Peter Curran is a publisher, radio producer, writer, documentary maker and broadcaster. He grew up in Belfast, the eldest of six children and worked on fun fairs in the USA before moving to London, working as a carpenter then re-training as a BBC reporter. In 1992 he began DJ'ing full-time for the London radio station BBC GLR. He formed audio publisher Talking Music with Patch McQuaid in 2011, publishing books on Eminem, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Glam rock, Acid House, Adele, The Clash and others, written and read by authors such as Charles Shaar Murray, Jane Bussmann and Barney Hoskyns. In 2018, he was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum to explore the role of Ireland's borderland communities in the First World War for The Art of Border Living, featuring BBC documentaries and commissioned short satires from Kamila Shamsie and others. In interviews, Curran describes himself as a "failed drummer".
His presenting career began in the 1990s when he hosted a weekday show on BBC GLR featuring live music sessions from a range of artists such as Radiohead, The Staple Singers, Foo Fighters and Wu Tang Clan alongside record reviews and profile interviews with authors, film makers and comedians. The Peter Curran Show ran for six years until 1999, when BBC London adopted a News/Phone-in format for the 4pm-6pm slot. He presented BBC London's movie programme The Big Picture for three years and reviewed films for the magazine Sight & Sound. He's an independent documentary maker and radio producer, being nominated as a 'Best Producer..' at the 2018 UK Audio Production Awards. Curran persuaded Nick Leeson and his former boss Peter Norris and colleagues to face each other for the first time since Leeson precipitated the collapse of Barings Bank, for a famously tense edition of The Reunion on BBC Radio 4.
In 1998, with producer Stephen Wilkinson, he began work on the first UK television programmes to feature streaming video and an interactive website. The shows featured news about internet developments and technology and were recorded in London's Cybercafe for broadcast as part of BBC2's Learning Zone.
Since then, Curran has written and presented documentaries and shows for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 2 including Loose Ends, Pick of the Week and Spinal Tap: Back From the Dead, a faux-documentary which Curran produced with the original cast of the movie This Is Spinal Tap. He has reported from India and the USA for From Our Own Correspondent, and presented two series of The Tribes of Science for Radio 4 – an anthropological study of scientists at work and play, such as Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire, and The Friday Night Arts Show for Radio 2. Other examples of his work include The Foghorn: A Celebration and The Electric Ride series for Radio 4 and BBC Online, for which he drove an electric car five thousand miles through seven European countries, asking local people to recharge the battery every 100 miles.
For television, Curran has scripted and/or presented numerous Arts and culture programmes, such as Personal Passions, When Art Went Pop and Edinburgh Nights for BBC2. He presented Channel 4's Wired World, Discovery Channel's architecture and engineering series Building The Best, Restoration Nation and a 40-part Arts education series for BBC Knowledge Culture Fix. Curran created the online TV series The Teaching Challenge for Brook Lappingand directed five series of the show from 2007 to 2011.
In 2013 he presented a BBC television essay, Maiden City Voyage, billed as a cultural audit of Derry/Londonderry during its City of Culture role. This followed Slack Sabbath, an earlier wry TV journey into how religious and social culture had changed since The Troubles began in Northern Ireland.
He created Bunk Bed with co-writer Patrick Marber, a series of bizarre late-night conversations featuring music and archive speech, first broadcast during April 2014 on BBC Radio 4 with Series 5 broadcast in broadcast in 2018, with special guest Jane Horrocks. Curran's long-standing project to record Revolution in the Head, Ian MacDonald's classic book about The Beatles' recording career came to fruition in 2015, voiced by well-known Beatles fans such as David Morrissey and Danny Baker. On its 70th anniversary, he wrote and presented Radio 4's documentary appreciation of John Hersey's 1946 Hiroshima article for The New Yorker magazine followed by a repeat of the harrowing 1948 BBC broadcast of the entire text, which had graphically described the true aftermath and effects of Atomic Bomb radiation for the first time. During 2017, Curran travelled across the USA for the Radio 4 series Litter From America which featured "the scuffed and stained American dreams" of actor Richard Schiff, comedian Maysoon Zayid and director Kwame Kwei-Armah as their personal politics grappled with the Trump presidency.
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