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BBC Arts has announced the subjects of major new strand In My Own Words for BBC One and iPlayer – ranging from comedian, actor, writer and musician Billy Connolly and author Jilly Cooper, to poet and novelist Jackie Kay; playwright, screenwriter and author Hanif Kureishi and artist Alison Lapper.

Together, they will take BBC audiences closer than they’ve ever been into the life and work of some of the UK’s leading cultural figures.

Suzy Klein, Head of Arts and Classical Music TV says: “This country boasts some of the most super-charged creative minds anywhere in the world - our artists, writers, actors, comedians and poets are second to none...

"But we rarely get the chance to get up close to them and discover what fires their imaginations, and the forces that have shaped their extraordinary lives. In this fresh, contemporary series of unmediated interviews, we will get inside the creative minds of some of Britain's leading lights - prepare for a thought-provoking and often emotional ride.”

Billy Connolly briefly puts his fishing rod down to review his life on screen. With personal archive, rarely seen performances, classic stand up and unflinching honesty, it is an illuminating, poignant and thoughtful programme.

A new film celebrates a supremely insightful, funny and sharp-eyed chronicler of our lives and times in Dame Jilly Cooper. Few other British writers have so consistently held up a mirror to the British as they really are - what does her extraordinary half-century of work tells us - not just about her world but ourselves?

The extraordinary personal story of the former Scots Makar and one of Britain’s most loved and lauded poets Jackie Kay is at the centre of her new film, examining how she uses words and literature to capture and process her journey into powerful and emotive work.

In a definitive and intimate film Hanif Kureishi reflects on his life and work, and with his characteristic honesty and wit gives fascinating insight into how a life’s experience can be transformed into art.

Alison Lapper is an artist, a muse and a mother who explores her life through art and archive in a new visually rich and emotionally intimate documentary – while emerging from the most difficult period of her life after loss her son Parys.

Transmission details will be announced in due course.


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