Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

BBC Four Autumn 2009/Winter 2010

Arts and Culture are at the heart of the new season on BBC Four

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Micro Men (formerly Syntax Era)

Martin Freeman (The Office) and Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong & Miller, Mutual Friends) star in this single drama which provides an affectionately comic account of the race for home computer supremacy in the Eighties.

Micro Men documents the lengthy rivalry between maverick visionary Sir Clive Sinclair (Armstrong) and his former colleague Chris Curry (Freeman) who go head-to-head to achieve domination of the growing home computer market. Micro Men gives an amusing insight into the brilliant but eccentric characters that triggered the beginning of the UK computer revolution.

Part of the Electric Revolution Season.


A Darlow Smithson production

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Following her acclaimed documentaries, Lefties and Jews, Women is Vanessa Engle's new three-part series about feminism and its impact on contemporary women's lives.

The first film documents the women's liberation movement in the Seventies and features interviews with legendary British and American feminists including Kate Millett, Susan Brownmiller, Germaine Greer and the last interview with novelist Marilyn French – who died in May of this year.

The second film looks at the consequences of feminism for today's mothers, documenting the daily lives of ordinary women with children, to discover the extent to which the legacy of feminism has altered gender roles or the division of labour in the home.

The third episode is an observational film about a small group of passionate and angry young feminist activists in London now, who believe that the need for feminist activism in 2009 is more urgent than ever.


BBC Productions

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Getting Our Way – With Sir Christopher Meyer

Getting Our Way – With Sir Christopher Meyer

Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to the USA, looks back at 500 years of intrigue and adventure to construct a history of British diplomacy from the inside.

Peppered with anecdotes from the outspoken, red-socked former diplomat's 36-year career, the series also includes interviews with ambassadors and statesmen, including Douglas Hurd, Richard Holbrooke, Henry Kissinger, Chris Patten, Alex Salmond, William Hague and David Owen.

It reveals in colourful detail how British diplomacy, far from being the dry-as-dust preserve of foreign policy wonks and aloof bureaucrats, is replete with treachery, espionage, danger, sex, high principle and low cunning. The three films in the series are themed around the core pillars of national interest – security, prosperity and values – and will argue that, however much international relations may have changed over this period, an unsentimental vision, backed by hard-headed diplomacy, has never been more necessary.

Front Desk Publicity

A Wingspan production

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This Is Scotland Season

In the year that Scotland marks a decade of devolution, BBC Four presents a special season of programmes celebrating Scotland and examines aspects of Scottish culture, art, film-making, heritage, landscape and psyche.

A Portrait Of Scotland, with Peter Capaldi, encounters the artists and paintings that have reflected the changing face of Scotland since the Reformation, while Rory Bremner And The Fighting Scots reviews the history of Scots in the British Army.

Alan Cumming presents Scotland On Screen, which celebrates classic movies and their Scottish locations.

Other programming includes Jonathan Meades touring Scotland; Nick Crane on the cult of Munros, the mountains; and Michael Portillo chairing a discussion on the possibility of Scottish independence.

The season also features documentaries on the legacy of Calvinism in Scotland, Tweed – the fabric and industry – and Balmoral, the Royal Family's most private residence and its links to Scottish traditions.


A Portrait Of Scotland; Scotland On Screen; Rory Bremner And The Fighting Scots; Jonathan Meades – Off-Kilter; Munro – Mountain Man; The Scots – Natural Born Sinners are all produced by BBC Productions, Scotland. Dinner With Portillo – Why Should We Care About Scottish Independence is produced by BBC Productions, Northern Ireland. Balmoral is a Blakeway production. Tweed is a Bellwether Media production

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IT And Us Season

Electric Dreams

Electric Dreams sees the world of one ordinary British family turned upside-down as their home is "renovated" to the standard of a typical house in 1970 – the dawn of the digital age – and then fast-forwarded at the rate of a year per day through the technological revolution of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties. How will children cope when they swap social networking sites and games consoles for black-and-white television and vinyl records?

Other programmes in the Electric Revolution season include Gameswipe With Charlie Brooker, a caustic, informative but ultimately affectionate analysis of the inner workings of the computer games industry; The Life And Death Of A Mobile Phone, a quirky look at what mobile phones might think of their owners' embarrassing calls and ill-advised texts; Upgrade Me, poet Simon Armitage's quest to uncover the mystery behind our obsession with technological upgrades; and The Podfather, the epic story behind the silicon chip's inventor who, according to some, remains the most important person that most people have never heard of.


Electric Dreams is a Wall To Wall production
Gameswipe With Charlie Brooker is a Zeppotron production
The Life And Death Of A Mobile Phone is a Landmark Films production
Upgrade Me and The Podfather are BBC Productions

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The Great Offices

The Great Offices

Dealing with money, power, crime and terrorism, the work of Whitehall's three mightiest empires, the Treasury, the Foreign Office, and the Home Office, affects the lives of all citizens and has helped determine the fate of governments.

In three one-hour programmes, award-winning documentary-maker Michael Cockerell tells the inside story of The Great Offices.

Over the years, Michael has filmed inside the three citadels and interviewed their leading ministers and normally camera-shy mandarins. Now, with fresh access, filming and new interviews, along with rare archive, Cockerell recounts the constant power battles between ministers and mandarins, both within the offices and with No. 10 – for most prime ministers yearn to be their own chancellors or foreign secretaries... and sometimes both.

This major new series will also tell a revealingly wider story about British politics in the last half-century and how the country has reached its present state.


A BBC News And Current Affairs production

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Play Season

Play Season

In a season of programming celebrating the act of play, BBC Four uncovers the hidden history of an activity that gives us a unique perspective on our past, as well as an exciting vision for our future.

Games Britannia

Last year, Britons bought more board and computer games than books, CDs and DVDs. In Games Britannia, historian and broadcaster Benjamin Woolley explores the roots of what is now a multi-billion pound global industry and a peculiarly British obsession. In a bid to discover what makes play so compelling, so enjoyable, so infuriating and so much fun, Benjamin challenges experts, enthusiasts and even the occasional celebrity to play a variety of games and gadgets.

BBC Productions

Playground Britannia

Step into a secret world of imagination and adventure in Playground Britannia, the story of children's outdoor play in 20th Century Britain. From Ring-a-Ring O' Roses to rap dancing, the programmes explore Britain's favourite games across a century of childhood.

The heyday of outdoor play came in the Fifties when the simple joys of skipping, street football and train-spotting were enjoyed by millions of children. Since then major social changes such as the emergence of the fashion conscious teenager, the rise of pop culture and the perceived increase in danger on the streets have encouraged children to grow up faster. But each generation has remained as creative as the last when it comes to playground games. Children of all ages will see the games they once enjoyed reflected in this affectionate tribute to a nation at play.

A Testimony Films production

Timeshift – How To Win At Chess

Strategy and tactics are the name of the game in Timeshift – How To Win At Chess. In a film celebrating the colourful and diverse world of chess, British Grandmasters Dan King and Raymond Keene explain how to outwit opponents and reveal key moves and techniques such as forks, pins and skewers.

BBC Productions

Front Desk Publicity

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Glamour's Golden Age

Glamour's Golden Age

BBC Four takes viewers back to the Twenties and Thirties to reveal how and why these decades became synonymous with decadence.

As cruise liners brought vampish screen stars and daring jazz musicians to British shores, this era heralded the birth of mass entertainment, mass consumerism and mass media.

But what were the catalysts for a cultural revolution in music, fashion, design and the arts? And how did a new glamorous age change Britain forever?

The series also explores the impact of Art Deco, as 20th century modern men and women aspired to a new way of life – travelling in fast cars, on streamlined trains and gleaming ocean liners. With the horrors of the First World War firmly obliterated, it was a glamorous age of cocktails and dancing to jazz music – fully liberated from the moral constraints of the previous era.

BBC Front Desk Publicity

BBC Productions

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History Of Christianity

History Of Christianity

An authored history of the world's biggest religion is the subject of a new landmark religious series.

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch – one of the world's leading historians and Professor of History of the Church and Fellow at St Cross College Oxford – reveals the true origins of the religion and looks at what it means to be a Christian.

Thought-provoking and magisterial in its scope, the series reveals how a small Jewish sect that preached humility became the biggest religion in the world. Most Christian histories start with St Paul's mission to Rome, but MacCulloch argues that the first Christians stayed much closer to their Middle-Eastern roots.


A BBC Productions and Open University co-production

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New viewpoints

Original points of view on Scottish identity, our relationship with the technological revolution, the history of playing and the advent of the age of glamour are among the subjects BBC Four turns its attention to this season.

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