Adeel Akhtar, who stars in the new BBC1 series Back to Life, talks about his acting career – from Four Lions to becoming the first non-white male to win a Best Actor BAFTA for the TV drama Murdered By My Father.
Doris Hatt (1890-1969) was a painter, feminist, socialist and pioneer of British Modernism. Her work spanning five decades is the subject of an exhibition at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton near where she lived. Curator Sarah Cox and historian Denys Wilcox discuss the life and art of Doris Hatt.
It's fifty years since Joe Orton's play What the Butler Saw shocked audiences with its black comedy. Orton cultivated his image as a doyen of 60s counterculture but new research into his record collection reveals a surprising taste in music. Emma Parker has been listening to Orton's LPs.
Presenter: Samira Ahmed
Producer: Timothy Prosser
A Celebration of the Pub in Culture
We consider the connection between the public house and the arts. Why do pubs make such great settings, provide so much inspiration and serve as great venues for the arts?
Al Murray ponders the longevity of his pub landlord and what this character allows him to explore about Britishness, as literary journalist Suzi Feay considers the representation of pubs in books and TV.
Musician Eliza Carthy remembers her first ever public performance in The Bay Hotel in Robin Hood’s Bay, where she was a regular at the folk club there, while crime novelist David Mark tells us how he finds inspiration from the host of intriguing characters he meets down his local, the Samson Inn in Gilsland, Cumbria.
But, as pubs continue to be in decline – 25% of pubs have closed since 2001 - we consider how some hostelries are reinventing themselves as cultural destinations. Dawn Badlands runs The Inn Crowd, a project which supports rural pubs to host spoken word performances, and Adam Lacey is manager of The Old Joint Stock, a Birmingham pub with its own 100 seater theatre.
Presenter: John Wilson
Producer: Hannah Robins
Golden Age of Children's Books?
Liz Pichon on her creation Tom Gates, the hugely popular series of books for young readers now on stage.
Zanib Mian is the author of a new book about a Muslim family, Planet Omar - Accidental Trouble Magnet. Last year a report found that only 1% of children's books featured a main protagonist of colour. Alongside commentator and blogger Darren Chetty she considers whether that picture is changing - and whether any change will last.
One in three books sold is aimed at children. Is this a golden age for children's books? Celebrity authors such as David Walliams are clocking up huge sales but what is the range and quality of all the books on offer? Children's book experts Dawn Finch and Imogen Russell Williams discuss.
Saxophonist Jess Gillam, war poster artist Abram Games, author Tayari Jones
The saxophonist Jess Gillam was a finalist in the BBC Young Musician award in 2016 and went on to take the Last Night of the Proms by storm last year. She plays live in the studio and talks to Samira about her beginnings in a carnival band in Cumbria and how she wants to expand the repertoire for sax players in classical music.
The influential graphic designer Abram Games, who created The Festival of Britain 1951 poster and the BBC’s first television logo, first came to prominence as the 'Official War Poster Artist' during the Second World War. Over 100 of the posters he created while employed by the War Office are on display at new exhibition at the National Army Museum in London. Curator Emma Mawdsley discusses the significance of the artist and his work.
Tayari Jones’s novel, An American Marriage, tells the story of a young African-American couple whose lives are torn apart when the husband is imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Tayari Jones discusses the inspiration for her the book which has been championed by Oprah and picked by Barack Obama as one of his favourite summer reads of 2018.
Presenter Samira Ahmed
Producer Harry Parker
Beyoncé, Madonna, West Side Story, Children's Literature
Two female icons of the music industry release new works today. Beyonce’s new film Homecoming is released alongside a surprise new live album. The film focuses on her historic 2018 Coachella performance in which she celebrated America's historically black colleges and universities, black culture and black female empowerment. Also today, Madonna releases a new single ahead of her upcoming album and has revealed a new alter-ego - Madame X. Academic Emma Dabiri and broadcaster Katie Puckrik discuss Beyonce’s cultural significance and Madonna’s latest reinvention.
Choreographer Aletta Collins talks about her work for the Manchester Royal Exchange’s new production of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s classic, West Side Story. She reveals why they chose to change Jerome Robbins's famous choreography, the first time a professional production has done so.
Ahead of a Front Row bank holiday special on children’s literature, two award-winning writers of children’s fiction, Katherine Rundell and Bali Rai, discuss the significance of reading between the ages of 7 and 12.
Presenter: Kirsty Lang
Producer: Ben Mitchell