23 episodes

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage talks to guests about life, language and music in his shed.

The Poet Laureate Has Gone to His Shed BBC

    • Society & Culture

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage talks to guests about life, language and music in his shed.

    HRH Prince Charles

    HRH Prince Charles

    For a special finale to the current series, Simon Armitage travels to Wales to talk to HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales in his Welsh home, Llwynywermod, in Llandovery. Swapping his shed in the Pennines for a barn beside the Brecon Beacons, Simon weaves the conversation around themes of creativity, inspiration and nature. He speaks to The Prince of Wales about the flora and fauna of their surroundings, his passion for conservation, the music of Wagner, and the former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes. At one point, the doors of the big barn are thrown open and Prince Charles takes Simon through a series of hay meadows that surround the former farm, pointing out the trees that have been planted since he took over the property, including the maple trees used to line the aisle of Westminster Abbey for Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Sabrina Verjee

    Sabrina Verjee

    Sabrina Verjee works as a vet in The Lake District., but she is also a champion fell runner. She has recently has broken the Wainwrights record, successfully completing all of Cumbria’s 214 peaks, a 325 mile route in 5 days 23 hours 49 minutes. The feat involves 36,000m of ascent - equivalent to climbing Everest four times and includes includes Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak.

    In summer 2010 Simon Armitage decided to walk the Pennine Way. The challenging 256-mile route is usually approached from south to north, from Edale in the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm, the other side of the Scottish border. He resolved to tackle it the other way round. Crossing the beautiful and bleak terrain, across lonely fells and into the howling wind, he was described at the time as the Eeyore of the walking world. Sabrina holds the record for the fastest female completion of the Pennine Way, so there's plenty of stories to share and anecdotes to tell.

    Produced by Susan Roberts

    • 45 min
    John Tiffany

    John Tiffany

    John Tiffany a multi award-winning theatre director is from the same village in West Yorkshire as Simon Armitage. They both grew up watching their parents in amateur dramatic shows in the Marsden Parochial Hall, but it was a chance trip to a professional production years later that turned John's attentions away from medical school and back to the stage. He's the person behind some of the most acclaimed theatrical productions of the last two decades, including Pinocchio at The National Theatre, Road at the Royal Court, the smash hit Broadway musical Once, the National Theatre of Scotland's Black Watch and more recently, the hottest ticket in the West End, The Cursed Child. His shows regularly achieve both critical and popular acclaim, an extremely important factor in his work.

    In the shed the conversation drifts from what makes a good director to what makes a good joke - and there are plenty of them! From fathers to future plans and from creativity to the classroom, where John has chosen to give something back.

    Produced by Susan Roberts

    • 1 hr
    Gillian Burke

    Gillian Burke

    Gillian Burke is best known to us as a presenter of the 'Watch' television series - Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch .She talks to Simon Armitage about her childhood in Kenya where she had a hands-on experience of wildlife, running barefoot outside her house searching for insects . Her love of conservation was inspired by her mother who worked in Nairobi for the UN on environmental projects . From the natural world to a love of Cornwall, along the way their conversation takes in deep sea diving and gospel singing .

    Produced by Susan Roberts

    • 55 min
    Jo Whiley

    Jo Whiley

    Jo Whiley tells of her unsure beginnings in the world of broadcasting when she comes to the shed this week. A chance conversation with a lecturer when she was at university led to a job on BBC Radio Sussex' Turn It Up, giving her the chance to attend gigs and interview musicians. Since then she has presented many music shows on national BBC Radio networks. She's also known for her strong connection with The Glastonbury Festival and for her live DJ sets. The conversation in the shed takes in her love of gardening and her campaign to get vaccinations for those with learning disabilities following the admission to hospital of her sister Frances following an outbreak of coronavirus in her care home.

    Produced by Susan Roberts

    • 51 min
    JK Rowling

    JK Rowling

    Joanne Rowling, known as JK Rowling, is known globally for writing one of the best selling book series in history. Harry Potter and his classmates now have their firm place in the collective imagination of a generation of readers. She also writes crime fiction under the pen name Robert Galbraith.

    In the shed, Jo Rowling discusses the joys and the pains of writing with fellow author Simon Armitage, explaining how she picked up a pen to start again after the huge success of her first series. She discusses myths and the truths that have grown up around the books, including the idea that she conceived the idea for the Harry Potter series while on a delayed train from Manchester to London.

    Jo brings a very special 'show and tell' into the shed when she gives Simon the chance to dip into her very first notebooks, never before shown publicly, which she used to collect early ideas that might end up in a first Potter book, including the names of the pupils in Harry's class.

    The seven-year period that followed saw the death of her mother, birth of her first child, divorce from her first husband, and relative poverty until the first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published in 1997. There were six further books in the series, of which the last was released in 2007. Since then, Jo has written several books for adult readers: The Casual Vacancy (2012) and - under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith - the crime-fiction Cormoran Strike series. She has lived a "rags to riches" life in which she progressed from living on benefits to being one of the best- selling writers of all time, giving away much of her earnings to charity.

    Produced by Susan Roberts

    • 1 hr 1 min

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