BBC FOUR - Autumn highlights 2004
Stage and Screen
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
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.
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,
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.