From Andy Pandy To Zebedee: The Golden Age of Children’s TV
Long ago, in the days before digital, when television closed down at night, there was an idea. The idea was that children should have - deserved to have - their own television programmes. Some people thought this was a silly idea. But others took the idea and ran with it. They learned the secrets of making TV for children and little by little they built whole afternoons of wonder for them to enjoy.
And this is how did they did it.
Taking the shape of a classic Children’s TV schedule (beginning with pre-school programming and ending with the once-coveted five minute slot just before the 6 O’Clock News) From Andy Pandy to Zebedee relates the story of the struggle to survive and reveals the passion and determination it took to deliver great programmes for this often overlooked audience.
It was a time of great innovation and experiment, featuring such brilliant figures as Tony Hart whose shows opened the door to Aardman and Morph. Phyllida Law recounts the endless (and invariably wrong) theories about the hidden messages in The Magic Roundabout, written and performed by her husband, Eric Thompson.
Featuring interviews with many of the pioneers of Children's TV including Bernard Cribbens, Derek Griffiths, Janet Ellis, Johnny Ball, John Craven and many more, this is the story of the great days of Children’s programming.
In this stand-alone episode, Lance seems to have lost his metal detecting mojo. He hasn't found anything for months, not even the usual buttons and ring pulls, and Russell's talk of a curse isn't helping.
With the help of his friends at the DMDC Lance sets out to reconnect with the wintry landscape in a heart-warming story for Christmas.
Neil Reading PR
All Aboard: The Sleigh Ride
Following the success of BBC Four’s Slow week in May, the channel returns with a very special Slow Christmas treat.
There is no engine noise. All you can hear is the crunching of snow and the soft tinkle of a reindeer bell. This winter, BBC Four takes a silent and majestic journey on a reindeer sleigh ride through Lapland’s frozen wilderness and experiences an ancient part of the indigenous Sami culture.
In a TV first, BBC Four will rig a traditional reindeer sleigh with a fixed camera to capture the unique point of view of a Sami reindeer herder travelling across the terrain in real time.
Deliberately unhurried and unrushed, the rhythmic pace of the reindeer will guide us along an epic two-hour journey that takes in the awe-inspiring beauty of a white wonderland – not normally glimpsed by anyone other than the Sami people. The changing Arctic scenery will cover undulating snowy hills, silver birch forests, frozen rivers and traditional villages. And if we’re fortunate enough, maybe we’ll spot the occasional wild moose or reindeer herd roaming across the landscape.
With no commentary, music or presenter, The Sleigh Ride will be a unique and enchanting two hour television experience to put everyone in the Christmas spirit.
Sky at Night Christmas special
For this Christmas special, the Sky at Night is mounting a seasonal investigation into possible real celestial events that could be behind the Star of Bethlehem.
Astronomers have been fascinated by the idea Star of the Bethlehem for centuries. Although the Bible offers little in the way of astronomical detail – there are range of real phenomena that could have caused a new bright light to appear in the sky. And they are some of the most spectacular sights in the night sky. Over the course of the hour-long programme the Sky at Night team will explore the possibilities. As well as investigating the nature of the phenomena the team will dig through the historical records – finding Babylonian tablets and ancient Chinese manuscripts that record the actual events in the night sky two thousand years ago.
Royal Institute lectures: ‘How to Survive in Space’
In this year's Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, How to Survive in Space, space doctor Kevin Fong takes us on a ride from launch to orbit and to the cosmos beyond, following the mission of British astronaut Tim Peake. Space and technology allowing, Tim will be a part of the lectures from on board the International Space Station.
Over the course of the three lectures, Dr Kevin and his other astronaut guests tackle the unique challenge of protecting fragile human life against the hazards of space, revealing the surprising ways that science, medicine and engineering allow us to achieve the remarkable feat that is human space travel.
Michael Palin’s Quest for Artemisia
Curious about a powerful but violent painting that caught his eye, Michael Palin sets off on a quest to discover the astonishing story of the forgotten female artist who painted it over 400 years ago. Travelling to Italy in search of Artemisia Gentileschi’s tale, Michael encounters her work in Florence, Rome and Naples. Unearthing not only her paintings but a complex life which included her rape as a teenager and the ensuing indignity of a full trial; her life as a working mother and her ultimate success against all odds as one of the greatest painters of the Baroque age who transformed the way women were depicted in art and who was sought after in many courts across 17th century Europe.
The Story of Scottish Art
The story of Scottish art and its impact on the international art world is celebrated in a new four-part series. Presented by acclaimed artist Lachlan Goudie (recently a judge in The Big Painting Challenge), the series covers 5,000 years, from the earliest Neolithic art to the present day – the most ambitious television series about Scottish art in recent times.
Seen through the eyes of an artist, the programmes explore developments and innovations in art across the centuries, placing Scottish art in an international context, and at the same time telling a compelling story about Scotland’s social and political history.
Join the Royal Ballet for a brand-new production of Carmen from the legendary dancer Carlos Acosta, as makes his retirement from classical dance. Based on Bizet's much-loved opera, the ballet tells the tale of the sultry Carmen (Marianela Nuñez) and her seduction of the soldier, Don José (Carlos Acosta), whom she eventually betrays in the arms of the handsome toreador, Escamillo (Federico Bonelli).
It'll be a night to remember - after almost 20 years with the company, Carlos Acosta is making his final performance on the main stage at Covent Garden.
Presented from the Royal Opera House by Darcey Bussell.
Andrea Chénier from the Royal Opera House
Jonas Kaufmann and Eva-Maria Westbroek star in the Royal Opera’s new production of Umberto Giordano’s passionate drama about liberty and love in the French Revolution.
Andrea Chénier has become celebrated for the lyrical music it offers the tenor in the title role – in this production performed by star tenor Jonas Kaufmann, who received an Olivier award for his performance.
This new production from director David McVicar contrasts the opulence of pre-Revolutionary France with the horrors of the Reign of Terror, whilst Giordano’s score (conducted by Antonio Pappano) has all the richness and romanticism of Giordano’s contemporary Puccini. Suzy Klein presents the programme.
BBC Four presents Jonathan Kent's five-star award-winning production of Gypsy starring Imelda Staunton as Rose. The first London production to be seen for 40 years, the musical opened at the Chichester Festival Theatre in October last year before moving to the Savoy Theatre where it broke their all time box office record before closing in November 2015.
Gypsy is considered by many to be the greatest of the Broadway musicals. It tells the true story of ambitious showbiz mother Rose, who treks across America with her daughters Baby June and Louise in search of success with their homespun vaudeville act. As times change, Rose is forced to accept the demise of vaudeville and the rise of burlesque, as well as her daughters’ quest for autonomy.
From the book by Arthur Laurents with music by Jule Styne, the lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim suggested by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee. Produced by Ellen m Krass Productions in association with Serpent Productions for broadcast and directed by Lonny Price.
Roy Orbison Behind the Shades
This one-hour biography of iconic rock balladeer Roy Orbison is told through his own voice, casting new light on the triumphs and tragedies that beset his career. Using previously unseen performances, home-movies and interviews with many who have never spoken before, the film reveals Orbison’s remote Texas childhood, his battles to get his voice heard, and how he created lasting hits like Only The Lonely and Crying.
The film follows Roy’s rollercoaster life, often reflected in the dark lyrics of his songs, from success to rejection to rediscovery in the 80s with the Travelling Wilburys super-group. This programme uncovers the man behind the shades, including interviews with his sons, many close friends and collaborators like Jeff Lynne, T Bone Burnett and Bobby Goldsboro.