Yorkshire poets line up to help the BBC to celebrate the country’s wordsmiths

Simon Armitage
Simon Armitage
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THE BBC will mark National Poetry Day next month with a season of programmes paying tribute to the talents of the country’s wordsmiths - including a number from Yorkshire.

The works of professional and amateur poets, writers past and present, will feature across BBC television channels and radio stations for their Contains Strong Language series.

Led on television by BBC Two and Four the season features, for the first time on the small screen, a feature-length documentary exploring the life and works of Mytholmroyd-born Ted Hughes, one of the 20th century’s greatest poets.

BBC Four will explore some of the country’s most loved and celebrated poets.

In Return to Larkinland, writer and critic AN Wilson revisits the life and work of Philip Larkin, who although born in Coventry is mainly associated with Hull where worked in Hull University library for more than 30 years and who has statues and other tributes in his adopted city.

Simon Armitage, of Marsden near Huddersfield, elected Oxford Professor of Poetry this year, and Tony Harrison, former Leeds Grammar School and Leeds University student, will discuss their craft and careers in front of a live audience.

Kim Shillinglaw, controller of BBC Two and Four, said it was an ambitious programme and would be entertaining and educational. She said: “This autumn BBC Two and BBC Four are putting poets and poetry at the heart of the schedule with an ambitious range of content which demonstrates the unique and distinctive way in which the two channels work together, with BBC Two bringing viewers a landmark piece in peak time about one of our most celebrated poets, Ted Hughes, and then BBC Four enabling the audience to take their interest further with a wide range of entertaining and expert content.”

National Poetry Day is held on Thursday October 8, with Contains Strong Language being held throughout the month.