BBC FOUR Autumn
Programmes: I to R
Jack Dee stars as Rick Spleen, a successful but disillusioned and world-weary stand-up comedian and writer who spends too much of his time hosting corporate events.
The Heating And Ventilation Awards may not be the most glamorous gig but the money he earns allows him to concentrate on his first love… TV commercials.
Rick and Marty (Sean Power), his American co-writer, spend their days arguing about every subject under the sun, drinking too much coffee and devising work-avoidance strategies.
Further distractions are provided by Magda (Anna Crilly), Rick's Eastern European daily help.
Magda is learning English by watching daytime television but her own tales of woe put to shame anything one might hear on Trisha.
Rick's wife, Mel (Raquel Cassidy), is a showbiz agent who looks after C-list celebrities hoping for that big break. She knows that Rick is his own worst enemy, unless you count anyone else he comes into contact with.
Rick and Mel's 17-year-old daughter, Sam (Antonia Campbell-Hughes), could be described as the world's least motivated human being, were it not for her boyfriend, Ben (Razmus Hardiker) and Michael (Tony Gardner), the local wholefood cafe owner, who appears to be completely unhinged.
Lead Balloon is co-written by Jack Dee and Pete Sinclair.
An Open Mike Production.
The Man In The Mansion – California Governors
Running the most populous state in the union, with a GDP bigger than that of many
sovereign nations, is never going to be an easy job.
But for a large part of the last 50
years, Californians have made some distinctly LA-style choices about the person best
qualified to undertake it.
In Ronald Reagan, Jerry Brown and, most recently, in Arnold
Schwarzenegger, they voted for men who, in their very different ways, represent a
particularly Californian vision of what a politician should be.
He can be liberal or
traditionalist, peacenik or warmonger, moralist or philanderer – but the one thing he must
be is a celebrity.
Presented by PJ O'Rourke, The Man In The Mansion – California Governors considers the
unique role of the Californian Governor, where fame and politics are one and the same.
Politicians are expected to be larger than life, and the California Governors have been
happy to oblige, producing some of the strangest, most colourful and extraordinary
politicians in America.
A BBC production.
The People's Chorus
A thousand voices come together to perform a
gargantuan, extremely difficult and rarely-performed
musical masterpiece by English Tudor composer Thomas
A sublime musical meditation written for 40 interweaving
vocal lines, Spem in Alium is a breathtakingly beautiful ten-minute wall of sound.
Spem in Alium is seldom performed because of the
complex vocal forces needed but these singers –
members of the public – bravely come together to
rehearse the piece from scratch in a single day,
culminating in a live concert in Manchester's
The People's Chorus is part of a larger celebration of
choral music on BBC FOUR, which also includes the BBC Radio
3 Choir Of The Year, the UK's largest singing competition.
In December 2006, choirs and vocal groups of all ages
from across the country will compete for the coveted
title at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.
An Iambic production.
Ranch And Raunch
The Seventies was the decade in which the new rich of the USA's wealthiest state built extravagant and
wonderful houses for themselves.
In the canyons of LA,
on the ocean shore and across the deserts, a whole new
style of architecture emerged, ebullient and outrageous,
full of light and air – the "ranch style", as it was known.
At the top end of the style curve, architects such as
Frank Gehry created their own take on the California
style, leaving behind the austerity of minimalism, building
houses that still delight and amaze today.
But the lasting
legacy of Seventies California design didn't come from
any big-name architect.
If any two creations sum up the
hedonism of the times and deserve a place in the
pantheon of West Coast Wonderfulness, they are the
waterbed and the Jacuzzi.
This film celebrates both in the
way in which they deserve to be celebrated.
A World Of Wonder production.
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Reader, I Married Him
Daisy Goodwin presents a thoughtful and affectionate
look at one of the most successful and most denigrated
of literary genres.
From Jane Eyre and Charlotte Brontë
to the earliest days of Mills & Boon, and the enormous
industry it has become today, this three-part series
explores the enduring appeal of romantic fiction and the
integral part it plays in its readers' lives.
Daisy investigates the effect of the promise of a happy
ending and conducts a scientific experiment to discover if
reading romantic fiction can reduce stress levels.
why 19th-century heroes such as Mr Darcy and
Heathcliff have stood the test of time and traces the rise
of the romantic heroine, from Elizabeth Bennett to
Bridget Jones, discovering how they have reflected their
times and provided strong role models for women.
The series includes contributions from readers,
novelists and screenwriters, including Jilly Cooper and
A Silver River production.