Docs

Harry Potter doc to debut on BBC2

The BBC is exploring the world of wizardry in a new Harry Potter documentary. Airing on BBC2, Harry Potter: A History of Magic will coincide with the British Library’s upcoming Harry Potter ...
September 19, 2017

The BBC is exploring the world of wizardry in a new Harry Potter documentary.

Airing on BBC2, Harry Potter: A History of Magic will coincide with the British Library’s upcoming Harry Potter Exhibit, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The doc will follow the exhibition in the run up to its opening, as the texts and artwork are put on display, and showcases fans recreating some of the best-loved spells and magical moments from the book. It also features an interview with author J.K. Rowling, who will discuss some of the personal items she donated to the exhibition.

A History of Magic (1 x 60 minutes) was commissioned for BBC2 by Patrick Holland, controller, BBC2 and Mark Bell, head of commissioning BBC Arts. It is executive produced by Janet Lee. Janet Ho serves as producer/director for BBC Studios.

The Harry Potter doc is just one of the projects in the BBC lineup that will take a closer look at the lives of artists and their inspiration.

Actresses Joan Plowright, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Eileen Atkins will reflect on their careers in Nothing Like A Dame (1 x 90 minutes) on BBC2, directed by Roger Michell. A Field Day/BBC Arena co-production, the doc shares the insights of the four women as they gather at a weekend retreat Joan Plowright once shared with Laurence Olivier.

Joe Orton Laid Bare (w/t, 1 x 60 minutes), explores the career of English playwright and author John Orton, while Letters From Baghdad (1 x 90 minutes), tells the extraordinary story of Gertrude Bell, and how she shaped the modern Middle East after World War I.

Elsewhere, The Art That Made Mexico: Paradise, Power, Prayers is a three-part series where Mexican artist Alinka Exheverria explores the forces and ideas that have shaped the country and its art. Accompanying the series, Handmade in Mexico (3 x 60 minutes) will take an intricate look at the creation process of three Mexican art forms.

Rounding out the BBC’s art-focused commissions is Leonara Carrington – The Lost Surrealist, which celebrates a woman whose artistic contribution has been largely overlooked.

The Big Painting Challenge will return to BBC1 in 2018, while Fake Or Fortune? is also scheduled to return for a seventh season.

“Films like Francis Bacon: A Brush With Violence, the widely acclaimed David Bowie: The Last Five Years and Nick Willing’s intimate film about his mother Paula Rego demonstrate that Saturday night on BBC2 has become a real cultural destination for viewers,” said Patrick Holland, controller BBC2, in a statement. “With titles ranging from Nothing Like a Dame, featuring some of our best-loved performers, to the celebration of the phenomenon that is Harry Potter, I am delighted with this new slate of films that will engage and delight the audience on BBC2.”

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

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