wed 29/03/2017

BBC Four

Storyville: Life, Animated, BBC Four

Slipped out in the Storyville slot without much fanfare, Life, Animated is the Oscar-nominated documentary which won a theatrical release and rave reviews in the US and UK last year. It’s a horribly clichéd word, but heart-warming is the best way to...

Read more...

Life of a Mountain: A Year on Blencathra, BBC Four

Two years ago BBC Four had a film about a year in the life of Scafell Pike. Arriving at glacial pace is the sequel: Life of a Mountain: A Year on Blencathra. The star this time round is more of a best supporting character actor than a headline...

Read more...

Timeshift: Flights of Fancy - Pigeons and the British, BBC Four

Pigeons were described in this riveting programme as man’s best feathered friends, as well as an urban pest: the 35,000 of them that used to flock round Trafalgar Square deposited some 390 tons of unharvested guano – bird poo, in simpler words –...

Read more...

Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand, BBC Four

"Oh what a beautiful morning! Oh what a beautiful day!" Curly the cowboy sang in the opening scene of Oklahoma!, the first musical from Rodgers and Hammerstein (1943). In the midst of war here was sheer optimism and celebration set – with some nods...

Read more...

Vienna: Empire, Dynasty and Dream, BBC Four

Ebullient, prolific, loquacious and a charmingly enthusiastic historian both in print and for television, Simon Sebag Montefiore has turned his attention to the pivotal city of Vienna, nourished equally by the Danube and its central geographical...

Read more...

Young, Gifted and Classical: The Making of a Maestro, BBC Four

This is a documentary about a minority in a minority, a riff on young, gifted and black. And how better to attract both practitioners and audiences to classical music than by encouraging diversity? The totally startling statistic was that in the UK...

Read more...

Kew's Forgotten Queen, BBC Four

The indefatigable Victorian spinster Marianne North (1830-1890) is the most interesting artist you've never heard of. The upper-middle-class Ms North thought marriage a terrible experiment, and with her single state allowing her control of her...

Read more...

Gaga for Dada: The Original Art Rebels, BBC Four

If you’ve had half an eye on BBC Four’s conceptual art week, you’ll have noticed that the old stuff is where it’s at, with Duchamp’s urinal making not one but two appearances, equalled only by Martin Creed, that other well-known, conceptual stalwart...

Read more...

Bricks!, BBC Four

The wilder shores of contemporary visual art are now ephemeral or time-based: performance, installation, general carry-on and hubbub. But once upon a time – say, the 1960s – it was the nature of objects, pared down to essentials, and often made from...

Read more...

The Girl from Ipanema: Brazil, Bossa Nova and the Beach, BBC Four

Some years ago broadcaster Andy Kershaw introduced on BBC World Service radio a piece of Brazilian music with this blunt dismissal: “When I hear a track by, say, Gilberto Gil, I tell myself: ‘Right, time to take the lift and go to bed’.” It wasn’t a...

Read more...

Masters of the Pacific Coast: The Tribes of the American Northwest, BBC Four

The American northwest is gorgeous: endless lakes, limitless ocean, mountains, forests, overwhelming blue skies in deepest summer, mists and of course rain, in one of the wettest places on earth – 4 metres of rain annually. Here were hundreds of...

Read more...

Freud: Genius of the Modern World, BBC Four

Recently the television historian Bettany Hughes, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, energetic, enthusiastic and rather astonished, has tramped across the continents on our behalf, making a clutch of hour-long documentary introductions to the individuals...

Read more...
Subscribe to BBC Four