BBC FOUR Winter/Spring 2006
BBC FOUR -
Introduction - Ambitious ideas and big talent on BBC FOUR
BBC FOUR promises a mix of programmes to surprise, challenge, beguile and entertain this winter and spring.
Introducing the upcoming season, Janice Hadlow, BBC FOUR Controller, says: "BBC FOUR has just had its best ever year, a year full of some fantastic programmes – original drama, compelling documentaries, award-winning comedy and an eclectic range of music.
"And we're about to offer our growing audience another taste of the channel's trademark intelligent pleasure.
"We may be a small channel but we are crammed full of ambitious ideas and big talent."
Drama moves to the heart of BBC FOUR's schedule in the coming months as the channel builds on its reputation for dramatising real-life stories from our recent past.
Andrew Davies writes his first original drama for BBC FOUR.
The Chatterley Affair offers a fictional account of one of the most sensational obscenity prosecutions ever to take place, seen through the eyes of two of the jurors.
Keith (Rafe Spall – The Rotters' Club) and Helena (Louise Delamere – No Angels) fall in love under the influence of Lawrence's prose with their affair echoing that of Constance Chatterley and Mellors.
The tortured world of Kenneth Williams comes to life in Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!
Drawn from the intimacy of his famous diaries, Michael Sheen plays the comic actor who was loved by everyone, with the exception of himself.
And following in the footsteps of BBC FOUR's The Quatermass Experiment of last year, comes another science fiction classic - A for Andromeda.
This contemporary adaptation of the 1961 film features Kelly Reilly (Mrs Henderson Presents, The Libertine) as Christine /Andromeda; Tom Hardy (The Virgin Queen, Sweeney Todd) as John Fleming and Jane Asher as Professor Madeline Dawnay.
The Lost Decade last autumn proved how successful bold, ambitious seasons can be for the channel.
This spring BBC FOUR turns its attention to the 18th century arguing that this was a decisive turning point in our past, the moment when Britain entered the modern world – that it was The Century That Made Us.
Andrew Marr investigates an extraordinary period when Scotland – and particularly Edinburgh - took the lead in development of intellectual life;
Dan Cruickshank delves into the history of the new merchant class who made the money that made Britain great;
Andrew Graham-Dixon explores the extraordinary story surrounding the battle of wills involved in the founding of London's Royal Academy;
and Clarissa Dickson-Wright introduces the very first celebrity chef: Hannah Glasse, 18th century cook, businesswoman and major contributor to modern day food.
The life of Beau Brummell, the man credited with inventing the modern day suit and tie and the whole notion of celebrity - is captured in a poignant new drama based on a new biography by Ian Kelly.
The season also explores a darker Scottish story: the battle of Culloden was a terrible event, one that even now still poisons Anglo-Scottish relations.
The Duke of Cumberland was recently named one of the ten worst Britons for the part he played in the massacre, but does he deserve his reputation as the "Butcher"?
And was Bonnie Prince Charlie quite the romantic hero we think him now? A new documentary, The Butcher And The Bonnie Prince, questions the traditional opinion.
And in one of music's greatest untold stories, Castrato examines the mystical status and anatomical mysteries surrounding the emasculated "third sex" singers who were the musical superstars of their day.
Other highlights this Winter/Spring on BBC FOUR:
Silent Cinema Season
One of silent cinema's greatest fans believes we don't appreciate it as we should - largely because of the way it's shown.
Paul Merton sets that right in Paul Merton's Silent Clowns, which deconstructs the art of comic geniuses Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Harold Lloyd.
A new and poignant drama, Stan, explores the last farewell between comedy legends Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
Matthew Sweet explores the roots of the silent film industry in Silent Britain and Holmfirth – The Original Hollywood focuses on one West Yorkshire family that became major players in the film-making business long before Hollywood dominated the scene.
An oral history of the turbulent Seventies and Eighties when the extreme left was alive and kicking, Lefties looks at three aspects of this era: squatting, radical feminism and the story of the News On Sunday, the left-wing Sunday tabloid launched to great fanfare in 1987 with the strapline "No tits but a load of balls".
The Waughs – Fathers And Sons
Alexander Waugh takes a personal journey through his family's chequered emotional history, to discover how five generations of one of Britain's most dazzling literary dynasties coped with the pressures of creativity and paternity.
In a major four-part series, Time, scientist and string theory pioneer Michio Kaku reflects on what we know, what we're learning, and what may never be understood about one of life's greatest mysteries.
And apparently it's true - time really does pass more quickly as you get older.
Notes to Editors
Weekly reach (3+ minutes)
This grew +33% on 2004, from 2.7 million viewers each week (8.5% of all digital viewers) to 3.6 million (9.6%).
Autumn was the strongest season for the channel
Audiences reached 5.0 million viewers per week during both October and December (the highest figures for the channel since launch).
Share and volume also grew significantly
Annual share has grown +23% from 0.48% to 0.59%, and average volume increased even further (+44%) thanks to the continued expansion of the digital TV universe.
BBC FOUR achieved a reach of more than 10 million people per month across Autumn 2005 (best month 11.4 million people or 29.1% of all digital viewers for October 2005).
The pictures in this press pack may not be used without
prior permission from the copyright holder.
All pictures BBC copyright except these pictures in the pdf:
Harold Lloyd © The Kobal Collection
Bonnie Prince Charlie © The Bridgeman Art Gallery
Beau Brummell © The Bridgeman Art Gallery
The Art of Cookery © The Art Archive
An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump © The National Gallery
The Waughs - Fathers and Sons © Glyn Howells
Lefties © Pam Isherwood/Format.