Television and Radio Appearances

Turner – Light and Landscape

BBC4 24 January 2021

Art historian Leslie Primo examines six decades of BBC archive to explore what makes JMW Turner such a beloved name in British art. Almost everyone has good things to say about Turner – after all, he’s responsible for some of Britain’s greatest artistic treasures, like The Fighting Temeraire, and Rain, Steam and Speed. But exactly what makes him great is where opinions can differ.

Previous Television and Radio Appearances

Leslie Primo made a guest appearance discussing Jan Gossaert’s Adoration of the Magi , National Gallery with @cathyfitzg on the Moving Pictures programme on Sat 16 March 2019. Read the article on the theme of the Adoration of the Magi available Art UK:

Leslie Primo made a guest appearance on this programme for BBC2 2nd March 2007: The Grumpy Guide to Art – See the appearance at the You Tube link above.  What follows is a transcript of the opening dialogue:

Ever been invited to one of those annoying parties full of trendy people showing off how very clever they are about Art? And you wanted to smack them hard, or at least be able to dazzle them with a wicked witty one-liner? If so, then this is the programme for you – the Grumpy Guide to Art. It tells you everything you need to know to look and sound profoundly clever and well informed in an art gallery. We also provide a grumpy take on some of the silliest pieces of art on earth – along with some fabulously simple definitions of some of the most famous artistic movements since man picked up a paintbrush. Contributors include: Vic Reeves, Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, Justin Moorhouse, Jenny Eclair, Nigel Havers, Helen Lederer, Sir Gerry Robinson, Germaine Greer, Stephen Bayley, Diarmuid Gavin, Oona King, Lynn Barber, Jenni Trent Hughes, Lord Poltimore (chairman of Sotheby’s), Leslie Primo (National Gallery), Andrew Birch (Private Eye cartoonist)

Leslie Primo was a guest on Radio 4’s The High Summer of the Arturart Renaissance first broadcast on Tuesday 31st March 2009, at 23:00 where he discussed various comedic aspects of art with comedian Arthur Smith.

Leslie Primo appeared on Channel 4’s 3 Minute Wonder (3MW) slot discussing nudity in art on Thursday 7 August 2008, and also appeared previously on another of Channel 4’s 3 Minute Wonder programmes on 30th October at 2007: alongside Dr Robert Beckford in Can You Believe Your Eyes?: A short story in which Dr Beckford is told that the National Gallery is haunted by the ghost of a little girl.

In a programme that subsequently became the highest rating programme on the chanel Leslie Primo discussed bodily hair and the possible reasons for the lack of it in the nude in art with comedian Shazia Mirza.  What follows is a short transcript from the programme, first broadcast on BBC3 29th March 2007: Body Image Season 2 – F*** Off, I’m a Hairy Woman:

Did you meet any men that preferred women with natural body hair, or did you hear of any cultures or countries where it is more favourable to ‘go natural’ Since I started filming this programme I had so many letters from men to say they much preferred hairy women. They all came out of the closet. There must be many ‘hairysexuals’ in the closet waiting to come out, and we need to give them the OK. France, Spain, and Llandhairygogo in Wales all love hairy women.

After your trip to the National Gallery accompanied by art historian, Leslie Primo, did you think the reason all the nymphs were presented as hair-free was because the artists couldn’t be bothered to paint intricate hair?

No, at first I thought maybe all their brushes were too big, but it was that they just wanted to paint hair-free women. It has always been like that since the beginning of time.Can you ever see it becoming fashionable for women to leave their body hair? This programme will change everything. Women want to be hairy, but are scared what people will think. I think all that’s going to change and Bic is going to go out of business. Do you think your experiences on the show will feature in your future routines? Yes, some bits are very funny! I’ve got some good vulgar hairy jokes which are bound to make people scream – maybe not with laughter, but definitely scream.

Do you think a globally-famous woman can influence attitudes? Or would being hairy be a bar to stardom? I am sure a hairy woman can achieve fame. I must ask Britney to grow her armpit hair – that would be good.

View some more of Leslie Primo’s television work on YouTube:

Listen to, and read a transcript of, Leslie Primo’s National Gallery podcast at this link: