The BBC today announced a poetry season to air across BBC2, BBC4, CBeebies, Radio 3, Radio 4 and online this spring.

Programming will include:


  • An authored documentary from Simon Schama on John Donne

  • A film by Armando Iannucci on John Milton

  • Lifelines - a series where four public figures take a journey of discovery into the poems that inspired them

  • Arena special on TS Eliot

  • Off By Heart - a nationwide poetry recital competition for primary schools


  • Owen Sheers explores six great British works

  • Ian Hislop welcomes the new Poet Laureate

  • Simon Armitage goes in search of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

  • A documentary about the world's longest running poetry programme, Radio 4's Poetry Please

  • Why Reading Matters season - programmes celebrating literacy, including Just Read, in which children's laureate Michael Rosen tries to instil a passion for books into reluctant young readers. Plus, Why Reading Matters - a look at the effect reading has on the brain, and How Reading Made Us Modern

Radio 3

  • The Idylls of the King - a new adaptation of Alfred Lord Tennyson's epic by award-winning poet Michael Symmonds Roberts

  • The Essay - contemporary poets offer their personal responses to Tennyson's work. Poet Ruth Padel will investigate Tennyson's legacy in art, film and music of all kinds

Radio 4

  • Ulysses Revisited - to mark the 200th anniversary of Tennyson's birth, a documentary will tell the story behind his well-loved poem Ulysses

  • Maud - Tennyson's poem of love and madness will be adapted as a Classic Serial

Other key arts programming


  • The Romeo Project - two schools are brought together to perform Romeo and Juliet in a prestigious theatre

  • The Birth of British Music - documentary series presented by Charles Hazlewood


  • Baroque! From St Peter's To St Paul's - visual art series presented by Waldemar Januszczak