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Anarchy in White City: BBC to broadcast Punk Britannia season

BBC4 and 6 Music to team up in June for a celebration of British punk rock

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Published: Thursday, 10th May 2012 at 12:20 pm

As the back of many a studded leather jacket says, punk’s not dead. Indeed, it’s in rather rude health, and this June BBC4 is teaming up with Radio 6 Music to broadcast a series of programmes celebrating the genre.


Punk Britannia, a three-part BBC4 documentary, will mark 35 years since punk was first gobbed into the face of the music industry, charting the development, impact and aftermath of what has been called the most genuinely transformative genre in British popular music.

The programme will also be bolstered by appearances from genre stalwarts John Lydon, Mick Jones, Mark E Smith, Paul Weller, Howard Devoto, Pete Shelley, Robert Smith, Adam Ant, Billy Idol, Siouxsie Sioux and Bobby Gillespie.

And the retrospective will be supported by special programming on Radio 6 featuring more of the most iconic names in punk, as well as a brace of themed shows.

Richard Klein, Controller, BBC4 said: “Punk always had the smell of sulphuric burning about it but the movement was as much about pop songs and the fun of music. This series is a wonderful blend of melody and attitude - very BBC4. I am delighted that joining us in this celebration will be Radio 6 Music - a perfect partner in crime for this kind of musical journey.”

Other programmes with a punk theme to be broadcast on BBC4 during the season will be Punk Britannia at the BBC, a collection of classic archive performances; Evidently...John Cooper Clarke, a documentary about the incendiary poet; and We Who Wait: TVSmith and The Adverts, a look back at one of the more overlooked acts on the ’77 punk scene.

6 Music will feature playlist shows exploring the record collections of John Lydon, Siouxsie Sioux, Patti Smith and Captain Sensible throughout June, and will also transmit the documentary A Punk Tale of Two Cities, which looks at the respective punk scenes in London and New York.

Bob Shennan, Controller, BBC Radio 2, 6 Music, Asian Network and Popular Music, said: “The Punk Britannia season represents an important partnership between BBC Four and BBC Radio 6 Music, where joint programming will offer viewers and listeners exclusive content from one of popular music’s most pivotal moments.”


Get a flavour of the season and see punks Sham 69 performing Hurry Up Harry on Top of the Pops:


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