When the country was in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, television more than played its part in providing information, entertainment and solace. One of the industry’s more surprising lockdown heroes, credited with lifting the spirits of the nation, was Grayson Perry – or Sir Grayson, as we can now call him following his knighthood.


But this United Kingdom is made up of more than one nation, as Perry happily points out in his interview in this issue. Which is one reason he embarked on his latest venture: to find out what it means to be English.

As Perry himself tells us in the latest edition of Radio Times magazine, the English identity has always been difficult to pin down and is certainly much changed from when he was growing up in Essex in the 1970s.

As he says, when he floated his idea for his Full English series among the smart north London dinner party set, it was met with slight hostility. What is it about the very concept of Englishness that people find so problematic?

With national identities so much a part of the political conversation for much of the last decade, this is a series for the non-English too. Interestingly, this undeniably English artist – “more Morecambe and Wise than Constable” – is currently planning a career retrospective at the Scottish National Gallery.

Discover what Perry thinks of the topic in this issue – and then watch his series on Channel 4 and you can draw your own conclusions.

Elsewhere, we talk to the man behind the BBC’s latest voyage aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, meet the Inbetweener who is now playing a middle-aged dad, and hear from Ed Stourton, the broadcaster who once lost his job on Today for being too posh. What, you might ask, could be more English than that?

Sir Grayson Perry Radio Times cover

Also in this week’s Radio Times:

  • Christian Bale and Harry Melling chat about their new film The Pale Blue Eye, acting as though every film is their last, and avoiding being typecast
  • Amanda Owen, who says she is not a “celebrity farmer” like Jeremy Clarkson, discusses her separation from husband Clive and how the cost of living crisis has hit farmers hard
  • As Sooty celebrates 75 years in showbusiness, Sooty’s right-hand man Richard Cadell reveals how he saved the little bear and explains that, despite popular belief, he’s not permanently stitched to his elbow
  • Josh Widdicombe on how he can’t stand watching comedy, the weirdest headline he’s read about himself, pursuing Boris Johnson and having “un-cancellable” comedy

Grayson Perry's Full English begins at 9pm on Thursday 26th January on Channel 4.

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