Imagine returns to BBC One this autumn

It’s a privilege to bring you some of the best arts stories from the UK and around the globe as we meet artists and cultural innovators at the top of their creative game.Alan Yentob
Date: 07.10.2015     Last updated: 08.10.2015 at 17.30
The flagship award-winning arts documentary strand presented by Alan Yentob returns to BBC One this autumn with an exciting line up of films.

Alan Yentob, the BBC’s Creative Director and presenter of Imagine, says: “It’s a privilege to bring you some of the best arts stories from the UK and around the globe as we meet artists and cultural innovators at the top of their creative game. From sculpture, to music and dance, buildings to Shakespeare, it’s all here on Imagine on BBC One.”

imagine… Shylock’s Ghost
As Man Booker Prize-winning writer Howard Jacobson retells The Merchant of Venice 400 years after Shakespeare’s death, he travels with Alan Yentob to the ghetto in Venice to explore Shakespeare's most performed play and in particular the character of the most divisive fictional Jew in history, Shylock.

On their journey, Howard and Alan examine the evidence behind the charge of antisemitism against Shakespeare. How did his old Jew from Venice become such a useful propaganda tool during the Third Reich, and what was behind the absurd and infamous proposal to cut off a 'pound of flesh'?

imagine… Antony Gormley: Being Human
Sir Antony Gormley is one of Britain’s most successful and best-loved sculptors. Imagine films him in an extraordinary year, capturing the preparations for a new exhibition in Florence, on the historic site of the Forte di Belvedere. Gormley follows in the footsteps of Henry Moore, who presented a ground-breaking show there in the early 1970s. Imagine traces the progress of Gormley’s work across his 35-year career, exploring his rejection of Catholicism and capturing the installation of a series of sculptures around the UK as he pushes what can be done with the human form, while retaining a spiritual aspect to his work.

imagine… David Chipperfield: A Place To Be?
Imagine shines a spotlight on the internationally renowned British architect who puts substance before image and isn’t interested in his brand, or a building’s iconic presence on a skyline. “How many squiggles can a city take?” he once asked. This is not attention-seeking architecture, so what is it? He has been described as classical, minimalist, simple, but if there is a word he would like to apply to his architecture, it is 'humane'. With buildings such as the Turner Contemporary in Margate and the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield designed by Chipperfield, he is now embarking on two major renovation projects – at the Royal Academy in London and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

imagine… The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson
Julien Temple returns to Imagine, building on his film Oil City Confidential to update the story of Dr Feelgood musician Wilko Johnson. Reflecting on his impending death following his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, Johnson muses on the transformative power of mortality. Determined to live out his remaining months playing music, he records an album with Roger Daltrey in a mere eight days and embarks on a series of farewell tours. Yet, there is an unexpected twist in the tale, captured here by Julien Temple and interwoven with remarkable archive and music.

Imagine will also present two films as part of the BBC On Stage season this November.

imagine… My Curious Documentary
Opening in 2012 at the National Theatre, the stage production of Mark Haddon’s bestselling book ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ has gone on to win seven Olivier Awards, is touring the UK and Ireland, and the Tony Award-winning Broadway production is taking New York by storm.

The story in both the book and the play is told by a 15-year-old boy who finds other people frightening and confusing, and it has helped transform our understanding of a neurological condition that affects one in a hundred children.

Imagine meets those involved in the play from early rehearsals and research to stage performances in both London and New York. This is interwoven with moving testimony from other children and families on the challenges they face as they live with autism.

imagine… The Last Impresario
In Gracie Otto’s film, we meet the most famous man you have never heard of - Michael White. White’s career as a theatre and film producer has spanned over 50 years. He paved the way for internationally acclaimed stage hits including A Chorus Line, Sleuth, Monty Python’s The Holy Grail and The Rocky Horror Show and has produced over 300 shows, often against the odds and at great personal cost.

His gregarious personality and philanthropic largesse have endeared him to some of the world’s most celebrated stars.

Notes to Editors

BBC On Stage is a season of programming across the BBC that celebrates all of Britain’s incredible theatre talent, from world-class actors to cutting-edge regional theatre. With filmed theatre productions; specially created performances for television; drama and documentaries; and online and radio content, On Stage will put the country’s theatre into the spotlight.

KM