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Adam Hart-Davis and Sue Blackmore
Sue Blackmore and Adam Hart-Davis join Harriett Gilbert to discuss favourite books.
Harriett Gilbert is joined by psychologist Sue Blackmore and broadcaster Adam Hart-Davis to discuss their favourite books.
Harriett Gilbert is joined by psychologist Sue Blackmore and her husband the broadcaster and historian of inventions Adam Hart-Davis to discuss favourite books.
These include 'Inventions of The Middle Ages' by Chiara Frugoni, 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce and 'Somewhere Towards the End' by Diana Athill.
Episode 3: Pottery
Will Gompertz is joined by Johnny Vegas and Kate Malone for a masterclass in pottery.
Will Gompertz visits the Hole in the Wall Pottery Group in Emsworth and is joined by leading ceramicist Kate Malone and former pupil Johnny Vegas for a special one-off masterclass.
Will Gompertz visits the Hole In The Wall Pottery Group in Emsworth in Hampshire and is joined by leading ceramicist Kate Malone and her former pupil Johnny Vegas for a special one-off masterclass in clay-born creativity.
If you are inspired to get involved in pottery - or indeed any other areas of artistic endeavour - there's lots to discover at the BBC's Get Creative website http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/sections/get-creative
Producer: Clare Walker.
SeriesWill Gompertz Gets Creative
Jo Brand and Naomi Alderman
Jo Brand and Naomi Alderman join Harriett Gilbert to discuss their favourite books.
Jo Brand and Naomi Alderman join Harriett Gilbert to discuss favourite books including The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist by Robert Tressell and Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges.
Jo Brand and Naomi Alderman join Harriett Gilbert to discuss favourite books, including 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist by Robert Tressell, 'Langrishe, Go Down' by Aidan Higgins and 'Fictions' by Jorge Luis Borges.
David Hockney embarks on an ambitious new portrait series from his Californian studio.
David Hockney invites Martin Gayford, the subject of one of his new paintings, back to his LA studio as he prepares to mount an ambitious new portrait series at the Royal Academy.
In June 2013, art critic Martin Gayford received a message from David Hockney. It said that he was leaving Yorkshire to return to Los Angeles and he might be staying there for some time.
Hockney's relocation to LA came after a disastrous few months in the artist's personal life. In autumn 2012 he suffered a minor stroke and temporarily almost lost his speech. A tree that he often painted was felled in an act of vandalism that sent him into depression. In March, one of his assistants, Dominic Elliott died as a result of misadventure when he drank acid after taking a range of drugs. Hockney almost gave up painting.
The artist found inspiration in Los Angeles again, painting his assistant John-Pierre with his head in his hands. This image of deep despondency, which Hockney calls a self-portrait, was the catalyst for a new ambitious phase of work.
He began painting figures sat on the same chair against the same plain backdrop. The sitters' variety of figures, poses and clothes reinvigorated Hockney, as he recruited more and more characters for his "Human Comedy." The results would become a single series of portraits to be displayed at Hockney's second show at the Royal Academy in four years, '82 Portraits and One Still Life,' opening in July.
As the series began to take shape, in December 2013, Martin flew to California to sit. He'll re-visit the process of being painted by Britain's most famous artist and he'll interview Hockney about his life in Los Angeles, portraiture and this astonishing new chapter in his career.
Producer: Paul Smith
A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4
David Hockney painting Martin Gayford, Los Angeles, 5 December 2013 (c) David Hockney
Photo Credit: Jean-Pierre Goncalves de Lima.
Christopher Biggins and Jenny Eclair
Christopher Biggins and Jenny Eclair chat about books they love with Harriett Gilbert.
Actor Christopher Biggins and comedian Jenny Eclair talk about much-loved books with Harriett Gilbert, including works by Richard Yates, Dominick Dunne and Muriel Spark.
Actor Christopher Biggins and comedian Jenny Eclair chat and laugh about books they love with Harriett Gilbert. Books are Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates - even better than the film - The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark, which very much stands the test of time, and People Like Us by Dominick Dunne, who was famed for his articles in Vanity Fair.
Producer Beth O'Dea.
Music as defiance in Soweto, South Africa in the two decades since transition to democracy
Thabiso Mohare explores the music of Soweto, a group of townships to the south west of Johannesburg, and how it came to represent black South African culture to the outside world.
Johannesburg-based poet Thabiso Mohare explores the music of Soweto from the 1970s onwards, through the unrest that led to democracy in 1994, and takes a look at the music scene today. From Sowetan Soul stars influenced by the black power movement of the 70s, to platinum selling acapella groups making waves around the world today, he talks to musicians about the way they have interpreted and adapted their rich musical heritage, asking how important the strong tradition of dissent in South African music is to them, and looks at why influences both local and global have always come into play in Soweto. Featuring interviews with Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse, Mandla Mlangeni, BCUC and The Soil.
SeriesThe Sound of Soweto
Episode 1: Day
Laura Barton walks the length of Sunset Boulevard in 24 hours, from city to coast.
Laura Barton walks the length of Sunset Boulevard, from downtown to the Pacific Ocean, uncovering the stories, people and places of Sunset's artistic life.
24 Hours of Sunset: DAY
Sunset Boulevard is one of those long, long American streets, 22 miles that tell the story of film, of Hollywood, of course, but Laura Barton thinks this street tells the story of America itself. Laura Barton loves Sunset Boulevard and walking through LA, a city utterly devoted to driving. At foot level, you see things you'd never see in a car.
In this 2 part series, Laura walks the length of Sunset Boulevard in 24 hours. Along the way, she uncovers the contemporary arts stories and the iconic artistic legacy of this street. She meets writers, artists and historians, as well as ordinary people who live and work along one of the most famous streets in the world.
The first episode takes Laura Barton from an inauspicious intersection in downtown LA, where Sunset Boulevard starts, to the edge of the Sunset Strip - through Echo Park and Silverlake, through the Hospital District and past the studios that were home to early Hollywood's glamour. She meets with poet (laureate, possibly, depending on when this goes out) Luis Rodriguez, photographer Autumn De Wilde, novelist Janet Fitch, and historian Jonathan Kuntz, revealing the famous and the hidden stories of Sunset's artistic life.
Sunset Blvd's cultural landmarks tell LA's story - the drought threatening a city by the sea, the mixed up sub-cultures and ethnic and racial communities that come together to make the city - this is why Laura thinks Sunset is a microcosm of today's American story.
In 24 Hours on Sunset, Laura finds how Sunset Boulevard and its artistic legacy have become a shorthand for what LA represents in our collective imagination.
Presented by Laura Barton
Produced by Nija Dalal-Small.
Series24 Hours of Sunset
Sara Mohr-Pietsch investigates the artistic community of New Mexico.
Sara Mohr-Pietsch visits New Mexico to discover why so many prominent artists, writers and composers have moved to the American state over the last 100 years.
"The moment I saw the brilliant, proud morning shine up over the deserts of Santa Fe, something stood still in my soul, and I started to attend" wrote DH Lawrence when he arrived in New Mexico in the 1920s. Since the turn of the 20th century a steady stream of sculptors, writers, painters, and composers have made New Mexico their home, along with a caravan of people seeking new ways of living in the high desert. Sara Mohr Pietsch heads to the American south-west to discover what it was amongst the piñon trees that first attracted them, and why so many now have their homes and studios there.
On her journey around the state she meets composers Raven Chacon and Meredith Monk who talk of the peculiar acoustic propoerties when performing outside, author Henry Shukman traces the early Anglo artist colonies at Taos, poet Mei Mei Berssenbrugge and artists Richard Tuttle reflect on the nature of spirituality, and artists Lynda Benglis and Tom Joyce talk of a deep connection with the land. Sara visits the ancient Taos Pueblo, home to a Pueblo Indian community for over 1000 years, to
hear how the native communities of the land became the focus of so much artistic interest, and sits quietly at the Harwood Museum of Art to look on some of the last paintings made by minimalist Agnes Martin, another New Mexico resident.
There is no one answer to why artists are drawn to New Mexico, but through interviews with those who live there, Sara discovers a deep connection between the people - be they Native, Hispanic or Anglo - and the red land, the clear light and the humbling, savage vastness of this "Land of Enchantment".
Produced by Peter Meanwell
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.
Lionel Shriver and Mae Martin
Lionel Shriver and Mae Martin talk with Harriett Gilbert about books they love.
Lionel Shriver, author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, and comedian Mae Martin talk with Harriett Gilbert about books they love. One is an American classic unknown in the UK.
Lionel Shriver, author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Mae Martin, stand-up comedian, talk with Harriett Gilbert about books they love. Lionel's is an American classic that's largely unknown in the UK: A Separate Peace by John Knowles, an intense story of adolescent friendship and betrayal. Mae's choice is a magical short story by HG Wells, The Door in The Wall, published in the same year as The Secret Garden and evoking some of the same feelings. And Harriett introduces them to The Gathering, by the Irish author Anne Enright.
Producer Beth O'Dea.
The Script Supervisor
Antonia Quirke explores the pivotal role of the script supervisor.
Film presenter Antonia Quirke explores the pivotal role of the script supervisor in motion pictures.
Episode 1: The Script Supervisor
Film presenter Antonia Quirke reports from the set of the new Richard Eyre film The Children Act to examine the essential and often undervalued role of script supervisor. She talks with Susanna Lenton about her work and responsibilities in managing continuity for this movie including the movements of actors, props and set dressing during a scene.
Another modern day script supervisor Karen Jones whose film credits include Stage Beauty and Rush explains to Antonia some of the bizarre tasks and unique skills required to work in this area of film, along with her relationship with actors and directors and how the demands of the job envelope her life.
In the early days of Cinema the script supervisor was usually called the script girl as the role was mainly associated with women. Antonia meets with Britain's most famous script girl Angela Allen whose credits boast major films such as The African Queen and The Third Man and working with Marilyn Monroe and Clarke Gable.
Antonia also travels to Paris to meet with Allen's French equivalent Sylvette Baudrot whose career started in 1950 on the Jean Cocteau film Orpheus and is still working, providing continuity assistance for the latest Roman Polanski movie.
In film work today a director will rewind his material very quickly to take a look digitally in the camera at who was standing where and who was doing what. In the old days of actual film, this was impossible. It was all in the script girl's head. As Antonia discovers they were, in their own way very powerful and over the years many of the leading directors have come to rely heavily on them.
Producer: Stephen Garner.
SeriesCinema's Secret History
Michael Grade and Gia Milinovich
Michael Grade and Gia Milinovich talk to Harriett Gilbert about their favourite books.
Harriett Gilbert talks books with television executive Michael Grade and science presenter Gia Milinovich. Basil D'Oliveira, Richard Feynman and Shirley Jackson are the subjects.
Harriett Gilbert talks about beloved books with television executive Michael Grade and science presenter Gia Milinovich. Talk spirals away from books to cricket and apartheid, and the true beauty of science.. Michael's choice is Basil D'Oliveira by Peter Oborne, Gia's is Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman by Richard Feynman and Harriett picks We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.
Producer Beth O'Dea.
Nick Berkeley shows how song lyrics help us articulate and negotiate aspects of our lives.
Nick Berkeley explores the world of the song lyric and the ways they can help us articulate and negotiate different aspects of our lives: from hedonist joy to dealing with loss.
From teenage alienation to middle-aged loss and regret, lyrics from popular music can escape their song to become an anthem of our youth or a lifeline through loss and solitude. Nick Berkeley speaks to songwriters and musicians about how the words of a three minute pop song can come to have such impact on us all.
He dissects the craft of the song in a quest to understand the alchemy that converts seemingly simple words into thoughts of great impact and meaning. From Noel Coward to Kylie Minogue, seminal folk songs to outsider hip hop, there are words and phrases that the music fan can cling to, and remember, forever.
Contributors include: Hanif Kureishi, Brett Anderson, Cathy Dennis, Green Gartside, Benjamin Clementine, Christopher Ricks and Sid Griffin.
Programme Three: Vulnerability
Producer: Emma Jarvis
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.
SeriesThe Escaped Lyric
Terry Christian and Dr Kevin Fong
Harriett Gilbert invites Terry Christian and Dr Kevin Fong to talk favourite books.
Presenter of The Word Terry Christian and space doctor Kevin Fong talk about books they love with Harriett Gilbert. Ray Bradbury, Matt Haig and Susan Hill are on the agenda.
Terry Christian was the infamous presenter of C4's The Word, and he's a voracious reader - a book a week. He chooses Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, his partly autobiographical novel of a Midwestern childhood which brings back memories of the sheer happiness of the summer holidays.
Dr Kevin Fong is a consultant anaesthetist who's an expert in space medicine, and also a TV presenter. His choice is The Humans, an extraordinary book by Matt Haig, which raises questions about alien life, and our life.
Presenter Harriett Gilbert chooses Howards End is On The Landing by Susan Hill, about reading the books you already have in the house but have never opened. It inspires true confessions of classic authors never read..
Producer Beth O'Dea.
Kevin Fong explores differing visions of a human presence and purpose on Mars.
What future do we have on the Red Planet? Kevin Fong asks scientists and writers about their visions of a human presence and purpose on Mars. Will we ever become truly Martian?
For Radio 4's Mars series, Kevin Fong asks: what future do we have on Mars when we finally get there? He talks to scientists and writers about their visions of a human presence and purpose on the Red Planet. This is the third part on this series on our relationship with Mars.
The American space agency NASA aims to get the first human crew to Mars sometime in the 2040's. It is likely to be an international mission and carry a crew of six people. Elon Musk, the founder of private rocket company SpaceX, has unveiled a scheme to get a spacecraft of one hundred colonists to the Red Planet before 2030.
Do we go to Mars for the big science questions and exploration? Or is Project Mars about becoming a multi-planetary species, extending the American western frontier by a hundred million miles? Do we need to prepare Mars as a refuge should civilisation face extinction here on the home planet.
Even the first boot print mission will be the mother of all camping trips, and full of hazard. Mars' tenuous atmosphere contains no oxygen, the average temperature is -60 degrees Celsius, the surface is bathed in cosmic and solar radiation and toxic dust lies all over the planet. So some Mars enthusiasts predict that our presence there will never amount to more than something like extraterrestrial Antarctic style bases, where visiting scientific explorers and back-up technicians live and work for a few years at a time before returning to Earth. But for others, the vision is much grander and more ambitious. Colonies will become city sized and economically productive, trading technological innovations with the home planet. Generations of people will live and die in societies free from oppressive authority on Earth.
Kevin Fong hears from would-be Martian explorers such as Elon Musk and Robert Zubrin. Robert Zubrin is president of the Mars Society and is credited with coming up with the basic technical strategy for mounting a return trip to Mars which both NASA and Space X have adopted. If we do this in our generation, says Zubrin, within two centuries there will be self-sustaining communities on Mars with their own dialects, cultures of technological and artistic invention, and their own history of 'heroic deeds'. This is romanticism to others such as Oliver Morton, author of 'Mapping Mars', and that Mars is no place for civilians. let alone children. With gravity little more than one third of Earth's, a successful human pregnancy may in fact be impossible.
That's one of the many unknowns about the future of humans on Mars revealed, as Kevin talks to the scientific Mars visionaries such as Chris McKay of NASA Ames Research Center and Pascal Lee of the Mars Institute, and to science fiction authors such as Kim Stanley Robinson, Emma Newman and Stephen Baxter who've imagined people on the Red Planet.
Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker
Sound engineer: Tim Heffer.
SeriesWe Are the Martians
The Destruction of Shepperton and the Exodus from London
The inexorable progress of the tripods meets an organised military response at Shepperton.
The inexorable progress of the Martian war machines meets an organised military response at Shepperton. Francis Spufford considers a workable strategy against alien invasion.
Francis Spufford walks in the footsteps of Wells all conquering tripods from Woking to Primrose Hill in the company of writers, scientists & historians, exploring the startling array of ideas that fuelled his classic and gives it its lasting impact.
The inexorable progress of the Martian War machines meets an attempt at organized military response at Shepperton. It is desperate and doomed yet not without limited success. Joining Francis along the banks of the Thames to consider a desperate, workable strategy against alien invasion is General Sir Rupert Smith, former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander. Meanwhile in London and along the refugee routes northwards to Chipping Barnet Professor Darryl Jones (Trinity College), editor of the forthcoming O.U.P. edition of War of the Worlds, considers how things fall apart & what kind of world Wells wanted to sweep away?
Producer: Mark Burman.
Series 6 The Last Emperor
Paul Gambaccini explores the epic film that won all 9 Oscars it was nominated for in 1988.
Paul Gambaccini hears from the director, producer, cinematographer and composer of the epic which opened up the recent history of China to the west and swept the Oscars in 1988.
Paul Gambaccini returns with the series that takes a long hard look behind the scenes of three classic films which have scooped the Best Picture Award. He reports on the artistic, political and personal decisions that lie behind the winners, laced with some pretty good gossip too.
In Episode 1 Paul hears from the director, producer, cinematographer and composer of the epic which opened up the recent history of China to the West and swept the Oscars in 1988.
Producer: Marya Burgess.
Samantha Bond and Jason Cowley
Samantha Bond and Jason Cowley join Harriett Gilbert to discuss favourite books.
Actress Samantha Bond and editor of the New Statesman Jason Cowley join Harriett Gilbert to discuss favourite books, by Donna Tartt, Joseph Conrad and Hamid Ismailov.
Actress Samantha Bond and editor of The New Statesman Jason Cowley join Harriett Gilbert for some passionate conversation about favourite books.
Samantha Bond, star of 'Home Fires', 'Downton Abbey' and a one-time Miss Moneypenny, is also a voracious reader. Her choice is Donna Tartt's first novel, the best-selling 'A Secret History', a murder-mystery with a Vermont campus setting and an intriguing cast of characters.
Jason Cowley is credited with revitalising The New Statesman as its editor. He recommends 'The Secret Agent' by Joseph Conrad, a novel about a terrorist bomb-plot devised by a shady Soho shopkeeper who doubles as a spy for the Russians. The story was inspired by the death of a French anarchist who accidentally blew himself up while attempting to plant a bomb in Greenwich Park in 1894, and has, in its turn, inspired many adaptations since its publication in 1907.
Harriett's choice is 'The Dead Lake' by Hamid Ismailov, a haunting fairytale, with hints of Gunther Grass' 'The Tin Drum', about the impact of repeated atomic testing in Soviet-era Kazakhstan on the local people of the Steppes.
Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Ann Cleeves
Krishnan Guru-Murthy and crime writer Ann Cleeves talk about books with Harriett Gilbert.
Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy and crime writer Ann Cleeves talk books with Harriett Gilbert. Under discussion are books by Alain-Fournier, Joanna Rakoff and Orwell.
Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy and crime writer Ann Cleeves, the author of the novels dramatised as the TV detective series Vera, talk books with Harriett Gilbert. Ann Cleeves chooses Alain-Fournier's romantic only novel, The Lost Estate, or Le Grande Meaulnes. Krishnan Guru-Murthy champions George Orwell's combination of reportage and essay, The Road to Wigan Pier, and Harriett talks about Joanna Rakoff's memoir My Salinger Year.
Producer Sally Heaven.