BBC to look into Sylvia Plath's life through her semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar

A sizzling summer of Arts TV on the BBC

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BBC TWO

This summer BBC Arts is putting artists centre stage with a range of programmes across BBC One, Two and Four to brighten even the dampest of British summer days.


Mark Gatiss tells the story of John Minton’s colourful, complex and bohemian life for the first time on television. Part of a run of singular arts documentaries on BBC Four this summer.

BBC Four follows acclaimed artist Sonia Boyce as she prepares a new exhibition from artists of African and Asian descent who have helped shape the British art scene.

Musician and performer Anoushka Shankar, artists Mahtab Hussain and Raqib Shaw are profiled as part of the British Asian season on BBC Four.

BBC Two’s revealing documentary looks into the life of Sylvia Plath through her semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar.

BBC Two goes behind the scenes as the Royal Academy celebrates its 250th Summer Exhibition with artist Grayson Perry at the helm.

BBC One will be profiling leading British artists Tacita Dean and Rose Wylie, for imagine…

From Mark Gatiss’ personal quest to uncover the forgotten talent of artist John Minton, to a behind-the-scenes look at this year's RA summer exhibition co-ordinated by Grayson Perry, to profiles of Anoushka Shankar, Mahtab Hussain and Raqib Shaw, to a revealing portrait of Sylvia Plath with exclusive testimony from her daughter Frieda, BBC Arts TV has something for everyone interested in the arts.

Mark Gatiss says: "I'm thrilled to be celebrating my love of this unjustly neglected artist on BBC Four. John Minton's life and art shine a dazzling light on a Soho long gone and a vanished England."

Jonty Claypole, BBC Director of Arts, says: “This summer, we’re putting artists centre stage on television, as BBC Arts profiles some extraordinary artists, including John Minton, Rose Wylie, Tacita Dean and performer Anoushka Shankar, as well as going behind the scenes of the 250th Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

“We’ll also be highlighting some of the UK's forgotten masterpieces by black and Asian British artists through Sonia Boyce's new exhibition in Manchester. Finally, we’re delving into lives of extraordinary female writers Sylvia Plath and Angela Carter, with two intimate and revealing films.”

BBC Four will also be making Monday nights an Arts destination this summer, with a run of single documentaries including:

  • Mark Gatiss on John Minton: The Lost Man Of British Art
  • Abducted - Elizabeth I’s Child Actors
  • Black British Artists - Britain’s Hidden Art History (w/t)
  • Artists centre stage this summer…


For the actor and writer Mark Gatiss, John Minton has been something of an obsession since he first came across his work as a teenager, and in this personal film he tells the story of Minton’s colourful, complex life for the first time on television.

Meeting his friends, contemporaries, former models and students, including Bridget Riley and Peter Blake, he comes across unseen photos, lost paintings and rare recordings of a man whose life and work seemed to disappear overnight.

In the 250th anniversary year, BBC Two goes behind the scenes at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition as it prepares for its annual artistic extravaganza, meeting the cast of people who make the show possible, including Grayson Perry in his role as chief co-ordinator.

Over on BBC Four, Brenda Emmanus follows acclaimed artist Sonia Boyce as she prepares to launch an ambitious new exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. And, as part of the Big British Asian Summer Season, we have a series of three artist profiles featuring Anoushka Shankar, Mahtab Hussain, and Raqib Shaw.

Other Arts highlights include…


BBC Two profiles Sylvia Plath in a fascinating and unique documentary. With unprecedented access to people who knew Plath, including her daughter Frieda, Life Inside The Bell Jar is the first documentary about her classic semi-autobiographical novel.

BBC Two also takes a foray into writer Angela Carter’s fabulous world, from her childhood to life as a young housewife, and the trip to Japan which transformed the way she saw the world, radicalising her, and shaping her as a feminist.

On BBC Four Katherine Rundell uncovers the gripping true story of a child abducted from the streets of Elizabethan London to be put on the stage - and how his father desperately fought to get him back.

Over on BBC One favourites Fake Or Fortune? and imagine... return with subjects including internationally renowned British artists Rose Wylie and Tacita Dean.

Source BBC TWO

June 14, 2018 9:00am by BBC TWO  

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