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Virus Art, Naomi Alderman, Angela Barnes

Luke Jerram and Martin Rowson on their depictions of the virus, Angela Barnes on hosting The News Quiz without an audience, and Naomi Alderman on pre-imagining the pandemic.

Comedian Angela Barnes is the new host of Radio 4’s stalwart show The News Quiz. Fresh from recording the first episode of the new series, we ask how they’re keeping it funny when the only story is a deadly virus, and what it’s been like making the show under lockdown when there’s no audience to laugh at your jokes.

When the coronavirus pandemic struck, Women’s Prize-winning novelist and games writer Naomi Alderman was in the middle of a new writing project. The subject? A piece of speculative fiction about a global pandemic. Alderman joins us to talk about the dilemmas a novelist faces when unpublished work is overtaken by real events.

John Mullan on the delights of Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen's first published novel, that juxtaposes pain and pleasure to powerful effect.

And how the physical qualities of viruses are re-created by two very different artists: Luke Jerram – the latest in his Glass Microbiology series of glass sculptures is a replica of Covid 19 - and the political cartoonist Martin Rowson. They talk to Front Row about the terrible beauty of viruses and the human attributes we project onto them.

Image: Covid-19 glass sculpture by Luke Jerram
Image credit: Luke Jerram

Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe
Producer: Sarah Johnson

Available now

28 minutes

Virus art

Virus art


Main image above: COVID-19 glass sculpture by Luke Jerram

Image to the left: Artist Luke Jerram with swine flu from his Glass Microbiology sculptures.

Images credit: Luke Jerram

Luke Jerram artworks to be seen in the UK after the COVID-19 lockdown has ended:

In Memoriam

Sky Orchestra


Naomi Alderman

Naomi Alderman

Image: Naomi Alderman

Image credit: Annabel Moeller

Angela Barnes

Angela Barnes

Angela Barnes is a presenter of BBC R4 News Quiz.

Image: Angela Barnes


  • Thu 16 Apr 2020 19:15



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