Soweto Kinch, Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture launch, Sam Fender
Saxophonist Soweto Kinch has curated this year’s Koestler Arts exhibition, Another Me, featuring 150 artworks by inmates from a number of prisons and secure units across the UK. Kinch discusses the works, and performs a piece from his forthcoming album The Black Peril.
As plans are unveiled for Galway’s year as 2020 European Capital of Culture, John talks to film producer Arthur Lappin and creative director Helen Marriage.
Sam Fender’s album is set to be number one this week. The 25-year-old from North Shields won the BRITs Critics’ Choice Award last year, and talks to John Wilson about combining lyrics about domestic violence, male suicide and white privilege with an hypnotic electric guitar rock aesthetic drawing on his musical hero Bruce Springsteen.
Presenter: John Wilson
Producer: Hilary Dunn
Maurizio Cattelan at Blenheim Palace, Ad Astra reviewed, Japanese Culture, Shakespeare Folio discovered
A solid gold toilet reputedly worth £4.7 million has been stolen from Blenheim Palace. It's part of the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan's new exhibition Victory is Not an Option which remains open and combines a retrospective of his work along with some new pieces made especially for the Palace. Art critic Jacky Klein reviews and reports on the latest from the theft.
Brad Pitt stars in the film Ad Astra as an astronaut on a mission to Neptune in order to save the planet from destruction. Larushka Ivan-Zadeh reviews this epic space odyssey.
It's believed that John Milton's personal, annotated copy of an early Shakespeare folio has been discovered. The folio includes sophisticated marginalia that could shed light on the development of Milton as a poet and academics say it could be one of the most important literary discoveries of modern times. Cambridge University fellow Dr Jason Scott-Warren explains his astonishing find.
As the Rugby World Cup heads to Japan, we get a personal introduction to current Japanese culture from Junko Takekawa, from the Japan Foundation, and Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, academic and curator of the recent Manga exhibition at the British Museum.
Presenter: Kirsty Lang
Producer: Hannah Robins
Alex Kingston, Criminal, Falling piano sales
Alex Kingston, best known for her TV roles in Dr Who and ER, discusses her new role in Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy Of The People on stage at the Nottingham Playhouse. Kingston plays Dr Stockman, who is punished by the authorities for saying the unsayable as she attempts to make a stand against corruption.
Criminal is Netflix's new crime drama, with each episode focused on one suspect and all filmed in and around the interrogation room. There are four series of three episodes filmed in Britain, Germany, France and Spain, each with a local cast and filmed in their own language. The UK series stars Katherine Kelly and Lee Ingleby, with David Tennant and Hayley Atwell as guest stars. Crime writer Mark Billingham reviews.
Sales of new pianos have declined significantly in the UK, down to just 16% of the amount sold in the 1980s. Jeremy Sallis visits a fourth-generation piano showroom and workshop in London to find out more.
Presenter Samira Ahmed
Producer Jerome Weatherald
Downton Abbey, Alexei Sayle, National Short Story Award - Jo Lloyd, Istanbul Biennial
Downton Abbey hits the big screen this week as the Crawleys host the none other than King George V himself in a new film edition of the hit television show. Critic Sarah Crompton considers if it’s a success.
Comedian Alexei Sayle discusses the return of his Radio 4 comedy series Alexei Sayle’s Imaginary Sandwich Bar, a mixture of stand-up, memoir and philosophy.
The 16th Istanbul Biennial, subtitled this year ‘The Seventh Continent’, is about to open its doors to the public. Critic Louisa Buck has been visiting the city and reports on some of the 220 artworks by 56 artists and artist collectives, and the importance of the subtitle – a name given by the scientific community to the massive accumulation of waste floating in our oceans.
Jo Lloyd tells Stig Abell about her story, The Invisible, that has reached the National Short Story Award shortlist. It's set in rural Wales in the 18th century where Martha can see a wealthy family living in a mansion nearby. But no one else can.
Presenter: Stig Abell
Producer: Julian May
Lucy Prebble’s play A Very Expensive Poison opened last week at the Old Vic in London. It tells the story of the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 with a treatment ranging from the high theatricality of song, dance and puppetry to simple direct address to the audience - and has a love story at its core. Lucy Prebble joins Front Row to talk about putting truth on stage.
Mark Strong and Daniel Mays star in new Sky One drama Temple, set in a disused underground station being used as a covert hospital to treat criminals and CEOs of massive companies who need to keep their health a secret. David Butcher of the Radio Times reviews.
Lynda Clarke has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award with Ghillie’s Mum. The writer discusses her story which is about a shape shifting mother whose animal forms delight her son but horrify the wider world . The story is broadcast on Radio 4 at 1530 on Friday 13 September and the winner of the BBC NSSA is announced on Front Row on 1 October.
Lope de Vega wrote about 500 plays but there can’t be many writers with more plays to their name than years to their age. Alan Ayckbourn can claim that honour: he’s 80 and last night his 83rd play opened, like so many of his previous dramas, in Scarborough. Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present has all the deft stagecraft we expect from the playwright; it opens on the day of Micky’s 80th birthday party and works backwards to the birthdays of his wife, his son and daughter. What happens offstage is as important as what the audience sees. This is a family drama about rumour, reputation and what really happened. So, a play for our times. Nick Ahad, drama critic for the Yorkshire Post, reviews the production.
Presenter: Samira Ahmed
Producer: Hilary Dunn