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24 September 2014
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BBC FOUR Autumn 2005
Tales from the Palaces

BBC FOUR - Autumn highlights 2005

Other Autumn highlights

Shakespeare's Happy Endings


This comic genealogy of rewritten Shakespeare is penned, presented and performed by Patrick Barlow, who stars as Professor Simon Starkman - academic, amateur thespian and novice documentary presenter.


Romeo and Juliet, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and West Side Story are just some of the many classic reworkings of Shakespearean text, paying due homage to his work, the apotheosis of the art of the dramaturge.


Barlow embarks on a whistle-stop tour of some of the most interesting and ludicrous bowdlerisations of Shakespeare throughout the history of theatre.


Some theatrical howlers from this litany of shame include: The History Of Richard II (1680), making Richard sympathetic … withdrawn after one performance; The History Of King Lear (1681), in which the Fool is removed, Cordelia is married off to Edgar, and which concludes with Lear being restored to two thirds of his kingdom; and a Romeo And Juliet (1597) in which, surprisingly, the young couple live together happily ever after, which played on alternate nights with the original tragedy. One stood the test of time; the other…


Patrick scrutinises the lunatic scribblings of Nahum Tate, Kemble and Dryden, the bombast of Garrick, the entrepreneurial Victorian actor-manager Henry Irving and the ludicrously camp 20th century player Wolfit, among others.


Part documentary, part staged performance, Shakespeare's Happy Endings builds on BBC FOUR's reputation for grown-up humour, candid biography and a surprising take on a subject that everyone thinks they know.


A BBC production.




A Waste of Shame


An intense drama about the passionate and destructive love triangle that consumed Shakespeare in his troubled middle years, A Waste of Shame adapts some of the most celebrated, sexual, raw, bitter and vitriolic love poems ever written.


Shakespeare's Sonnets are the most compelling source for an emotional and dramatic journey into the psychology of the man himself.


Self-analytical and brutally honest, they allow us to go behind the scenes of this complex genius - they are his story told in his very own words.


Internationally-acclaimed novelist and screenwriter William Boyd has written A Waste of Shame and brings to life Shakespeare's inner thoughts.


The drama is biographical: it focusses on Shakespeare's mysterious relationships with the 'lovely boy' and his extra-marital relationship with the 'dark lady' of his sonnet sequence.


The film tells the fraught, passionate love story behind the composition of the Sonnets.


Based on academic sources, A Waste of Shame delves into the mystery of the identity of who these people really were, and how they influenced and affected the greatest writer in our literary canon.


They didn't just tug at his heartstrings: they also changed the direction of his play-writing.


Shakespeare is presented as a corpulent, middle-aged writer and businessman, separated from his wife Anne Hathaway and grieving for the death of his son Hamnet.


Plague has sprung up again in London, and the theatres have all been closed as a result.


Desperate for work, Shakespeare takes a commission to write 17 sonnets for an androgynous young lord, William Herbert, soon-to-be Earl of Pembroke.


This young man gives one half of the inspiration to Shakespeare for the most celebrated love poems ever written.


The second half is given by the 'dark lady' Lucy, an exotic courtesan who sells sexual favours to the literati of Elizabethan London.


A Waste of Shame is the story of how these two liaisons dangerously intersect in Shakespeare's life.


A BBC production.



BBC FOUR Autumn season Chris Langham in The Thick Of It


The Thick of It


The caustic comedy from the award-winning Armando Iannucci makes an eagerly-awaited return for a second series on BBC FOUR.


Peter Capaldi reprises his role as the bullying, foul-mouthed Number 10 Chief Political Advisor (Malcolm Tucker) alongside Chris Langham as his unfortunate Minister of Social Affairs (Hugh Abbot) in this sharp satire of the world of British politics.


The new series sees the team adding more paranoia, back-stabbing and power games to the day-to-day running of the department - while trying to deal with a ministerial visit to a factory that goes horribly wrong, a Prime Minister's blue-skies thinker who's gone out of control, an abusive email that shouldn't have been sent and a minister caught lying to a Parliamentary Select Committee - all this and a cabinet reshuffle just around the corner.


The series also stars James Smith as Glenn Cullen, the Senior Special Advisor; Chris Addison as Oliver Reeder, the Junior Policy Advisor; Jo Scanlan as Terri Coverley, the Press Officer; and introduces Polly Kemp as Robyn Murdoch, Junior Press Officer.


The series is written by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche.


A BBC production.




Tales from the Palaces


Britain's historic royal palaces are lovingly cared for by a dedicated staff.


All their hard work is funded by tourism so the more visitors they get the better – or is it?


Often, the presence of tourists creates some of the problems that conservationists have to tackle.


Tales From The Palaces takes a peek behind the public displays and pageantry to reveal what really goes on to preserve the traditions, heritage and fabric of the buildings so that future generations can enjoy them.


Narrated by Robert Lindsay, this warm, funny and sometimes moving series tells the story of a year in the life of the conservation teams at the Tower of London, Hampton Court, Kew Palace, Kensington Palace and the Banqueting House.


Join staff as they conserve buildings, artworks and costumes, devise centuries-old recipes for one of today's Michelin-starred chefs and dress up as kings and queens in painstakingly researched costumes.


It's a tough job enticing people through the door…


A BBC production.


TV Factual Publicity

BBC FOUR Autumn season Ditchling, featured in Storyville - A Very English Village


Storyville - A Very English Village


Ditchling is an archetypal English village. With a population of just 1,600, the village boasts 44 village societies, including Britain's leading village film society, the oldest village horticultural society and a feisty local hunt opposed to the new law.


Unsurprisingly, with so much to offer, the village has several celebrity residents, including Dame Vera Lynn, and was previously the home of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.


Filmmaker and resident Luke Holland has been recording life in the village over the last decade.


This series depicts life in the contemporary English countryside and asks how the village can retain its rural character with an ever-encroaching metropolis.


A Zef production.



BBC FOUR Autumn season Asylum




'Scroungers' and 'layabouts' are words often used to describe asylum-seekers.


For three years, Asylum has followed the fortunes of three newly-arrived families from Algeria, Somalia and Afghanistan as they struggle to build new lives for themselves and their children.


The emotional journey they make is a rollercoaster of contrasting moods, affected by their feelings of isolation, homesickness and hopes for the future.


This multi-layered documentary uses news and observational footage, telling personal and developing stories that are as much about us as a nation as they are about the families.


A BBC production.






Should serially offending drug addicts be locked up or given the chance to change?


By significantly increasing funding over the next three years, the Government has given a clear signal that it believes rehabilitation is the answer.


Phoenix House treatment centres offer addicts the chance to change their lives through a six-month residential programme.


Some arrive voluntarily, destitute and at the end of their tether; others have been sent by the courts and face lengthy prison sentences should they fail the programme.


With unique and intimate access to the therapeutic process, this moving, observational film follows a number of residents on an intensely personal journey that could literally save their lives.


Rehab has been made by the same team behind the acclaimed Care House documentary shown on BBC FOUR last year.


A Century Films production.




Afghanistan – The No. 1 Ladies' Driving School


Four years after the collapse of the Taliban regime, life is changing in Kabul.


Women walk the streets in western clothes, men talk on mobile phones and children cram into ice-cream parlours to watch the latest pop videos.


And thanks to the first ever 'Ladies and Gentlemen's Driving Course' in Kabul, women are now also learning to drive.


Sean Langan, journalist and documentary maker, returns to Afghanistan to witness the changes taking place following the end of the Taliban's power.


The female learners are from all walks of life – from students and mothers, to politicians and doctors.


As they climb in behind the wheel they tell their stories of life under Taliban rule.


Whilst some managed to flee to Pakistan, those who remained were often beaten for minor infractions of the strict laws. But despite this, all have hopes and dreams for the new Afghanistan.


Their instructors are male, ex-Taliban fighters and aren't happy with women drivers - but in spite of this the school has more than 200 female graduates.


Most admit that whilst the state may now allow female drivers, they wouldn't allow their wives or daughters to learn to drive. And some of the families of the female students feel ashamed and refuse to let their daughters appear on television.


Meanwhile, tension is mounting with the approach of the elections.


Sean Langan's previous work includes the celebrated film for BBC FOUR, Mission Accomplished: Langan in Iraq and the BBC TWO series, Langan Behind The Lines.


A BBC production.




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