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Poetry Please is a weekly radio programme broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in which listeners request poems, which are then read by a cast of actors. The current presenter is Roger McGough. Performers regularly include some of the top names in British acting - Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Prunella Scales and Timothy West.
The programme marked its 25th year in 2004 and is known to be the longest running poetry programme broadcast anywhere in the world.
McGough's predecessor as presenter of Poetry Please was the Irish broadcaster and writer Frank Delaney. He described his pleasure in working on the programme as follows:
"And of course what it meant was that I was now going to be working with the most beautiful material ever written in the English language, spoken by the most beautiful voices currently working in the English language, and that was nothing but a joy in prospect". It's wonderfully democratic, because you open the postbag and there is a request there for a poem you have either never heard of, by a poet whose name is completely strange to you, or something you have adored since childhood and whose phrases have been part of your many inner soundtracks, and either of those is a delight. But all the time what is going on is a kind of exchange between the listener and through the programme, the public - whereby people are exchanging poems that they like and saying to each other "have you read this? - when I was a little boy or a little girl our teacher in school read this to us, and I remember at one Christmas my grandmother reading it" - and that is an immensely charming experience to be part of.
- Poetry Please website
- Poetry Please: The Nation's Best-Loved Poems: a tie-in volume of poems from the radio programme, published by Faber & Faber with a foreword by Roger McGough.
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