Tony Harrison's v. on Radio 4's Bookclub

Tony Harrison's v. on Radio 4's Bookclub

Bookclub: Tony Harrison's v., BBC Radio 4, Sunday 5 June 2016, 4pm (repeated Thursday 9 June, 3.30pm)

James Naughtie and a group of readers talked to Tony Harrison about his controversial poem v. on Radio 4's Bookclub on Sunday 5 June at 4pm (repeated 9 June 3.30pm). The programme was recorded at the Hexham Book Festival on 29 April.

‘Harrison wrote the poem in 1985, after being angered by graffiti sprayed on his par-ents' grave by football fans in his home town of Leeds. A filmed version of the poem, directed by Richard Eyre, caused controversy two years later when it was announced that it was to be broadcast on Channel 4. The poem, which includes repeated strong language was denounced by tabloid news-papers as a "torrent of filth". A group of Conservative MPs signed an early day mo-tion to have the programme pulled from the schedules.  Others defended the poet's right to use such language to draw attention to the wan-ton desecration of his family's grave. It was also seen against the backdrop of the Miners' strike and racial intolerance in British cities.’

Click here to listen to the programme

Click here to listen to a short clip: "We'll occupy your lousy leasehold poetry!"


A recording of Tony Harrison reading the poem in full is included on the e-book of v.   This was made by Thistledown Productions and first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 16 February 2013.

Tony Harrison's v. was recently reprinted, so is in stock.  It can be ordered through your local bookshop or via the Bloodaxe website if it is not showing as in stock with online retailers.

[07 June 2016]

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