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24 September 2014
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BBC FOUR Autumn 2004
Light Fantastic

BBC FOUR - Autumn highlights 2004

BBC FOUR sheds new light this autumn

Seeing is believing on BBC FOUR as the channel presents the first ever television history of atheism - just one of the thought-provoking and engaging documentaries at the heart of BBC FOUR's autumn season.


Broadcaster and author Jonathan Miller, a self-proclaimed non-believer, takes a personal - and provocative - journey to explore what atheism means and questions why it is such an uncharted area of study in Jonathan Miller's Brief History of Disbelief.


Distinguished thinkers including Arthur Miller, scientist Richard Dawkins and philosopher Daniel Dennett join Jonathan Miller to uncover the history of atheism and question the labels of disbelief.

Janice Hadlow, BBC FOUR Controller, says: "This is BBC FOUR's third autumn and my first. I've come to a channel that is in great shape – and this coming season illustrates that.


"An autumn of challenging, enquiring and entertaining programmes rich in range and texture shows BBC FOUR at its very best – a testament to Roly Keating's development of the channel.


"Since its launch in March 2002, BBC FOUR has established a reputation as the home of enquiring and stimulating programming - documentaries, drama, talk and analysis which all offer in-depth analysis and exploration. This season is no exception."


In Light Fantastic Simon Schaffer, professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University, explores the importance and impact of light on all aspects of life and society.


This ambitious and engaging series offers the definitive study of light – how our understanding of the power of light affects our very understanding of science, art, medicine, astronomy and even religion.


The success or failure of a civilization and the global dominance of one country over another are all determined by geological make-up.


In Journeys from the Centre of the Earth geologist Iain Stewart travels from the Egyptian pyramids to the thermal springs in Turkey to explore what the rocks beneath us tell us about how civilizations develop.


BBC FOUR continues to offer viewers insight and analysis on global issues.


Israel's Terror Bus is a compelling human documentary which tells the story of what it is like to ride – or drive - Israel's notorious buses when suicide bombers can strike at any time.


The buses have been a regular target for Palestinian suicide bombers who have claimed the lives of hundreds of people – Israelis and Arabs – and injured many more.


And as the United States prepares for the presidential elections later this year, BBC FOUR brings viewers programmes with a wider perspective.


Ben Anderson explores the effect American foreign policy has had on many countries from Panama to Vietnam, Storyville examines 50 years of America's defence industry, and irreverent American comic Rich Hall lifts the lid on the election process in his inimitable style.

Other highlights include:


Measure For Measure. Following on from the phenomenal success of Richard II last year, BBC FOUR returns to The Globe Theatre to present Shakespeare's enduring comedy, Measure For Measure.


The live performance is further enhanced by a special interactive theatre programme for digital viewers. Directed by John Dove, Mark Rylance plays Vincentio, Sophie Thompson is Isabella, with Liam Brennan as Angelo.


Theatre Biz. Dame Judi Dench, Gillian Anderson, Rupert Graves, Adrian Lester and Prunella Scales are among the stars featured in this entertaining look at the world of commercial theatre.


Tales from Europe. As the former Eastern bloc states prepared to join the EU earlier this year, Kirsty Wark visited all eight countries to examine how they have dealt with the legacy of their Communist past and what expectations are of life in a modern Europe.


Popular BBC FOUR series Storyville, Dinner with Portillo, Time Shift and Days That Shook the World return this autumn.


International cinema, classic, jazz, folk and world music continue to feature.


Notes to Editors


BBC FOUR viewing figures:

Average weekly reach for 2004 to date (weeks 1-34) is 8.1% or 2.5 million people. This is an increase of 47% compared with same time period in 2003.

Share for weeks 1 to 34 (2004) is 0.45%, an increase of 45% on the same period last year.

In 2004 so far, BBC FOUR has reached at least one in five digital viewers each month – on average 6.5 million people each month.

Since Autumn 2003, BBC FOUR has been out-performing all comparable specialist multichannels in terms of weekly reach and is on a par with Discovery in the lead in terms of share (comparator channels being Discovery, UKTV History, UKTV Documentary, UKTV People, History Channel, UKTV Drama, National Geographic, Discovery Science, Discovery Civilisations, Performance, Classic FM TV and Film Four).



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