A front-row seat to arts and performance on BBC TV

BBC TV is putting artists and performers centre stage this autumn, with revealing new documentaries and a front row seat to some exceptional performances straight from the stage to screen



From the television premiere of Rachel Maclean’s Make Me Up and a film adaptation of Alexander Zeldin’s National Theatre hit LOVE, to programmes showcasing the artistry of the animator, uncovering the revolutionary rise of black filmmakers and profiling some of the world’s greatest artists including; David Hockney, Peter Jackson, Tracey Emin, George Benjamin, Egon Schiele and TS Eliot.

David Hockney, Tracey Emin, George Benjamin and Cary Grant feature in a new run of imagine... on BBC One

BBC Two profiles - with the aid of newly translated letters - the life and work of Egon Schiele
The revolutionary rise of Black filmmakers is explored for BBC Two - featuring interviews with Spike Lee, Diahann Carroll, John Boyega, Kasi Lemmons, David Oyelowo OBE and Laurence Fishburne
BBC Four celebrates the artistry of animation in a dedicated evening - showcasing new and emerging animators from the BFI/BBC Four partnership (Animation 2018) and revealing the secrets of 100 years of British animation in a new documentary

The relationship between dancing and mental health is investigated in a new film with Darcey Bussell for BBC Two

In two new documentaries, BBC Four goes behind-the-scenes of the Booker prize and critic and writer A.N. Wilson makes the case for the continuing relevance of poet T.S. Eliot

Also on BBC Four, The Space and theatre company 1927 bring the dystopian fable Golem to television, artist Rachel Maclean’s film Make Me Up premieres as part of Arena, there’s unique glimpse into circus artistry past and present, and acclaimed National Theatre production LOVE comes to BBC Two as part of the Performance Live strand

To mark and commemorate the end of WW1, BBC Four follows Peter Jackson as he completes his documentary They Shall Not Grow Old, Dan Cruickshank reveals the extraordinary story behind the creation of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Poet Jackie Kay imagines the life of a black soldier

Jonty Claypole, the BBC’s Director of Arts, says: "This autumn we are putting some of the greatest artists of our time centre stage and bringing exceptional performances straight from the stage to the screen. From the television premiere of Rachel Maclean’s Make Me Up and a film adaption of Alexander Zeldin’s National Theatre hit LOVE, to programmes that reveal the artistry of the animator, uncover the revolutionary rise of black cinema and reveal anew extraordinary artists like David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Egon Schiele and T.S. Eliot.”

Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two, says: “I’m delighted that BBC Two has such a rich slate of new arts shows across the autumn. From the extraordinary testimony from modern icons of black cinema in Black Hollywood: They’ve Gotta Have Us to Darcy Bussell’s timely exploration of the impact of dance on mental health, these are films that explore the importance of the arts on how we live.”

Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC Four, says: “I’m immensely proud that BBC Four continues to hold the banner of ground-breaking experimentation; we’re committed to the Arts and to giving a platform to some of the UKs most innovative artists including Rachel Maclean and theatre company 1927, while welcoming to television a whole new generation of creatives ranging from Britain’s best new animators to circus performers."

NB. All programme titles are subject to change.
A front-row seat at the best performances…

On BBC Two…

In a partnership between BBC Arts, BBC Films, Arts Council England, Cuba Pictures and the National Theatre, NT Artist in Residence, Alexander Zeldin has written and directed Performance Live: LOVE (1x60'), which tells the story of families brought together and placed in temporary accommodation in the run up to Christmas. LOVE, based on the play of the same name which opened at the National Theatre in December 2016, also features National Theatre Director Rufus Norris and David Schwimmer as Executive Producers. LOVE will transfer from the stage as a film adaption for BBC Two as part of BBC Arts’ Performance Live strand.

On BBC Four…
Like a giant graphic novel bursting into life, Golem (1x60' - pictured above) is The Space and theatre company 1927’s multi-award winning dystopian fable about our over-reliance on machines. This dark and fantastical tale of an ‘extraordinary ordinary’ man is a vivid mix of hand-made animation, sly wit, live music, storytelling and performance.

In a premiere for BBC television, Arena: Make Me Up (1x60' - main image), multimedia artist Rachel Maclean’s darkly-comic film takes a satirical look at the contradictory pressures faced by woman today. With her unique world that is both seductive and dangerous; a place where surveillance, violence and submission rule. Arena: Make Me Up examines how television and social media can be fun and expressive spaces to explore identity, but simultaneously a gilded prison that encourages women to conform to strict beauty ideals.

And in the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary year of Philip Astley’s first ever circus - 'Cavalryman' which was a spectacular horseshow on the banks of the River Thames - the very best of British circus is celebrated in Daredevils and Divas: A Night At The Circus (1x60' - pictured above) - a series of stunning performances that offer a unique glimpse into circus tradition as well as contemporary artistry.

Putting the Artist centre stage this autumn…

On BBC One…

imagine… returns this October with a fascinating series of four programmes going behind-the-scenes and profiling the life and work of David Hockney, Tracey Emin, George Benjamin and Cary Grant.

With exclusive access and insight into the conception and evolution of The Queen’s Window at Westminster Abbey imagine... Hockney, The Queen and The Royal Peculiar (pictured above) follows acclaimed British artist David Hockney; from the design work in his California studio, the glass being mouth blown in Bavaria, the skilled team producing the panels in Yorkshire through to the installation and unveiling of his first stained glass window.
As she turns 55, in this revealing new documentary imagine… Tracey Emin: Where Do You Draw The Line? (pictured above) Tracey tells Alan Yentob about her life to date, as she builds a new studio in her home town of Margate and shows work across the world, including Australia, Hong Kong and France. With contributors including Sir Nicholas Serota, Jay Jopling, Maria Balshaw and David Dawson, this is the definitive account of arguably Britain's most notorious artist.

He has been crowned with every laurel in contemporary classical music, composed operas which play on the world’s most illustrious stages, and been knighted for his services to music. Yet George Benjamin is still relatively little known outside the classical world. This intimate, humorous yet moving film imagine… George Benjamin: What Do You Want To Do When You Grow Up? sets that straight, retracing the composer's journey from writing pop songs as a toddler and a pivotal encounter with Walt Disney’s Fantasia as a young child, to his triumph this year, age 58, with his new opera, Lessons in Love and Violence, the story of a deadly power struggle and a homosexual king. Lessons in Love and Violence will also be shown on BBC Four.

Cary Grant was one of Hollywood’s greatest leading men - suave, sophisticated and as comfortable in romantic comedies as he was in iconic Hitchcock thrillers - imagine… Becoming Cary Grant tells the unexpected story of this Hollywood icon who was not all he seemed on screen. With readings from his unpublished autobiography spoken by actor Jonathan Pryce and newly discovered footage shot by Grant himself this is a revealing and fascinating insight into this troubled legend of cinema.

On BBC Two…

Artist and Photographer Simon Frederick’s follow-up to Black Is The New Black - Black Hollywood: They’ve Gotta Have Us - gives BBC Two viewers a unique insight into the film industry from some of its biggest names. The series charts the revolutionary rise of a lifetime of black actors and filmmakers as they have gone from being the backdrop or disposable to calling the shots. This unique three-part series is the inside story of the biggest turning points, the triumphs and heartbreaks of black life on both sides of the lens, from Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, to the present day triumph of Moonlight at the Oscars and Black Panther at the box office.

Contributors include filmmakers and actors such as; Harry Belafonte, Barry Jenkins, Jesse Williams, John Boyega, Don Cheadle, David Oyelowo, Debbie Allen, Diahann Carroll (pictured above), Nelson George, will.i.am, John Singleton, Cuba Gooding Jnr and Natalie Emmanuel.

Struck down by the Spanish Flu in 1918, aged just 28, in his short life Egon Schiele created over 3000 drawings and paintings, self-portraits and nudes. Shown to mark the 100th anniversary of his death, Dangerous Desires: The Scandalous Life of Egon Schiele (1x60' - pictured above) tells Schiele’s dramatic story in his own words, using original letters and writings, many of them translated for the first time: celebrating his remarkable artistic achievements but also weighing-up the controversies around his work.

Whilst in Darcey Bussell: Dancing to Happiness (1x60' - pictured above) Darcey investigates why dance, more than any other form of exercise, has such a positive effect on mood and behaviour. In her quest for answers she investigates some very different mental health dance interventions; from dance workshops for young people suffering with mental health issues, sessions for the elderly and newly retired and dance classes and therapy for those with Dementia and Parkinson’s.

On BBC Four…
In Return to T.S. Eliotland (1x60' - pictured), writer and critic A.N. Wilson explores the life and work of one of the twentieth century’s greatest poets, T.S. Eliot. Andrew Wilson has been reading and rereading Eliot for much of his life. Now from the halls of Harvard University to a Somerset village, via a Margate promenade shelter, he follows Eliot’s spiritual and psychological journey through his most iconic poems and argues powerfully for his continuing relevance.

In a unique collaboration with the BFI, as part of the BFI’s yearlong focus on animation, BBC Four will dedicate a night to celebrating and showcasing the artistry of animation; from a revealing documentary about the pioneers of British animation to show-casing some of our newest and most talented animators.

As the centre piece of the dedicated animation evening, the work of the thirteen new and emerging animators commissioned through the BFI/BBC Four initiative Animation 2018 will be premiered and a new documentary - Secrets of British Animation (1x60' - pictured above) - will offer a rare insight into more than a century of British animation. The film charts 100 years of animation history, illustrated with a wealth of material drawn from the BFI National Archive’s unique animation collection and interviews with leading animators and animation experts, revealing the ingenuity and individual artistic visions of Len Lye, John Halas and Joy Batchelor, Joanna Quinn and Bristol’s world-conquering Aardman Animations.

Whilst Barneys, Books and Bust Ups: 50 Years of the Booker Prize (1x60') charts and reveals the history of this prestigious literary prize; a fascinating inside story of scandal, gossip, intrigue and above all brilliant books from a host of former winners, judges and prize administrators.

And, as part of the World War One commemorations across the BBC, BBC Arts will air three fascinating documentaries to mark armistice.

Peter Jackson made his name with blockbusters such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, creating some of cinema’s most epic battle scenes. Now, to mark the 1918 centenary, he is turning his hand to a subject close to his heart: the First World War. In his new documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old (pictured above), the focus is on soldiers’ everyday experiences rather than the horrors of war and features newly restored and colourised archive footage from the Imperial War Museums. This special episode of What Do Artists Do All Day? (1x30') follows Peter making the film and discovers his deep personal connection to the war, through his British grandfather who fought at the Somme and will be shown to accompany the BBC One premiere of They Shall Not Grow Old.

Dan Cruickshank’s Monuments of Remembrance (1x60' - pictured above) reveals the extraordinary
story behind the creation of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the design and building of the iconic war memorials to those that died in the conflict. Whilst Poet Jackie Kay tells the story of black soldier, Arthur Roberts, in A Scottish Soldier (1x30') as she gives her own response in verse to Arthur’s story, as part of the Contains Strong Language poetry season across the BBC.

Source BBC One

October 11, 2018 4:00am ET by BBC One  

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