Tuesday 21 May 2013
Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter, Sweeney Todd) stars as Enid Blyton and is joined by Matthew Macfadyen (Little Dorrit, Spooks) and Denis Lawson (Bleak House).
Blyton's charming characters and classic tales have enchanted countless generations of children for almost 80 years and she has sold more than 500 million books in 40 countries. This drama casts light on the ambitious and driven woman behind the beloved Famous Five, Secret Seven, Malory Towers and the Noddy series.
From the adversity of an imperfect childhood to renowned author and household name, the orderly, reassuringly clear worlds that Enid Blyton created within her stories contrasted with the intricacy of her personal life.
A Carnival Film & Television production
Anne-Marie Duff stars as Margot Fonteyn, one of the greatest dancers of our time, in a drama written by Amanda Coe (Filth - The Mary Whitehouse Story; Shameless), and partly based on Meredith Daneman's Fonteyn biography.
Directed by Otto Bathurst (Criminal Justice, Five Days), Margot tells the story of the prima ballerina assoluta's dancing partnership and complex relationship with Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, forged towards the end of her career.
The partnership propelled them into the stratosphere of international stardom, creating a kind of celebrity that had never existed before and securing their place in the hearts of audiences and the history of ballet.
Margot also stars Sir Derek Jacobi as choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton; Penelope Wilton as Margot's mother BQ; Lindsay Duncan as Ninette de Valois, founder of The Royal Ballet; Con O'Neill as Margot's husband Tito; and Dutch actor Michiel Huisman as Nureyev.
A Mammoth Screen production
Jane Horrocks (Little Voice, The Street) plays singer and comedienne Gracie Fields in a romantic drama by Nick Vivian. During the Thirties she became the nation's darling and the highest paid film actress in the world. Renowned for her common touch, she symbolised the indomitable spirit of Britain.
Beginning at the phenomenal peak of her career when her iconic status seemed indestructible, this film recounts Gracie's war-time struggle between love and duty and the staggering repercussions of her relationship with Italian-born Hollywood director Monty Banks, played by Tom Hollander (Desperate Romantics, Valkyrie).
Gracie! opens a window on the complicated private life of a very public star who, despite everything, was determined to keep the nation laughing.
Jane Horrocks sings a stunning repertoire of Gracie songs, including Sally and Sing As We Go.
Art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon unlocks the world of Russian art and finds out what makes it unique.
Episode one celebrates the great age of the icon, when Russia was at its most intense and inward looking. Travelling to the northern wastes, Andrew discovers the country's most moving icons, the little known folk "Lubock" art, antique Russia of the countryside, and Peter The Great's artistic revolution.
Episode two moves into the city and relives the glory days of the Russian high baroque and assesses the influence of "the Wanderers" – an extraordinary group of artists comparable to the Impressionists.
The final episode spans the tumultuous period of 20th century Russia, from the Revolution of 1917 to the present day with the tension between the new Russian investment in art and the strict doctrine of the Putin years.
Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes made its legendary first performance at the Theatre du Chatele, Paris in May 1909. In the following 20 years it revolutionised ballet, reinventing an entire art form which had grown stale elsewhere in Europe, redefining it for the 20th century. This film celebrates the legacy of Ballet Russes and its continuing influence on dance, art and culture.
It explores Sergei Diaghilev's role as an extraordinary impresario with a a remarkable ability to bring artists together.
Historian and art expert Gus Casely-Hayford explores the state of British modern art.
He asks whether the age of mass-produced, commodified art is coming to an end and speaks to those responsible; the artists.
In an age in which art has largely been preoccupied with price rather than value, Gus journeys from white-washed studios to the squats to see who our artists are. He explores what they are making, where they are making it and how it has changed. From the A-listers to those just starting out, Gus asks whether a new era in art is dawning. Can art be modest and genuine?
A Tiger Aspect production
In 1979 artist Kit Williams published Masquerade, an exquisitely illustrated children's story which contained clues to where the author had buried a priceless bejewelled charm in the form of a golden hare.
His idea took the public by storm and catapulted him to fame. But it also destroyed his artistic credibility, dashing his promising career as a painter, and forcing him to live as a virtual recluse.
Featuring an exclusive television interview with the reclusive Williams, this film asks whether it's time to reappraise the work of a very British artist, who was arguably just ahead of his time.
BBC Front Desk
Author and broadcaster Stephen Smith goes on the trail of Vladimir Nabokov – the man who outraged the world fifty years ago with his novel Lolita.
Smith's journey takes him from Nabokov's childhood home in Russia, to Cambridge, America and finally the shores of Lake Montreux, where Nabokov spent the last decade of his life.
Through his travels, Smith unravels the puzzle of Nabokov's life and work, and reveals the true inspiration for Lolita.
BBC Front Desk
BBC Four embraces arts and culture from the doyennes of high and popular culture in the UK to seasons on Russian art, music and literature and Modern Art.