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Society & Culture

Front Row: Archive 2014

Updated about 1 month ago

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

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

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Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

Cover image of Front Row: Archive 2014

Front Row: Archive 2014

Latest release on Dec 31, 2014

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail about 1 month ago

Rank #1: Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid; new Bill Viola installation at St Paul's Cathedral; St Vincent

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Kirsty talks to Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid who are starring in Bakersfield Mist in London's West End, and meets artist Bill Viola who has created a new permanent installation for St Paul's Cathedral. Also tonight, musician St Vincent discusses her literary influences, and should opera stars be critiqued on their appearance?

May 21 2014

28mins

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Rank #2: Nadine Gordimer remembered, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Utopia

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Paul Theroux, Albie Sachs and Justin Cartwright remember the Nobel Prize-winning South African novelist Nadine Gordimer whose death was announced today; Matt Reeves on directing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, starring Andy Serkis and Gary Oldman; and Dennis Kelly discusses his TV drama series Utopia, which deals with a plan created by 'The Network' to control the expanding world population by sterilising 95% of its inhabitants.

Jul 14 2014

28mins

Play

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Rank #3: Jesse Eisenberg, Kate Bush, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Our Zoo

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The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg discusses his latest role as a radical environmentalist in his new film Night Moves; Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard on Boyhood Island, the latest addition to his autobiographical My Struggle series; Lucy Jones reviews Kate Bush's comeback concert in London last night, and Rachel Cooke reviews new TV drama series Our Zoo, based on the creation of Chester Zoo in the 1930s.

Producer Jerome Weatherald.

Aug 27 2014

28mins

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Rank #4: Costa Book Awards; 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen; Mexico's cultural leaders

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With Mark Lawson

Front Row announces the category winners for this year's Costa Book Awards. The director of the Costa Book Awards, Bud McLintock, announces the winners of the novel, first novel, poetry, biography and children's book categories and literary critic Sam Leith discusses the judges' choices.

Steve McQueen discusses 12 Years A Slave, a film which tells the true story of Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. The film has already seen McQueen named Director of the Year at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and is hotly tipped for Oscar success. With previous films including Hunger and Shame, McQueen explains what attracts him to projects, and why the subject of slavery needed to be tackled.

As part of Radio 4's MINT season, Front Row begins a short series of discussions and interviews looking at the cultural life of the MINT countries. Today the focus is on Mexico: film critic Fernanda Solórzano tells Mark about the current state of Mexican cinema.

Mark hears from some of Front Row's People of the Year 2013 about their plans for 2014, and their upcoming projects in the next year. Film director Clio Barnard discusses working with a writer for the first time to adapt a novel for the screen, and actress Olivia Colman talks about learning to salsa with Nick Frost for her next film.

Producer Claire Bartleet.

Jan 06 2014

28mins

Play

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Rank #5: Venus in Fur; Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti; The Normal Heart; Michael Cunningham

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Kirsty Lang discusses Venus in Fur, the new film by Roman Polanksi; playwright Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, whose 2001 play Bezhti was pulled from theatres after rioting, on her new work for the Birmingham Rep Theatre - Khandan - about cultural clashes in a modern Sikh family; Boyd Hilton reviews HBO / Sky Atlantic drama The Normal Heart, starring Julia Roberts as a doctor dealing with the AIDs crisis in 80s New York; and author Michael Cunningham (The Hours), who has based the characters in his new novel The Snow Queen on real-life friends.

May 27 2014

28mins

Play

Rank #6: Johnny Marr; Frank Auerbach at Tate; Alex Gibney on Fela Kuti

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Johnny Marr discusses his new album Playland and reflects on his relationship with the guitar from The Smiths to his solo work. As Tate Britain unveils Lucian Freud's collection of Frank Auerbach's work, curator Elena Crippa explains what the collection can tell us about the relationship between the two artists. And Oscar-winning documentary maker Alex Gibney, famous for his investigative films about Enron and Lance Armstrong, explains why his new film explores the life and music of Nigerian superstar Fela Kuti.

Producer: Ellie Bury
Presenter: John Wilson.

Aug 26 2014

28mins

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Rank #7: Nigel Havers; Malevich at Tate Modern; Michael Rosen; Caine Prize for African Writing

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John Wilson talks to Nigel Havers and director Lucy Bailey about their revival of The Importance of Being Earnest, framed within the confines of an amateur dramatics production of the play. Art critic Charlotte Mullins reviews a major retrospective of Russian modernist Kazimir Malevich at Tate Modern. The winner of the Caine Prize for African writing, Okwiri Oduor, talks about her winning short story and the impact she hopes the prize will have on her Writing, and head judge, Jackie Kay, reveals why Okwiri's story was an unanimous winner. And author Michael Rosen on the enduring appeal of We're Going On A Bear Hunt, 25 years on and a record-beating reading.

Jul 15 2014

28mins

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Rank #8: Richard Bean

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In a Front Row special, playwright Richard Bean discusses his prolific and varied career, which includes One Man, Two Guvnors and three new plays this year alone: Great Britain, Pitcairn and Made in Dagenham.

James Corden, who played the original lead in One Man, Two Guvnors, talks to John Wilson about what is possibly the best role he'll ever play.

And National Theatre director Nicholas Hytner explains the success of his collaborations with Bean, which include this year's phone-hacking satire starring Billie Piper, Great Britain.

Presenter John Wilson
Producer Claire Bartleet.

Aug 25 2014

28mins

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Rank #9: WWI Galleries at the Imperial War Museum, Linda Grant, John Fay, Grand Central

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The curators of the new First World War Galleries at the Imperial War Museum in London walk Samira Ahmed round their new exhibition, part of the extensive new design for the building. Linda Grant discusses her new novel Upstairs at the Party, where the arrival of a glamorous, androgynous couple at a university campus in the '70s has long-term consequences. John Fay returns to The Mill, his Channel 4 drama series. And Catherine Bray reviews the French film Grand Central which stars Blue is the Warmest Colour's Léa Seydoux.

Jul 16 2014

28mins

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Rank #10: Margaret Atwood on her first opera, Neel Mukherjee and Quirke

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Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood discusses the world premiere of her first opera Pauline, live from Vancouver; Ranald McInnes on the Glasgow Art School fire; Neel Mukherjee on his new novel The Lives of Others, set during the political unrest in India in the 1960s; Amat Escalante, director of new film Heli, reveals the background to his drama about drugs, violence and corruption in a remote community in rural Mexico; and Jake Arnott reviews new British TV drama Quirke starring Gabriel Byrne and written by Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson, an adaptation of the novels by Benjamin Black (John Banville).

Producer Jerome Weatherald.

May 23 2014

28mins

Play

Rank #11: Dawn French, Coldplay album reviewed, Ben Miles on Thomas Cromwell

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Actress, writer and comedian Dawn French talks candidly to Kirsty about preparations for her first ever solo stage show, and why she's decided to include personal stories in her performance ranging from her marriages, body issues and family tragedy. Ben Miles - who plays Thomas Cromwell in the RSC version of Hilary Mantel's novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies - on being onstage for nearly six hours. Plus after lead singer Chris Martin's conscious uncoupling from Gwyneth Paltrow, we review the Coldplay album which supposedly reveals his heartbreak.

May 16 2014

28mins

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Rank #12: Fading Gigolo, Fatboy Slim, Julian Opie, Cannes festival

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John Wilson reviews Fading Gigolo, which follows two friends who become an unlikely gigolo and pimp in a bid to make money. Written and directed by John Turturro, the film stars Woody Allen as a Brooklyn bookseller who becomes his friend's "manager." Larushka Ivan-Zedeh reviews.
DJ and producer Fatboy Slim discusses his new double album of Brazilian party music which coincides with the start of the World Cup and is a reaction against the pop-heavy official album released by Fifa. Plus the artist Julian Opie on a new exhibition at the Holburne Museum in Bath which brings together his work with art that he has collected, including 17th Century painting and ancient Egyptian sculpture. And Jason Solomons reports from the Cannes Film Festival.

May 20 2014

28mins

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Rank #13: Nymphomaniac; Joanne M Harris; Robert Cohan

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Nymphomaniac is the latest film from acclaimed Danish director Lars Von Trier. It stars Charlotte Gainsbourg as Joe, a woman who describes herself as "nymphomaniac", telling her story to a man who has found her in the street after a beating. In the flashbacks to her past, the young Joe is played by Stacey Martin alongside a cast that includes Shia LaBeouf and Christian Slater. Antonia Quirke reviews.

Joanne M. Harris, bestselling author of Chocolat, has written her first epic fantasy novel for adults, The Gospel of Loki. Based on ancient mythology, the book follows the rise and fall of the Norse gods from the perspective of the trickster Loki, popularised in Marvel's Thor comics which have recently been adapted into blockbuster films.

Robert Cohan is widely described as the founding father of Britain's contemporary dance movement. His career, spanning over 6 decades, has included dancing with Ginger Rogers and the legendary Martha Graham. Cohan, who was born in America, discusses how he came to revolutionise British dance whilst rehearsing a reimagining of his only female solo Canciones Del Alma.

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson star in True Detective, a new HBO detective series. The show follows two contrasting detectives as they investigate a ritual killing in Louisiana.

Producer: Claire Bartleet.

Feb 20 2014

28mins

Play

Rank #14: John Kander on Cabaret, The Scottsboro Boys and Chicago

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Kirsty Lang talks to John Kander, composer of Cabaret, New York New York and Chicago and one half of Broadway partnership Kander and Ebb.

87 year old John Kander discusses The Scottsboro Boys, his final work with lyricist Fred Ebb, which is currently a hit in London's West End.

How he and Ebb discovered Liza Minnelli, and why Judi Dench remains his favourite Sally Bowles (Cabaret) on stage.

Dec 24 2014

28mins

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Rank #15: Unbroken, Young Fathers, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Miranda Richardson

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Unbroken is Angelina Jolie's second film as director. Starring British actor Jack O'Connell it tells the story of US Olympian Louis Zamperini who was captured during WW2 and sent to a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Mark Eccleston reviews.

Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers discuss the origins of the band and why they strive to avoid simple classification.

Miranda Richardson discusses her role with Anna Chancellor in a new TV version of Mapp and Lucia.

At an exhibition of his photographs in London, dance star Mikhail Baryshnikov explains how smuggled European magazines inspired his love of photography when he was growing up in 1960s Russia.

Dec 23 2014

28mins

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Rank #16: Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones; Renee Fleming; Billie Whitelaw remembered

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Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones talk to John Wilson about their new film The Theory of Everything about the physicist Stephen Hawking; soprano Renée Fleming on her new album Christmas in New York; Billie Whitelaw remembered by former theatre critic Benedict Nightingale; and Adam Smith considers the dark side of Christmas films.

Producer Jerome Weatherald.

Dec 22 2014

28mins

Play

Rank #17: Miranda Hart, John Rutter, Seamus Heaney

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Miranda Hart tells Razia Iqbal about the emotional filming of the final episodes of her sitcom Miranda.

The latest instalment of the Night of the Museum franchise, starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, is set in the British Museum. But how do you film riotous action sequences in one of the busiest museums in the world, full of priceless artefacts? Razia tours the museum with the film's location manager, Michael Harm.
Before his death last August Seamus Heaney was working on a selection of poems from the second half of his career. His 'New Selected Poems 1988 - 2013' has now been published. It ends with 'In Time', a poem written for his granddaughter just a fortnight before he died. Maurice Riordan, editor of 'Poetry Review', reviews the selection.

And composer John Rutter tells Razia what makes the perfect Christmas carol.

Dec 19 2014

28mins

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Rank #18: Esio Trot, Robert Olen Butler, The Thompson Family, The Interview controversy

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Two well-loved children's books have been adapted for television - Roald Dahl's Esio Trot and The Boy in the Dress by comedian and author David Walliams. Children's book editor Julia Eccleshare discusses whether the characters in the novels come to life on the small screen.

Razia Iqbal talks to Pulitzer prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler who has turned his hand from literary fiction to writing espionage thrillers. He discusses The Hot Country, his new historical novel about an American journalist reporting on the Mexican Revolution.

Sony has cancelled the release of The Interview, a comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogan that pokes fun at North Korea, after threats from hackers. US film critic Matt Prigge has seen The Interview and discusses its merits as a film.

Years ago Richard and Linda Thompson were a great musical partnership but then they got divorced. Now their son Teddy has brought them together with their daughter, Kami Thompson and her husband James Walbourne, another son, Jack Thompson, and grandson Zak. The Thompson Family have made an album together called - inevitably - 'Family'. Razia meets Richard, Teddy and Kami as they prepare to perform it live.

Presenter: Razia Iqbal
Producer: Olivia Skinner.

Dec 18 2014

28mins

Play

Rank #19: Christoph Waltz, Treasure Island, Mozart in the Jungle, Unread e-Books

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Double Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz on working with Tim Burton in Big Eyes, and responds to rumours surrounding his role in the new James Bond film.

Kirsty goes backstage at the National Theatre on the set that really is the star of Treasure Island - it's a ship, a pub, a cave and a strange, pulsating island. And a pirate's corpse.

Radio 3's Petroc Trelawney reviews Mozart in the Jungle, a new 'webseries' about a wild young conductor who tries to rejuvenate the New York Symphony.

And, novelists Lawrence Norfolk and Kate Pullinger discuss the implications of the recent data released by e-reader Kobo about which books are most often left unfinished.

Dec 17 2014

28mins

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Rank #20: Willy Russell switches on the Front Row neon artwork, Kon-Tiki review, Dementia-friendly theatre

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Forty years after his breakthrough play - John, Paul, George, Ringo...and Bert, the celebrated playwright, musician, and novelist Willy Russell reveals the word he has chosen for the new Front Row neon artwork. He joins Kirsty Lang on the roof of the BBC's Salford home to turn it on.

A review of Kon-Tiki, a new film about Thor Heyerdahl's famous journey across the Pacific ocean.

Tomorrow the West Yorkshire Playhouse will be the setting for the UK's first ever 'dementia friendly' theatre performance - a specially adapted theatre performance of a new production of Irving Berlin's Broadway musical White Christmas. Front Row visited the Playhouse to find out more about this performance from those involved with developing it.

Dec 15 2014

28mins

Play