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
Front Row at the Proms - Jamie Barton, Daniel Kidane, impact of Brexit on classical music
John Wilson presents Front Row from the BBC Proms, with the American mezzo soprano Jamie Barton, about to perform as the soloist at the Last Night of the Proms, singing Verdi, Bizet, Saint-Saens and paying tribute to Judy Garland with Over the Rainbow.
Composer Daniel Kidane talks about his new piece, commissioned to open the Last Night of the Proms this Saturday, which is called Woke.
How will Brexit impact Classical Music? John is joined by the Association of British Orchestras director Mark Pemberton, opera impresario Wasfi Kani from Grange Park Opera and Claire Fox, The Brexit Party MEP who is on the Culture Committee of the European Parliament. They discuss whether classical musicians will be particularly affected by Brexit, deal or no deal.
Violinist Daniel Pioro performs Biber's Passacaglia in G minor live.
Presenter: John Wilson
Producers: Rebecca Armstrong and Tim Prosser
The British Ceramics Biennial, Novelist Nell Zink, The Jumper Factory, Tamsin Grey
Ten years ago when the first British Ceramics Biennial took place, things didn't look good for pots or Stoke-on-Trent, known as 'the potteries' of the UK. The 240-year-old Spode factory had shut, ceramics had a dusty image and the pot-making artist Grayson Perry said the art world had more of a problem with his being a potter than with him wearing a frock. In Front Row this evening Kirsty will hear how things have changed. Now the old Spode works hosts artists studios and a boutique hotel and this year is at the heart of multiple exhibitions featuring the work of 300 artists - both established and emerging, from home and abroad.
US author Nell Zink's new novel Doxology features two generations of an American family coming of age, one before 9/11, one after. She tells Kirsty about her decision to broaden the scope of her writing to tell a story of modern America and the stark differences between Baby Boomers and 'Generation Z'.
Tamsin Grey is one of the five authors shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award. The writer discusses her story My Beautiful Millennial, which is about a lone young woman living in London and her complicated relationship with an older man.
And The Jumper Factory, a prison drama developed by the Young Vic Theatre with the help of eight serving prisoners. It's performed by actors with little or no stage experience, though all of them have been affected in some way by the criminal justice system. The play was intended for performance within prisons, but has been such a hit that it is now touring for the public.
Presenter Kirsty Lang
Producer Olive Clancy
For Sama and Venice Film Festival roundup, NSSA - Lucy Caldwell, Etgar Keret, Peter Nichols obituary
For Sama is a prize-winning documentary by female Syrian filmmaker Waad al-Kateab, recording life in Aleppo for her young daughter who was born shortly after the conflict began there. Film critic Hannah McGill reviews and reports on the winning films at this year's Venice Film Festival.
Lucy Caldwell has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award with The Children. Her story is about the Victorian social reformer Caroline Norton, who successfully campaigned for women to have the automatic right to have custody of their children in divorce proceedings; and in her story Lucy Caldwell draws parallels with child migrants today who are separated from their mothers. We speak to the author.
British playwright Peter Nichols - A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg, Privates On Parade, Passion Play - has died at the age of 92. Michael Billington joins us to discuss his importance
The Israeli short story writer Etgar Keret discusses his new collection Fly Already, 22 stories – several featuring the surreal and the apocalyptic - which were inspired by a serious car accident he had in America.
Presenter: Samira Ahmed
Producer: Oliver Jones