Friday 14 Mar 2014
Celebrating the far-reaching and compelling world of poetry, BBC Two leads a season of content across television, radio and online. Some of the nation's best-loved writers and celebrities, including Simon Schama, Armando Iannucci, Sheila Hancock and Griff Rhys Jones, share their passion for poetry as the channel explores the power of verse and how it is interwoven into the fabric of the nation.
Arena: TS Eliot
Arena contributes to BBC Two's Poetry Season with a profile of TS Eliot which, with unprecedented co-operation from the Eliot Estate, tells the story of one of the 20th century's most celebrated and elusive writers.
Simon Schama celebrates the life and work of Britain's greatest love poet, John Donne. For Schama, Donne is the poet who transformed English poetry through his emotional honesty and skilled use of language. With the help of academic John Carey and actor Fiona Shaw, he undertakes a passionate appraisal and forensic examination of Donne's work.
Armando Iannucci explores his passion for John Milton – a poet often considered too difficult or obscure for today's reader. Preoccupied with ideas of sin, liberty and the fall of man, Milton may seem out of step with 21st century Britain but, as Iannucci reveals, he has never been more relevant.
My Life In Verse
Whether it be by Milton or Milligan, Shakespeare or John Cooper-Clarke many people have fragments of poetry lodged in their brains without even realising it. In My Life In Verse, four of the nation's best-loved celebrities: Robert Webb, Malorie Blackman, Sheila Hancock and Cerys Matthews, take a journey of discovery into the poems that inspired them.
Off By Heart
Learning by heart is the best way to experience a poem, but the method has fallen from favour in the educational system. To encourage primary school children to engage with poetry, BBC Learning has launched a new campaign, Off By Heart. Central to the BBC's Poetry Season, this national recitation competition, which launched on National Poetry Day last October, continues in 2009 with BBC Two following children across the UK as they progress from regional heats to the grand final in Oxford, hosted by Jeremy Paxman.
Why Poetry Matters
Griff Rhys Jones launches the BBC's Poetry Season with a passionate and personal plea, addressing why poetry matters, how verse has the power to move and why everybody needs it. Within this witty, stylish, high-impact hour, Griff makes the case that poetry is accessible, enjoyable and downright compelling.