Culture, controversy and cutting edge documentary: BBC FOUR prepares
Four, British televisions boldest new investment in cultural
programming for a generation, is fired up for launch with a rich
mix of intelligent, enriching and diverse programming.
Emin in the definitive history of Britart, Eddie Izzard
on stage in the West End hit A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, the
television premiere of Ian Curteiss controversial The Falklands
Play, and the worlds biggest ever concert of African music,
hosted in Senegal next month by Youssou NDour, are
just some of the highlights of the channels launch season
confirmed today. And it was announced that the whole of BBC Fours
launch night schedule on Saturday 2 March 2002 will be simulcast
on BBC TWO.
the channels plans, Roly Keating, Controller of BBC Four,
said today: "BBC Four is outward-looking and global-minded.
Its for people who want more from television - more depth,
more range, more stimulus for the mind. We want it to surprise,
delight and challenge, but above all to offer something satisfyingly
different from the mainstream."
Fours programme mix ranges from specially commissioned drama
and adaptations of plays and music performance, through thought-provoking
documentaries to global news and cinema. The channel will have regular
space for cultural debate around the complex issues of the day -
covering the worlds of science, business, the arts, current affairs,
history and politics.
part of the BBCs portfolio of subscription-free, licence fee-funded
channels, BBC Four will transmit daily from 7.00pm until at least
launch season includes
Ewen Bremner, Katrin Cartlidge and Stephen Fry star in Surrealissimo,
an inventive drama-documentary that brings to life the notorious
trial of Salvador Dali by his fellow surrealists. Written
by Matthew Broughton, the supporting cast includes Vic Reeves, Mark
Gatiss and Matt Lucas.
Crazy Like A Genius. Critic and broadcaster Robert Hughes makes
his first documentary on visual arts for five years, as he goes
on the trail of the elusive Spanish painter whose terrifying images
haunted Hughes dreams after his near-fatal car-crash in 1999.
Britart How did Britain transform itself in 15 years from
an artistic backwater to one of the global capitals of art? This
revealing and entertaining series uses testimony from all of the
key players of the era to tell how it really happened. And in The
Man Who Destroyed Everything, BBC Four explores the world of
artist Michael Landy, who one year ago pulped all of his worldly
goods in the name of art.
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Heartbreaking and horribly
funny, Peter Nichols masterpiece about living with a handicapped
child has been triumphantly revived in a new West End production
starring Eddie Izzard and Victoria Hamilton. BBC Fours cameras
were there to capture a classic production.
· Seventeen years after it was commissioned by the BBC, Ian
Curteiss controversial The Falklands Play, receives
its television premiere. The Falklands Play is a gripping account
of how Margaret Thatchers government handled the biggest crisis
in foreign affairs since Suez.
Directed by the legendary Peter Brook and starring Adrian Lester,
Hamlet comes to BBC Four. Filmed at Brooks Bouffe du
Nord theatre in Paris, this pared down, taut and mesmerising version
is dynamic, compelling and modern Shakespeare at its finest.
Of Apes and Men BBC Four devotes a week of programming to
the relationship between the three great primates of Africa: gorillas,
and mankind. Is mankind intent on the genocide
of its closest relatives in the animal kingdom? Science, politics
and drama combine in a lively and thought-provoking week, including
an adaptation of JM Coetzees novella The Lives of Animals,
starring Eileen Atkins.
The Trials of Henry Kissinger With newly declassified US
government documents and previously unseen footage, BBC Four scrutinises
the career of one of the worlds most famous diplomats and
disputed figures of the 20th century. Do his critics have a serious
case that he should be arraigned for war crimes for his role in
US policy in Cambodia and Latin America?
· Secrets of the Black Diaries When Roger Casement
was sentenced to hang for treason for his role in Ireland's 1916
Easter Rising, appeals for clemency were thwarted by diaries that
revealed a promiscuous homosexual life. But were the diaries faked?
BBC Four sponsors a series of ground-breaking forensic tests at
Goldsmiths College, London, to prove - once and for all -
whether he actually wrote the diaries.
Africa Now: Music of a Continent - An African "Woodstock"
for a new generation, BBC Fours cameras bring exclusive coverage
of the greatest ever pan-African music event - a two-day festival,
which brings together stars from all over the continent in the football
stadium in Dakar, Senegal, under the Music Directorship of the acclaimed
· Fidelio in Birmingham. BBC Four goes live to the
opera event of the season, as Graham Vick and Birmingham Opera follow
up last years extraordinary promenade production of Wozzeck
with an ambitious new version of Beethoven masterpiece staged in
a circus big top in the grounds of Aston Hall. Cast includes Jane
Lesley MacKenzie (Leonore/Fidelio), Ronald Samms (Florestan), Jonathan
Best (Rocco) with the participation of local community, drama and
BBC Four introduces televisions only year-round dedicated
books programme, as writers come face to face with audiences of
inquisitive readers in the Readers and Writers Roadshow,
hosted by Orange Prize founder Kate Mosse.
Four News puts a refreshingly global perspective on the issues
of the day every week day at 8.00pm and will be presented by George
Alagiah and Kirsty Lang.
The pleasures of intelligent discussion and debate on topical themes
can be found in the Talk Show; and some of the worlds
most eloquent people - writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders
- are featured in the Profile slot.
Four also launches a world first - an art exhibition brought direct
to viewers homes via interactive TV - with Painting The
Weather. It features 110 paintings on the theme of weather by
more than 80 artists from public collections throughout the UK.
The web exhibition curated by the National Gallery and interactive
television elements combine to create a unique experience [see separate
press release for further details].
Keating says: "Painting The Weather is the kind of thing that
only the BBC could stage, using the pioneering skills that created
interactive Wimbledon to bring a complete art exhibition direct
into peoples homes.
a launch budget of £35 million, BBC Four is well placed to
deliver the kind of edgy and sometimes risk-taking programming that
the digital world needs. Its a world-class cultural centre
bringing the best in contemporary documentary making, music, theatre
and international cinema to the heart of the schedule and at primetime."
view a full BBC Four press pack in pdf
the link below:
Four press pack
To obtain a copy
of Adobe Acrobat PDF viewer, click here.
Approval was given in September 2001 by the Secretary of state for
Culture, Media and Sport for three new digital television and five
radio channels to be launched by the BBC in 2002. In addition to
BBC Four, plans were approved for two new childrens television
channels and five new digital radio stations.
· BBC Four joins BBC ONE, BBC TWO, BBC CHOICE, CBBC and CBeebies
(launched on 11 February) as part of the BBCs portfolio of
· A new proposal for a public service youth channel aimed
at 25-34 year olds, BBC Three, is currently awaiting approval by
the DCMS. Public and industry consultation was completed at the
end of January.
· BBC Four and the other BBC digital channels are free-to-air,
i.e. with a set-top box or integrated digital TV set these channels
are non-subscription. However, they can also be received by satellite
(through Sky), aerial (ITV Digital) or cable (NTL and Telewest).