Front Row: Archive 2014



Magazine programme on the worlds of arts, literature, film, media and music.


  • Ian McKellen, Nan Goldin, The Past, New Worlds

    25/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With John Wilson Andrew Dickson reviews Channel 4's new drama series New Worlds, set in the turbulent 1680's, a time of torture and show trials as the reign of Charles II goes from tolerance to tyranny. New Worlds stars Jamie Dornan and Freya Mavor. American photographer Nan Goldin talks to John about her latest collection of work which comprises of more than 300 photographs exploring the theme of childhood, why digital photography is not for her, and how the camera saved her life. To mark Radio 4's forthcoming Character Invasion Day - when fictional characters will be taking over the network - Front Row asked five of Britain's leading actors to talk about their experience of playing an iconic character. Sir Ian McKellen discusses taking on the role of Estragon in Waiting for Godot - a play voted the most significant English language play of the 20th century in a National Theatre poll of 800 playwrights, actors, directors and journalists. The Past is the new film from the Iranian writer and director of th

  • Tom Hollander, Emma Donoghue, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

    24/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With John Wilson Tom Hollander on playing The Reverend Adam Smallbone as television sitcom Rev returns to our screens for a third series. Emma Donoghue talks about 'Frog Music', her first novel since 'Room', and in a stark departure, her new book is set in 1876 in San Francisco, in the middle of a stifling heat wave and smallpox epidemic. Based on real events, the story opens with the murder of the eccentric Jenny Bonet, frog catcher and wearer of "mens' clothes" at a time when such a thing was illegal. Emma Donoghue tells John Wilson how the idea she first had 15 years ago, has finally come to fruition, and how she came to draw the conclusion that detectives at the time didn't. The latest addition to the Marvel Comics film franchise is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which sees Scarlett Johansson and Robert Redford take their part in the superhero battle between good and evil. Novelist Naomi Alderman reviews. To mark Radio 4's forthcoming Character Invasion - when fictional characters will be taking

  • Kristin Davis; Errol Morris; Mammon; Kate Bush

    21/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    Kirsty Lang talks to Kristin Davis, best known for playing Charlotte in Sex and the City, as she makes her West End debut in Fatal Attraction, directed by Trevor Nunn. The latest Nordic Noir to arrive on British TV screens is Mammon, a Norwegian thriller about a newspaper journalist. Crime writer Dreda Say Mitchell reviews. Documentary maker Errol Morris (The Fog of War) on his latest film The Unknown Known, which profiles former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld from his early days as a congressman to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In August Kate Bush will play her first live concerts in 35 years. She recently talked to John Wilson about her fears of performing live.

  • Kings of the Dance; John Banville; Yves Saint Laurent biopic

    20/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With John Wilson. Five of the world's greatest ballet stars are together on stage this week in Kings Of The Dance at The London Coliseum. John talks to principal dancers Roberto Bolle and Marcelo Gomes. John Banville, the Man Booker Prize winning author of The Sea, also writes crime fiction under the pen name Benjamin Black. Now Banville, writing as Black, has taken on the legacy of Raymond Chandler and penned a hardboiled detective novel. John Banville discusses Chandler's iconic private eye, Phillip Marlowe, and the re-creation of Chandler's literary style. The life of French designer Yves Saint Laurent is the subject of two films this year. The first biopic looks at his taking over Christian Dior's fashion house at the age of 21, and finding creative success whilst battling with personal demons. Linda Grant, Orange Prize winner and author of The Thoughtful Dresses, reviews. Director Nicholas Hytner discusses his plans for the National Theatre in the year ahead. It's the last year Hytner will be respons

  • Kylie Minogue; V&A: William Kent; Jack O'Connell on Starred Up

    19/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With John Wilson. Kylie Minogue has achieved record sales of around 70 million, and received multiple awards including a Grammy. She discusses 26 years in the music industry, her new album Kiss Me Once - which features collaborations with artists including Pharrell Williams, and the possibility of Kylie The Musical. William Kent was an 18th century polymath, an architect, designer, sculptor, artist and landscape gardener. In the years after the act of union with Scotland (1707) and the accession of the Hanoverian Royal Family (1714) Britain redefined itself as a new nation - and Kent played a dominant role in the aesthetic of the Georgian era. A new exhibition at the V&A examines Kent's life and works, demonstrating his transformative effect on the nation's taste - from Whitehall (he designed Horse Guards and the Treasury), to grand country estates, fashion and furniture. Amanda Vickery reviews. "Starred up" is the process by which difficult young offenders are moved early to adult prisons. Writer and form

  • Veronese at the National Gallery; John Morton on W1A; Labor Day reviewed

    18/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With Kirsty Lang. A new exhibition at the National Gallery Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice brings together masterpieces by Veronese from around the world, some of which have not been united since they were painted in Veronese's studio in the 16th century. Sarah Dunant reviews. Following the success of Twenty Twelve, the comedy series which revolved around preparations for the London Olympics, writer John Morton now turns his attention to the BBC. In W1A, Hugh Bonneville's Ian Fletcher has been head-hunted for the role of the BBC's Head Of Values. John talks to Kirsty about the series, and about the art of accurately catching the tone of the worlds he portrays. Labor Day stars Kate Winslet as the mother of a young boy who falls for an escaped convict, played by Josh Brolin, over the course of a Labor Day weekend. The film was adapted for the screen by the writer/director Jason Reitman from a novel by Joyce Maynard. Kate Muir reviews. Violinist and conductor Sigiswald Kuijken gives Kirsty a stu

  • Harry Hill on I Can't Sing; George Michael's Symphonica album; A Long Way Down

    17/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    I Can't Sing is a new musical based on the ITV talent show, The X -Factor, starring Nigel Harman as the Simon Cowell character. Comedian Harry Hill, who wrote the musical, and its director Sean Foley discuss bringing the talent show format from the TV screen to the stage. George Michael has released his sixth studio album Symphonica, recorded during his 2011-12 tour. The last work of legendary producer Phil Ramone, it features orchestral versions of songs by George Michael, Sting, Rufus Wainwright and Nina Simone. Nick Hornby's novel A Long Way Down has been made into a film starring Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, Toni Collette, Pierce Brosnan and Imogen Poots. Set on New Year's Eve, the story focuses on four people brought together as they face a difficult crossroad in their lives. Larushka Ivan-Zadeh reviews. Plus Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy on composing a piece for the Royal Festival Hall's newly renovated organ. Called To Our Fathers in Distress, the work is inspired by Hannoh's childhood as the son

  • David Hare, Sixto Rodriguez, Stage Kiss, Hamlet in N Korea

    14/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With John Wilson. David Hare's 2011 TV film Page Eight starred Bill Nighy as idealistic MI5 officer Johnny Worricker. Now Hare has written and directed two follow up films, Turks and Caicos and Salting the Battlefield, beginning where the last film left off with Johnny on the run from the British government after stealing an incriminating document. Ralph Fiennes, Winona Ryder and Helena Bonham Carter co-star. Folk musician Sixto Rodriguez released a couple of albums in the 1970s and then drifted into obscurity. Unbeknownst to him his music, and especially his song Sugarman, went on to become iconic in South Africa as anthems for the anti-apartheid struggle. The award-winning 2012 documentary Searching for Sugarman, which traced his revelatory trip to South Africa to meet his legion of fans, brought his music to global attention. Now 72 and touring the UK, Rodriguez discusses the impact of the rediscovery on his life since. Stage Kiss is Sarah Ruhl's play examining the onstage and offstage ramifications of

  • Terry Gilliam; Siri Hustvedt; Michael Craig-Martin at Chatworth House

    13/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With John Wilson Terry Gilliam discusses his new film The Zero Theorem set in a dystopian future where a computer hacker tries to find the meaning of life, and reflects on the Monty Python reunion. Artist Michael Craig-Martin joins John at the grounds of Chatsworth House to discuss his latest exhibition. From contemporary sculpture based on a series of line drawings by the artist and made from vibrantly coloured steel, to a curated series of head portraits from the estate's collection of old master drawings. Siri Hustvedt's best-selling novels include What I Loved and The Summer Without Men. Her new book is The Blazing World, a feminist fable about an artist who assumes the identity of various young men in order to prove that her work is taken more seriously. Siri reflects on the recurring themes of creative process and gender dynamics within her work. Produced by Ella-mai Robey.

  • Veronica Mars; Kickstarter; Vivienne Franzmann; Andres Neuman; Fake bands

    12/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With Kirsty Lang Veronica Mars, the film spin-off of the noughties TV show, is the first major Hollywood film to be crowd-funded. Raising its entire budget through the Kickstarter platform, its success inspired other high profile stars including Spike Lee and Zach Braff to finance their passion projects through the site. Briony Hanson, Head of Film at the British Council, reviews the film and discusses the impact of Kickstarter on film financing. To discuss the impact of Kickstarter - which marked another milestone last week as total pledges to the site surpassed $1 billion - CEO and co-founder Yancey Strickler discusses the future for the platform, and whether controversial pitches by celebrities are really contrary to the site's original ethos. Vivienne Franzmann's first play, Mogadishu, explored the culture of a contemporary London secondary school. It drew on her background as a secondary school teacher and went on to win her the Bruntwood Prize - the UK's biggest national playwriting competition - in

  • Under the Skin; Publicising books; Shetland; Karen Joy Fowler

    11/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With Kirsty Lang. Scarlett Johansson plays an alien wandering around Glasgow looking for human prey in Under The Skin, which was filmed without some of the cast realising they were in a movie or that they were talking to a Hollywood star. Novelist Toby Litt delivers his verdict on Jonathan Glazer's adaptation of Michael Farber's science fiction novel. On the day research from the University of Sheffield shows half the country picks up a book at least once a week for pleasure, and 45% prefer television, Front Row looks at the fast changing world of publicising books. Publishers are producing their own book programmes and podcasts, authors are appearing in online trailers and are increasingly responsible for promoting their own work. Kirsty finds out about the latest developments from Cathy Rentzenbrink from the Bookseller, Sara Lloyd from Pan Macmillan and author Toby Litt. Karen Joy Fowler's novel The Jane Austen Book Club spent 13 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was a successful Hollywood

  • Folio Prize winner, Cézanne at the Ashmolean, Jeff Beck

    10/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With John Wilson. We announce the winner of the inaugural Folio Prize and speak to her/him live from the ceremony in London. The £40,000 prize celebrates the best English-language fiction from around the world, regardless of form, genre, or the author's country of origin. Cézanne and the Modern is a new exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum Oxford, featuring the collection of Henry and Rose Pearlman. They began collecting in 1945 with a work by Jacques Lipchitz and it now includes a matchless group of paintings and watercolours by Paul Cézanne, as well as paintings and sculptures by artists including Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edouard Manet, Vincent van Gogh, and Edgar Degas. Curator John Whitely talks to John Wilson about the collection. John also talks to guitar hero Jeff Beck about a 50 year career that has seen him play with the likes of The Yardbirds, David Bowie, Eric Clapton and Morrissey. And as a new teen movie the GBF (Gay Best Friend) is about to open, writer Damian Barr looks at the

  • Alexander McCall Smith; The Walshes review; Stella Feehily

    07/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With Samira Ahmed Award winning writer Alexander McCall Smith talks about his latest novel The Forever Girl, which focuses on an expatriate community in the Cayman Islands. Smith talks about writing from a female perspective, Tartan Noir, and why - despite addressing serious issues - his work remains resolutely cheerful. The Walshes is a new comedy series about a tight-knit family in Dublin - really tight-knit: the Walshes are tripping over each other as the two kids out-grow the family home. The series is co-written by Graham Linehan with the five-strong comedy troupe, Diet Of Worms, who also play the main roles. Boyd Hilton, TV editor of Heat magazine, reviews. Set in Laos and written and directed by Australian Kim Mordaunt, The Rocket has won acclaim at film festivals. The central character is Ahlo, a young boy whose family believes he brings bad luck. After his family is displaced from their village to make way for a huge dam, Ahlo decides to prove his worth by building a rocket. Ryan Gilbey reviews.

  • Elizabeth McGovern; Jamie Lloyd; Poets Laureate

    06/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With John Wilson. The poets laureate of the UK, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland will share a stage for the first time this Friday. All the poets laureate are women - and this has never happened before in the history of the laureateships. Carol Ann Duffy, Gillian Clarke and Liz Lochhead discuss their roles as national poets and talk about reflecting a nation in verse. Reece Shearsmith (Psychoville, The League Of Gentlemen) swaps surreal dark comedy for factual drama in The Widower. Based on the crimes of convicted murderer, Malcolm Webster, the three part series charts the events that led to a charming male nurse systematically attempting to murder more than one wife. Chris Dunkley reviews. Elizabeth McGovern discusses performing with her band, Sadie And The Hotheads. Best-known for playing Cora, the Countess of Grantham, on Downton Abbey, McGovern currently switches between filming Downton Abbey in the day, and performing on stage with The Hotheads at night. She talks about song-writing and h

  • Guy Garvey; Sir David Frost's memorial; 300 - Rise of an Empire

    05/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With John Wilson. Guy Garvey, Elbow's lead singer and guitarist, talks about the band's sixth studio album, The Take Off and Landing of Everything. Written during a period of change for the band, the lyrics cover the break-up of a long term relationship. Guy Garvey discusses how recent events inspired the band's song writing. 300: Rise Of An Empire is the sequel to 2007's 300, and - like the original - inspired by the work of graphic novelist Frank Miller, and with the same stylised, blood-spattered storyline. The sequel focusses on Themistokles, the Athenian general who - during the same three days as Thermopylae - led the Greek navy against the Persian navy, commanded by a brutal woman named Artemisia. Natalie Haynes reviews. The broadcaster Sir David Frost is to have a memorial stone in Westminster Abbey. The Dean of the Abbey gives John a tour of the site and David Frost's new neighbours, and explains how decisions about these memorials are reached. Producer: Olivia Skinner.

  • Vikings at British Museum; John Carter Cash; 37 Days

    04/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With John Wilson, An enormous Viking longboat - the biggest ever discovered - is the central piece in the British Museum's new exhibition about the Viking era. Taking pride of place in the museum's newly-constructed Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery, the longboat is surrounded by other artefacts of warfare, as well as many treasures that the Vikings created - or looted. A year ago, British Museum director Neil MacGregor took John round the work-in-progress when the gallery was still a building-site; now he explains how the new space will aid future displays, and curator Gareth Williams gives John a tour of the ferocious Viking weaponry and stunning jewellery. As part of a BBC series marking the centenary of World War One, Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars) and Tim Pigott-Smith (Spooks) star in political thriller 37 Days. Set in Whitehall and Berlin during 1914, the factual drama chronicles the count down to the start of the First World War. Sarah Crompton reviews. John Carter Cash talks about his father and his legacy

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel, Marie Darrieussecq; Alan Ayckbourn

    03/03/2014 Duración: 28min

    With Samira Ahmed. The Grand Budapest Hotel is the latest film from Wes Anderson, the director of Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tenenbaums. It follows the adventures of a flamboyant hotel concierge Gustave H, played by Ralph Fiennes, and his trainee Lobby Boy, Zero, played by Tony Revolori. Larushka Ivan-Zedeh reviews. The French film director Alain Resnais has died at the age of 91. His last film, The Life of Riley, was based on a play by Alan Ayckbourn and will be released this month. Alan Ayckbourn discusses his relationship with Resnais, who adapted three of his plays for the screen. A new exhibition at Tate Britain explores the lure of ruins for artists ranging from John Constable to Rachel Whiteread. Ruin Lust includes paintings of picturesque ruins from the 18th Century and 20th century photographs of inner city decay. Author Iain Sinclair discusses why so many artists have found ruins compelling. French author Marie Darrieussecq's latest novel, All The Way, charts the sexual awakening of Solange,

  • Damon Albarn on going solo; Maxine Peake; Jonathan Yeo; Suranne Jones; Kiran Leonard

    28/02/2014 Duración: 33min

    Presented by John Wilson Since Damon Albarn's introduction to the public as the lead singer of Blur, he's become famous for his collaborations with a wide range of partners including artist Jamie Hewlett, the next Artistic Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris, and Soul legend Bobby Womack. As he prepares to play songs from his forthcoming debut solo album, for a special 6Music festival gig, Damon talks to John about going it alone. Maxine Peake is one of the subjects in a new exhibition at the Lowry dedicated to portrait painter Jonathon Yeo. Maxine and Jonathan describe the experience of creating a portrait from their different perspectives. And when she's not being captured in oils, Maxine is the star of the BBC legal drama Silk where she plays the role of barrister Martha Costello QC. The new series of Silk starts this week and Maxine discusses how Martha's character has developed. Suranne Jones plays one half of television police duo Scott and Bailey. The series, described as the "Cagney and L

  • Marc Almond and John Harle; Willy Russell on Liverpool's Everyman Theatre; Gary Shteyngart

    27/02/2014 Duración: 28min

    With Will Gompertz. Marc Almond and John Harle discuss their new collaboration, The Tyburn Tree, a collection of songs about Gothic London, whose subjects include the Highgate Vampire, Jack The Ripper and the Elizabethan mystic John Dee. 50 years ago the Liverpool Everyman theatre opened its doors to the public for the first time. 40 years ago, Willy Russell provided the theatre with his first big hit play and their first London transfer - John, Paul, George, Ringo... and Bert. As the Everyman re-opens after an extensive three-year building project, Willy Russell discusses the theatre's past. Gemma Bodinetz, Artistic Director of the Everyman and Playhouse theatres, and theatre writer Lyn Gardner discuss what the role of the theatre building should be in the 21st century. Gary Shteyngart, the Russian-born American author, whose books include The Russian Debutante's Handbook and Super Sad True Love Story, has recently released his memoir, Little Failure. Named after the nickname bestowed upon him by his moth

  • Peter Gabriel; Paco Peña; Helen Oyeyemi; Great War in art; Mark Thomas

    26/02/2014 Duración: 28min

    With John Wilson. Peter Gabriel's film Back to Front documents the experience of performing his most commercially successful album, 1986's So, with the band he originally toured with. He tells John why despite being a famously forward looking artist, he wanted to revisit the album once more. The National Portrait Gallery's exhibition The Great War in Portraits explores how artistic representations of the conflict and its participants changed as the fighting progressed. Beginning with magisterial portraits of leaders and generals and finishing with the anguished German expressionism of the Die Brücke group, the show depicts the vastly divergent experiences bound up in 'the war to end all wars'. Rachel Cooke reviews. One of the world's most celebrated flamenco guitarists, Paco de Lucia, has died in Mexico, at the age of 66. In 2004, he was awarded Spain's prestigious Asturias Prize for Art as the "most universal of flamenco artists". We speak to his friend and fellow flamenco guitarist Paco Pena about his le

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