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Front Row: Archive 2014
29 minutes | Dec 31, 2014
People of the Year - Part Two
In the second programme celebrating the arts highlights from 2014, John Wilson hears from Benedict Cumberbatch, Timothy Spall, Keira Knightley and Eddie Redmayne as they discuss the challenges of playing real life figures in film. Dolly Parton, Joan Baez, Iggy Pop and Emma Thompson talk about the impact of age on their chosen careers as Daria Klimentova explains why she decided to retire from the world of ballet. Michael Sheen discusses his passion for Dylan Thomas in this anniversary year, and Simon Schama and Hilary Spurling enthuse about Rembrandt and Matisse. And pop newcomers, Sam Smith and Young Fathers reflect on their successes over the last year.
31 minutes | Dec 30, 2014
People of the Year 2014 - Part 1
John Wilson talks to the people who have had exceptional years in the worlds of the arts, culture and entertainment in 2014, in the first of two special programmes. Carey Mulligan discusses making her west end debut in Skylight, and the thrill of taking to the stage after her many film roles. Gillian Anderson, lauded for her performances on television in The Fall and on stage in A Streetcar Named Desire, talks about playing two very different women. Two of the biggest selling musicians of 2014, Ed Sheeran and Paolo Nutini, discuss the song writing process and award winning authors Hilary Mantel and Lionel Shriver on the art of writing short stories. Kristen Scott Thomas and Helen McCrory, who stunned audiences with their stage performances in Greek tragedies Electra and Medea, on the visceral experience of playing tragic heroines. Designer Tom Piper and ceramicist Paul Cummins explain why their poppies installation at the Tower of London, which marked the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, struck a chord with millions of people and artist Marina Abramovic on her bravest installation yet. And, following two of the biggest comebacks of 2014, John Cleese remembers the Pythons' reunion and Adrian Noble discusses directing Kate Bush. Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Olivia Skinner.
29 minutes | Dec 29, 2014
The rise and rise of Event Cinema
Kirsty Lang investigates the flourishing phenomenon of so-called event cinema. Plays, musicals and operas in major cities have become available throughout the country on the big - and sometimes small - screen in local cinemas. Eric Felner, the producer of Billy Elliot the Musical tells of his delight at the performance in September that topped the cinema box office, beating Denzel Washington's The Equalizer into second place. David Sabel, the Head of Digital at the National Theatre responsible for NT Live, analyses the success of Frankenstein, War Horse and many other shows. Helen McCrory talks about what the live screening of Medea felt like and Lesley Manville and Richard Eyre describe having their theatre production of Ibsen's Ghosts filmed. Front Row hears from some who fear the impact of event cinema on local theatre and on touring; Lorne Campbell of Northern Stage and the playwright Alan Ayckbourn voice their concerns. And what is the future of event screening? Presenter: Kirsty Lang Producer: Sarah Johnson.
29 minutes | Dec 29, 2014
The Art of Book Cover Design
John Wilson explores the art of book cover design and meets artist Suzanne Dean, who has been responsible for more Booker-winning covers than any other designer. Writers Ian McEwan, Tom McCarthy and Audrey Niffenegger discuss the art that represents their words and Telegraph books editor Gaby Wood provides a reader's perspective on what makes a book stand out in a bookshop. As more of us than ever read books on e-readers, is beautiful design the key to the survival of the physical book?
30 minutes | Dec 25, 2014
Sir Alan Ayckbourn
In conversation with Kirsty Lang, Sir Alan Ayckbourn discusses his long and prolific career that has seen him, at the age of 75, premiere his 78th play - Roundelay. Sir Alan is one of this country's most celebrated playwrights. His ability to write and stage his tales of British middle-class domestic disharmony in ever more inventive ways has endeared him to a national audience. However, with his plays performed worldwide, he has a devoted international audience as well. He talks to Kirsty Lang about Scarborough, his adopted home, his love of event theatre, and his belief in theatre's power to connect people - whether they want to be connected or not.
29 minutes | Dec 24, 2014
John Kander on Cabaret, The Scottsboro Boys and Chicago
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.
30 minutes | Dec 23, 2014
Unbroken, Young Fathers, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Miranda Richardson
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.
29 minutes | Dec 22, 2014
Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones; Renee Fleming; Billie Whitelaw remembered
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.
29 minutes | Dec 19, 2014
Miranda Hart, John Rutter, Seamus Heaney
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.
30 minutes | Dec 18, 2014
Esio Trot, Robert Olen Butler, The Thompson Family, The Interview controversy
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.
29 minutes | Dec 17, 2014
Christoph Waltz, Treasure Island, Mozart in the Jungle, Unread e-Books
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.
29 minutes | Dec 16, 2014
Ridley Scott's Exodus, Serial, The Shoemaker's Holiday, Annie
Ridley Scott's Moses epic Exodus: Gods and Kings is reviewed by Adam Smith; investigative journalist John Sweeney and Baltimore-based crime novelist Laura Lippman discuss the phenomenon of the 'Serial' podcasts; The Shoemaker's Holiday director Phillip Breen tells Samira Ahmed about his RSC production of Thomas Dekker's Elizabethan comedy of class, conflict and cobblers in love; and Quvenzhané Wallis and director Will Gluck on their new film adaptation of Annie. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
29 minutes | Dec 15, 2014
Willy Russell switches on the Front Row neon artwork, Kon-Tiki review, Dementia-friendly theatre
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.
29 minutes | Dec 12, 2014
Paul McCartney, The Merchant of Venice, Frames at the National Gallery
Sir Paul McCartney tells John Wilson about creating a song for the video game Destiny and missing the days of vinyl. Peter Schade, Head of Framing at the National Gallery, talks about the gallery's first ever campaign to raise money to buy a frame. It's one he's found for Titian's An Allegory of Prudence. Ian McDiarmid stars as Shylock in the Almeida Theatre's new production of The Merchant of Venice. He and director Rupert Goold talk about setting the play in the bright lights of Las Vegas. And amid the controversy over the singing of Delilah as a rugby anthem John talks to Barry Mason, the man who wrote the song.
28 minutes | Dec 11, 2014
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Trevor Nunn on Cats; Churchill's paintings; Jeff Kinney; Dolls' houses
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Trevor Nunn discuss bringing their musical Cats back to London's West End. Jessie Burton, award-winning author of The Miniaturist, and curator Alice Sage discuss the appeal of dolls' houses as a new exhibition Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House opens at The Museum of Childhood. As the late Mary Soames' collection of personal objects is auctioned, Giles Waterfield reviews rarely-seen paintings by her father Winston Churchill. Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, discusses painting a realistic portrait of childhood and why his protagonist never ages. Producer: Ellie Bury Presenter: Samira Ahmed.
29 minutes | Dec 10, 2014
Marco Polo; Behind the scenes at Nutcracker; Manakamana; The Christmas Truce in art
Historian Tom Holland delivers his verdict on a new TV drama series charting the life of adventurer Marco Polo. As English National Ballet prepares to stage its Christmas stalwart, Nutcracker at the London Coliseum, Samira Ahmed visits the company's warehouse in Kent to meet the team behind the scenes. With the approach of the centenary of the WWI Christmas truce on the Western Front, playwright Phil Porter, whose new play at the RSC dramatises the truce, and historian Emily Mayhew discuss how the remarkable events of the day have been represented in culture. And Ryan Gilbey reviews a new documentary film Manakamana, shot entirely in a cable-car high above Nepal. Producer Craig Smith.
30 minutes | Dec 9, 2014
Christopher Jefferies Drama, Golden Age of Panto, Burrell Collection, Ghostwriting
With Kirsty Lang. Roger Michell talks about his new ITV drama, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, about the retired teacher attacked by the press after being falsely suspected of killing Joanna Yeates in 2010. As teenage 'vlogging' sensation, Zoella, becomes embroiled in a row over hiring a ghostwriter for her best-selling debut novel, Girl Online, we look at the rise of the scribes for hire. BBC diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall reviews new documentary film The Green Prince which won the Global Audience award at the Sundance Festival. It's the extraordinary story of the son of a founding leader in the Palestinian organization, Hamas, who becomes a spy for the Israelis. Jeffery Richards talks about the Golden Age of Pantomime in Victorian England and explains how some of our finest panto traditions came about and have lasted. Plus in the week that part of the Burrell Collection moves from Glasgow to London and then overseas, we find out about William Burrell - the man behind the extraordinary amassing of pieces like rare lace, carpets, Tudor furniture, as well as sculpture by Rodin and paintings by Manet, Cezanne and Degas.
29 minutes | Dec 8, 2014
Sarah Waters; Racial Diversity in the Arts; Mike Scott of the Waterboys; Museums on Film
Author Sarah Waters has followed her gothic novel The Little Stranger with her first play which is also a ghost story that aims to spook audiences. She discusses working with experimental theatre-maker Christopher Green to devise a play in which all is not as it seems. Mike Scott of The Waterboys discusses the band's new album Modern Blues, and explains why it was important for the band to record it in Nashville. Dawn Walton, Director of Eclipse Theatre Company and Tom Morris, Artistic Director of the Bristol Old Vic, give their response to today's speech by Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England, in which he urges racial diversity and inclusion across the board in arts institutions. Two new documentaries lift the lid on the action behind the scenes at two of the world's most well-known art museums - the National Gallery in London and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Sarah Crompton asks whether museums and galleries make good subjects for films. Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Olivia Skinner.
29 minutes | Dec 5, 2014
Jim Broadbent; Young Adult Fiction; Tena Stivicic; Comedy DVDs
Jim Broadbent talks to Kirsty Lang about playing Father Christmas for the third time in his new film Get Santa; Matt Haig and Katherine Woodfine on Young Adult Fiction; Croatian playwright Tena Stivicic discusses her play 3 Winters at the National Theatre; Stephen Armstrong brings us his pick of the year's comedy DVDs; and following the news that the British Museum has loaned one of the Elgin Marbles to the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Peter Aspden considers the role museums and galleries can play when political harmony between nations breaks down. Producer Jerome Weatherald.
29 minutes | Dec 4, 2014
Harrison Birtwistle; The Grandmaster; Christmas boxset recommendations; Wonder Woman's historical significance
The composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle discusses his music as a season celebrating his 80th birthday begins at London's Southbank Centre. Iain Lee reviews The Grandmaster, the new film from Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai, which traces the life of the Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man, who taught Bruce Lee. Boyd Hilton receommends the boxsets that should be making their way into stockings this Christmas. "Great Hera!" - Jill Lepore, author of The Secret History of Wonder Woman, discusses the strange origins of this female superhero inspired by early 20th century feminism and created by man. Producer: Ellie Bury Presenter: Samira Ahmed.
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