BBC Radio 4 explores Brexit with special commissions

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BBC Radio 4 explores Brexit with special commissions

Gwyneth Williams, Controller Radio 4 & Radio 4 Extra, has commissioned a series of special programmes to reflect and examine the political and cultural landscape in Britain after the Brexit vote, and what happened in the lead-up to the EU referendum.

The commissions will bring to Radio 4’s millions of listeners some of the best writers, thinkers and broadcasters at these unprecedented times, reflecting on Brexit. They’ll explore Brexit from different angles – from how Britain’s creative community can and should respond to the divisions exposed by the vote, to how the referendum came about; from what Brexit will mean to migrants living in Britain, to the problems and opportunities faced by those charged with making Brexit work.

Now it’s our duty to equip listeners with an understanding of what happened and why, and explore what the impact of Brexit might be – for culture and the artistic community, for Europeans in the UK, for the civil service, and for British politics. Gwyneth Williams, Controller, Radio 4 & Radio 4 Extra

Voices from across the UK will be heard in special Listening Project programming, and leave and remain voters will discuss Brexit in a special Two Rooms episode. Once the programmes have been broadcast on Radio 4 in the coming months, they will become part of Radio 4’s online Brexit collection.

Radio 4 is also working on a drama about the recent political events to be broadcast in the year to come.

Gwyneth Williams says: “Ahead of the EU referendum, listeners heard arguments, analysis, fact-checking and history explored across Radio 4. Now it’s our duty to equip them with an understanding of what happened and why, and explore what the impact of Brexit might be – for culture and the artistic community, for Europeans in the UK, for the civil service, and for British politics. We must continue to bring to our audiences the most thought-provoking arguments and stories, enlightening and challenging, as the future unravels.”

“I welcome and commend to listeners A Point of View: After The Vote, in which leading Radio 4 thinkers including our former Reith Lecturer, the philosopher Onora O’Neill, share their considered responses – they are on air this week and are now part of our Brexit Collection on Radio 4’s website. As will be Martin Wolf, eminent FT columnist, who presents a peak-time morning doc. And in the midst of all this Wole Soyinka provided a much needed reflective pause in his remarkable poem A Moment Of Peace, unpublished and given to me personally to broadcast, which listeners heard on Front Row and can now find in our online collection.”

“We are also already working on a drama about the political events that have unfolded around us over recent weeks which you will be able to hear in the year to come on Radio 4. I can’t wait; who will we cast in the leading roles?”

In How We Voted Brexit, Anne McElvoy tells the inside story of why and how the UK voted to leave the European Union. She investigates why David Cameron made the fateful decision to hold a referendum on EU membership. She hears from both British and European sources about his effort to reach a new deal with the EU which he could present to the electorate. And she speaks to members of both campaigns to learn about the key arguments, tactics and events which led to the momentous result.

In a special Front Row: The Cultural Response, John Wilson is joined by leading cultural figures to discuss how Britain’s creative community can and should respond to the divisions in British society exposed by the recent EU Referendum result. Has the artistic community been at fault for not sufficiently reflecting areas of the country’s population? Can art inform politics? What will be the cultural legacy of the books and plays written in the next few years? And will Britain’s culture thrive or wither in the post Brexit age?

In Brexit: The Leavocrats, former Cabinet Secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell investigates the extraordinary problems faced by those charged with making Brexit work – the Civil Service and identifies the rise of a new breed ‘the leavocrats’.

In a two-parter, Eastern Europeans In Brexitland, Gary Younge explores what Brexit means for Eastern European migrants living in Britain.

Party Futures will explore whether now, at a time of intense political change, is the point when the structure of British party politics will be fundamentally changed.

In September, special Listening Project programming will bring conversations from all parts of the UK to Radio 4, capturing exchanges between people as they reflect and discuss their thoughts on Brexit and how the result of the referendum affects them and their daily lives.

A special edition of Two Rooms will hear from two focus groups: one from Boston Lincs, the place with the highest Eurosceptic vote on mainland Britain, and one from Brixton in the London borough of Lambeth, which had the highest Europhilic vote. The programme will explore the perspectives of the voters themselves and how people in each area feel the country should move forward from this point. The groups will be placed in two rooms so that they can air their views freely, enabling Radio 4’s listeners to observe and hear the contrast in their experiences, attitudes and thoughts for the future.

In A Point of View – After the Vote, listeners can hear five distinguish thinkers – and well-known Radio 4 regulars – deliver essays with different viewpoints on Brexit. Former BBC Reith Lecturer Onora O’Neill critiques the standard of the debate on both sides of the European decision, arguing that there has been a democratic deficit, and wondering what can be done to repair it. John Gray looks at how the United Kingdom’s place in Europe and the world will change, and Roger Scruton writes about democracy after Brexit and explains why he feels it is the ordinary people of this country who care about democracy, not the urban elites. Peter Hennessy looks at how the UK has gone from being a stabilising force in the world to being a destabilising one, and Mary Beard asks whether the referendum result will change our cultural identity.

In addition, in his documentary How Low Can Rates Go? Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator of the Financial Times, examines how policymakers are testing the norms of economic life as they seek solutions to slow growth and the shocks that come from surprises such as Brexit.

The Brexit Collection is available on Radio 4’s website, bringing together programmes and content reflecting on the EU referendum result, ranging from factual commissions to political satire.

Radio 4 will continue to commission and broadcast programmes reflecting the latest developments in politics and Brexit. Across Radio 4’s regulars such as Today, WATO, PM, Any Questions?, More Or Less, and the Friday night comedy slot, Radio 4’s listeners will hear the latest developments, analysis and debates following Brexit.

TX and production credits

Front Row: The Cultural Response, by BBC Radio Productions – tx 26/07 9am, rpt 9.30pm

Party Futures, by BBC News Westminster – tx 10/08 8pm

How We Voted Brexit, by BBC Radio Current Affairs – tx 23/08 8pm, rpt 28/08 5pm

Brexit: The Leavocrats, by Whistledown Productions – tx 31/08 11am

Eastern Europeans in Brexitland, by Somethin’ Else – tx 5/09 and 12/09 8pm

Two Rooms, by Whistledown Productions – tx TBC

A Point of View – After the Vote, by BBC Radio Current Affairs – Radio 4 website

How Low Can Rates Go?, by BBC Radio Current Affairs, 21/07 9am


Isabella FA Shores
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Isabella FA Shores

Founder at 1stAngel Arts
I live in Sale, Cheshire, England, and am happily sharing my life with a mental budgie, two Alsatian puppies, and a long-suffering, sculptor-boyfriend . . . not necessarily in that order. 🙂 Often accused of being an insufferable know it all, I often do, but more often do not.
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One thought on “BBC Radio 4 explores Brexit with special commissions

  1. Richard Reeve

    Great link, Abbie. I shall listen to some of these to understand how the country is feeling post Brexit.

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