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New shows for Radio 4 schedule

BBC Radio 4 is to begin a new science programme as well as run a weekly 15-minute interview from the autumn.

There's also to be a simplified commissioning process at the speech station, along with an extra slot for comedy programmes and a masterclass in poetry.

The changes are the part of the first major shake-up of the station by new controller Gwyneth Williams, who has been in the job for four months now.

From October this year she will introduce two new regular strands on Tuesday mornings – both of which will build on the existing intellectual rigour of Radio 4 and keep it at the forefront of modern thinking. A new science programme will be followed by a 15-minute interview strand, both to run weekly throughout the year.

The science programme will cover all subjects across the scientific arena: physics, engineering, maths, biology, chemistry, engineering and natural history. Working scientists from all over Britain will talk about the way they work in a conversation featuring a personal story, a significant moment in their work and an explanation and exploration. The series will raise the profile of science on the network by bringing the language and conversations about the scientific method to Radio 4 listeners.

The new 15-minute interview which follows will feature single interviews by various leading journalists on subjects that play to their personal passions, including arts, culture, psychology and sociology.

Radio 4 will invest in new comedy for Sunday evenings from October and we're told the new 30-minute commissions will be in the same vein as the 6.30pm weekly comedies.

Tapping in to the connection between listening to contemporary poetry and the current explosion in poetry writing, Radio 4 will run a series of poetry masterclasses which will travel around Britain. The as yet un-named presenter will critique various poems at seminars across the country, and read relevant modern poems to inspire writers.

Gwyneth will also encourage creativity by making the commissioning process simpler and moving towards one commissioning round a year with more rolling commissions. This will enable flexible scheduling.

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