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This weekend BBC2’s Saturday evening schedule is dedicated to British poetry while there are a number of other gems across radio and TV which could offer teachers and students excellent educational resources.  This co-incides with National Poetry Day on 6 October, the theme this year being ‘Messages’.


Rick Stein John Betjeman and Me  BBC2, 1 Oct 8.10pm

The chef celebrates the John Betjeman’s love of Cornwall.

As a supporting resources this programme from the BBC archive this also could be of interest:

John Betjemans Beside the Seaside

First transmitted in 1969, written and narrated by poet John Betjeman, this programme explores natural beauty and character of the British people beside the sea, particularly the South-West.


Programme Name: Artsnight - TX: 01/10/2016 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: in Austria, November 1964. W.H. Auden - (C) BBC - Photographer: Unknown
WH Auden (C) BBC – Photographer: Unknown


Railway Nation: A Journey in Verse  BBC2, 1 Oct 9pm

80 years since WH Auden and Benjamin Britten’s classic Night Mail documentary, six of Britains best poets board a train to record each region on the country.  From the BBC website:

“This landmark film asks why – despite email, text and mobile phone – we are travelling in greater numbers than ever before. Through poets’ narration, we are revealed to ourselves as we travel urgently, hopefully, despairingly towards our destinations.”


Performance Live!Kate Tempest  BBC2, 1 October 10pm

Kate Tempest hosts a night of poetry from the Rivoli Ballroom in London  andf performs her new work, Let them Eat Cake – a blend of poetry, hip- hop and theatre.


BBC Artsnight – Poets at the BBC  BBC2, 1 October 11pm

“Over the decades, the BBC has captured many of the most famous poets for posterity. This programme trawls through the archives to show how bards turned into broadcasters, featuring some of the most beloved poets Britain has produced.” (BBC)


Poetry Please – Seamus Heaney BBC Radio 4

This special programme marks the death and celebrates the life and work of Seamus Heaney. Featuring archive recordings of Heaney’s poems read by the poet himself.


Simon Armitage on Radcliffe and Maconie BBC 6 Music, available on iPlayer Radio

A clip in which Oxford University’s Professor of Poetry Simon Armitage talks to Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie about his latest music project. LYR or Land Yacht Regatta is a loose musical collaboration between Simon and musicians Richard Walters and Patrick James Pearson. Simon describes how the project took formation and introduces a track called 33⅓, which takes Ian Curtis and the death of vinyl as inspiration.


Further Resources:

The Poetry Society’s National Poetry Day

Clips from Poetry Please, BBC Radio 4

Channel 4 National Poetry Day