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  1. Opening Lines 2014

    Wednesday 27 August 2014, 09:09

    Gemma Jenkins Gemma Jenkins

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    Editor's note:  Every year, for a run of six weeks, BBC Radio 4 offers an opportunity for writers new to radio to submit a short story to Opening Lines.  From thousands of submissions we select the best three stories for broadcast on BBC Radio 4 - you can hear the first in the new series of Opening Lines on Friday 29 August at 1545.

    Here, the programme producer, Gemma Jenkins, talks about some of the emerging themes from the entries this year. 

    Seven Sisters UK Coastlines were a recurring theme in entries this year to Opening Lines.
    We want to encourage as many budding writers and short story enthusiasts to send in their work as possible – our only submission requirement is that writers haven’t had their work broadcast on network radio before.  Stories come in from around the world, from authors about to publish their first novel, to students of creative writing, from bookslam regulars to passionate amateurs. Perhaps a literary star of the future will be among the submissions we receive. 

    This year, we were incredibly impressed by the wealth of talent on display. From science fiction to historical fiction, romance to tragedy, the stories have transported us from dazzling coastlines to...

    Read more about Opening Lines 2014

  2. Tweet of the Day - This Time It's Global

    Thursday 21 August 2014, 16:02

    Radio 4 Radio 4

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    Editor’s note - There are 10,530 known species of bird in the world, how to choose the 120 species that will make the series? Series producer Andrew Dawes shares his thoughts about choosing the birds and making the programmes.

    When Tweet of the Day launched last year, it was only British birds that were chosen to lure the nation into wakefulness. Tweet of the Day returns this September with the most interesting, distinctive and downright peculiar birdsong from around the world.

    Some birds instantly came into mind, as they bring wonder and glamour to the natural world. Blue bird of paradise, blue footed booby, emperor penguin, resplendent quetzal slipped under the wire immediately. Others like the unique wrybill, or the blood sucking vampire finch, waited patiently in the wings as encore understudies.

    The BBC’s Natural History Unit has been to every corner of the globe but amazingly some birdsong was not included in the back catalogue. What the BBC didn’t have, Macaulay Library in America did. The series had hatched.


    I could only choose 120 bird species, therefore many will be missing, yet we hope to bring you the best of what the avian world has to offer around the world; the spectacular...

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  3. The Cold Swedish Winter: Six Ways To Become a Swede

    Friday 8 August 2014, 15:47

    Danny Robins Danny Robins Writer and Comedian

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    When I stood on stage performing comedy to a tiny audience in a North London pub back in 2005, little did I know that I was about to go on a journey that would take me to the frozen expanses of the North, the land of the Vikings, Abba and Volvo, a place where pickled herring is considered a delicacy and IKEA is not an offensive four letter word. As I stared out into my audience though that fateful night, I met the startling blue eyes of an attractive blonde girl and experienced what the Swedes would call “love at first eye throwing”.
    Eva and I are now happily married – we even have a Swinglish child – and in the nine years we’ve been together I have become fascinated with her homeland, learning the language, embracing their occasionally strange customs and even developing a taste for herring. 
    I’ve made several documentaries about Sweden, but I’d always wanted to write a sitcom set there. My idea was that it would be ‘A Year in Provence’ with added snow and jokes. I drew on my own experiences to create the character of Geoff, an English stand up comedian who reluctantly relocates to Sweden when his pregnant girlfriend Linda decides she wants to move home to have the...

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  4. Feedback: Scottish independence referendum

    Friday 8 August 2014, 15:39

    Roger Bolton Roger Bolton

    The battles over Scottish independence seem to have dominated my life.

    As a child, our family often went to collect mushrooms on Burgh-by-Sands, about five miles from my home city of Carlisle, and close to the border.

    The sands in question are in the estuary of the River Eden where it meets the Solway. It’s the place where the armies of both England and Scotland, and later the hordes of Border Reivers, crossed from one side to the other, bent on destruction and pillage.

    For 300 years, until Scotland and England had the same king, it was a truly miserable place.

    There was little point building...

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  5. Feedback: Meeting heroes

    Friday 1 August 2014, 12:32

    Roger Bolton Roger Bolton

    I met two of my heroes on Feedback this week.

    Matthew Parris popped into the studio, en route to the Moral Maze, to discuss his campaign against the overuse of the historic present tense which he says is now rampant in the media.

    Matthew is the most polite and charming of guests but he is alarmingly honest about himself as well as about others. (Do have a read of his autobiography if you doubt me. It is a classic.)

    His knowledge of grammar is profound and I soon understand why he writes for the Times and I do not. Our interview is one of my less challenging ones. He just knows far more about the subject...

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  6. BBC Radio Explorer

    Thursday 31 July 2014, 09:20

    Radio 4 Radio 4

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    BBC Radio has launched a new way to help audiences discover radio - Radio Explorer.

    Radio Explorer - Landing Radio Explorer - Landing

    It's not always been easy to find BBC Programmes programmes about the things you love – but now Radio Explorer allows you to search BBC Radio using keywords and topics.

    Your passion might be Reggae, Game of Thrones or baking. Once you enter a topic Radio Explorer will create a playlist related to your topic, with programmes and clips from Radio 3, Radio 4 and 5 live.

    Radio Explorer - Search Radio Explorer - Search

    The BBC Radio Explorer was an idea that came about from a Radio 4 Hackday which brought together...

    Read more about BBC Radio Explorer

  7. Bookclub - The Outcast by Sadie Jones

    Wednesday 30 July 2014, 16:04

    Jim Naughtie Jim Naughtie Jim Naughtie presents Bookclub on BBC Radio 4

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    At first glance, the Sam Mendez film American Beauty doesn’t have much to do with the leafy commuter towns of Surrey, but talking to Sadie Jones about her novel The Outcast, I found it a natural shift. The transition from dark domestic doings in the emptiness of an American dormitory town to the stifling conventions of the Home Counties in the 1950s turned out to be a natural one. Sadie’s novel is about what lies beneath the surface of a ‘normal’ life and through her central character, Lewis, she examines the pain that’s often part of adolescence.
    ‘It had to be the fifties,’ she told...

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  8. James Baldwin 90th Anniversary: No Complaints

    Tuesday 29 July 2014, 13:28

    Peter McHugh Peter McHugh Producer

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    James Baldwin 90th Anniversary: No Complaints
    Why a 90th anniversary programme? It’s more customary to mark rounder numbers, a 100th  say. But there is something about a 90th birthday that makes you think today - with a following wind - the person may still be here to tell us their story.  But James Baldwin is not.  He died aged only 63 in 1987. 
    James Baldwin was born into relative poverty in Harlem, New York, in 1924.  During his lifetime as a writer he was a trailblazing explorer of race, class and sexuality in America. As his friend Caryl Phillips says in James Baldwin 90th Anniversary...

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  9. Feedback: Moral Maze - Just War and Gaza

    Friday 25 July 2014, 13:49

    Roger Bolton Roger Bolton

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    What is the point of Feedback?
    When I am asked that question I usually answer along the lines that it is to be a bridge between listeners and the BBC, allowing each side to communicate with each other. I also point out that, since the BBC is funded by a tax which almost everyone has to pay, then the Corporation has a duty to be accountable to its licence fee payers to whom it belongs. The programme is a key way of doing so.
     The Corporation decides what to broadcast, the audience decides what it wants to comment or cross examine the decision makers about , and when, and has the right to have its...

    Read more about Feedback: Moral Maze - Just War and Gaza

  10. Queens of Noise - Get It On

    Thursday 24 July 2014, 16:53

    Roy Boulter Roy Boulter Writer

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    ‘Queens Of Noise – Get It On’ is the story of all-girl band Velveteens as they clamber up the slippery slope to success in the late 80s /early 90s.  It maybe fictional, but a lot of their experiences are based on fact, as the writers - me and Louise Wener - were both in bands with expert clambering skills, who managed to negotiate the slippery slope to success in the late 80s /early 90s.
    Louise's band were babe-lead, Brit-pop chart-storming indie aces Sleeper.  Mine, those Baggy-tastic loveable Scousers The Farm (adjectives courtesy of Smash Hits magazine).
     
    It's twenty years since I swapped...

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Woman's Hour Power List 2014

Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.
See the latest on our blog
Find out about this year's panel and theme
Woman's Hour Power List judges, 2014 Woman's Hour Power List judges, 2014

 

Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.

 

See the latest on our blog

 

Find out about this year's panel and theme