Melvyn Bragg was born in Wigton, Cumbria, and educated there and at Wadham College, Oxford.
His broadcasting career began at the BBC in 1961 and soon afterwards he published his first novel. He worked on the arts programme Monitor with Huw Wheldon in the mid-1960s; during this time he began writing novels, set mostly in his native Cumbria. He collaborated with Ken Russell and wrote the 1970 film about Tchaikovsky, The Music Lovers. He also wrote Isadora, directed by Karel Reisz, Play Dirty starring Michael Caine, and worked with David Lean.
In 1977 Melvyn Bragg started LWT’s long-running Arts programme, the multiple award-winning South Bank Show, making about 750 editions as well as other documentaries. The programme was de-commissioned in 2010, when he took the programme across to Sky Arts. ‘The South Bank Show lives again’, he said at the time.
As well as The South Bank Show, Sky Arts now does 30 editions a year of The South Bank Show Originals.
In the meantime Melvyn Bragg has expanded his range, presenting arts and science programmes and marshalling discussion shows on BBC Radio (on In Our Time), and writing non-fiction books including The Adventure of English and The Impact of The King James Bible as well as On Giants’ Shoulders, a series about the history of science. Over the past 50 years he has continued to write novels.
He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society and of The British Academy, and was given a Peerage in 1998.
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