Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

Radio 4 looks forward under new Controller

  • New science programme to be broadcast 9-9.30am on Tuesday mornings
  • New interview slot to be broadcast 9.30-9.45am on Tuesday mornings
  • New comedy programme to run on Sunday evenings
  • New poetry masterclass series
  • Shake-up of commissioning process

After four months in the role, Gwyneth Williams, Controller, BBC Radio 4, is to establish some changes to the Radio 4 schedule.

From October this year she will introduce two new regular strands on Tuesday mornings – both of which will build on the existing intellectual rigour of Radio 4 and keep it at the forefront of modern thinking.

A new science programme will be followed by a 15-minute interview strand, both to run weekly throughout the year.

The science programme (title/presenter tbc) will cover all subjects across the scientific arena: physics, engineering, maths, biology, chemistry, engineering and natural history. Working scientists from all over Britain will talk about the way they work in a conversation featuring a personal story, a significant moment in their work and an explanation and exploration. The series will raise the profile of science on the network by bringing the language and conversations about the scientific method to Radio 4 listeners.

The new 15-minute interview which follows (title tbc) will feature single interviews by various leading journalists on subjects that play to their personal passions, including arts, culture, psychology and sociology.

Continuing with its patronage of Britain's comic talent, Radio 4 will invest in new comedy for Sunday evenings from October. The new 30-minute commissions will be in the same vein as the 6.30pm weekly comedies: high quality and designed to entertain and cheer.

Tapping in to the connection between listening to contemporary poetry and the current explosion in poetry writing, Radio 4 will run a series of poetry masterclasses which will travel around Britain. The presenter (tbc) will critique various poems at seminars across the country, and read relevant modern poems to inspire writers.

Gwyneth will also encourage creativity by making the commissioning process simpler and moving towards one commissioning round a year with more rolling commissions. This will enable flexible scheduling. Examples of such scheduling would be the recent documentaries on the Chinese Nobel prize winner Liu Xiaobo and on the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, both of which were reactive commissions.

Notes to Editors

See Gwyneth's blog for more details: Radio 4 blog.

The changes for Tuesday mornings will affect the present 9-9.45am broadcasts which are: On The Ropes, The Choice, Between Ourselves, Taking A Stand. Listeners will be able to hear human interest interviews in other parts of the network, including new commissions, Saturday Live, Midweek, The Reunion, Desert Island Discs and Woman's Hour.

New comedy on Sunday evenings will replace a repeat slot (exact times tbc).

Poetry masterclasses will run throughout the year – transmission details tbc.


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