Young artist focus and a bandstand: the Proms on TV

Martin Cullingford Fri 5th July 2019

BBC seeks to attract new audiences to its festival coverage

Young artist focus and an outside bandstand: the Proms on TV (photo: Mark Allan)

Young artist focus and an outside bandstand: the Proms on TV (photo: Mark Allan)

With two weeks to go before the Proms opens, the BBC has unveiled its plans for television coverage.

A weekly BBC 2 show, broadcast on Saturday evenings throughout the festival, will be filmed at an outside studio - described as 'a specially constructed outdoor bandstand' - sited near the Albert Memorial. Just across the road from the Royal Albert Hall, it’s a congenial spot familiar to many Prom-goers, and the BBC hopes some of the pre-concert atmosphere will feed into the conversations and interviews which will take place there. Called Proms Encore, the show will be hosted by Katie Derham. Viewers are also promised some topical reports, including one in which Reverend Richard Coles, priest, presenter and former member of the The Communards, will interview Olivier Latry, organist at Paris’s Notre Dame, about the instrument in the wake of the fire earlier this year.

The idea is part of an effort to attract new audiences to the Proms, an aim which also lies behind the decision to involve more young artists in its coverage. One such is pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason - whose debut Decca recording of music by Clara Schumann is released today, and who is interviewed in this week's Gramophone podcast - who will front coverage of the Prom in which her brother, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, will perform Elgar’s Cello Concerto. Another artist addition to the presenting line-up is saxophonist (and also a Decca artist) Jess Gillam, whose performance at Last Night of the Proms last year has since been followed up by a show on BBC Radio 3.

Meanwhile, Cerys Matthews joins the regular presenting line-up including Suzy Klein and Tom Service to host coverage of two of the Late Night Proms, one of which will explore the music of Duke Ellington. In total, 25 concerts will be broadcast on television, four of them live. Full details of the BBC Proms can be found here.

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