This selection of upcoming titles gives a glimpse of the diversity of programming we have coming down the line, with bold new narrative forms, hard-hitting journalism, the best of international drama and eclectic partnerships with some of the UK's biggest creative talents.Cassian Harrison
Date: 23.08.2018 Last updated: 23.08.2018 at 16.24
During Edinburgh TV Festival today, Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, announced new commissions for BBC Four.
He announced, The Dead Room, a chilling new ghost story written and directed by Mark Gatiss featuring Simon Callow, Anjli Mohindra, Susan Penhaligon and Joshua Oakes-Rogers. Set and fllmed at the legendary BBC Maida Vale Studios, The Dead Room tells the story of a long-running radio horror series and its veteran presenter and national treasure Aubrey Judd. But times are changing. Tastes are shifting. There’s a new young producer. Whatever happened to the classic ghost stories? The good old days? Aubrey soon discovers that all is not quiet in the eerie radio studio and that elements of his own past are not as dead and buried as he perhaps hoped.
Also announced was The Yorkshire Ripper, a box-set history series which returns to the case of Peter Sutcliffe, who was convicted of murdering thirteen women. Filmmaker Liza Williams will re-investigate the case and re-examine it with contemporary eyes to question whether attitudes of the time, towards women and prostitutes in particular, influenced the investigation and meant that Peter Sutcliffe was caught years too late.
You, Me and Eugenics (w/t) is jointly presented by author and science journalist Angela Saini and reporter and disability campaigner, Adam Pearson. The series explores the history and modern versions of eugenics, the attempt to manipulate our genetic inheritance, to change human evolution and to breed a “better” human.
Additionally, BBC Four has acquired The Plague, a six-part period thriller which follows former heretic, Mateo, on his return to Seville, one of the richest cities in the World and the doorway to Europe for gold rich migrants from the New World, as the Black Death descends on the city.
Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, says: "I'm immensely proud of how BBC Four continues to stand as a truly unique offer in UK broadcasting, and of the ongoing support of our audiences, with the channel showing some of its best figures ever this year. This selection of upcoming titles gives a glimpse of the diversity of programming we have coming down the line, with bold new narrative forms, hard-hitting journalism, the best of international drama and eclectic partnerships with some of the UK's biggest creative talents."
Pictured: The Dead Room - Simon Callow and Anjli Mohindra
The Dead Room
Written and directed by Mark Gatiss, The Dead Room is a chilling new ghost story for BBC Four.
Set and filmed at the iconic Maida Vale studios, The Dead Room tells the story of a long-running radio horror series and its veteran presenter and national treasure Aubrey Judd. But times are changing. Tastes are shifting. There’s a new young producer. Whatever happened to the classic ghost stories? The good old days? Aubrey soon discovers that all is not quiet in the eerie radio studio and that elements of his own past are not as dead and buried as he perhaps hoped…
Simon Callow (Victoria & Abdul, Shakespeare in Love, Four Weddings and a Funeral) leads the cast as Aubrey, and is joined by Anjli Mohindra (Bodyguard, The Boy with the Topknot, The Sarah Jane Adventures), Susan Penhaligon (Count Dracula, Doctor Who) and Joshua Oakes-Rogers (Little Crackers).
The Dead Room is a 1x30’ drama written and directed by Mark Gatiss. The Executive Producer is Ben Irving for BBC Four and Isibeal Ballance is the Producer for Can Do Productions.
The Yorkshire Ripper
In May 1981, truck driver Peter Sutcliffe was convicted of murdering thirteen women and attempting to kill seven others. His trial concluded the biggest manhunt in British criminal history, for a killer nicknamed 'The Yorkshire Ripper'.
But after an intense six year search, Sutcliffe was only caught when stopped for a minor motoring offence. And it transpired that he’d in fact already been questioned nine times during the investigation.
In this new box-set history series for BBC Four, filmmaker Liza Williams will re-investigate this infamous case from a wholly new perspective, asking whether prevailing attitudes of the time, towards women and prostitutes in particular, influenced the investigation and meant that Peter Sutcliffe was caught years too late.
Over three gripping hours of television Williams will meet the relatives and friends of those Sutcliffe murdered as well as survivors of his attacks - some of whom have never spoken before. Going back to original sources and meeting police officers who worked on the case, as well as journalists who covered it, she’ll re-examine the story with contemporary eyes
Her investigation will bring into focus the complex realities and social forces at play in the North of England in the 1970s that meant Britain’s most notorious serial killer evaded capture for too long, leaving 23 children motherless.
The Series Director is Liza Williams. The Executive Producers for Wall to Wall Media are Leanne Klein and Nancy Bornat. Wall to Wall Media is a Warner Bros International Television Production Company. The series was commissioned by Cassian Harrison, Controller BBC Four and Tom McDonald, BBC Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Specialist Factual. The Commissioning Editor is Abigail Priddle.
You, Me and Eugenics (w/t)
Jointly presented by author and science journalist Angela Saini and reporter and disability campaigner, Adam Pearson, this series explores the history and modern versions of eugenics, the attempt to manipulate our genetic inheritance, to change human evolution and to breed a “better” human.
This series, will reveal the roots of Eugenics in the liberal, progressive world of Gower Street, Bloomsbury, London which held great sway in Britain and America and shaped the way our societies were structured and organised to this day.
There is an idea that 'genetic determinism' refuses to die and eugenics is making a comeback in academia, science, social policy and is being discussed at the highest levels. Scientists now possess a potential undreamt of by the eugenicists of old - the power to completely reshape the human genome and to transform the mechanisms of human evolution. Gene editing has opened up a whole new world of ethical quandaries and complex debate; it has huge medical benefits, but are we entering the era of the New Eugenics?
In part one, Adam and Angela will explore how eugenics originated in the progressive British establishment; how a utopian vision led to catastrophe - and reveal how a great deal of how we run our society today betrays the intellectual legacy of the eugenics movement.
In part two, Adam and Angela will show in the future, eugenics is not likely to be driven not by state control, but by market dynamics and individual choice. Money and consumer choices will drive astonishing and often unregulated advances in genetic editing - technology will irrevocably change the human genome; we are entering what some call the “Era of the New Eugenics”.
You Me and Eugenics is a Furnace production for BBC Four. The Executive Producer is Paul Sen. It was commissioned by Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC Four, and Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual. The BBC commissioning editor is Tom Coveney.
BBC Four has acquired The Plague, a unique historical thriller from Movistar+. The series takes you back to a complex time when public repression and private hedonism walked hand in hand. Cinematic, stylish and with exceptional attention to detail, its period setting, combined with a contemporary pace, dramatically captures a chaotic era.
The Black Death descends on Seville, one of the richest and most significant cities in the world. It is the doorway to Europe for gold rich migrants from the New World, and it is a city cloaked in Catholic piety. Pursuit of power is fuelled by fear and greed, and hypocrisy abounds. Convents are lax, brothels are regulated and hospitals are used as graveyards. Mysticism and chaos rule.
Mateo (Pablo Molinero), a former heretic, must now return to the city that sentenced him to death. He must honour the dying wish of his best friend: to save Valerio (Sergio Castellanos), his friend’s bastard son. On arrival in Seville, Mateo is arrested, but the Holy Office offers Mateo a proposal for absolution: solve the murders in the city which all seem to be part of a demonic ritual and he will be pardoned. For Mateo this is life or death and he is drawn into a conspiracy which reaches the very heights of power in Seville. As the plague begins to consume the city, the walls are closed and the pursuit to find the murderer intensifies.
The full cast includes Pablo Molinero, Paco Leó, Sergio Castellanos, Patricia López Arnaiz, Manuel Solo, Tomás Del Estal, Paco Tous, Manuel Morón, Cecilia Gómez, Antonio Gil, Lupe Del Junco, Pedro Lanzas and Antonio Dechent.
The Plague was acquired for BBC Four from Sky Vision, who co-funded the series and distribute it internationally. The Plague is a 6x50’ Movistar+ original series production and has been executive produced by Antipica Films. The series has been directed by Alberto Rodgríguez and written by Rafael Cobos and Fran Araújo. The Plague is based on an original idea from Alberto Rodgríguez and Rafael Cobos.