Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

BBC Four steps in to reggae's UK roots with range of programmes and collaborative concert with the Barbican

BBC Four today announced that it will celebrate reggae's impact on British music, culture and society with four exciting new programmes on Friday 11 and Friday 18 February.

The channel will spotlight some of the genre's most influential and greatest artists with two new documentaries, Reggae Britannia and Toots And The Maytals – Reggae Got Soul, a specially filmed Reggae Britannia At The Barbican concert and Reggae At The BBC, a choice compilation showcasing a range of archive content.

Jan Younghusband, Commissioning Editor, BBC Music and Events, says: "In the great tradition of BBC Four musical treats, we are delighted to be celebrating UK Reggae with two new documentaries, a special Barbican concert and a host of treasures from the BBC archive."

Kicking off on 11 February at 9pm, and continuing the highly successful and critically acclaimed Britannia series for BBC Four, Reggae Britannia explores and celebrates the impact of reggae on British music and culture from the Sixties through to the mid-Eighties.

The documentary delves into the world of reggae, examining everything from the music, the bass lines and the spliff, to black kids speaking brummie or cockney, the romance of Jamaica and the smell of British streets in the Seventies.

Travelling through the years, the programme talks to the performers who brought their music to the UK from Jamaica, discusses how reggae helped forge Rock Against Racism, showcases the New Wave bands of the Eighties who were influenced by the genre and explores how the genre became a part of the British mainstream my the mid-Eighties.

Directed by Jeremy Marre, the programme hears from Jerry Dammers and Neville Staple of The Specials, Dennis Bovell, Chris Blackwell, UB40, Paul Weller, Janet Kay and Carroll Thompson, Dennis Alcapone, Boy George and many more.

A special Reggae Britannia At The Barbican concert will be held in London on Saturday 5 February. The broadcast of the concert will follow the documentary at 10.30pm.

From Ska, through Rocksteady, Roots, Dub and Lovers Rock, it promises to be an evening of hits from the Sixties through to the present day. Featuring some of the most important Reggae musicians in the British scene, the programme will see performances from Dennis Alcapone and Winston Reedy, Dennis Bovell, Dave Barker, Pauline Black, Ali Campbell, Ken Boothe and many more.

The channel will serve up its second helping of programming on Friday 18 February, spotlighting a reggae legend in the new documentary Toots And The Maytals – Reggae Got Soul, at 9pm. This never-before-told story from one of Jamaica's most influential artists features intimate performances from Toots and some hand-picked musicians, rare archive from throughout his career and interviews with Toots himself, contemporaries and well-known fans.

From his beginnings as a singer in a Jamaican church choir to the universally-praised Grammy award-winning artist of today, this film tells the story of one of music's true greats and features contributions from Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jimmy Cliff, Willie Nelson, Paolo Nutini, Bonnie Raitt, Marcia Griffiths and many more.

Following the documentary, Reggae At The BBC will showcase a choice archive of great reggae performances filmed at the BBC Studios. Ranging from Top Of The Pops, Old Grey Whistle Test and Later… With Jools Holland, the programme will feature classic performances from artists including Bob Marley and the Wailers, Gregory Isaacs, Prince Buster, Dennis Brown and many more.


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