BBC Two Autumn 2007
The Earth moves for BBC Two
Geology takes polar position on BBC Two this autumn as Dr Iain Stewart sets out to do for geological science what Andrew Marr recently did for modern history.
Earth – The Biography is a landmark series charting the epic story of how our planet came to be what it is today. It combines spectacular images, cutting-edge science and compelling narration to highlight the major events that have shaped our planet's history and allowed life to flourish since its birth 4.6 billion years ago.
Roly Keating, Controller of BBC Two, says: "Iain Stewart is a born communicator who gets right to the heart of his subject, and his compelling series is at the heart of a new season rich in epic adventures, personal challenges and unforgettable stories.
"Raymond Blanc, Stephen Fry, Louis Theroux, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ewan McGregor and Bruce Parry are just some of the other high profile names who in very different ways will be also be putting themselves on the line to bring memorable ideas and experiences to BBC Two audiences this autumn.
"It's also a great season for arts and drama, with a world-beating scoop from the Arena team, who have gained access to Phil Spector, and a stunning new film from Stephen Poliakoff."
Raymond Blanc, one of Europe's most distinguished chefs and restaurateurs, comes to BBC Two for his first major television series.
In The Restaurant he puts all his wisdom and experience to the test as he turns the heat up on nine hopeful couples competing to fulfil the dream of owning their own restaurant. Only one couple can win the chance of running a restaurant financially backed and personally supported by Raymond himself.
Following on from the widely acclaimed The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive, Stephen Fry embarks on another deeply personal journey in Stephen Fry – HIV and Me.
In the early Eighties Stephen watched as friends became infected and died from the disease. Today he discovers that, although effective medication is now available, infections are still rising and a third of those infected don't know they are positive.
He interviews other celebrities, including George Michael, Erasure's Andy Bell and Scissor Sister Ana Matronic to hear their personal stories about HIV – and then undertakes an HIV test himself.
In Under The Knife, Louis Theroux travels to California, the birthplace of plastic surgery, where a few thousand dollars and the flick of a knife can turn people into whoever they want to be.
Using his own money, Louis decides to undergo a procedure himself, rather than experience it from the sidelines. On the advice of a plastic surgeon Louis undergoes liposuction on his stomach and love handles.
In a coup for BBC Two, Arena has gained remarkable exclusive access to Phil Spector, the legendary music producer who transformed rock 'n' roll. As Phil Spector's trial for murder threatens to eclipse his musical legacy he talks to the arts programme for a no-holds barred documentary, due to transmit after his trial has concluded.
In a major season of programmes marking the 60th anniversary of the independence of India and Pakistan, starting in the late summer and running into the autumn, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Saira Khan embark on deeply personal journeys of their own.
India With Sanjeev Bhaskar offers a wryly observant and sometimes emotional portrait of today's India, while Saira Khan's Pakistan Adventure follows the former Apprentice candidate as she goes back to her family roots.
The season also includes a landmark history series from Michael Wood, Michael Wood: The Story Of India, a wildlife series focusing on the Ganges and The Day India Burned: Partition, tracing events after the British left India in August 1947.
Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman embark on one of the toughest of all overland motorcycle journeys, in Long Way Down.
Travelling 15,000 miles south through the gruelling terrain of the African continent to South Africa, the challenges they face will be innumerable and dangerous. Their adventures are already being captured on broadband (bbc.co.uk/longwaydown), but soon they can be seen on BBC Two.
Bruce Parry returns for his most exotic series of Tribe adventures yet, as he joins six remote tribes from across the world and totally immerses himself in tribal life.
While with the Matis tribe in the Western Amazon, Bruce undergoes a ritual to toughen him up and make him into a Matis hunter. He has frog poison inserted into his body – a typical purging process meant to cleanse the body and soul – is whipped with sticks, burned with smouldering arrows and has tree sap dropped into his eyes.
BBC Two also has some epic dramas this autumn. Dame Maggie Smith and David Walliams star in Capturing Mary, one of two major new films written and directed by the celebrated author and director Stephen Poliakoff.
The films are linked by an exquisite house that is frozen in time and a highly individual young man, Joe (played by newcomer Danny Lee Wynter), the concierge of the house, through whose eyes viewers see the world. The sister film, Joe's Palace, will transmit on BBC One.
The Tudors is a lavish and seductive historical drama that focuses on the early life of Henry VIII, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
Written by Michael Hirst (Elizabeth), it focuses on Henry's rampant life during his late twenties and early thirties while he was still married to his first queen, Catherine of Aragon, but pursuing Anne Boleyn, as well as every other pretty face that caught his wandering eye.
There's also some brilliant new comedy on the channel this autumn in the form of the talented Peter Serafinowicz and Jocelyn Jee Esien.
The Peter Serafinowicz Show sees the comic actor morphing into a huge range of characters for his new off-the-wall-sketch show, while Little Miss Jocelyn brings her unique brand of humour to BBC Two for the first time.
Other highlights this autumn include:
- A new series of Saxondale, with Steve Coogan as the world-travelled ex-roadie with anger management issues and his own pest control business.
- British Film Forever, the centrepiece of a season dedicated to home-grown cinema, featuring over 200 exclusive interviews from leading actors and directors.
- Nureyev – From Russia With Love, a feature length documentary following the early years of Rudolf Nureyev.
- Tribal Wives sees six British women embark on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live as tribal wives to help them evaluate the way they live their lives back home.
- Am I Normal?, a new series from clinical psychologist Dr Tanya Byron exploring the fine line between eccentric and pathological behaviour.
- Nigella Express sees the domestic goddess launch a new series on the channel, offering tips for fabulous quick food.
- Oz And James's Big Wine Adventure returns with Oz Clarke and James May, taking an unforgettable road trip through America's wine regions.
- Plus, Heston Blumenthal – In Search Of Perfection for some more of Britain's best-loved dishes.