), which is an exact remake of her 2008 breakthrough album, Fearless. Music critic Sophie Harris explains why Taylor is repeating herself and reviews the new record. Tom Sutcliffe discusses HRH the Duke of Edinburgh…
 
Peggy Seeger has just released her latest album, The First Farewell, at the age of 85. She tells us about the pleasures of working on it with her family, her worries about the post-Covid music scene, getting older - and getting younger.Liverpool is about to take part in a pilot scheme testing live events. There will be an open-air film screening, a…
 
Katherine Parkinson is best known as an actress – she won a BAFTA playing Jen in The IT Crowd and warm praise for her performance on stage in Laura Wade’s play Home, I’m Darling. But she has also written a play, Sitting, an interwoven set of three monologues first performed at the Edinburgh Festival and now on BBC4 as part of BBC Lights Up. It is i…
 
Riz Ahmed stars in Sound of Metal as a rock drummer who loses his hearing. The actor and rapper discusses learning American sign language, working with culturally Deaf actors as well as learning about addiction for his Oscar nominated performance.So far, 2021 has seen a large number of novels with a climate change theme being published. Toby Lichti…
 
A year ago, the writer, poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen was rushed to hospital with Covid. Put into an induced coma in intensive care for 48 days, he underwent weeks of convalescence as he learned to walk again.Following his recovery he wrote a new book, Many Different Kinds of Love: A Story of Life, Death and the NHS, featuring letters written …
 
Tonight's Font Row is a blue odyssey led by John Wilson as he talks to:Dr Narayan Khandekar, Director of the Forbes Pigment Collection and one of the first people in the world to recognise the significance of the accidental creation of new pigment, YInMn Blue;Artist Idris Khan is known for the use of blue in his work. He accepted Front Row's invita…
 
Minari tells the story of a Korean family who move to a farm in Arkansas in pursuit of the American Dream. The film’s director, Lee Isaac Chung, explains how his own family story inspired events in the film, and the impact Awards nominations have on his career as a director.Pianist and musicologist Samantha Ege has launched an album of piano music …
 
Andrew Miller, the Government’s first Disability Champion for Arts and Culture, is stepping down after three years in the post. He discusses the challenges facing disabled people in the creative industries and his hopes for the future. Jenny Sealey is Artistic Director of deaf and disabled theatre company Graeae and Robert Softley Gale is Artistic …
 
Novelist Nadifa Mohamed and translator Maureen Freely review the just-announced longlist for the International Booker Prize 2021.Author Joanne Harris talks to her Italian translator Laura Grandi, her collaborator of 22 years, about their special partnership.Plus writer and artist Khairani Barokka and Maureen Freely explore the question of how to ch…
 
Kevin Macdonald’s new film The Mauritanian is based on the true story of a prisoner held in Guantánamo Bay for 14 years but never charged. The French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim, recently seen in the TV drama series The Serpent, discusses the challenges of playing Mohamedou Slahi, who was shackled, beaten and waterboarded by the US authorities.The L…
 
For our Friday Review, critics Jacqueline Springer and Sophie Harris give their verdict on two new documentaries, Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil and Tina. Both detail each of the star’s respective troubles with abuse and drug addiction while in the limelight, and our reviewers discuss their candid telling of trauma.The Poetry Society’s Nationa…
 
Emerald Fennell is the director and writer of Promising Young Woman, a darkly comic revenge thriller starring Carey Mulligan. The film is nominated for five Academy Awards and six BAFTAs. Emerald is also a successful actress, most recently starring as the then-Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown as well as a cameo in the movie. We hear about what sp…
 
The playwright Mark Ravenhill joins us to talk about his new play Angela. It is a tender portrait of his parents; his mother, Angela, who died in 2019, and of his father, Ted. Angela had dementia and the play is about the memories that make us, and how time is more fluid than we might think. Ravenhill began Angela as a play for the stage that he wa…
 
Orlando Bloom talks to Samira Ahmed about taking on a very different kind of role in his intense and visceral film Retaliation, and the new career challenges he’s excited about.As the delayed Liverpool Biennial gets underway – showing only online and outdoor work for the moment because of the restrictions on galleries opening – art critic and edito…
 
Nile Rodgers – guitarist, producer, songwriter, arranger, and co-founder of Chic in the 1970s – is the subject of what claims to be the world’s first voice-interactive digital portrait, In the Room with Nile Rodgers, in association with the National Portrait Gallery. Nile Rodgers and the project's director, Sarah Coward, discuss and explain the amb…
 
Today, Griff was awarded the 2021 BRITs Rising Star prize. The 20 year old singer-songwriter joins us to discuss how she writes her lyrics including to her breakout single Black Hole, making music in lockdown and what the future holds for her now she’s won this award. Line of Duty returns to our screens this weekend. Crime writers Dreda Say Mitchel…
 
A year ago, the poet and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen was admitted to hospital with Covid-19. Against all the odds, after months in hospital, including 48 days in intensive care and in an induced coma, he returned home and has written a new collection of prose poems and words about the experience. The poet discusses Many Different Kinds…
 
Director Chase Joynt joins us to talk about his film No Ordinary Man, an in-depth look at the life of musician and trans culture icon Billy Tipton. Tipton was born in Oklahoma in 1914, and with the limited resources of the 1930s, had no choice but to transition alone. Entering the heady world of jazz as a pianist and band leader, he enjoyed a long …
 
One year after theatres closed due to the Covid pandemic, leading figures from the industry join Front Row to look at how the past year has impacted upon theatres and the people who work in them. Sonia Friedman reflects on this time last year, when the unthinkable happened, and looks forward to when theatres might re-open.Julian Bird, CEO of SOLT a…
 
Inspired by the real-life story of three men in a lighthouse who mysteriously vanished, Emma Stonex’s novel The Lamplighters is part thriller, part history and part ghost story. She explains why she felt drawn to write about the sea and what we can learn from the solitary lives of lighthouse keepers.David Fincher's film Mank leads the field in toda…
 
The podcast ‘Aria Code’ from WQXR and the Metropolitan Opera aims to pull back the curtain on some of operas most well-known moments. Each episode “decodes” one aria, with academics and opera singers diving in to the music. But there are also a variety of unexpected guests, such as a marriage therapist talking relationships in Carmen or a former se…
 
The recent death of Lou Ottens - the inventor of audio cassettes who later went on to work on the development of CD technology - gives us the opportunity to look back at the glory days of cassettes, their subsequent decline and the latest unexpected return to fashion, with music journalists Laura Barton and Jude Rogers.Young British poet Luke Wrigh…
 
Netflix’s new drama, The One, set five minutes in the future, depicts a world where a DNA test can find your perfect partner. Kohinoor Sahota joins us to discuss its mix of sci-fi and romance, as well as whether this format could be the future of dating.The longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction is announced today. Critic Alex Clark joins Front…
 
The Bafta Film Awards have unveiled a highly diverse nominations list, with 16 of the 24 acting nominees this year coming from ethnic minority groups. This follows criticsm in previous years about shortlists that didn’t reflect modern Britain. Film maker, poet and founder of The Caramel Film Club Be Manzini joins us to ask whether this is the begin…
 
Novelist Oana Aristide discusses her debut novel Under the Blue, about a reclusive artist forced to abandon his home and follow two young sisters across a post-pandemic Europe in search of a safe place. It has been described as eco-fiction and it explores themes of environmental destruction, the melting of the polar ice, eco-terrorism, all within a…
 
David Mamet's latest play, The Christopher Boy’s Communion is about a couple in New York whose son is facing trial charged with an appalling crime. First performed on the stage in Los Angeles last year, it’s premiers in the UK in the form of a radio play next week. He discusses the tricky issues it deals with and how he adapted a lengthier stage pl…
 
As World Book Day we’re speaking to teacher turned rapper turned internet sensation MC Grammar. He's created lots of videos setting information about grammar to a rap beat. He joins us to explain why it succeeds with school children and we hear the song he's composed specially for the day. Since the arrival of Amazon and online bookselling, indepen…
 
Pat Metheny has won 20 Grammy Awards, predominantly for his work as a jazz guitarist, but also for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, and Best Instrumental Composition. His latest work is as a composer. The album Road to the Sun has two major works for classical guitar. Four Paths of Light is a four movement suite for a solo instrument, played by …
 
Your Honour is a new Showtime miniseries starring Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston as a respected New Orleans judge whose son is involved in a hit-and-run. He faces a series of impossible choices questioning how far a Father will go to go to save a son's life. Developed by British Peter Moffat it's a remake of the hit Israeli show Kvodo. Novelist and …
 
Kazuo Ishiguro has just published his eighth novel, the first to be written since he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017 and was knighted. Klara and the Sun is about an Artificial Friend, a robot whose role is to be a companion to the teenage Josie, though it becomes apparent that more may be expected of Klara. With resonances of two of his p…
 
We review a new biopic of jazz singer Billie Holiday, directed by Lee Daniels, which tells the story of the FBI’s campaign against her. They were afraid that performing her most famous song Strange Fruit, about the lynching of Black Americans, would incite unrest. Andra Day stars as Holiday. Barb Jungr and Be Manzini give their verdict, comment on …
 
Artists Gilbert & George open a new exhibition at the White Cube next week. The pair first met in 1967 whilst studying sculpture at Central St Martin’s art college. They’ve lived and worked together in East London for fifty years. The show - New Normal Pictures - consists of twenty-six new pictures which feature the pair in gritty London landscapes…
 
As she is awarded one of British crime writing’s top accolades, the Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger, Samira talks to crime novelist Martina Cole. Hailed as the Queen of Crime Drama, Cole has written 25 novels and sold 10 million books since records began but her work is rarely reviewed - so what’s her secret?Under the road map unveiled by…
 
John Keats was just 25 when he died in Rome 200 years ago. To mark the anniversary The Poetry Society has commissioned new work from award-winning contemporary poets responding to Keats’s work, and two of them – Rachael Boast and Will Harris – join us to share their poems and discuss why Keats is still important to contemporary writers 200 hundred …
 
As the Prime Minister sets out his roadmap to ending the Covid lockdown we get reaction from Dominique Frazer, Founder of the Boileroom, a music venue in Guildford, and Hamish Moseley, Managing Director of an independent film distribution company Altitude Film Entertainment, and ask if this offers them enough information to start to plan for the ye…
 
Leicester Curve’s recent award-winning revival of the musical The Color Purple, based on Alice Walker’s novel, has been reimagined, filmed and is being streamed for audiences. Dreda Say Mitchell and David Benedict review. David Rodigan joins us to celebrate the life of the great Jamaican musician U-Roy, who died recently. He was a master of the toa…
 
Dame Sarah Connolly sings the role of the goddess Fricka in the Royal Opera House's production of Wagner's The Ring Cycle, currently being broadcast on BBC Radio 3. She discusses the challenge of performing this 15 hour operatic epic. Chris Brandon on writing the new BBC crime drama series Bloodlands - which stars James Nesbitt as a detective - is …
 
Is listening to K-Pop like buying sweatshop-made clothes? From rigorous childhood performance academies to long, labour-intensive contracts for young idols, does the South Korean music industry have an exploitation problem? High profile suicides, sexual harassment claims and industry standards are complicating the nature of the industry and the fan…
 
In 2006 a friend of the actor and writer Lorien Haynes died. Haynes's grief has found unusual expression - in a romantic comedy starring Sian Clifford and Nikesh Patel. In Good Grief the central character is dead. Director Natalie Abrahami has created an unusual hybrid of film and theatre, shot in what looks like a rehearsal studio, with a set of c…
 
As the nation waits for the vaccine and lockdown restrictions to ease, what can literature teach us about the art of waiting? Writer Rebecca Stott, critic Alex Clark and poet Anthony Anaxagorou discuss the art of waiting, whether cheerfully or 'with a green and yellow melancholy… like Patience on a monument' as Viola says in Twelfth Night.Lolita Ch…
 
British jazz pianist and broadcaster Julian Joseph joins us to look at the life and music of his good friend; pianist and composer Chick Corea. Chick began his career in the early 60’s, released his first album in 1968 and over more than 5 decades he played with just about every big name in jazz, winning 23 Grammy awards and was still composing and…
 
Screenwriter and novelist Ben Hopkins talks to Tom about his ambitious new novel, Cathedral. It's a portrait of the construction of the medieval period's greatest buildings, featuring a cast of intriguing characters all vying for power - from the bishop to his treasurer to local merchants and lowly stone cutters.Faith, Hope and Glory is a new drama…
 
Documentary-maker Adam Curtis crafts densely-constructed, visually-fragmented work so packed full of ideas and images that you can’t take your eyes off the screen for a moment. He pulls together disparate images and soundtrack to create a mesmerising hypothesis. He discusses his newest work, Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, which debuts on BBC iPlayer…
 
Tom Hanks stars in Paul Greengrass's new film, News of the World. Hanks plays Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a Civil War veteran who crosses paths with Johanna (Helena Zengel), a 10-year-old taken in by the Kiowa people six years earlier and raised as one of their own. Gavia Baker-Whitelaw gives us her verdict on the western. Songwriter Roger Cook di…
 
Twenty years ago this week, the artist Michael Landy famously destroyed every single one of his 7,227 possessions in an artwork called Break Down. The artist looks back on the 14-day event which took place on an industrial conveyor belt inside a disused department store in Oxford St in London, and considers how the process affected him.Since the no…
 
In April the artist Luke Jerram spoke on Front Row about his sculpture of the Covid-19 virus. Since then he has been ill with Covid and has created another sculpture - unveiled today - this time of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Jerram discusses his artistic engagement with Covid, including his piece In Memoriam, 120 flags made of NHS bed-sheets, commemo…
 
Hollywood star Sam Neill joins us from his home in New Zealand to discuss the perils of acting with sheep in his new film Rams, based on an acclaimed Icelandic drama about two estranged brothers and their flocks of a rare horned breed of sheep.A new colour blue has come onto artists’ palettes. Called YInMn it was discovered in 2009 by accident by s…
 
Film critic Leila Latif joins us to discuss today’s Golden Globe nominations, and gives us an overview of some of the highlights from the first ever online Sundance Festival.The folklore of Taiwan is visited and revisited by subsequent generations of women in Bestiary, the debut novel from K-Ming Chang, as a Daughter falls in love and confronts her…
 
The Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald discusses his follow-up to his YouTube film Life In A Day from 2010, where he invited the public to upload their own footage of their lives taken on one specific day. He then edited those contributions to create a finished film to tell the story of a single day on Earth. For Life In A Day 2020 he received …
 
Jill Halfpenny stars in a new tv thriller The Drowning. Nine years ago, Jodie’s little boy disappeared on a picnic by the lake, presumed drowned, and she’s never been able to accept his loss. Now, out of the blue, she catches sight of a teenage boy and she’s sure that it’s her missing son. Jill talks to Samira about why she likes playing morally am…
 
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