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BBC FOUR Autumn 2004
Gracie Fields

BBC FOUR - Autumn highlights 2004

Stage and Screen

Measure For Measure – Live From The Globe


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 in
a vibrant evening of live performance.


Mark Rylance, playing Vincentio, the Duke, leads a stellar cast in John Dove's colourful, Elizabethan production.


He is joined by Sophie Thompson as Isabella and Liam Brennan as Angelo.


Vincentio, the Duke of Vienna, suddenly departs from his kingdom, abdicating power to his puritanical deputy, Angelo, who carries out a vigorous campaign against the lechery that he believes is sweeping the land.


One of the first casualties is Claudio, sentenced to death for making his unmarried lover pregnant. Claudio despatches his virtuous sister, Isabella, to plead his case.


However, Angelo demands a higher price than even the loyal Isabella is prepared to pay, as her virginity is placed at stake.


Meanwhile, a limping, bespectacled Friar – the Duke in disguise – looks on. Can he intervene before Angelo brings the country to its knees and Claudio to his death?


The event will be further enhanced by a special interactive theatre programme for digital viewers.


A BBC production in association with Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.



Gracie Fields


A quarter of a century after her death, the legacy of Gracie Fields, arguably one of the greatest female performers Britain has ever produced, comes under the spotlight in this film.


During her lifetime, the singer and comedienne became a national institution.


Her career spanned seven decades and she was one of the few stars of the music hall era to make a successful transition into variety, film, radio and, finally, television.


Gracie Fields illuminates the history of the British entertainment industry in the 20th century through the comic genius, remarkable singing voice and unique persona of one of its greatest stars.


A Forget About It Films production.



Ashton Centenary


Cinderella, broadcast last Christmas, was the first of three performances from The Royal Ballet celebrating the centenary of the birth of one of the greatest choreographers of the 20th century, Frederick Ashton.


This autumn, BBC FOUR broadcasts a triple bill of shorter ballets and divertissements, featuring one of Ashton's acknowledged masterpieces, Scènes de ballet.


Choreographed to the geometric studies of Euclid, the one-act Scènes de ballet was among the works Ashton was most proud of.


He described it as "just an exercise in pure dancing" but, set to Stravinsky's score of the same title, it is a complex and lively homage to 19th-century classicism.


Daphnis And Chloë draws on the rich orchestral and vocal colours of Ravel's great score to evoke the classical myth of the lovers of the title. This production returns to the original designs by John Craxton.


The other ballets in this programme are: Awakening pas de deux (from The Sleeping Beauty); Voices Of Spring (pas de deux); Isadora Dances (suite of dances for solo woman); Thais (pas de deux); and a revival of a rarely performed piece, Devil's Holiday (pas de deux and male solo).


A BBC production.



BBC FOUR Autumn 2004 Theatre Biz

Arena – Remember The Secret Policeman's Ball?

Many of Britain's finest comedians, including Stephen Fry, the Monty Python team, Rowan Atkinson, Lenny Henry, Alexei Sayle and Alan Bennett, are reunited for an Arena celebrating the 25th anniversary of the legendary Secret Policeman's Ball in aid of Amnesty International.


The film takes a riotous look back at the institution that, over the years, has been both anarchic and adept at pricking the global conscience.


Featuring a stunning cast of comedians and produced by original show director Roger Graef, Remember The Secret Policeman's Ball? is a compendium of recent British comedy and a record of how humour, and society, have changed over the last 25 years.


A BBC/Films of Record co-production.




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.


The Theatre Royal Haymarket is one of London's most prestigious theatres, but without any public subsidy it must pay its own way in an increasingly competitive world.


With success or failure often hinging on how well the first night goes, Theatre Biz looks at two in detail – a glittering West End opening at the Haymarket and a Broadway opening starring Whoopi Goldberg.


Behind the razzmatazz, those working in the theatre business find first nights a uniquely stressful event.


Of the 1,200 shows that run each year on the Edinburgh Fringe, perhaps three will be picked for a West End run.


In the second programme, Theatre Biz follows one such production from page to stage.


The third programme follows two drama school graduates who are hoping to get their first break in an industry where only six per cent of actors work all year.


An FFP production.





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