Mark Gatiss On John Minton: The Lost Man Of British Art
John Minton was for a time one of the most popular 20th century British artists, more famous even than his contemporaries Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. But his seemingly charmed life was cut tragically short and his work is now largely forgotten. For the actor and writer Mark Gatiss, Minton has been something of an obsession since he first came across his work as a teenager, and in this personal, authored film, he tells the story of Minton’s colourful, complex life for the first time on television.
A prolific and talented painter, Minton was one of the leading figures in post-war British art, known for his landscapes, portraits and large-scale murals. He was also a brilliant and commercially successful illustrator, whose work on books, magazines, and film and travel posters brought him real fame. But this artistic tension wasn’t the only one in his life. As a gay man living in a deeply repressive era, he struggled with his own sexuality and sought refuge in the hard drinking culture of Soho and its tight circle of fellow bohemians.
Mark plunges back into Minton’s world, from the headiness of Soho to the serenity and beauty of Corsica, where Minton produced some of his most influential work. Meeting his friends, contemporaries, former models and students, including Bridget Riley and Peter Blake, he comes across unseen photos, lost paintings and rare recordings of a man whose life and work seemed to disappear overnight. For Mark, it’s time to invite John Minton back to the party he left all too soon.
A 1x60 for BBC Four. The Executive Producer is Judith Winnan. The series was commissioned by Mark Bell. This is a BBC Studios Production.
Abducted - Elizabeth I's Child Actors
Katherine Rundell uncovers the gripping true story of a child abducted from the streets of Elizabethan London, and how his father fought to get him back. Set behind the scenes in the golden age of Shakespeare, this intriguing tale sheds a shocking light on the lives of children before they were thought to have rights.
Thirteen year-old Thomas Clifton was walking to school on 13 December 1600 when he was violently kidnapped. And what’s most extraordinary is that the men who took him claimed that they had legal authority to do so from Queen Elizabeth I herself.
Thomas had been snatched by a theatrical impresario who intended to put him on the stage as part of a company of child actors who were enormously popular with the Elizabethan theatre-going public. He wasn’t the only boy lifted from the streets for this purpose - a whole host of others suffered a similar ordeal. It was a practice known as impressment - forced recruitment into public service - which meant that a child could be legally taken without his parents or his own consent.
Presented by Katherine Rundell, acclaimed children’s author and academic, this inventive film pieces together Thomas Clifton’s story using contemporary accounts, court documents, plays and poetry, with the missing gaps beautifully illustrated by vivid hand-drawn animation. Shedding light on politics and religion, money and fame, at a time when society’s anxieties were played out nightly on the stage, it’s an unknown slice of British history both bizarre and sinister.
Abducted - Elizabeth I’s Child Actors is a 1x60 Wingspan Production for BBC Four, produced and directed by Susie Attwood. Animations by Andy A'Court and Ella Baron. The Executive Producers are Archie Baron and Helena Braun. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Mark Bell.
Black British Artists - Britain's Hidden Art History (w/t)
In this 60-minute film for BBC Four, presenter Brenda Emmanus follows acclaimed artist Sonia Boyce as she prepares to launch an ambitious new exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery that will shine a light on a host of fascinating artists of African and Asian descent who have helped shape modern British art.
Sonia and her team have spent the past three years scouring our public art archives to find out just how many art works by black and Asian British artists the nation really owns, finding nearly 2,000 that have rarely, if ever, been displayed before. We go into the stores and rediscover how the works of generations of black and Asian artists have helped shape our history, from the Windrush generation, through 60s counter-culture to the Black art movement of the 80s. But more importantly, we meet groundbreaking artists from across the decades who tell us what inspired their work and how they overcame adversity to change the history of British art.
Contributors include Rasheed Araeen, Lubaina Himid, Yinka Shonibare, The BLK art group and Althea McNish and many more.
Black British Artists - Britain’s Hidden Art History (W/T) (1 X60) was commissioned by Mark Bell. It is produced and directed by Alex Harding. The Executive Producer is Tanya Hudson. A BBC Studios production for BBC Four.
Rich Hall's Working For The American Dream
In his latest BBC Four documentary on the USA, award-winning comedian Rich Hall explores the American Dream and the dictum that came over with the very first pilgrims who set foot on Plymouth Rock, work hard and you will succeed.
With his sharp wit and acerbic insight, Rich looks at how Americans strive to achieve this dream and how it’s been explored and perpetuated by politicians, industrialists, artists, writers and filmmakers.
Rich also looks at the dark heart of the American dream and considers what happens when the dream turns into a nightmare, from the Great Depression of the 30s to the boom and bust of Detroit and the modern demise of America’s shrinking middle class.
The land of opportunity has attracted all comers to live the American Dream, and Rich Hall will tell you if it actually exists or if it’s just a myth that’s become unobtainable for Americans.
Working for the American Dream is a 1x90 Open Mike Production for BBC Four. The Executive Producers are Andrew Beint, Anthony Caveney, and the commissioning editor for the BBC is Emma Cahusac.
What Do Artists Do All Day?
A mini-series of three artist profiles, which is part of the Big British Asian Summer Season.
Anoushka Shankar Last year, internationally renowned sitar player Anoushka Shankar was commissioned by the BFI to score a classic silent film about the Taj Mahal, Shiraz: A Romance Of India, which was meticulously remastered by the BFI's conservation team. This film follows Anoushka at work on the composition, revealing the subtle traditions of Indian film music, and discussing the influence of her father, Ravi Shankar, who created some of his greatest work scoring Indian films. We also discover the remarkable story behind Shiraz and its restoration, and the documentary ends with Anoushka and her musicians performing the new soundtrack at the world premiere of the restoration at the BFI London Film Festival last year. Produced and directed by Kath Pick.
The BFI is making Shiraz especially available to watch online for free, for two weeks following the broadcast of What Do Artists Do All Day? Anoushka Shankar. Audiences will be able to find it via the Big British Asian Summer season page
Mahtab Hussain Mahtab is a photographer whose work chronicles the complex experiences of the British Muslim community. His portraits of young, working-class Muslim men were the basis of an acclaimed exhibition and book, You Get Me? and explore questions of masculinity and self-esteem in a series of striking images. Recently, his work has also focused on the changing identity of British Muslim women. This film follows Mahtab at work on his latest photographic project and hears from some of his subjects. Produced and directed by Toral Dixit.
Raqib Shaw Coveted by the world's biggest collectors, Raqib Shaw is an enigmatic art superstar. His baroque paintings, fusing pop kitsch and images from his Kashmiri homeland, have sold for millions. A flamboyant personality, he works in an extravagant studio, squeezed into an old sausage factory in Peckham, South London. A 21st century Hanging Gardens Of Babylon, he creates his art in this amazing fantasy world, surrounded by thousands of plants, waterfalls, bonsai and beehives. The film starts in the dramatic aftermath of a fire in his studio and with remarkable access, offers an entertaining portrait of the art and life of Raqib Shaw. Produced and directed by John O'Rourke.
What Do Artists Do All Day? (3x30) is a Pacific Quay Production for BBC Studios. The Executive Producer is Richard Bright, and it was commissioned by Mark Bell.