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Kirsty Wark and Brenda Emmanus go behind the scenes at the Royal Academy summer exhibition and hear singer-songwriter James Bay perform live.

The Royal Academy summer exhibition is the world’s longest running and largest open-submission show. What does that mean? That any artist can enter and stand a chance of hanging alongside the great and the good within these hallowed halls.

Kirsty Wark and Brenda Emmanus follow every step of the way with three hopeful amateur artists, and delve into the fascinating process of curating and hanging the most complicated exhibition in the British art calendar. They visit celebrity artists creating work for this year’s show, including Bob & Roberta Smith, Polly Morgan and Jeremy Deller, and get to know this year's co-ordinator Jock McFadyen.

The programme finishes by taking viewers behind the scenes of the glamorous opening night party where some famous faces hope to snap up an art bargain and hear chart-topping singer-songwriter James Bay perform live.

59 minutes

Last on

Tue 9 Jul 2019 02:20

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:07



  • 00:12

    Laura Marling


  • 00:32

    Years & Years

    Don't Panic

  • 00:35


    Don't Kill My Vibe

  • 00:43

    Nils Frahm


  • 00:46

    Laura Mvula

    Overcome (feat. Nile Rodgers)

  • 00:48

    Jess Glynne

    Ain't Got Far To Go

  • 00:51

    Ed Sheeran

    What Do I Know

  • 00:55

    Sigala, Ella Eyre & Meghan Trainor

    Just Got Paid (feat. French Montana)


Role Contributor
Production Company BBC Studios
Presenter Kirsty Wark
Executive Producer Janet Lee
Presenter Brenda Emmanus
Producer Alex Harding
Director Alex Harding


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