BBC Worldwide

BBC Worldwide

June 11, 2012 06:30 ET

The BBC's London Calling Website Hosts Exclusive Verse Performance by Acclaimed Poet Benjamin Zephaniah

LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - June 11, 2012) - BBC Worldwide Channels has captured a remarkable impromptu performance from one of Britain's most beloved poets, Benjamin Zephaniah.

What was originally an interview with Dr Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah, one of the leading figures on the British literary scene, to promote London Calling - a celebratory season of programming airing on the BBC Channels across the World1, turned into a rare moment of poetic genius.

After the interview was recorded, the camera was still rolling when the enigmatic poet launched into profound and heartfelt verses rejoicing in the human glory of London.

The short video of the recital is available exclusively on, the digital destination for London Calling where global viewers can explore the UK's capital city online, enter competitions and discover more about the line-up of London themed programmes that will play as part of the London Calling season for their region.

Named by The Times in 2008 as one of the 50 greatest modern British authors, Dr Zephaniah is known for boosting the popularity of Dub Poetry with his engaging performances around the world. Whilst his work is inspired by his heritage and the music of Jamaica, Zephaniah feels a kindred spirit with any country that has a thriving practice of oral storytelling, such as South Africa, India, Latin America, and Asia, where he has a home in Beijing.

He has a particular affinity South Africa due to his relationship with Nelson Mandela. The poet and the politician met after Zephaniah recorded a song with the Wailers as a tribute to the leader during his imprisonment. Subsequently, Zephaniah has conducted aid work with children in South Africa and was asked by Mandela to host his Two Nations Concert in London.

In this moving homage to London, Zephaniah paints a humanistic image of the bustling metropolis, describing the hundreds of different languages, cultures, religions, and thousands of years that have made the city the vibrant and diverse community it is today.

To find out more about London Calling and when BBC programmes like the dashingly entertaining Sherlock series and the wickedly witty Twenty Twelve air in your region, please visit or your local BBC website.

Notes to Editors

London Calling will air between May and August2 on BBC Entertainment (Africa, Poland, the Nordic Region, Asia, India, Latin America and the channel's pan-European service3), BBC Knowledge (Africa, Poland, the Nordic Region, Italy, Asia and Australia), BBC HD (Latin America, Poland, The Nordic region and Turkey), UKTV (Australia and New Zealand) and BBC World News (global). The season will also be available to users of and to users of the global BBC iPlayer but will vary territory by territory.

1 Programming, dates and times vary according to territory
2 Dates vary according to territory
3 BBC Entertainment's pan-European service covers Central and Eastern Europe, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and a number of Western European markets

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