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29 October 2014
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BBC ONE's arts and culture strand, presented by Alan Yentob, returns November 2003

The series starts on Wednesday 12 November, BBC ONE at 10.35pm with The Voice of Bryn Terfel

Imagine is back with a new season of arts and culture to fire the imagination as the cold nights draw in.

Having explored topics as wide ranging as abstract sculpture, fashion and ballet in the opening run, Imagine returns to take a fresh look at the world of arts and culture by tackling subjects as diverse as classical music, architecture, TV comedy and photography.

A range of internationally acclaimed British artists come under scrutiny in this run of films.

From Victorian architect Sir John Soane whose huge influence on the design world is still felt strongly today, to distinguished Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel and quirky photographer Martin Parr, Imagine profiles these three very different artists and explores how they made their mark.

The series also looks at recent developments in the worlds of animation and British comedy, and tells the strange tale of how convicts, scholars and recluses brought the Oxford English Dictionary into being.

The inspiring subjects in this season’s Imagine are:

The Voice of Bryn Terfel
Wednesday 12 November

Probably the greatest bass baritone in the world, Welsh classical music star Bryn Terfel has been electrifying audiences around the globe for over a decade.

Alan Yentob embarks on an investigation of Terfel's awe-inspiring voice and finds out from him how he adapts its extraordinary skills to different ends – from Wagner through to Welsh traditional song.

He talks to fellow musicians, Jose Carreras, Claudio Abbado, Andrea Bocelli, Renee Fleming and Elvis Costello about his voice and discovers the extent of this international performer's love for his homeland of Wales.

A Funny Business
Wednesday 19 November

Hot on the heels of the success of Britain's reality TV formats in the United States comes the current spate of British sitcoms headed stateside.

All very exciting and lucrative for the British writers and producers, but the key difference with American network TV is that in order for a series to survive it must deliver audiences to the commercials - or die.

By following the US version of Coupling from pilot to network and considering how The Office will translate, Imagine explores the current popularity of UK comedy in the US and examines the transformations that British comedies undergo during the Atlantic crossing.

Through archive footage and interviews, Imagine reveals how often US versions of classic British comedies go spectacularly wrong and asks whether American executives have learnt from past mistakes such as the US version of Porridge or the casting of Bill Cosby as One Foot in the Grave's Victor Meldrew.

Entertaining Mr Soane
Wednesday 26 November

The architectural visionary Sir John Soane is often forgotten when recalling the true greats of English architecture.

But this ambitious bricklayer's son, born in 1753, was the first great innovator of British architecture who broke away from classical styles.

Using dramatic reconstructions featuring Corin Redgrave as Soane and Sam West as his student Wightwick, Imagine tells the story of this great Georgian architect, a man who sadly has only a handful of buildings he designed left intact, but whose influence can be felt throughout British design – even in the familiar red telephone box.

The World According to Parr
Wednesday 3 December

A sharply satirical eye and uncanny ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary have made British photographer Martin Parr a figure of international repute.

This snapper of seaside scenes and suburban semis has come a long way since his days as a photographer at Butlins.

His retrospective, currently on a world tour of cities as diverse as Madrid, Tokyo and Mexico, demonstrates how unerringly his pictures have captured three decades of quintessentially British life.

Imagine follows Martin Parr with his camera, and at his home, to paint a portrait of this former train spotter, and darling of commercials and media, who remains utterly eccentric.

From Pencils to Pixels
Wednesday 10 December

Imagine celebrates the phenomena of the animated feature film, which has had audiences spellbound since its beginnings in 1911.

Back in the early days everything was done by hand, but that all changed with the release of Hollywood's first computer-generated feature film, Toy Story, in 1995.

At the point when Hollywood seems to be forsaking traditional hand-drawn animation in favour of the computer, Imagine talks to the people at the heart of the industry to try and find out whether this really is the end for traditional animation techniques.

An A-Z of the OED
Thursday 18 December

This is the bizarre tale of the making of perhaps the greatest book in the English language, which took 60 years to create, the Oxford English Dictionary.

From murderers in Broadmoor to little old ladies in Bognor, the book was compiled by a bunch of remarkable characters, eccentrics, scholars and recluses who worked together to create this massive repository of the meaning of our language which continues to evolve right up to the present day.

Imagine tells this remarkable story of Victorian achievement through dramatic reconstructions and insightful interviews.

Notes to Editors

Series one press pack (23.05.03)

All the BBC's digital services are now available on Freeview, the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, as well as on satellite and cable.

Freeview offers the BBC's eight television channels, interactive services from BBCi, as well as 11 national BBC radio networks.



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