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Society & Culture

Front Row

Updated 20 days ago

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

Read more

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

iTunes Ratings

82 Ratings
Average Ratings
56
13
7
4
2

Great Arts Podcast

By SuckeredByItunes - Mar 02 2019
Read more
They cover a wide variety from theater to TV to art museums to books, sometimes the interviews are with creators/actors authors and sometimes with critics but there’s always something interesting.

Leftist elitist from BBC

By #never Viking - Feb 01 2019
Read more
Ultra left wing political views interfere with reviews. Elitists just cannot help but offend a large swath of people. I will download different podcasts thank you.

iTunes Ratings

82 Ratings
Average Ratings
56
13
7
4
2

Great Arts Podcast

By SuckeredByItunes - Mar 02 2019
Read more
They cover a wide variety from theater to TV to art museums to books, sometimes the interviews are with creators/actors authors and sometimes with critics but there’s always something interesting.

Leftist elitist from BBC

By #never Viking - Feb 01 2019
Read more
Ultra left wing political views interfere with reviews. Elitists just cannot help but offend a large swath of people. I will download different podcasts thank you.

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

Cover image of Front Row

Front Row

Latest release on Jan 11, 2021

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 20 days ago

Rank #1: Dame Judi Dench

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Dame Judi Dench looks back at her six decade career in theatre, television and film, from playing Lady Macbeth to M in Bond.

As she prepares to return to the stage for a series of conversations at the Bridge Theatre in London, Judi discusses Shakespeare, Musicals, Awards, how she copes with losing her eyesight, and how she was originally told she didn't have a face for films.

Now she has a record seven Oscar nominations and one win, eight Olivier awards and eleven BAFTAs.

Presenter: John Wilson
Producer: Timothy Prosser

Mar 12 2020

28mins

Play

Rank #2: Martin Scorsese

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In a career spanning half a century, Martin Scorsese has told stories about masculinity, music, violence, guilt and redemption – in films including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Casino and many more. Despite nine best director Oscar nominations in that time, Scorsese only has one win to his name, for The Departed. But that tally could rise if his latest movie The Irishman wins him another Oscar. For Front Row, he talks to John Wilson from New York about his hopes of winning, representation on screen, and the themes that have permeated all his work.

Jan 27 2020

37mins

Play

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Rank #3: 2020 Oscar Nominations

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John talks to Oscar nominees including Charlize Theron (Best Actress), Jonathan Pryce (Best Actor) and Florence Pugh (Best Supporting Actress).

Critics Larushka Ivan-Zadeh and Ellen E Jones discuss the films in contention. Joker has most nominations, followed by 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and The Irishman. Yet again the Best Director category is all male, though Greta Gerwig's Little Women is nominated for Best Picture.

John is also joined by producer Joanna Natasegara, whose film The Edge of Democracy is nominated for Best Documentary.

Presenter: John Wilson
Producer: Timothy Prosser

Jan 13 2020

28mins

Play

Rank #4: Hilary Mantel's Cromwell trilogy, Women in hip hop, Creativity in isolation

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Hilary Mantel's novel The Mirror and The Light is published tomorrow. In the Front Row readers' panel, three of our listeners - Deborah Stuart, Sasha Simic, and Laura Helen Back - gather to discuss the first two novels in the Cromwell trilogy, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, and to express their hopes and fears for the final instalment.

Shay D, a UK hip hop artist, is curating a national tour of women-only artists, to redress the balance of the male-dominated world. She joins Stig along with journalist J’na Jefferson from New York to talk about how women are cutting through the hip hop and rap world.

How does isolation or solitude breed creativity? As the likelihood of self-isolation increases with the coronavirus situation, what can we learn from artists about the creative properties of solitude, loneliness and even boredom? We discuss with composer and musician Errollyn Wallen, who composes from a remote lighthouse in Scotland, and poet and author Andrew Greig, who divides his time living in Edinburgh and the Orkney Islands.

Presenter Stig Abell
Producer Jerome Weatherald

Mar 04 2020

28mins

Play

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Rank #5: Simon Schama on Rembrandt's The Night Watch, can the performing arts survive coronavirus?

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How serious is coronavirus for the survival for the performing arts long term? As a government inquiry begins this week, it’s expected that the performing arts that serve an audience in a confined space, such as theatre, music and dance, will take the longest to return to normal, and even then some of the damage may be irreversible. Caroline Norbury, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation, Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and Julian Bird, chief executive of UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre, discuss the ramifications of the current crisis on the performing arts.

The Night Watch is arguably Rembrandt’s most famous painting. The imposing canvas from 1642, is housed in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and has been undergoing a major restoration since July last year, but work is currently on hold because of the lockdown. The museum recently posted online a ‘hyper-resolution’ photograph of the masterpiece, allowing the viewer unprecedented access to the painting’s finest details. Historian Simon Schama discusses what the image reveals about the painting and the artist.

Presenter: John Wilson
Producer: Hannah Robins

May 20 2020

28mins

Play

Rank #6: George MacKay, Shirin Neshat, Richard Thomas

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George Mackay, star of BAFTA winning film 1917, talks about his latest, The True History of the Kelly Gang, inspired by Peter Carey's novel about Australia's most infamous outlaw, Ned Kelly.

Iranian artist Shirin Neshat discusses her new exhibition Land of Dreams, which explores the experience of minorities in Trump’s America, and the fractious relationship between Iran and the US through photography and film.

Earlier this month, Front Row announced our Risk List – the top ten riskiest artworks of the 21st Century. Jerry Springer - The Opera ranked 5th for its outrageous combination of trash TV with opera that garnered over 55,000 complaints when it was broadcast. Creator Richard Thomas talks about how attitudes to offence have changed since 2000, when the opera was first staged.

Presenter: Samira Ahmed
Producer: Timothy Prosser

Feb 19 2020

28mins

Play

Rank #7: Inua Ellams on Three Sisters, Noah Baumbach on Marriage Story, Art goes Bananas

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Inua Ellams, writer of the hit play Barber Shop Chronicles, has transposed Chekhov's Three Sisters to 1960s Nigeria, on the brink of the Biafran Civil War. His new version of Three Sisters is at London's National Theatre.

Two bananas taped to a wall with duct tape have just been sold for $120,000 each at the Art Basel fair in Miami. These works of art were created by Maurizio Cattelan, whose 18 carat gold toilet was stolen from Blenheim Palace recently. So has the artworld gone bananas? Art critic Louisa Buck gives her view.

Marriage Story, which stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a divorcing couple, has just swept the board at the Gotham Awards and is a frontrunner for BAFTAs and Oscars. As it is released onto Netflix, Stig talks to writer-director Noah Baumbach.

Presenter Stig Abell
Producer Timothy Prosser

Dec 06 2019

28mins

Play

Rank #8: Hugh Grant and Matthew McConaughey, Daisy Coulam, Bill Bryson

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Hugh Grant and Matthew McConaughey discuss working with Guy Ritchie on his new gangster film The Gentlemen, but never actually sharing a scene.

Television writer Daisy Coulam, whose credits include Grantchester, Humans and Lost in Paradise, talks to Nikki Bedi about Deadwater Fell, her new crime drama for Channel 4 starring David Tennant, which explores the impact the murder of a mother and her three children has on the small Scottish town where they lived.

The American writer Bill Bryson discusses his love of the aesthetics and culture of English churches, and Australian photographer Cameron Newham describes his project to photograph in detail every one of the more than 10,000 parish churches in England.

Presenter Nikki Bedi
Producer Jerome Weatherald

Jan 03 2020

28mins

Play

Rank #9: Coldplay and Leonard Cohen albums, Norman Cornish, Roy Chubby Brown controversy

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Coldplay's new album Everyday Life is released today after a performance at sunrise in Jordan this morning. Also out is Leonard Cohen's posthumous album Thanks for the Dance, completed by his son Adam. Kieran Yates reviews.

The controversial comedian Roy Chubby Brown is at the centre of a row in Middlesbrough, as Mayor Andy Preston has sanctioned the booking of the entertainer and the Head of the Town Hall Lorna Fulton resigns, reportedly in protest. Stig is joined by Andy Preston and Philip Bernays, chief exec of Newcastle's Theatre Royal Trust, who banned the comedian from the City Hall last year.

To celebrate the centenary of the birth of the County Durham artist and miner Norman Cornish, the Bowes Museum is holding the first major retrospective of his work, including his drawings of mining community life. William Feaver, who has written about ‘pitmen painters’, discusses his art and career.

This week literary agent Clare Alexander and publisher John Mitchinson have been reflecting on aspects of how the publishing industry works from the power of Amazon to the boom in independent publishing. In their final discussion they consider the changes and challenges that lie ahead.

Presenter: Stig Abell
Producer: Timothy Prosser

Nov 22 2019

28mins

Play

Rank #10: Noughts + Crosses, Pretty Woman the Musical, the rise of Subtitles

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Koby Adom on directing Malorie Blackman's best-selling young adult novel Noughts + Crosses for BBC1, creating an alternative world where Europe has been colonised by Africa, the ruling class are black and the white population are slaves.

As Korean film Parasite dominates the box office, have theatre, film and TV audiences become more accepting of subtitles? Declan Donnellan, artistic director of theatre company Cheek by Jowl, who is directing Thomas Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy on stage in Italian with English surtitles, discusses with Film and TV critic Hannah McGill.

The Broadway production of Pretty Woman The Musical, based on the 1990s classic rom-com, has transferred to London, featuring new songs co-written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, and a book based on the original film script. Liz Carr, actor and fan of the film, reviews.

Presenter: Samira Ahmed
Producer: Timothy Prosser

Main Image: Sephy Hadley (Masali Baduza) and Callum McGregor (Jack Rowan) in Noughts + Crosses. Credit: BBC / Mammoth Screen / Ilze Kitshoff

Mar 03 2020

28mins

Play

Rank #11: Director Céline Sciamma, conductor André J. Thomas, clash of the titles

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French director Céline Sciamma on her BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated film Portrait of a Lady on Fire, about an 18th Century artist who falls in love with the woman she is painting. Critics have hailed it as a manifesto for the female gaze.

André J. Thomas, composer and conductor of gospel music and spirituals, discusses the African-American musical tradition and his forthcoming event, Symphonic Gospel Spirit with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in London this weekend.

In a year which has seen two novels published called Queenie, joining the swelling ranks of books that have the same titles from Possession to Joyland, from Life After Life to Twilight – writer and international trade lawyer Petina Gappah joins art critic Richard Cork to discuss what’s in a name across the arts.

Presenter Samira Ahmed
Producer Jerome Weatherald

Main image above: Noémie Merlant (Left) as Marianne and Adèle Haenel as Héloïse in Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
Image credit: Lilies Films

Feb 27 2020

28mins

Play

Rank #12: Tom Stoppard, Steve McQueen, South Korean film guide

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Leopoldstadt is the area of Vienna where poor Jews lived, and the title of Tom Stoppard’s new play. It’s about a family who come from there but, cultured, clever, successful and assimilated, no longer live there when the play begins. It follows their story from 1899 to 1955, from fin de siècle optimism to the aftermath of the Holocaust. Talking to John Wilson in the theatre, Sir Tom Stoppard speaks about how, in the 1990s, he came to appreciate his own Jewishness and how, now in his 80s, he came to write what might be his last play, about a family whose tragic story parallels that of his own.

After the unprecedented success of South Korean film Parasite, which was the first foreign language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday, Hyun Jin Cho, film curator at the Korean Cultural Centre, offers a guide for fans of the film of what to watch next.

Oscar-winning film director Sir Steve McQueen discusses the first survey of his art in the UK for over 20 years. The show at Tate Modern sees the Turner Prize-winning artist revisit works which include film, photography and sculpture, that he’s created in the last two decades.

Presenter: John Wilson
Producer: Simon Richardson

Image: Tom Stoppard
Image credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Feb 11 2020

28mins

Play

Rank #13: Terry Jones remembered by Michael Palin, Hugh Laurie on Avenue 5, Gabrielle Aplin

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Michael Palin remembers his friend and fellow Python, Terry Jones - writer, director, actor and historian - whose death at the age of 77 was announced today.

Hugh Laurie discusses his new role in Armando Iannucci’s new TV comedy drama Avenue 5, which is set on a galactic cruise liner. When a mishap turns the eight-week pleasure jaunt among the stars into a voyage lasting three-and-a-half years it’s not just the spacecraft that begins to breakdown – it’s civilisation itself. And masks begin to slip. Laurie stars as the urbane, silver-haired Ryan Clark, the confidence inspiring Captain. But Clark is not what he seems.

Mental health, the pressures of social media and a feeling of freedom all feature in Gabrielle Aplin’s upbeat pop album Dear Happy. The singer-songwriter talks to Samira about making the album on her own record label and performs live in the studio.

As Front Row continues to explore risk in the arts, author Kerry Hudson speaks about the emotional risk involved in writing her memoir Lowborn: Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns.

Presenter Samira Ahmed
Producer Jerome Weatherald

Jan 22 2020

28mins

Play

Rank #14: Jojo Rabbit reviewed, Alex Michaelides, protecting artworks from light damage

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Taika Waititi’s new film Jojo Rabbit is a satire about a 10-year-old budding Nazi who falls under the spell of his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler, played by the New Zealand writer and director. Jason Solomons reviews the film which also stars Scarlett Johansson, Stephen Merchant and first-time child actor Roman Griffin Davis who has been nominated for a Golden Globe.

Alex Michaelides is the author of The Silent Patient, a twisty thriller that has become the biggest selling fiction debut of 2019 internationally and has been optioned by Brad Pitt’s film company. He discusses his love of Agatha Christie, the influence of psychology and Greek myth on his story, and the silencing of women.

Damage to artworks, photographs and documents from exposure to light is something to which galleries and archivists have to give serious consideration. Samira visits The National Archives at Kew to find out how they measure and assess the fragility of individual works, and speaks to Dr Lora Angelova, Head of Conservation Research, and Conservator Emilie Cloos about how best to protect and display vulnerable artefacts.

Presenter: Samira Ahmed
Producer: Hannah Robins

Main Image: Jojo Rabbit featuring Taika Waititi and Roman Griffin Davis. Photograph: Kimberley French / Twentieth Century Fox

Jan 02 2020

28mins

Play

Rank #15: Tributes to Clive James and Sir Jonathan Miller

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The deaths of two giants of the arts were announced today. The Australian poet, critic, broadcaster, poet, translator and essayist, Clive James, and the theatre and opera director, actor, author and medical doctor Sir Jonathan Miller. Shahidha Bari is joined by Ian McEwan, Eric Idle, Norman Lebrecht, Melvin Bragg and Pete Atkin to pay tribute.

Presenter: Shahidha Bari
Producer: Tim Prosser and the Front Row team

Nov 27 2019

28mins

Play

Rank #16: Jonathan Coe, Johnny Flynn on Magnitsky the Musical, Selena Gomez album reviewed

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Jonathan Coe talks about Middle England which has won the Costa Novel Award 2019. Set in the outskirts of Birmingham where car factories have been replaced by pound shops and in a London beset by riots and Olympic fever, it’s a state of the nation novel that tries to make sense of our times, with characters from both sides of the EU referendum divide.

Pop megastar Selena Gomez releases her 3rd studio album Rare. She’s been through an emotional rollercoaster in recent years, including an emergency kidney transplant, mental health struggles and public break-ups with Justin Bieber and The Weeknd - all inspiration for the album, which she describes as her most honest yet. Sophie Harris reviews.

Johnny Flynn was nominated for an Olivier Award for his performance in Jerusalem and won acclaim for his score for the BBC 4 series Detectorists. For BBC Radio 3 he has co-written the strange tale of a tax adviser’s struggle to uncover Russian tax fraud, his imprisonment by the authorities, and an American financier’s crusade for justice. Flynn tells us about Magnitsky The Musical, which tells the story of the origins of the Magnitsky Act which allows governments to sanction those whom they see as offenders against human rights.

And as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex indicate that their roles will be changing, Jan Dalley comments on royal patrons in the arts.

Presenter: Stig Abell
Producer: Sarah Johnson

Jan 10 2020

28mins

Play

Rank #17: Harriet, Les Misérables and social realist films, risk in publishing, street art

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The story of the slave abolitionist Harriet Tubman has finally made it to the big screen where she is played by Cynthia Erivo. Gaylene Gould reviews.

After France’s President Macron was reportedly “shaken by the accuracy” of new French film Les Misérables, depicting life today in the deprived outer suburbs of Paris, French critic Agnès Poirier joins us to discuss modern attitudes toward social realist cinema in the UK, France and elsewhere.

The Christmas sales are the most important time in the publishing industry as sees a number of companies go from the red into the black. As they continue their reflections on how the book industry operates, literary agent Clare Alexander and publisher John Mitchinson consider the nature of risk, and whether it pays to be one of the big conglomerates or a small independent outfit.

And Jonathan Moberly explains how the Weavers Community Action Group commissioned street artists — calling themselves the Columbia Road Cartel — to combat drug dealing in their local area.

Presenter: Kirsty Lang
Producer: Hilary Dunn

Nov 21 2019

28mins

Play