Close Encounters is a new BBC Radio 4 series that marks our reopening. Over 10 episodes, influential Britons come face to face with portraits that mean something to them, making connections and learning more about the works that make us a living portrait of Britain.
Hear some of contemporary Britain’s most important voices as they reflect on our national history and Collection – all recorded during the final stages of our redevelopment with BBC Radio 4’s Martha Kearney and the Gallery’s curators as guides.
Click on the portraits below to listen to episode clips and see new photographs taken by Sadie Catt, which show our Close Encounters guests alongside their portraits of choice while recording in the galleries. Clips will become available each day as the episodes are broadcast.
Episodes of Close Encounters are broadcast daily between 5 and 16 June on BBC Radio 4. Search ‘Close Encounters’ in the BBC Sounds App to listen to the full episodes.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Christabel Pankhurst
Hear why computer scientist and inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, chose this portrait of Dame Christabel Pankhurst, and see Sadie Catt’s new portrait of Sir Tim, standing alongside his portrait of choice while recording in the galleries.
Alexa Chung and George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
Hear why presenter, model and fashion designer, Alexa Chung, chose this portrait of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, and see Sadie Catt’s new portrait of Alexa, standing alongside her portrait of choice while recording in the galleries.