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Front Row: Archive 2012
29 minutes | Aug 25, 2021
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.
30 minutes | Aug 6, 2014
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.
29 minutes | Dec 31, 2012
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.
28 minutes | Dec 28, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 27, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 26, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 25, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 24, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 21, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 20, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 19, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 18, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 13, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 12, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 11, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 7, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 6, 2012
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.
28 minutes | Dec 5, 2012
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.
29 minutes | Dec 4, 2012
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.
28 minutes | Dec 3, 2012
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.
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