Teenage poets from Hungary and Afghanistan become voice of C4

Guest continuity announcers will be taking over Channel 4’s on-air continuity today as the broadcaster celebrates National Poetry Day. Eighteen-year-old Vivien Urban, from Hungary and nineteen-year-old Shukria Rezaei from Afghanistan are the two young poets chosen to be the voices of Channel 4 for a day.

Vivien and Shukria, who now live in Oxford, will be reciting their own poems on-air from 12.05 until 22.50 around Channel 4 shows such as Gogglebox, Hunted and Hollyoaks. 

After moving to the UK at the ages of 11 (Vivien) and 14 (Shukria), they both took an interest in creative writing. Vivien uses poetry as a way to improve her English, whilst for Shukria, who remembers hearing poems from her earliest childhood in Afghanistan, poetry supplied the link between her past and her present.

Film4, More4 and E4 will also be marking the day with even more poetry-inspired continuity. Poems made famous by films will be heard on Film4, with the likes of O Me O Life by Walt Whitman (Dead Poet’s Society) and To Autumn by Keats (Bridget Jones’s Diary) being aired on Thursday.

On More4 Trinidadian writer Vahni Capildeo, winner of this year’s Forward Prize for Poetry, will take control of the announcer’s mic to deliver poetry based on the theme of ‘When Britain meets the rest of the world.’ E4 viewers can get involved by tweeting in to @E4Tweets with their own poems and a selection will be read out live on-air that night.

Paul Sapsford, Group Continuity Manager, Channel 4 said: “National Poetry Day is an important initiative for us so we can’t wait for viewers to discover how Channel 4 is celebrating the day this year. It’s been great working with our guest announcers who have helped us to create another innovative and entertaining on-air continuity project.”

Shukria, speaking for herself and Vivien said: “Since moving to the UK our passion for poetry has really grown so we were thrilled when Channel 4 asked us to recite some of our work on-air. Over the years poetry has helped both of us in different ways and this experience has definitely encouraged us to continue writing.”

Vivien and Shukria worked with Isla Paton and Barra Fitzgibbon, Channel 4 Continuity Creative Managers, to record their links. The Forward Arts Foundation, the charity behind National Poetry Day and the Forward prizes, recommended Vivien and Shukria to Channel 4. Dominic O’Shea, More and Film 4 Continuity Creative Manager, worked with Vahni and selected the poems for Film 4. Kelsey Bennett, E4 Continuity Creative Manager, will be delivering the live poetry on E4.

Channel 4’s Continuity Team has a long held reputation for its bold, edgy and innovative approach to providing programme links for viewers. To celebrate last year’s National Poetry Day, urban and emerging poets performed on Channel 4, E4 and More4.


Notes to Editors

The poems featured in films that will air on Film4 on Thursday are: 

To Autumn by John Keats, as featured in Bridget Jones’s Diary

Patriotism by Sir Walter Scott, as featured in Groundhog Day

Ample make this Bed by Emily Dickinson, as featured in Sophie’s Choice

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, as featured in Alice in Wonderland

O Me O Life by Walt Whitman, as featured in Dead Poet’s Society

America A Prophesy by William Blake, as featured in Blade Runner

October 6, 2016 4:08pm ET by Channel 4  

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