BBC Arts has announced a brand new strand of films for BBC One and iPlayer called In My Own Words, which will be made up of intimate first-person testimony and archive from major creative figures.


The series, which is said to showcase "great arts stories combined with real psychological revelation", will air this autumn, with comedian, actor, writer and musician Billy Connolly, and author Dame Jilly Cooper leading the line-up.

They will be the subjects of two of the episodes, while the other three will focus on poet and novelist Jackie Kay, playwright, screenwriter and author Hanif Kureishi and artist Alison Lapper.

Suzy Klein, Head of Arts and Classical Music TV said: "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."

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Jackie Kay, Hanif Kureishi and Alison Lapper
Jackie Kay, Hanif Kureishi and Alison Lapper. Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images, Karwai Tang/WireImage, Caravan Media for Sky UK Limited 2017

Connolly's film will see him reviewing his life on screen and will include personal archive with rarely seen performances. Meanwhile, Cooper's film will ask what her 50 years of work tells us about both herself and her world, as well as the British in general.

Kay's film will examine how she uses words and literature to capture and process her journey into powerful and emotive work, while Kureishi's film will reflect on his life and work with his characteristic honesty and wit.

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Finally, Lapper's film will explore her life through art and archive, in an emotionally intimate documentary shot while she was emerging from the most difficult period of her life after the loss of her son Parys.

Connolly received the prestigious BAFTA Fellowship at the 2022 BAFTA TV Awards, while an adaptation of Cooper's novel Rivals is currently in the works at Disney Plus.

In My Own Words will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the autumn.


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