Tony Harrison Profile on Radio 3

Tony Harrison Profile on Radio 3


Pick of the Week, BBC Radio 4, Sunday 30 April 2017, 6.15pm

An extract from Radio 3’s Sunday Feature profile of Tony Harrison, V Is for Tony, was chosen by Mark Steel for Pick of the Week on 30 April, Harrison’s 80th birthday. 

Click here to listen. Online for 30 days after broadcast.  From 26.59

V Is For Tony has been archived on the Sunday Feature webpages.  v. is discussed from 26.11:

Sunday Feature: V Is for Tony, BBC Radio 3, Sunday 23 April 2017, 6.45pm

Radio 3’s Sunday Feature marked Tony Harrison’s 80th birthday with a 45-minute profile.  Tony Harrison took Paul Farley on a tour of some of his significant places, including the cemetery in Leeds where his 'raw and urgent' long poem v. is set. They discussed the poem and the controversy that followed the broadcast of Richard Eyre's Channel Four film version of v. in 1987. With contributions from Richard Eyre.  Tony Harrison also read an extract from the poem.

‘Poetry sometimes has astonishing public moments and points of ignition: this was one of them.’ – Paul Farley’s response to watching the film of v.

'To mark Tony Harrison's 80th birthday, Paul Farley presents a profile of this unique poet, playwright and filmmaker - author of the controversial long poem v. and game-changing theatre productions of The Mysteries, The Oresteia and The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus, among many others.'

Click here to listen and to view photos in the gallery. The poem v. is  discussed from 26.11


Still available online:

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 5 June 2016. 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.

[02 May 2017]

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