James Runcie

My most recent films are: The Joy of Motoring with Tristram Hunt, Losing It: Griff Rhys Jones on Anger, two one hour films for BBC2; J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life, an exclusive for ITV; Powerhouses, a ninety minute special for Channel 4 about the relationship between architecture and power; Ten Days that Made the Queen, another big ninety minute film for Channel 4, and Betjeman and Me, a film for BBC 2 with Griff Rhys Jones.

My best known films are probably My Father, which is pretty self-explanatory: a last interview with Lord Runcie, the former Archbishop of Canterbury; Miss Pym’s Day Out a drama documentary with Patricia Routledge which won the Royal Television Society Award for Best Arts Programme and was nominated for a BAFTA; and Heaven, which I also presented.

Television work also includes drama documentaries on Darwin’s Daughter, The Great Fire of London, and The British Weekend; other films have featured the writers and presenters Robert Hughes, Andrew Motion, Simon Schama, David Starkey, Alain de Botton and Griff Rhys-Jones.

The aim is to make intelligent, high quality and moving television about big ideas – art, literature, history, religion, music, and love.

I prefer not to make, mainly because I’d be rubbish, any of the following: reality programmes, make-over shows, ‘sneery’ tv, ‘car crash tv’, or anything that features property, gardening, or holiday homes.

I realise this limits employment opportunities but I really feel television should be about something. Otherwise what’s the point?

My latest novel is East Fortune which Bloomsbury are publishing in April 2009. It’s set in Scotland in 2005 and is the story of three brothers returning to their family home in East Fortune. It’s about secrets and rivalries, birth and death, hope and desire.

Related Sessions
Sunday 1 November 2009, 1.45pm Upper Gulbenkian Gallery

East Fortune (Bloomsbury, 2009)

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