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John Betjeman

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Betjeman remembered on the BBC this Summer

Category: Factual & Arts TV; Radio 2; Radio 4

Date: 11.07.2006
Printable version

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 broadcaster.


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 Betjeman's poetry.


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 gained.


Contributors include Joanna Lumley, Dame Edna Everage and John Mortimer.


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 Cornwall.


Travelling around Cornwall, Rick meets people who remember Betjeman's visits.


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)


Musician 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.


Using 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.


Extracts 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.









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Category: Factual & Arts TV; Radio 2; Radio 4

Date: 11.07.2006
Printable version


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

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