Mary Beard has taught Classics at Cambridge since 1984YouTube

Mary Beard is set to present the next season of BBC Two’s culture show Front Row, promising that “it will be edgy, from the heart and from the head!”

Beard, a professor of Classics and fellow at Newnham College, is a well-known figure to British television audiences, having spent decades in the public eye. She was described by The Guardian in January as “Britain’s most beloved intellectual.”

BBC Two controller Patrick Holland said: “Mary Beard is one of the most thought provoking intellectuals in the UK and a defining voice for BBC Two. I am delighted that she’s agreed to take the lead with this evolution of Front Row on Two.”

Beard shared news of her new role on Twitter, adding: “This will keep me busy.”

Front Row will be televised live from the BBC studios at 11pm on Fridays, in 6 installments of 30 minutes. It existed initially on Radio 4, but is transitioning to television. The programme is described as offering magazine-style discussion in “the world of arts, literature, film, media and music.”


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Last season’s Front Row presenters included Giles Coren, Nikki Bedi and Kirsty Lang, featuring Kenneth Branagh, Darcey Bussel, and Harrison Ford, among others, as studio guests. Beard presented an episode of Front Row in October, visiting the Sir John Soane’s Museum’s new ‘Roman Singularity’ exhibition.

Most recently, Beard has presented Meet the Romans with Mary Beard in 2012, and Mary Beard’s Ultimate Rome in 2016 – as well as her current BBC One series, Julius Caesar Revealed. A collection of articles from her Times Literary Supplement blog, ‘A Don’s Life’, was published as a book in 2009.

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