Mark Bell, Commissioning Editor, Arts, has unveiled a broad range of new arts commissions across BBC Television.
Mark Bell said: “This year is a particularly exciting one for the arts across the BBC, from the popular success of Rolf paints and returning series Fake or Fortune on BBC One and the acclaimed film about Lucian Freud on BBC Two to the huge range of programmes marking the Cultural Olympiad with the Shakespeare and London seasons across BBC Two and BBC Four.
"There’s plenty more coming up this Autumn with new series from presenters Alastair Sooke and Dr James Fox and exciting new commissions next year including two new films for BBC Two looking at art and the industrial revolution; Lucy Worsley on the birth of the whodunit for BBC Four; and a major new look at the art of the sea from David Dimbleby for BBC One.”
In BBC One’s Britain And The Sea (working title), David Dimbleby sets sail on Rocket – his own much-loved, red-sailed cutter – to explore the rich heritage of Britain’s maritime art and culture. From the raging seascapes of Turner and Constable – and the music and literature of the sea – to the ports and forts that define and defend our coastline, David will visit the places and examine the art that tells the story of our island nation.
BBC One’s flagship arts strand Imagine returns this Autumn with an exclusive interview with Salman Rushdie. In The Fatwa: Salman’s Story, the author talks to Alan Yentob about the experience of living under a death sentence when the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him in 1989 following the publication of Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.
Other highlights in the series include exclusive access to the writer Ian Rankin as he brings back one of the best loved characters in crime fiction, Rebus; an exploration of why music has the power to stir our emotions; and the magical world of British choreographer Matthew Bourne, who has brought new audiences to dance with his international hit Swan Lake, as he celebrates a career spanning 25 years with a unique twist on the classic ballet Sleeping Beauty.
BBC Two takes a new perspective on two great artists of the past, examining how the industrial revolution impacted on their work.
The Genius Of Josiah Wedgwood, presented by AN Wilson, whose father was once managing director of the firm, tells the story of the man who revolutionised English pottery. He transformed not just the plates and bowls from which we ate but a whole region of England: "The Potteries" became the centre of a worldwide industry and thousands of families lives’ were altered by the opportunities he created.
Turner: Man Of Iron looks beyond the traditional view of the artist as a great Romantic painter to explore his fascination with science and technology. The film takes some key Turner pictures and examines how he found his artistic voice through science and the industrial world.
Following the success of Sicily Unpacked, Georgio Locatelli and Andrew Graham-Dixon return once again for Northern Italy Unpacked (3x60 BBC Two). The intrepid duo will look at the art, culinary culture, and landscape of the North, from major cities like Turin and Milan to lesser known gems like Mantua and Ferrara, admiring ancient masterpieces and modern contemporary Italian art as well as enjoying the local cuisine.
This year, BBC Two’s flagship arts strand The Culture Show will be on air across the summer to cover the best of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The move to a weekly peak-time 10pm slot on Wednesday nights is the start of a new year round commitment to covering the arts. As well as weekly half hour programmes for 45 weeks of the year, the Culture Show will also have ten hour long specials a year, including a behind the scenes look at the construction of Britain’s biggest piece of public sculpture, The Arcelormittal Orbit, for London’s Olympic Park.
The Romans are known for being brilliant engineers and soldiers, but when it comes to art it’s widely believed they simply plundered or copied from other civilisations. In the three-part series, Treasures Of Ancient Rome for BBC Four, Alastair Sooke argues that the old fashioned view that the Romans didn’t do art is nonsense.
Following his BAFTA nominated debut series, British Masters, Dr. James Fox returns to BBC Four with his original and provocative new series, A History Of Art In Three Colours. Dr Fox explores how in the hands of artists, the colours Gold, Blue and White have stirred our emotions, changed the way we behave and even altered the course of history.
In The Greatest Stage On Earth classicist Dr Michael Scott examines the extraordinary rise of Athens in the ancient world through the prism of one of its most important and culturally crucial spaces: the theatre. From its seats, we watch Athens rise and fall, debate, struggle, reinvent itself and ride the wave of cultural superiority that has carried it safely all the way into our minds and hearts today.
Dr Lucy Worsley chronicles the birth of the whodunit in a new three-part series, A Very British Murder. Exploring how a spate of grisly killings in Regency London entered the national psyche, she’ll show how the murder tale gradually became a staple of Victorian entertainment and helped to inspire the works of authors such as Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie.
Finally, the BBC’s multi-award winning arts strand Arena is opening up its incomparably rich archive online via The Space, the new on-demand digital arts service developed by Arts Council England in partnership with the BBC. Visitors to the Arena Hotel will have free rein to roam around a decadent and familiar-looking building behind whose doors famous and infamous guests drop their guard to share their dreams and their fears.
Arts on the BBC
The BBC creates content and builds partnerships to enrich the arts of the UK
- In 2011 37.4 million people watched BBC Arts television programming
- Also in that year audience share for arts documentaries increased from 2.7% in 2010 to 3.4% in 2011
- In 2012, BBC Four's British Masters was nominated for the best specialist factual programme BAFTA award and BBC Two's Later With Jools Holland won Music Week Awards 2012 for Best TV show featuring music
- The BBC builds partnerships with the arts sector that go beyond broadcast, from sharing expertise to widening public engagement
- Through the Space initiative, the BBC are working with Arts Council England to train and mentor a wide range of UK arts organisations in digital skills
- 50,000 viewers became volunteers for the inaugural World Book Night, sharing their passion for reading with 1 million members of the public
- Working through the Public Catalogue Foundation with over 3,000 UK Museums and Galleries, the Your Paintings website provides a unique platform to view the estimated 200,000 publically owned oil paintings
- The BBC enriches the arts by nurturing and celebrating artistic talent and creativity
- Since 2003, the BBC performing Arts fund has awarded over £3.8 million to 1,440 arts groups and individuals
- The BBC provides a platform to showcase the very best UK talent from the Young Musician of the Year to the Proms
- The BBC helps support and mentor new talent through the New Generation Thinkers scheme
- The BBC plays a unique role in the country's cultural landscape
Britain And The Sea - BBC One
David Dimbleby sets sail on Rocket – his own much-loved, red-sailed cutter – to explore the rich heritage of Britain’s maritime art and culture. From the raging seascapes of Turner and Constable – and the music and literature of the sea – to the ports and forts that define and defend our coastline, David will visit the places, examine the art, uncover the artefacts and meet the people that tell the story of our island nation.
Over the course of four programmes, each one a different geographical journey along the coasts and waterways of the British Isles, David will investigate our changing relationship with the sea, and demonstrate the way in which it has shaped our history, our culture and our identity.
Executive Producer: Basil Comely
A BBC Vision production
Treasures Of Ancient Rome
Alastair Sooke presents Treasures Of Ancient Rome
The Romans are known for being brilliant engineers and soldiers, but when it comes to art it’s widely believed they simply plundered or copied from other civilisations. In the three-part series, Treasures of Ancient Rome for BBC FOUR, argues that the old fashioned view that the Romans didn’t do art is nonsense. He traces how, during the Republic, the Romans went from being art thieves and copycats to pioneering a new artistic style: warts ‘n’ all realism and follows in the footsteps of Rome’s mad, bad and dangerous emperors as he finds that their taste in art chimes perfectly with their obsession with sex and violence.
Sooke travels to Leptis Magna in Libya shortly after the overthrow of Gaddafi to discover one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world and the cradle of later Roman art. He discovers glorious mosaics which have never been filmed before as he charts the decline and fall of the Roman Empire through some of its hidden and most magical artistic treasures.
Executive Producer: Jonty Claypole
A BBC Vision Production
A History Of Art In Three Colours
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Series Producer/Director Matt Hill talks about the process of making A History Of Art In Three Colours
Following his BAFTA nominated debut series, British Masters, Dr. James Fox returns with his original and provocative new series, A History Of Art In Three Colours. Dr Fox explores how in the hands of artists, the colours Gold, Blue and White have stirred our emotions, changed the way we behave and even altered the course of history.
Fox takes us on an adventure from the pre-historic world to - quite literally - the dark side of the moon, bringing us the golden splendour of the Pharaohs, the transcendent blues of the Renaissance and the gleaming white marbles of the Enlightenment as well as curious and forgotten works of genius.
Along the way, Fox introduces us to the eccentrics, the dreamers and the visionary artists whose works in gold, blue and white will change the way we see the kaleidoscopic world around us.
Executive Producer: Jonty Claypole
A BBC Vision Production
A Very British Murder
In a new three-part series for BBC Four - A Very British Murder - Dr Lucy Worsley chronicles our national obsession with the most awful of crimes - murder.
From the start of the 19th century to the 1930s, the British would pore over the details of the latest grisly killing; this series will delve into the period to unravel the classic British murder and show how it came to play a part in our national psyche.
Lucy will use archive sources and police reports to demonstrate how these crimes were the result of the historic and social circumstances in which they took place. She’ll also show how British murders became our national entertainment - inspiring anything from puppet shows to novels.
A fusion of social and literary history, A Very British Murder will reveal how real-life events inspired authors including Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie; Lucy will deconstruct literature which drew on actual crimes, showing how fictional terror was inspired by real cases and killers. Following the ‘Golden Age’ of Murder through to its demise, A Very British Murder will uncover the truth about a very British infatuation.
Executive Producer: Mike Poole
BBC Bristol Prodcutions
Britain and the Sea, A BBC Vision production, Executive Producer: Basil Comely
Imagine, A BBC Vision production, Executive Producer: Tanya Hudson
The Genius of Josiah Wedgwood, A What Larks! production, BBC Executive Producer: Mark Bell, Executive Producer for What Larks! Claire Whalley
Turner: Man of Iron, A Fresh One production, BBC Executive Producer: Adam Barker, Executive Producer for Fresh One: Richard Fell
Northern Italy Unpacked, A Wall to Wall production, BBC Executive Producer: Sam Anthony, Executive Producer for Wall to Wall: Jonathan Hewes
The Culture Show, A BBC Vision production, Editor: Janet Lee
Treasures of Ancient Rome, A BBC Vision production, Executive Producer: Jonty Claypole
A History of the World in Three Colours, A BBC Vision production, Executive Producer: Jonty Claypole
The Greatest Stage on Earth, A Tern TV production, BBC Executive Producer: Sam Anthony, Executive Producer for Tern TV: Harry Bell
A Very British Murder, A BBC Vision production, Executive Producer: Michael Poole