BBC Radio 4

    Simon Schama on taking over A Point of View

    Head of Interactive, Radio 3

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    Sheila Cook is producer of Radio 4's weekly personal essay slot - A Point of View. Simon Schama takes over this evening for a 10-week run of the short programme that's been filling the gap left by Alistair Cook's America.

    Simon and Sheila stayed on in the studio after Monday's recording to record this fascinating interview - exclusively for the blog. On what's different about writing for radio, Simon says:

    This is more 'organised stream of conciousness', which is a danger really because Schama's consciousness is intensely disorganised most of the time but what you lose in formality I hope that everyone - including me - will gain in fun.

    On the programme's legacy:

    Alistair Cook... was amazingly good at discovering what seemed to be an incidental anecdote and then bolting it to a major theme that connects us all. If I can manage that with even a fragment of his genius for putting things together then I'll be happy.

    And on possible themes for later essays, he warns us to expect some sport (although probably not baseball, which he's covered before) and teases us:

    I'm sort of besottedly interested in singer-songwriter kind of pop music. It just may be that there's something interesting to talk about there. Who knows?

    Listen to the interview:

    Steve Bowbrick is editor of the Radio 4 blog
    • The picture shows Simon and Clive James (another A Point of View presenter) in about 1970. It was taken by Mike Payne. Thanks to Clive James for permission to use it. There are some pictures taken in the studio here and a picture taken using my old-fashioned instant camera here.
    • The first of Simon Schama's ten programmes is transmitted at 2050 tonight and repeated on Sunday morning at 0850. You can listen again after transmission on the Radio 4 web site.
    • Listen to previous programmes by Clive James and Lisa Jardine on the A Point of View web site.

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