Thursday 17 April 2014, 15:55
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.
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'.
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...
Saturday 15 February 2014, 18:05
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.
Rushes from upcoming Arena: Whatever Happened To Spitting Image, due for TX in March 2014
ANNA GORDY GAYE DIES
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...
Friday 7 February 2014, 14:51OBITUARY: 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"
From Arena: Woody Guthrie (1988) Directed by Paul Lee, Series Editor - Anthony Wall
LONDON TUBE STRIKES
Millions of people faced delays during the 48 hour strike by London...
Friday 24 January 2014, 16:01
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.
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...
Friday 22 November 2013, 17:07
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...
Wednesday 20 November 2013, 14:29
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
Arena: Luck and Flaw (1980), Directed by Anthony Wall
Wednesday 13 November 2013, 17:32
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'.
Arena: Bacon Meets Burroughs (1982). Directed by Howard Brookner and Nigel Finch, Series Editor - Anthony Wall
Tuesday 29 October 2013, 17:19
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.
Arena: The Last Soviet Citizen (1993). Directed by Leslie Woodhead, Series Editor - Anthony Wall
Wednesday 23 October 2013, 19:09
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...
Tuesday 22 October 2013, 16:01
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.
Arena: The Football Men (1997), Directed by Francis Hanly, Series Editor - Anthony Wall