The virtuoso violinist Nigel Kennedy became Britain's most celebrated classical musician after the release of his 1989 recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, which sold 2 million copies. But Kennedy had alwaysharboured a love of jazz - an affection which the former child prodigy has been pursuing in his new home. Kennedy now lives in Poland, where he fronts an all-Polish jazz band, the Nigel Kennedy Quintet, and has recently founded The Orchestra of Life, an ensemble consisting of mostly young musicians.
In Imagine: Nigel Kennedy's Polish Adventure, Alan Yentob traces Kennedy's personal odyssey, and follows him as he explores the rich musical traditions of his adopted homeland.
For many great cultural figures, the formative childhood experience of play has helped to unleash their creativity and shape their later work.
In this programme, Alan Yentob considers the influence of play withsome of Britain's leading artists, including Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry, Marc Quinn, Gavin Turk, Mat Collishaw and David Bailey, who offer fascinating insights into the transformative power of their early creative experiences.
At the age of 92, Diana Athill is suddenly a celebrity. Her frank and entertaining memoirs, mainly written after the age at which most people retire, chart a life less ordinary. She's had a string of loveaffairs, mainly with married, black and/or younger men; enjoyed fifty years of success as an editor, worked with writers as distinguished as Jean Rhys, Norman Mailer and VS Naipaul; and led a privileged childhood in a Norfolk mansion. Recently, she has chosen to go into an old people's home, where they take people 'who have had interesting lives'. Alan Yentob meets her to discuss her life, her work - and her outspoken thoughts on death.
As he prepares to celebrate his 70th birthday, singing legend Sir Tom Jones is still recording, performing and collaborating with some of the biggest names in pop. In this episode of Imagine, Alan Yentobexamines the extraordinary story of one of Britain's most recognisable pop icons.
In a frank and revealing interview, Sir Tom describes the dizzying ascent from his humble beginnings as a miner's son in south Wales to becoming a headline act in Las Vegas and recalls many of his most cherished moments from a career that enabled him to sing alongside Elvis, establish himself as a hairy-chested sex symbol and make one of the most successful comebacks in pop history.
The arts series takes a road trip round the desert state of Rajasthan, meeting musicians whose existence is under threat from the new India. They meet Bhopa bards who recite four-night-long epics in front ofhuge hand-painted scrolls, saffron-clad, chillum-smoking sisters, cross-dressers and Gypsy dancers who literally bend over backwards to pick up rupees.
With the rise of electronic books, is the final chapter about to be written in the long love story between books and their readers? Will the app take the place of the traditional book?
Alan Yentob discusses the subject with writers Alan Bennett, Douglas Coupland, Ewan Morrison and Gary Shteyngart, publisher Gail Rebuck, agent Ed Victor and librarian Rachael Morrison. They also smell books, making precise notes about the distinctive aroma of each.
Alan Yentob presents the first of a two-part series for Imagine on the art of stand-up comedy. He talks to comedians in Britain and America, exploring their backgrounds and influences and their passion formaking people laugh.
This insightful look at the art of stand-up features contributions from some of our most popular comedians, such as Billy Connolly, Eddie Izzard, Jack Dee, Omid Djalili, Frank Skinner, David Baddiel, Shappi Khorsandi, Simon Amstell, Dara O Briain, Chris Addison, Jack Whitehall, Ed Byrne and Jim Davidson.
The second of a two-part series for Imagine on the art of stand-up comedy. Alan Yentob talks to comedians in Britain and America, exploring the evolution of stand-up and how it transfers to other mediums. He also joins Eddie Izzard backstage for the first solo stand-up show at the Hollywood Bowl.
This insightful look at the art of stand-up features Billy Connolly, Eddie Izzard, Jack Dee, Omid Djalili, Frank Skinner, David Baddiel, Shappi Khorsandi, Simon Amstell, Dara O Briain, Chris Addison, Jack Whitehall, Ed Byrne and Jim Davidson.