Gloria Gaynor, Offline Arts, film Vivarium and novel Hamnet reviewed, Culture Clinic
Disco legend Gloria Gaynor made headlines earlier this month when her TikTok video encouraging people to wash their hands to her hit I Will Survive went viral. She joins us from her home in South Carolina, to discuss winning a Grammy for her latest album Testimony, and how she's keeping busy in self-isolation.
As galleries and art centres close their doors many organisations are turning to digital platforms to reach audiences, but what about the 5 million people in the UK that don’t have access to the internet? Front Row speaks to Stella Duffy, co-director of Fun Palaces and Sally Shaw, Director of Firstsite Gallery in Colchester about the initiatives they’re setting up to reach those that are not online.
Maggie O’Farrell’s latest novel is named after Shakespeare’s only son Hamnet, who died of the Plague. It has been almost universally acclaimed as her finest work.
And a new film – Vivarium – is a study in claustrophobia and enforced closeness for a young couple who have to live in a house they can’t leave. Starring Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg it has an eerie resonance in the current world of social isolation and lockdown. Jenny McCartney and Barb Jungr join John to review the book and the film.
And Shahidha Bari joins Front Row for our Cultural Clinic. She'll be answering questions on the cultural significance of clothes - especially when we're at home and tempted to stay in our PJs all day.
Presenter: John Wilson
Producer: Sarah Johnson
Owen Sheers, Nikita Lalwani, Writing in isolation
The bestselling children’s book series The Snow Spider has been adapted for TV by award-winning writer, poet and playwright Owen Sheers. It is a fantasy drama that follows nine-year-old Gwyn as he discovers his magical powers and his family connection to the Welsh myths of the Mabinogion. Owen tells us how he adapted a much-loved classic.
Booker longlisted author Nikita Lalwani discusses her new novel You People, which tells the story of a London pizzeria that employs and supports refugees and illegal immigrants. But what happens when moral decisions are left at the hands of a man beyond the law? Nikita reveals the inspiration behind the story and her research into the refugee crisis and Britain’s hostile environment.
With book festivals cancelled, Amazon book stocks about to run out and self-employed authors facing difficult financial circumstances, book publicist Georgina Moore joins us to discuss how the literary world is adapting to the challenges of Coronavirus.
Looking for a creative project while self-isolating? Writers Nikita Lalwani and Owen Sheers give us a masterclass in how to write a novel. As well as being award-winning authors, Nikita and Owen also teach creative writing – Nikita is a Senior Lecturer on the MA Creative Writing course at Royal Holloway and Owen is a Professor in Creativity at Swansea University.
Presenter: Shahidha Bari
Producer: Edwina Pitman and Lucy Wai
Main image: Fflynn Edwards as Gwyn Griffiths in The Snow Spider
Image credit: Leopard Pictures
Eliza Carthy, Art galleries and coronavirus, Terrence McNally obituary
Singer and fiddle player Eliza Carthy, daughter of folk doyens Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy, is known as a folk musician but, while being steeped in traditional music, she has wide musical horizons. Her new album Through that Sound (My Secret was Made Known) is a collection of her own songs. It’s a collaboration with musician and producer Ben Seal, who provides arrangements for string quartet, bass clarinet and keys. Eliza and her band were all rehearsed and ready to tour this month, but that is of course cancelled. She joins Front Row live from the Waterson Carthy household in Robin Hood's Bay, to talk about being a single mother, part-time carer and professional musician, to play and sing, and offer some tips to people for whom self-isolation offers the opportunity to write songs.
As all galleries in the UK are ordered to close by the government as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus we consider the financial impact, how much can realistically move online and if the government and arts bodies are doing enough to support galleries. Kirsty is joined by director of the National Gallery, Gabriele Finaldi, Director of Spike Island in Bristol, Robert Leckie and art critic Louisa Buck to give us the picture across the UK.
Novelist Armstead Maupin, author of the Tales of the City series, pays tribute to playwright Terrence McNally who has died of Coronavirus complications aged 81. The four-time Tony winner, was known for his thoughtful chronicles of gay life, homophobia, love and AIDS.
Presenter: Kirsty Lang
Producer: Simon Richardson
Studio Manager: Duncan Hannant
Image: Eliza Carthy
Simon Armitage, Stephen Hough, Chris Riddell on Asterix creator Albert Uderzo
Poet Laureate Simon Armitage talks about his new poetry collection Magnetic Field: the Marsden Poems, which is inspired by the West Yorkshire village he grew up in.
As classical musicians struggle to cope with the loss of their income due to the cancellation of all concerts, Samira is joined by music critic Anna Picard, Deborah Annetts of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, and pianist Stephen Hough, who plays live from his home.
Former Children's Laureate Chris Riddell pays tribute to the French comic book artist Albert Uderzo, co-creator of Asterix, who has died aged 92.
Presenter: Timothy Prosser
Producer: Samira Ahmed
Main Image: Simon Armitage
Image credit: Robert Shiret/BBC
Rathbones Folio winner, Disney+, Malory Towers on TV, Live performance from National Theatre of Scotland
Front Row has announced Valeria Luiselli the winner of the 2020 Rathbones Folio book prize for her novel Lost Children Archive and John Wilson speaks live to Valeria from her home in New York.
This Tuesday sees the UK launch of Disney+, the new television streaming service from the second largest media company in the world. As well as all their classic releases, the service will include access to the full Star Wars franchise, the Marvel and Pixar back catalogues and National Geographic programming. Adam Satariano, technology correspondent for The New York Times, and TV critic Julia Raeside discuss the impact Disney+ is likely to have on the UK's TV landscape.
Malory Towers is a new 13-part TV drama series set in post-war Britain based on the bestselling children’s novels by Enid Blyton. Set in a girl's boarding school and packed full of midnight feasts, lacrosse games and mysteries to be solved, the books have been a beloved staple for generations of schoolchildren. Julia Raeside reviews the new CBBC adaptation.
John McGrath's The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil is one of Scotland’s most iconic plays, exploring the exploitation of the country’s natural resources from the Highland Clearances of the 18th century to the North Sea Oil Boom. Due to be revived by the National Theatre of Scotland in association with Dundee Rep Theatre and Live Theatre, Newcastle, the run has been cancelled due to Covid-19 guidelines. Two members of the cast, Billy Mack and Jo Freer, join us live to perform a scene and a song from the production.
Presenter : John Wilson
Producer : Dymphna Flynn
Image: Darrell (ELLA BRIGHT) in Malory Towers
Credit: Steve Wilkie/Queen Bert Limited/WildBrain/BBC