A two week season of programmes exploring how London has changed over the last quarter of a century has been announced by BBC Radio 4.
Airing from Saturday 3rd July, London – Another Country? will examine the capital’s place in modern Britain and ask whether it’s representative of the United Kingdom “or feels like a different country altogether”.
Season highlights include the Kwame Kwei Armah presented The London Story which looks at London’s diverse nature and how the “dynamic population” has shaped politics and culture since the Seventies.
Alan Dein will present Just Off The Plane discovering how life in London lives up to the expectations of new arrivals.
The view of the capital’s detractors will also be reflected in
There’s More To Life Than London in which Stuart Cosgrove questions the assumption that the capital is a great place to live, citing the overcrowded tube and the cost as reasons for living elsewhere.
Confirming the season lineup station controller Mark Damazer said: “London has for centuries been a major international city but the characteristics which define it have changed markedly in recent years. London arouses strong feelings whether of affection, admiration, envy, contempt or revulsion. The London season on Radio 4 aims to reflect all these sentiments and we want to appeal to all Radio 4 audiences – not just those who happen to live near the city itself.”
Other presenters and contributors taking part in the season include Madness frontman Suggs (pictured above), Asian Dub Foundation’s Steve Savale, journalists Rosie Millard, and Jonathan Glancey, historians Alan Dein and Dan Cruickshank, comedian Arthur Smith and broadcaster Robert Elms.
Season Schedule In Full:
London – An A To Z: Andrea Levy and Suggs reveal unusual statistics about London in these 40-second clips dotted throughout the schedule.
Saturday Play – Avoid London… Area Closed… Turn On Radio (Saturday 3 July, 2.30pm) is a repeat of the Radio 4 drama which follows a fictional family as the tragic, real-life events of 7/7 unfold.
Archive On 4 – The Summer That Changed London (Saturday 3 July, 8pm) recalls the euphoria of winning the Olympics and the terror of the 7/7 bombings with archive recordings and new interviews with survivors of the 7/7 bombings, then-London mayor Ken Livingstone and others.
The Food Programme – Pop-Up London (Sunday, 4 July 12.30pm and Monday 5 July, 4pm). London’s secret pop-up restaurants, a modern scene with a surprising history, are revealed in these two editions of The Food Programme. An underground world of amateur chefs hosting ambitious meals in their homes, open to strangers.
London Street Cries (Monday 5 July, 3.45pm) – five-part series, broadcast Monday to Friday, which compares the lives of the poor in Victorian London with their counterparts in contemporary London. The series uses the interviews of Victorian London’s poor chronicled by Henry Mayhew.
London Nights (Monday 5 July, 11pm) – Andrea Levy presents 10 anthologies broadcast across two weeks that capture the off-beat spirit of London.
The London Story (Tuesday 6 July 9am) – two programmes in which Kwame Kwei-Armah explores how, over the last 30 years, London has become such a diverse, creatively rich city. Programme two is on 13 July.
File On 4 (Tuesday 6 July 8pm) – reporter Jon Manel obtains rare access into the lives of some of London’s illegal workers and discovers that some are now very much part of the system, even paying tax and national insurance.
There’s More To Life Than London (Wednesday 7 July 11am) – Stuart Cosgrove asks why all the fuss about London and questions if the capital does not drain resources and energy from the rest of the UK.
The London Nobody Knows (Wednesday 7 July 8.45pm) – two programmes in which Dan Cruickshank explores London to find out what is left of the city described in Geoffrey Fletcher’s Sixties book, The London Nobody Knows.
Afternoon Play – A Chaos Of Wealth And Want (Friday 9 July, 2.15pm) – drama in which Henry Mayhew, chronicler of London’s poor and dispossessed, finds out the hard truth about charity when he takes in a homeless man.
The Greatest City On Earth (Monday, 12 July, 9am) – Laurie Taylor chairs a debate in which London is pitted against three other major world cities in front of a studio audience. Four advocates argue the case for their city and the audience votes for its favourite.
Just Off The Plane (Monday, 12 July, 3.45pm) – In this five part series, Alan Dein meets people arriving at Heathrow and finds out what the capital means to them and whether it lives up to their expectations.
Top Deck Tales (Monday, 12 July, 8.00pm) – BBC London’s Robert Elms uncovers some remarkable human interest stories of his fellow passengers on the route 36 bus route.
Towering Ambition – A Tale Of Two Cities (Wednesday, July 14, 11am) – Rosie Millard explores the opposing architectural stances being taken by London and Paris. London Mayor Boris Johnson has pledged to stop towers being developed whereas Paris’s opposition to high building is weakening.
The Report (Thursday 15 July, 8pm) – In this special edition of The Report, Mukul Devichand looks at what’s really hurting the old working classes of places like Barking, Woolwich and London’s East. He investigates the new housing policies that appear to prioritise young professionals, and have seen new migrant communities edged into the city’s periphery, leaving the old working classes increasingly alienated and resentful.