BBC4 reveals new primetime arts strands, programs

UK digital channel BBC4 is further investing in arts and culture with more hours of contemporary arts programming, which will go behind-the-scenes to examine artists and cultural institutions.
February 26, 2013

UK digital channel BBC4 is further investing in arts and culture with more hours of contemporary arts programming, which will go behind-the-scenes to examine artists and cultural institutions.

Programs revealed – all working titles – include What Do Artists Do All Day?, which explores the studios and homes of artists, including print-maker Norman Ackroyd, sculptor Cornelia Parker and painter Jack Vettriano; Secret Knowledge, in which artists and thinkers take fresh look at major art institutions through their hidden gems; and Opening Night, a series of one-offs that takes a behind-the-scenes look at cultural exhibitions and events.

Moving from BBC2 to BBC4 is The Review Show, the monthly hour-long show presented by Martha Kearney and Kirsty Wark. Other arts and culture commissions to air throughout the year include An Evening With Joan Bakewell,  two programs airing in April celebrating the life and work of Dame Joan Bakewell; and Muse Of Fire, a documentary following two actors as they travel across Britain and the U.S. to explore “why people are so scared of Shakespeare, from the classroom and beyond,” with help along the way from such actors as John Hurt, Ralph Fiennes, Ewan Mcgregor and Judi Dench.

The latter is part of a BBC4 celebration of theatre that will also include Arena: National Theatre At 50 and a documentary series on Greek Theatre.

Also on tap are Arena: Norman Parkinson; the three-part series Great Artists In Their Own Words; and the doc William Turnbull – Beyond Time.

Set for a spring debut is ‘Beautiful Things,’ a collection of programs celebrating elaborate, ornate and exquisite art and artefacts. Titles in the strand include Beautiful Thing: A Passion For Porcelain, The World Of Faberge, China In Six Easy Pieces, and King Ludwig’s Fairytale Palaces.

BBC4 will wrap up the Handmade In Britain series with a focus on fabric in three films – Really Ripping Yarn, The Lost Art Of Medieval Embroidery – and a documentary on wallpaper.

Meanwhile, BBC4 strand ‘Timeshift’ will feature Timeshift: How To Be A Lady – An Elegant History, an hour-long film following Rachel Johnson, former editor of Lady magazine, as she learns the proper etiquette of being a lady, using tips from the past, present and future.

“Arts, music and culture have always served as the backbone of BBC4 but this year we’re increasing our commitment to topical arts, introducing a number of new strands that will enable us to shine a light on contemporary arts, theatre, literature and film,” said Richard Klein, controller of the channel. “With a series of discussions and portraits, we’ll study the working lives of creative figures and explore single objects that can tell the story of the world’s most interesting museums and galleries.”

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