Front Row

BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture

Live magazine programme on the worlds of arts, literature, film, media and music


Roger Graef, Belle reviewed; The art of Dazzle Ships

June 13th, 2014

Episode 418 of 1299 episodes

Historian and broadcaster Amanda Vickery gives her verdict on the film Belle, set in the eighteenth century, which tells the true story of the illegitimate daughter of a British naval officer and a slave, who was brought up by her great uncle in Georgian London. Bafta award-winner Roger Graef has been making documentaries for fifty years. A pioneer of "fly-on-the-wall" formats and films made in closed institutions such as prisons, police stations and government ministries, Roger has just been given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sheffield DocFest. He joins Kirsty to discuss his work - and to give his predictions for the future of documentary-making. Dazzle Ships were used in the First World War to confuse the enemy. A variety of British ships were painted in bright, colourful patterns to disorientate and confuse German sailors trying to judge the vessels' speed and direction. As two new Dazzle Ships are created in the UK, Front Row hears from the project curator and a naval historian. Tom Rachman's first novel, The Imperfectionists, about a failing newspaper received rave reviews. His second novel The Rise & Fall of Great Powers, starts off in failing bookshop. He talks to Kirsty about why he thinks books, if not newspapers, will survive the digital future. Kirsty Lang - Presenter Nicola Holloway - producer.