Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
The BBC in partnership with the National Trust today announced a major new collaboration. To The Manor Reborn is a 4 x 60-minute landmark BBC One series looking at the process behind bringing an historic property back to life.
Presented by Penelope Keith and Paul Martin, To The Manor Reborn will see a team of historians, experts, and volunteers refurbishing 500-year-old Avebury Manor in Wiltshire, putting the country house in to a national, historic perspective. From the age of Elizabeth I through to the eve of the Second World War – and taking inspiration from other houses across the country – the series and project will reflect on the story of Britain across five centuries, exploring a wide range of craft and furniture-making skills and revealing the invention of "the home". The house will be restored as an immersive experience – it will be one of few National Trust properties open for the public where they can touch, sit on and enjoy all aspects of the house.
Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One, says: "Our partnership with the National Trust on this ambitious project encapsulates so many of the BBC's ambitions. The channel aims to keep engaging audiences in new ways and this series offers them the chance to follow the story on screen, and to experience it first hand."
Sarah Staniforth, Museums and Collections Director for the National Trust, says: "The National Trust is delighted to partner with the BBC in this exciting series. It is not only a unique opportunity to engage viewers in the history of interior design and architecture but is also a way for the Trust to push the boundaries in bringing properties to life."
Along with the house, a walled wilderness will be transformed into a Victorian kitchen garden, and together they will reflect four different periods of history – Tudor, Georgian, Victorian and 20th century.
Also contributing to the series, leading interior designer Russell Sage; architectural writer and expert Dan Cruickshank; Anna Whitelock, lecturer in early modern history at the University of London Royal Holloway; and expert gardener David Howard will all bring their expertise to house and garden alike. Joining them will be many volunteers – from the Trust and from around the West Country – and some extraordinary craftsmen and specialist companies who preserve the heritage skills needed to bring an old house back to life.
Furniture and objects will either be recreated by modern craftsmen to embrace antique skills or genuine antique furniture that has had a troubled life will be restored, brought back to life – but nothing will be so delicate that it cannot withstand the rigours of normal life. BBC cameras will capture all the processes of living craftsmen working to create an historic interior.
To The Manor Reborn has been commissioned by Mark Bell, Commissioning Editor, Arts. Basil Comely is the executive producer and the series producer is Kate Shiers. The 4 x 60-minute series is produced by BBC Vision London Factual and will be broadcast later this year.
As part of the re-invention of Avebury Manor, a fully working Victorian kitchen garden will be re-established. Like the rooms of the house, the garden will be transformed by modern means sympathetic to traditional garden design and function. The garden will be sustained by National Trust volunteers.
The BBC aims to provide the broadcast range and depth of arts and culture programmes on television.
The BBC creates partnerships with the arts sector that go beyond broadcast, from sharing expertise to widening public engagement in UK arts.
The National Trust is also a partner in the BBC and Public Catalogue Foundation initiative Your Paintings. Contributing art works to help create a complete online catalogue of the nation's oil painting collection at www.bbc.co.uk/yourpaintings.
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