BBC Radio 4 Front Row

Shelea, Reviewing Official Competition and Red Rose, Gus Casely-Hayford


The BBC Proms is celebrating what would’ve been Aretha Franklin’s 80th birthday, and leading the tribute is American singer-songwriter Sheléa. She’s a protegee of Quincy Jones who also found a mentor in Stevie Wonder, and names Natalie Cole and Whitney Houston as some of her inspirations. Sheléa shares Aretha Franklin’s influences of gospel, jazz and soul, and her skills to play the piano and turn her voice to a variety of styles. She performs live in the studio and demonstrates the power of Aretha’s voice as well as her own.

For our Thursday review Larushka Ivan-Zadeh and Olivia Laing have been watching Official Competition, a comedy film starring Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martínez which takes aim at the film industry and its stars, and Red Rose, a BBC3 teen horror drama set in Bolton looking at the power of smartphones to shape young lives.

Torn is a new BBC Radio 4 series exploring ten key moments in the history of fashion, from the allure of mauve to the rebellion of mini-skirts. Presenter Gus Casely-Hayford, curator, historian and the inaugural director of V&A East, joins Shahidha for a whistlestop tour of fashion’s cultural hits and environmental misses over five centuries.


Presenter: Shahidha Bari
Producer: Sarah Johnson