BBC Four announces raft of new commissions
Richard Klein says: “This, the tenth birthday year for BBC Four, has been a great one for the channel: we’ve taken a Scrapheap Orchestra to the Proms and left a model house to rot in Edinburgh Zoo; explored the rich cultural heritage of 20th century America in the Art of America season; shined a spotlight on women with series from Dr Helen Castor and Dr Lucy Worsley; and celebrated an eclectic range of music - from Bowie and Punk to Symphony and The Story of Musicals; all united by the channel’s trademark wit, intelligence and spirit.
"BBC Four is the BBC’s best-loved channel and it’s continuing to grow. Looking ahead, there’s much more to come and the announcements I’m making today show the confidence and ambition of the channel.”
Britain’s Masters of Modern Architecture (w/t)
Richard Rogers. Norman Foster. Nicholas Grimshaw. Michael Hopkins. Terry Farrell. Five of the most successful and globally recognised British architects of all time, creators of iconic landmarks including the ‘Gherkin,’ Lloyds of London, the Eden Project, the London 2012 Velodrome and the MI6 Headquarters. They were born within five years of each other and started their careers working in partnerships together; they then became rivals, each with their own multinational firm. For the first time, BBC Four - in partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) - will tell the definitive story of how and why this single generation conquered the world.
Britain’s Masters of Modern Architecture (w/t) will feature exclusive interviews with the five men and their collaborators, and tell the story of how their youthful dreams of building a better world - and shared fascination with the possibilities of new technology and advanced engineering - turned architecture into one of Britain’s strongest cultural exports. The series will be accompanied by free RIBA talks and exhibitions across the country.
The 1x60 film is being executive produced by Peter Sweasey for Oxford TV. Adam Barker is Commissioning Executive for the BBC
Treasures Of The Dark Ages (w/t)
The Dark Ages have been misunderstood. History has identified the period following the fall of the Roman Empire with a descent into barbarism – a terrible time when civilisation stopped. Waldemar Januszczak disagrees. In this four part series Waldemar argues that the Dark Ages were a time of great artistic achievement, with new ideas and religions provoking new artistic adventures. He embarks on a fascinating trip across Europe, Africa and Asia, visits the world’s most famous collections and discovers hidden artistic gems, all to prove that the Dark Ages were actually an ‘Age of Light'.
The 1x60 film is being executive produced by Peter Grimsdale for ZCZ Films. Adam Barker is Commissioning Executive for the BBC.
Beautiful Things (w/t)
Ros Savill (former director and curator of the Wallace Collection for 25 years) takes us behind the museum glass and into some of the most incredible private collections to reveal how Sevres porcelain once wielded a power beyond their mere decorative function, playing their part in a time of social and political revolution.
The 1x60 series is being executive produced by Claire Whalley for What Larks! Productions and Mark Bell (Commissioning Editor for the Arts) for the BBC.
Golden Age of the Album (w/t)
Long Player is the story of the Golden Era of the Album – and arguably the most important period in popular music history. For over a decade from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, popular music – from rock to soul, folk to reggae – swapped the sketch pad of the 45rpm single for the expansive canvass of the 33 1/3rpm album. From Bob Dylan to the Beatles, The Who to Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye to Bob Marley, Pink Floyd to Fleetwood Mac, ideas became as important as melody, and music became art in the form of some of the most legendary albums ever recorded. With contributions from a panoply of musicians, producers and personalities this one hour documentary for BBC4 remembers the rise and decline of the vinyl LP – and the slew of unforgettable masterpieces that graced its stereo grooves. Welcome to the era when the album was king.
The 1x60 film is being executive produced by Hamish Barbour for IWC Productions. The Commissioning Executive is Adam Barker for the BBC.
Chas & Dave - Last orders (w/t)
They've toured with the Beatles, opened for Led Zeppelin and been sampled by the world's leading hip-hop artists. Yet despite their surprising background at the very centre of fifty years of British pop, the real story of Chas and Dave has never been told on television before. Highly respected within the business, this film follows Chas & Dave on their final tour ever and reveals the true history and influences behind two of London's best loved musicians.
Directed by Julian Hendy, a North One Production for BBC4
The Hundred Years’ War (w/t)
The Hundred Years war between England and France was the longest war of medieval times. It gave us the victories of Crecy and Agincourt, and made the reputations of Edward III and Henry V. It gave France a national heroine in Joan of Arc…..But even now the jury is out as to its causes and outcome. Was it the final swansong of a redundant knightly class whose only reason for being was to fight? Was it a battle over ever more important territory to the emerging economies of England and France? Or was it the painful birth of two distinct national identities forged through their long and violent divorce? Cultural historian, Janina Ramirez guides us through the stories of kings, great knights, bloody battles and cultural triumphs of this momentous conflict.
The series (3x60) will be executive produced by Clare Sillery for BBC Productions.
Order and Disorder is a two-part series presented by Jim Al-Khalili which tells the story of how humanity mastered the two most important concepts of the modern age – energy and information. Presented by Cambridge Professor David Spiegelhalter, The Joy of Chance takes us on a fascinating journey to try and pin down what chance is, revealing how it works in the real world in ways that are often surprising. Voyager will take a look at Nasa’s Voyager programme as, 35 years after they left Earth, the Voyager spacecraft leave the solar system. Seven Ages of Starlight is a stunning journey through the life and times of stars, while Horizon Guide to the Universe takes an in depth look at science's quest to understand the mysteries of the universe - and asks if we'll ever truly know what's out there...
BBC Four will supersize the colossal world of insects with six exclusive programmes which will cast a light on this miniature realm in a unique and unprecedented way. From the ambitious documentary Planet Ant which unearths the natural home of the Leafcutter ant in the biggest manufactured colony in Europe; and a documentary on Insect Dissection which reveals how insects work by carrying out a series of delicate dissections whilst using cutting edge imaging technology; to Can Eating Insects Save the World? where the hard-core-insect-eating world is thrown open to discover whether insect cuisine could be the key to our future; and The Incredible Story of the Monarch Butterfly: Four Wings and a Prayer which focuses on the miraculous migration of the mysterious and beautiful Monarch butterfly; and Metamorphosis which investigates nature’s ultimate evolutionary magic trick, the amazing transformation of one living creature into a totally different animal; while Edwardian Insects covers the amazing history of Percy Smith, the natural historian who once made flies dance.
Food Glorious Food
Clarissa Dickson Wright starts BBC Four's culinary journey as she uncovers the origins of our three daily meals in Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. In The First Master Chef: Michel Roux on Escoffier, Michel Roux goes on a personal culinary odyssey and introduces us to the first celebrity chef to make his mark on Britain: Georges Auguste Escoffier; exploring the incredible influence that Escoffier has had on all our tastes and taste-buds, from what we eat in restaurants, to the very act of dining out itself.
Nigel Slater takes a trip down memory lane in Nigel Slater-Life is Sweets as he looks at his passion for sweets and chocolates and discovers their history as well as their power to evoke memories of childhood. Dr Lucy Worsley retraces the life and work of the now largely forgotten writer, Dorothy Hartley and the origins of her seminal book 'Food in England' in Lucy Worsley on Dorothy Hartley.
'Gastronaut' Stefan Gates journeys into the past to discover the cradle of contemporary English cuisine in Calf's Head & Coffee: The Golden Age of English Food. Further afield, Chateaux Chunder charts the rise of our love affair with Australian wine from chateaux chunder to a multi-million pound industry, while A Matter of Taste follows British chef Paul Liebrandt as he takes on the New York’s fine dining restaurant scene.
Planet Ant (1x90) was commissioned by Richard Klein and Kim Shillinglaw. The Executive Producer is Marcus Herbert for BBC Scotland in co-production with the Science Channel.
Insect Dissection (1x60) was commissioned by Richard Klein and Kim Shillinglaw. The Executive Producer Marcus Herbert for BBC Scotland.
Can Eating Insects Save the World? (1x60) was commissioned by Richard Klein and Kim Shillinglaw. The Executive Producer is Kari Lia for Plum Pictures and Clare Paterson is the Executive Producer for the BBC.
The Incredible Story of the Monarch Butterfly: Four Wings and a Prayer is a A Primitive Entertainment and Films à Trois Production in co-Production with The National Film Board of Canada. The Executive Producers are Michael McMahon and Emmanuel Laurent and the Executive Producer for the BBC is Carol Sennett.
Metamorphosis (1x60) was commissioned by Richard Klein and Kim Shillinglaw. The Executive Producer is Marcus Herbert for BBC Scotland.
Edwardian Insects (1x60) was commissioned by Richard Klein and Mark Bell. The Executive Producer is Emma Morgan for Mentorn Media and Cassian Harrison is Commissioning Executive for the BBC.
Order and Disorder (2x60) was commissioned by Richard Klein and Kim Shillinglaw. Cassian Harrison is Commissioning Executive for the BBC and Paul Sen is Executive Producer for Furnace.
Seven Ages of Starlight (1x90) was commissioned by Richard Klein and Kim Shillinglaw. Helen Thomas is Executive Producer for BBC Productions.
Horizon Guide to the Universe (1x60) was commissioned by Richard Klein and Kim Shillinglaw. Helen Thomas is Executive Producer for BBC Productions.
Joy of Chance (1x60) was commissioned by Richard Klein and Kim Shillinglaw. Cassian Harrison is Commissioning Executive for the BBC and Archie Barron is Executive Producer for Wingspan Productions.
Voyager (1x60) was commissioned by Richard Klein & Kim Shillinglaw. [rest of sentence has been taken out]
Food Glorious Food
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (3 x 60) commissioned by Richard Klein and Charlotte Moore. The Commissioning Executive for BBC is Clare Paterson and Nicola Moody is Executive producer for Optomen.
Nigel Slater – Life is Sweets (1 x 60) commissioned by Richard Klein and Charlotte Moore. The Commissioning Executive for BBC is Clare Paterson and Mark Adderley is Executive producer for Dog House Media.
The First Masterchef: Michel Roux on Escoffier (1 x 60) commissioned by Richard Klein and Charlotte Moore. The Commissioning Executive for BBC is Clare Paterson and Claire Whalley is Executive producer for What Larks Productions.
Lucy Worsley on Dorothy Hartley (1 x 60) commissioned by Richard Klein and Charlotte Moore. The Commissioning Executive for BBC is Nick Shearman and David Parker is Executive producer for Available Light Productions.
Calf's Head & Coffee: The Golden Age of English Food (1 x 60) by Richard Klein and Alan Tyler. Rachel Boyd is Executive producer for Crocodile Media.
A Matter of Taste (1 x 60) is a Storyville film, Executive Produced by Nick Fraser and directed by Sally Rowe.
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