Peter Curran (presenter)

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Peter Curran
Born
OccupationPublisher, radio producer, writer, broadcaster, documentary maker

Peter Curran is a publisher, radio producer, writer, documentary maker and broadcaster. He grew up in Belfast, the eldest of six children and worked on funfairs in the USA before moving to London, working as a carpenter then re-training as a BBC reporter. In 1992 he began DJing full-time for the London radio station BBC GLR.[1] He co-founded audio publisher Talking Music in 2012, publishing books on Eminem, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Glam rock, Acid house, Adele, The Clash and others, written and read by authors such as Charles Shaar Murray, Jane Bussmann and Barney Hoskyns. In 2018, he was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum/14-18 NOW to explore the role of Ireland's borderland communities in the First World War for The Art of Border Living, featuring BBC documentaries and commissioned short story podcasts from Irish authors and Kamila Shamsie. With co-writer Patrick Marber, Curran created Bunk Bed (radio programme), a series of bizarre late-night conversations recorded in beds and in the dark, featuring music, archive speech and occasional guests such as Cate Blanchett and Benjamin Zephaniah. First broadcast in April 2014 on BBC Radio 4,[2] Series 7 was aired in January 2021 with Kathy Burke. In interviews, Curran describes himself as 'a failed drummer'[3][4]

Career[edit]

His presenting career began in the 1990s when he hosted a weekday show on BBC GLR featuring live music sessions from a range of artists such as Radiohead, The Staple Singers, Foo Fighters and Wu Tang Clan alongside record reviews and profile interviews with authors, film makers and comedians.[5] The Peter Curran Show ran for six years until 1999, when BBC London adopted a News/Phone-in format for the 4pm-6pm slot. He presented BBC London's movie programme The Big Picture for three years and reviewed films[6] for the magazine Sight & Sound. He's an independent documentary maker and radio producer,[7] being a 'Best Producer..' nominee at the 2017/18/19 UK Audio Production Awards.[8] Curran persuaded Nick Leeson and his former boss Peter Norris and colleagues to face each other for the first time since Leeson precipitated the collapse of Barings Bank, for a famously tense edition of The Reunion on BBC Radio 4.[9][10]

In 1998, with producer Stephen Wilkinson, he began work on the first UK television programmes to feature streaming video and an interactive website.[11] The shows featured news about internet developments, technology and culture. They were recorded in London's Cybercafe for broadcast as part of BBC2's Learning Zone.

Since then, Curran has written and presented documentaries and shows for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 2 including Loose Ends, Pick of the Week and Spinal Tap: Back From the Dead,[12] a faux-documentary[13] which Curran produced with the original cast of the movie This Is Spinal Tap. He has reported from India and the USA for From Our Own Correspondent,[14] and presented two series of The Tribes of Science for Radio 4[15] and The Arts Show for Radio 2. Other examples of his work include The Foghorn: A Celebration[16] and The Electric Ride[17] series for Radio 4 and BBC Online, for which he drove an electric car five thousand miles through seven European countries asking local people to recharge the battery every 100 miles.[18]

For television, Curran has scripted and/or presented numerous Arts and culture programmes, such as Personal Passions,[19] When Art Went Pop and Edinburgh Nights for BBC2. He presented Channel 4's Wired World, Discovery Channel's architecture and engineering series Building The Best, Restoration Nation and a 40-part Arts education series for BBC Knowledge Culture Fix.[20] Curran created the online TV series The Teaching Challenge for Brook Lapping and directed five series of the show from 2007 to 2011.[21]

His TV and radio journalism about Northern Ireland include the BBC television essays Maiden City Voyage, billed as a social and cultural audit of Derry during its City of Culture role, Slack Sabbath, a wry TV journey into how religious observance has changed since 1970's, Collecting the Troubles At The Ulster Museum for BBC Radio 4 and the series One To One exploring the difficult personal legacy of The Troubles for individuals who left Belfast to live and work in England.

Curran's long-standing project to record Revolution in the Head, Ian MacDonald's classic book about The Beatles' recording career came to fruition in 2015, voiced by well-known Beatles fans and associates such as David Morrissey, Jenny Boyd, Robyn Hitchcock and Danny Baker.[22] On its 70th anniversary, Curran wrote and presented Radio 4's documentary appreciation of John Hersey's 1946 Hiroshima article for The New Yorker magazine[23] followed by a repeat of the harrowing 1948 BBC broadcast of the entire text, which had graphically described the true aftermath and effects of atomic bomb radiation for the first time.[24] During 2017, Curran travelled across the USA for the Radio 4 series Litter From America[25] which featured "the scuffed and stained American dreams" of actor Richard Schiff, comedian Maysoon Zayid and director Kwame Kwei-Armah as their personal politics grappled with the Trump presidency.[26] In 2020 he produced the radio documentary series The Hidden History Of Place Names[27] exploring the entwined history of Unionist and Nationalist communities in the north of Ireland across seven hundred years. It was broadcast in the Irish language on Raidió Fáilte, in English and Ulster Scots on FUSE FM and featured new research on language and locations from historians and linguists at Queen's University, Belfast.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Perrone, Pierre (19 October 1998). "The radio presenters' nursery". The Independent. London.
  2. ^ http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/08/how-radio-4-made-it-possible-for-people-to-talk-to-the-dead/[bare URL]
  3. ^ "The Wright Stuff[13/03/2002] (2002)". BFI. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015.
  4. ^ Bands M – S – N.I. PUNK
  5. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bigyUcOfT8s
  6. ^ "BFI – Sight & Sound – Buena Vista Social Club (1998)". bfi.org.uk. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012.
  7. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – The Reunion, Doctor Who". BBC. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  8. ^ https://radiotoday.co.uk/2017/10/audio-production-awards-2017-the-shortlist/hdj0le3j0b
  9. ^ BBC Radio 4 – The Reunion, Barings Bank Collapse
  10. ^ Reynolds, Gillian (9 August 2011). "The Reunion, RP RIP, radio 4, radio review". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  11. ^ Vanbuel, Mathy; Boonen, Annemie (2000). Towards a learning organisation. ISBN 9789058670724.
  12. ^ Maume, Chris (21 June 2009). "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, Radio 4 Spinal Tap: Back from the Dead, Radio 2". The Independent. London.
  13. ^ BBC Radio 2 – Back from the Dead: The Return of Spinal Tap
  14. ^ BBC Radio 4 – From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Dec 11, 2010
  15. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – The Tribes of Science, The Mathematicians". BBC.
  16. ^ BBC Radio 4 Extra – The Foghorn: A Celebration/
  17. ^ BBC Radio 4 Extra – Electric Ride
  18. ^ BBC – Radio 4 – Electric Ride – Electric Ride Map
  19. ^ "Open Eye: Your complete guide to Open University broadcasts and other Learning Zone programmes on BBC2". The Independent. London. 1 April 1999.
  20. ^ BBC 'Culture Fix Episodes'
  21. ^ Suggs | ProTeachersVideo
  22. ^ "Audio Books Review: Audio Books Roundup". tapeop.com.
  23. ^ How Radio 4 made it possible for people to talk to the dead
  24. ^ BBC Radio 4 – Hersey's Hiroshima
  25. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08ltkqg
  26. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08mqs6c
  27. ^ https://www.audiocontentfund.org.uk/projects/the-hidden-history-of-place-names