BBC Four announces The Age Of Heroes: Ancient Greece Uncovered season

This season offers new perspectives and expert insight into an ancient era of sophistication and culture that can feel very familiar but also fascinatingly different to us.Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC Four
Date: 05.03.2015     Last updated: 05.03.2015 at 09.30
Category: BBC Four; Factual
Oscar and Bafta-winning actress Juliette Binoche; papyrology expert Margaret Mountford; classicist Natalie Haynes and art historian Alastair Sooke will feature in BBC Four’s season of programming celebrating the unique legacy of Greek art, sculpture, philosophy, poetry and theatre.

BBC Four will explore the sophisticated culture and stunning artistic achievements of Ancient Greece in a collection of documentaries and films, including an exclusive televised recording of the Barbican’s sold out production of Antigone (starring Juliette Binoche) and unprecedented access to The British Museum’s touring exhibition, The Body Beautiful In Ancient Greece.

BBC Four Channel Editor Cassian Harrison says: “BBC Four has the ability to explore subjects in depth like no other channel, and this season of programmes offers new perspectives and expert insight into an ancient era of sophistication and culture that can feel very familiar but also fascinatingly different to us.”

The Age Of Heroes: Ancient Greece Uncovered BBC Four Season includes:

Antigone (1x90) BBC Four cameras will exclusively capture the Oscar-winning French actress Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Chocolat) playing the title role in Sophokles’s tale of family loyalty, courage and tragedy. The Barbican’s visionary new English language translation by TS Eliot prize-winning poet and classicist Anne Carson, is directed by renowned Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove (A View From The Bridge, 2013, Roman Tragedies, 2009).

Margaret Mountford On Sappho w/t (1x60) With a PHD in Papyrology, Margaret Mountford (The Apprentice) goes in search of the truth behind the legend of Sappho, the most controversial writer of the ancient world and the first authentic woman's voice in western history. The sensational discovery of a lost papyrus containing the words to songs unheard for 17 hundred years, sends Margaret on a journey of exploration.  From the fragmentary documents, ruined temple architecture and surviving oriental jewellery, we conjure the real world of the woman, whose erotic writings gave us the words 'sapphic' and 'lesbian', after the island of Lesbos the place of her birth. Commissioned by Greg Sanderson, BBC Commissioning Editor, Arts, Music & Events, the 1x60 film is Produced by Maya Vision International’s Sally Thomas and Directed by Jack MacInnes.

Secret Knowledge - Body Beautiful: Glamour, Good Looks And The Ancient Greeks with Natalie Haynes w/t (1x30) Writer and classicist Natalie Haynes leads us on a journey into ancient beauty and modern glamour, examining how our current obsession with the body beautiful goes back thousands of years to an era of stunning artistic achievement.  With unique access to the British Museum’s major exhibition which opens later this Spring, Haynes explores the Greek preoccupation with the human form ranging from objects of abstract simplicity to breath-taking realism. Commissioned by Mark Bell, BBC Head of Commissioning, Arts, the 1x30 film is Executive Produced by Richard Bright and Tanya Hudson, and Directed by Liam McArdle for the BBC.

The Treasures Of Ancient Greece (3x60) In this three-part series Alastair Sooke (Treasures Of Ancient Rome, Pride and Prejudice: Having A Ball) explores the riches and unique legacy of Greek art.  Episode One tells the story of Greek art from its surprising, often mysterious origins, travelling from Crete to Santorini, Mycenae to Delphi.  Episode Two explores the astonishing development of classical art - the so called 'Greek revolution', asking how did the ancient Greeks get so good, so fast?  The final instalment looks in detail at a handful of works that have achieved the status of masterpieces, tracing the complex and fascinating story of western civilisation’s love affair with Greek art, from the Romans to modern times. Commissioned by Mark Bell, BBC Head of Commissioning, Arts and Series Produced by Julian Birkett.

The Age of Heroes: Ancient Greece Uncovered Season will air from Spring 2015 on BBC Four.