Read the most recent posts

  1. Art Of China: My journey of discovery

    Wednesday 30 July 2014, 08:00

    Andrew Graham-Dixon Andrew Graham-Dixon Presenter

    See all posts about:

    As an art historian with a strong interest in all of the different cultures of the world, I have been to some wonderful and fascinating places.

    But never anywhere quite as dramatic and surprising as China, where I spent almost three months last year for BBC Four’s Art Of China.

    In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content

    Watch the trail: Nothing quite prepares you for the experience

     
    China's landscapes are spectacular.

    As for the painting, the sculpture, the architecture - well I hope anyone who watches Art Of China will agree that it is thrillingly strange, different from anything they've ever seen, and just breathtakingly beautiful in the way it is made.

    I'd never been there before, so this was a real journey of discovery for me - and I really hope that comes across in the series that we've made.
     
    The art of China has also been full of surprises for the Chinese themselves, especially in recent years.

    So much digging and excavating has taken place, that they have made a huge number of stunning archaeological discoveries, often by chance.

    One of the first places I visited was the remote remains of an ancient place called Sanxingdui, in the Sichuan Basin in south western China.

    Some builders digging new foundations had uncovered...

    Read more about Art Of China: My journey of discovery

  2. Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets Of The Skies

    Wednesday 16 July 2014, 11:46

    Felicity Aston Felicity Aston Presenter

    See all posts about:

    I joined Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets Of The Skies as the expedition leader and also as a meteorologist.

    The plan was to fly from Florida to California, looking at the science of the skies.

    But as well as scientists, there were plenty of other people on the team including three pilots, a ground crew of 14 that followed the airship by road and a full production team including two camera crews.

    Not everyone could be on board at once – the airship would never have got off the ground!

    But I was really fortunate to spend a lot of time on board and flew most of the way across the continent.

    In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content

    Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets of the Skies takes a fascinating journey into the clouds

    Exploring in three dimensions rather than being limited to making observations from the ground was a revelation to me.

    The clouds in the tropics around the Gulf of Mexico are huge, and being in the sky with them really brought home the vast scale of the forces at work.

    Towering cumulus cloud in Florida Towering cumulus cloud in Florida

    We were able to travel over, under and through these monsters, revealing that clouds are about as far from the popular image of light and fluffy floating puffs of cotton wool as you can get!

    They are dense and heavy...

    Read more about Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets Of The Skies

  3. Talk To The Animals: Witnessing a chimp apology

    Tuesday 15 July 2014, 09:15

    Lucy Cooke Lucy Cooke Presenter

    See all posts about:

    Presenter and zoologist Lucy Cooke meets a few engaging animal conversationalists while filming BBC One's Talk To The Animals.

    In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content

    Lucy Cooke tries to understand the banded mongoose squeaks that scientists have decoded

    In addition to being hugely chatty creatures, scent also plays a key role in mongoose life. It actually allows them to identify each other.

    They live in tight gangs - extended family units with distinct boundaries between rival territories.

    One of the experiments that didn’t make it into the show tested the importance of scent in maintaining these boundaries and involved me standing in a mongoose latrine in the fierce midday sun collecting a bucket of fresh poop.

    After a few minutes the mongooses themselves turned up en masse catching me red handed with a scoop of their poop in my hand.

    They all stood up and looked at me as if I was nuts. Which was fair enough, I felt decidedly awkward being busted for such a peculiar theft.

    I took the mongoose poo and dumped it in the middle of their neighbours’ territory.

    The result was a frenzy of sniffing and chattering that suggested that scent is clearly very important for communicating an enemy invasion. 

    I discovered that the...

    Read more about Talk To The Animals: Witnessing a chimp apology

  4. The Honourable Woman: Dramatic blood-soaked scenes

    Monday 14 July 2014, 12:45

    Ed Smith Ed Smith Special Effects Supervisor

    See all posts about:

    ATTENTION: This post contains spoilers and is intended for viewers who have already seen episode two of The Honourable Woman.

    The Honourable Woman is an epic eight-part BBC Two drama starring Maggie Gyllenhaal as powerful businesswoman and philanthropist Nessa Stein, daughter of the late Israeli arms procurer Eli Stein. Newly enobled into the House of Lords, she is rocked by the mysterious death of a business contact and a kidnapping.

    My role for The Honourable Woman was as special effects supervisor.

    I work as a supervisor for live action special effects, this means that we provide all the special effects that are actually shot at the time the scenes are acted out and filmed with the camera, as opposed to generating and compositing stunts and effects with a computer.

    The benefit of live action special effects for the actors and the director is that they have something to interact with when playing out scenes.

    One of the effects I was asked to provide was for the scene where Ephra Stein (Andrew Buchan) and his wife Rachel Stein (Katherine Parkinson) are at a gala function and a protestor smashes a bag on the table covering them in fake blood.

    The requirements were for a vessel containing...

    Read more about The Honourable Woman: Dramatic blood-soaked scenes

  5. Rik Mayall's cult characters

    Monday 16 June 2014, 08:04

    Tessa Delaunay-Martin Tessa Delaunay-Martin Editor, TV blog

    See all posts about:

    Iconic comedian and actor Rik Mayall passed away age 56 on Monday, 9 June 2014. In an interview on The Stephen Nolan Show, television producer Paul Jackson looked back on what it was like working with him on shows like The Young Ones and Filthy Rich & Catflap, and recalled five major comic characters Rik created that have left a lasting impression on audiences:

    Investigative journalist Kevin Turvey in sketch show A Kick Up The Eighties

    In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content

    Paul Whitehouse introduces cult character Kevin Turvey

    The sketch show gave exposure to Rik Mayall's Redditch-based reporter and lead to a one-off mockumentary, The Man Behind The Green Door.

    Anarchist Rick in The Young Ones 

    In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content

    Neil (Nigel Planer), Mike (Christopher Ryan), Rick and Vyvyan (Adrian Edmonson) deal with a vampire

    First broadcast in 1982, the anarchic sitcom revolved around four degenerate undergraduates living together in North London and brought alternative comedy to mainstream audiences.

    Lord Flashheart in Blackadder II 

    In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content

    Lord Flashheart arrives just in time for Blackadder's (Rowan Atkinson) wedding

    Rik's cameo as the much loved Lord Flashheart in the classic sitcom was followed by an appearance as his descendant Squadron Commander...

    Read more about Rik Mayall's cult characters

  6. Welcome To Rio: Ten minutes to film the vital shots

    Tuesday 27 May 2014, 06:30

    Edward Watts Edward Watts Director

    See all posts about:

    When I announced I was off to Rio de Janeiro to film Welcome To Rio for several months, the reaction of my friends and family was a universal cry: “You lucky b------!”

    Yet after raving about beaches, caipirinhas, mini-bikinis, Carnival and the Christ, all fell into a foreboding whisper.

    “But look out for the favelas. They’re crazily violent.”

    Favelas are the flipside of the Rio legend, the city’s infamous slums whose residents have forever been characterised by the 2002 feature film, City Of God, as a pack of smoked-out teenagers pointing their guns in our faces.

    That's why the favelas were exactly where I was going. Because the Welcome To... approach is to venture into rough, crooked places to discover what lies beyond clichéd stories.

      Welcome To Rio Favelas are the epicentre of Rio's street culture and dancer Breguete lives in Complexo do Lins

    From the moment I set foot in the favelas, I fell in love with them.

    I’ve rarely been anywhere in the world that’s so instantly welcoming.

    Kids would come dancing after me asking cheerily whether I’d been born in the snow – was that why my skin was so white and I was sweating so much?

    The only argument I ever had in a favela was with...

    Read more about Welcome To Rio: Ten minutes to film the vital shots

  7. From There To Here: Recreating an iconic era

    Thursday 22 May 2014, 10:36

    James Strong James Strong Director

    See all posts about:

    To be sent a script from Pete Bowker for the BBC One series From There To Here and be asked to read it is a very exciting prospect.

    To then open it and immediately have a personal connection to the events was unbelievable.

    In 1996 I was living in Manchester training as a director with Granada TV and was walking towards the Arndale Centre when the IRA bomb went off.

    In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content

    Watch the trail: 'Ever since the Arndale bomb it feels like one life isn't enough'

    I vividly remember suddenly being knocked off my feet, staring up at a beautiful blue sky and the complete silence all around, immediately followed by a wall of sirens, alarms and chaos in the immediate aftermath.

    Having lived in the Manchester of the mid-90s I really wanted to accurately capture the feel of the period: the clothes, the fashion and most importantly the music.

    This is recent history so although initially one assumes not much has changed, our production team quickly realised everything had moved on.

    The cars, the clothes, the phones and the fashion were all of their era - so extensive research into the footage and photos of the time all fed into our recreation.

    In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content

    Euro 96: The legendary football match between England and Germany...

    Read more about From There To Here: Recreating an iconic era

  8. The Story Of Women And Art: Hunting the hidden artists

    Friday 9 May 2014, 14:11

    Charlotte Gittins Charlotte Gittins Assistant Producer

    See all posts about:

    You don’t have to go back 500 years to find those who doubt women’s artistic capacity. 

    Brian Sewell famously declared there ‘has never been a first-rank woman artist. Only men are capable of aesthetic greatness.’ Georg Baselitz concluded ‘women don’t paint so well. That is a fact.’

    Whilst much has changed in the last five centuries, certain opinions seem to have evolved very little.

    This is not, however, a series about critics.  Nor is it a sorrowful tale of downtrodden women, victims of gender and circumstance.

    Instead, we discover a long line of artists – painters, sculptors, designers – whose restless talent drove them to dizzying heights of creativity.  Amanda Vickery standing on the edge of the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence Amanda Vickery standing on the edge of the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence From the Renaissance to the modern day, all faced obstacles on account of their sex, yet each produced works of stunning originality.

    Delving through artists’ lives, we found ourselves irresistibly drawn into stories of luck, loss, penury, ego, attack and scandal – and that’s before we even got to the art. 

    The works themselves proved as compelling as they were varied, from the fearless brushstrokes of Artemisia Gentileschi, and...

    Read more about The Story Of Women And Art: Hunting the hidden artists

  9. The First Georgians: I found myself pitying these kings

    Wednesday 7 May 2014, 12:04

    Lucy Worsley Lucy Worsley Presenter

    See all posts about:

    If you work as a curator, as I do, at Hampton Court, you sometimes wonder if there might be more to life than Henry VIII.

    Of course, he’s our biggest character at Hampton Court, and always will be.

    But after our re-display of the Tudor palace in 2009, which was the 500-year anniversary of Henry VIII’s coming to the throne, I began to think it was time we turned our attention to the other, Georgian, half of the building. 

    It is just as extensive and impressive as the Tudor part but much less familiar.

    My colleagues and I at Historic Royal Palaces, the charity which looks after Hampton Court, decided...

    Read more about The First Georgians: I found myself pitying these kings

  10. In The Flesh: Playing Kieren is a challenge I love

    Friday 2 May 2014, 11:09

    Luke Newberry Luke Newberry Actor

    See all posts about:

    I play Kieren Walker in BBC Three’s In The Flesh.

    I prepared for series two slightly differently in that the second series kicks off nine months after the first, so I had to think about what Kieren’s life had been like in the months in between.

    Kieren has been mourning the second death of Rick, and coming to terms with life in Roarton without him, and also without his best friend Amy.

    He feels lost and lonely. Again.

    Only this time he's not seeking a way out of living, he's looking to somehow start a new life.

    Kieren (Luke Newberry) and Amy (Emily Bevan): Is Kieren doing the right thing by leaving? Kieren (Luke Newberry) and Amy (Emily Bevan): Is Kieren doing the right thing by...

    Read more about In The Flesh: Playing Kieren is a challenge I love

About this Blog

Get the views of cast, presenters, scriptwriters and crew from inside the shows. Read reviews and opinions and share yours on all things TV - your favourite episodes, live programmes, the schedule and everything else.

We ask that comments on the blog fall within the house rules.

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?