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  1. ARENA NEWS WEEK: Revolt!

    Thursday 17 April 2014, 15:55

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    Arena looks at three stories of industrial and national uprising that have been brought to light in this weeks news headlines. Featuring the protests of Britain's miners in 1984, the republican activities of the Irish poet Brendan Behan and finally, India's long road to independence.

    30th Anniversary of the Miners' Strike

    2014 not only marks 30 years since Spitting Image first appeared on our screens but is also the 30th anniversary of the 1984 - 85 miners' strike.

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    BBC Radio 4 programme 'The Reunion' discusses the legacy of the 1984 miners' strike

    The folk singer, playwright and life-long political activist Ewan MacColl sang about the impartiality of the media's coverage of the miners' strike in a song called 'The Media'. Here it is performed for Arena by his children Neill, Kitty and Calum in our 1990 documentary 'The Ballad of Ewan MacColl'.

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    Ewan MacColl song 'The Media', performed by his children Neil, Kitty and Calum

    Ewan MacColl strove to put theatre, literature and music at the service of political campaigning on behalf of working people. He took inspiration from his humble surroundings, remarking 'Salford was my Paris'. His wife and long-term collaborator Peggy Seeger...

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  2. ARENA NEWS WEEK: Dawlish, Anna Gordy Gaye and 'Backwater Blues'

    Saturday 15 February 2014, 18:05

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    DAWLISH TRAIN TRACK DESTROYED

    Residents on the sea front in Dawlish, South Devon, were told to evacuate immediately when the sea wall and rail line in front of their houses collapsed in the stormy weather. Network Rail said the line, which is hanging mid-air, would take a minimum of six weeks to repair, costing millions to the economy of the South West of England. Arena caught a glimpse of the Dawlish railway line just weeks before it was destroyed whilst filming for the upcoming documentary 'Whatever Happened To Spitting Image'. The train journey of Peter Fluck, co-creator of Spitting Image, was filmed from his home in Truro to London Paddington, passing through Dawlish on route.

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    Arena rushes from upcoming film 'Whatever Happened To Spitting Image'

    Rushes from upcoming Arena: Whatever Happened To Spitting Image, due for TX in March 2014

    ANNA GORDY GAYE DIES

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    Radio 4 pays tribute to Anna Gordy Gaye, former wife of Marvin Gaye, who died aged 92

    Anna Gordy Gaye, former wife of Motown legend Marvin Gaye passed away at the age of 92. She was the sister of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, and married one of the labels biggest stars. Very much a family affair, Anna and her sister worked...

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  3. ARENA NEWS WEEK: Pete Seeger, Tube strike and "Pips"

    Friday 7 February 2014, 14:51

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    OBITUARY: PETE SEEGER

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    BBC News reports on the death of legendary musician Pete Seeger

    The American singer, song-writer and political activist, Pete Seeger, died on the 27th January at the age of 94. He was a leading figure in the revival of folk music in the 1940s and 50s and became a huge influence on a new generation of folk musicians such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Judy Collins and Peter Paul and Mary.

    Arena interviewed Pete seeger back in 1988 as he paid tribute to one of his greatest icons, Woody Guthrie. The pair formed the New York City based folk music group "Tha Almanac Singers", active between 1940 and 1943, along with Millard Lampell and Lee Hays. The group specialised in protest songs and Seeger and Guthrie were both active communists, singing together for the CIO unions in the 1940s. Here, Seeger talks about Guthrie's legendary anthem for the masses "This Land Is Your Land"

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    Pete Seeger sings and talks about Woody Guthrie's legendary anthem of the masses.

    From Arena: Woody Guthrie (1988) Directed by Paul Lee, Series Editor - Anthony Wall

    LONDON TUBE STRIKES

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    BBC London news reports on the 48 hour tube strike

    Millions of people faced delays during the 48 hour strike by London...

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  4. RONNIE BIGGS, MIKHAIL KALASHNIKOV AND PHIL EVERLY

    Friday 24 January 2014, 16:01

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    The famous train robber, the inventor of the AK-47 and one part of legendary pop duo 'The Everly Brothers'...an unlikely trio of characters, but what do they have in common? Over the last few weeks, Ronnie Biggs, Mikhail Kalashnikov and Phil Everly passed away and Arena has found rare glimpses of all three characters in its archives. 

     

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    BBC News: December 2013 - January 2014

     

    Ronnie Biggs: 8 August 1929 - 18th December 2013

     

    British criminal Ronnie Biggs who took part in the 1963 Great Train Robbery, died aged 84. He was part of the gang which escaped with £2.6 million from the Glasgow...

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  5. ASSASSINATION OF JFK: 50 YEARS ON

    Friday 22 November 2013, 17:07

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    BBC News reports the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F.Kennedy

     

    Friday November 22nd marks 50 years to the day since the former President of the United States, John F. Kennedy was assassinated whilst riding an open car in a motorcade during a visit to Dallas, Texas. A ten month investigation concluded that Kennedy was assassinated by sniper Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S Marine who defected to the Soviet Union in 1959. Despite initial support for this conclusion, the past 50 years has seen an increasing number of people believe that the President had been killed as part of a conspiracy...

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  6. ANT AND DEC MAROONED TOGETHER ON DESERT ISLAND DISCS

    Wednesday 20 November 2013, 14:29

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      Ant and Dec on Desert Island.jpg Ant and Dec on Desert Island.jpg

     

    TV's most famous double, act Ant and Dec, will be the final castaways on this year's Desert Island Discs on 29 December. This is the first time in over 25 years that two guests have appeared together on the show. The last pair to be marooned were Spitting Image creators Roger Law and Peter Fluck. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009mlw9

    Otherwise known as 'Luck and Flaw', Roger and Peter are best known for their plasticine caricatures which were the foundation for the satirical programme 'Spitting Image'. In 1980, three years before Spitting Image began, Arena made a film about the pair as they moulded caricatures in their studio that were then photographed for magazines all over the world.

    Arena is currently in production on a film to mark the 30th anniversary of 'Spitting Image'. To find out more on the upcoming documentary, visit Arena's 'In Production' page http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006pn88/profiles/spittingimage

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    Roger Law and Peter Fluck discuss how they create their plasticine caricatures

    Arena: Luck and Flaw (1980), Directed by Anthony Wall

     

     

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  7. FRANCIS BACON PAINTING SOLD FOR RECORD PRICE

    Wednesday 13 November 2013, 17:32

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    Francis Bacon painting of Lucian Freud sells at auction for record price

    A painting by Francis Bacon of his friend and fellow artist Lucian Freud has sold at auction in New York for 142 million dollars (£89), making it the highest price ever reached at auction. The buyer's identity has not been revealed.

    In 1982, Arena made a feature of the American writer, William Burroughs. In the course of the filming, Arena followed him to 7 Reece Mews in Kensington, the home and studio of Francis Bacon. The two masters of outrage had known each other since Burroughs' 16 years of exile in London during the 60s and 70s. On a winter's afternoon, Burroughs dropped in for a cup of tea and a catch up with Bacon. This meeting has never been broadcast and the excerpt here is shown uncut as they bemoan Jackson Pollock's paintings as looking like 'old lace'.

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    Francis Bacon meets William Burroughs in uncut footage from Arena rushes

    Arena: Bacon Meets Burroughs (1982). Directed by Howard Brookner and Nigel Finch, Series Editor - Anthony Wall

     

     

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  8. AN ASTRONAUT'S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH

    Tuesday 29 October 2013, 17:19

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    Commander Chris Hadfield discusses his new book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life.

    Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has just released his memoir detailing the wonders of space travel. Speaking on Radio 4's Today Programme, Hadfield discusses his new book and his experiences on the International Space Station, where he famously filmed a version of Bowie's 'Space Oddity', which went viral on youtube.

    Chris Hadfield follows in a long tradition of astronauts and cosmonauts who have taken thier favourite music into space. In a 1993 documentary The Last Soviet Citizen, Arena told the story of Soviet Space culture across three decades. During their time on the MIR space station the cosmonauts would listen to classical, big band and Russian folk music whilst floating in space.

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    Russian Cosmonauts discuss their musical experiences whilst living on the Space Station

    Arena: The Last Soviet Citizen (1993). Directed by Leslie Woodhead, Series Editor - Anthony Wall

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  9. THE QUEEN VISITS THE NATIONAL THEATRE TO CELEBRATE 50th ANNIVERSARY

    Wednesday 23 October 2013, 19:09

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    On the 50th anniversary of the National Theatre, the Queen visits to pay tribute

    To mark the 50th anniversary of the National Theatre, the Queen visited the iconic building on the South Bank to pay tribute. During the visit, the Queen and Prince Philip were given a tour by outgoing director Sir Nicholas Hytner.

    After a series of false starts and conflict surrounding the building of a new National Theatre on London's South Bank, the theatre finally opened its doors to the public in 1976. The Queen officially opened the building, before settling down to watch a performance of Goldoni's comedy Il...

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  10. SIR ALEX FERGUSON RELEASES AUTOBIOGRAPHY

    Tuesday 22 October 2013, 16:01

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    Radio 4: The Today Programme
     

     

    After retiring as manager of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson has published his autobiography to be released later today. It is expected to be the most influential book about football to-date, revealing the truth behind the beautiful game. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, heard here on Radio 4's Today Programme joked "we all fear the worst."

     

    Back in 1997, when Manchester United were dominating the Premiere League, Arena filmed a rare interview with Alex Ferguson who talked about his mentor, the legendary football manager Jock Stein. 'The Football Men' examines the lives and careers of the three greatest football managers Britain has ever seen - Sir Matt Busby, Jock Stein and Bill Shankly, all born within a few miles of each other in the coalfields of South Glasgow. Sportswriter Hugh McIlvanney talks to Sir Alex about the influence of Jock Stein on his early days of football management and where he developed his notorious 'hairdryer' treatment.

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    Sir Alex Ferguson discuss the influence of Jock Stein on his management style.

     Arena: The Football Men (1997), Directed by Francis Hanly, Series Editor - Anthony Wall

     

     

     

     

     

     

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About this Blog

Read all about it! Arena, the BBC’s art strand, provides a unique cultural perspective on the rolling news agenda. Using its archive of over 500 films, which spans much of the last 50 years and beyond, the Arena blog chronicles the characters, places and stories behind today’s headlines.

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