Category: Factual & Arts TV; Radio 2; Radio 4
To mark the centenary of his birth, BBC TWO and BBC Radio present a series of programmes about poet John Betjeman.
John Betjeman is still remembered as one of Britain's best loved poets - a man
who celebrated Britain in a triumphantly popular career as a poet and
His Collected Poems, first published in 1958, has sold over two
million copies to date.
This August, the BBC celebrates his life and work in three films for BBC TWO, a special documentary on BBC Radio 2 and dedicated programming across BBC Radio 4.
BBC TWO (August)
In Betjeman and Me: Griff Rhys Jones, Griff offers a fresh perspective on
Often perceived as twee and trivial, Griff argues his work
shows unexpected edge and depth, and still has relevance today.
He explores what
Betjeman's poetry says about Britain today - what we have lost and what we have
Contributors include Joanna Lumley, Dame Edna Everage and John
In the second film, architectural historian Dan Cruickshank journeys to the
places and buildings that were important to Betjeman, from St Pancras Station in
London to Magdalen College, Oxford - things he campaigned for or wrote about.
This is a very personal film for Dan who worked alongside Betjeman at the
Architectural Review and who campaigned with him to save the Georgian houses in
Spitalfields - Dan now lives in one of the houses.
In Betjeman and Me: The Rick Stein Story, Rick Stein takes an affectionate look
at the poet's love of the English seaside holiday and his deep affection for
Travelling around Cornwall, Rick meets people who remember Betjeman's
The programme culminates in a feast cooked by Rick for guests including
Betjeman's daughter Candida, and Jonathan Steddall, one of Betjeman's great
friends and the director of his last television series.
BBC Radio 2 (Tuesday 29 August)
and composer Jim Parker presents The Bard of Suburbia, the tale of how,
together, he and John Betjeman produced four best-selling albums of poetry and music.
this work as a background, Jim Parker follows Betjeman's life from birth in a
north London suburb to death in a Cornish village.
There are contributions from
those who knew and worked with him - the Barrow Poets, the late Philip Larkin, Judi Dench, Prunella Scales and television producer Eddie Mirzoeff.
BBC Radio 4 (from Saturday 26 August)
On Sunday 27 August, a special Poetry Please presented by Roger McGough will
explore Betjeman's legacy.
With contributions from Stephen Fry, Miriam Margolyes and Samuel West.
On Monday 28 August, BBC Radio 4 will host a Betjeman Day with special
programming throughout the day, including an Afternoon Reading of correspondence between Betjeman and those he worked with.
from his poetry can be heard throughout the day in special drop-ins between and
during regular programming.
There will be a special Woman's Hour Drama throughout the week, Betjeman's
Women, exploring the characters in his poetry; an Archive Hour looking at
Betjeman's long association with the BBC; and a documentary, The Lesser Known
Betjeman, will reveal the man behind the poetry.
You And Yours will revisit some
of the towns Betjeman wrote about and there will be a repeat of Summoned By
Bells, an hour-long drama based on Betjeman's famous poem.
Notes to Editors
BBC FOUR is showing Metro-Land, Summoned
by Bells and A
Passion for Churches at the end of August.
BBC TWO is showing Reputations
- John Betjeman - The Last Laugh on Monday 14 August.