BBC2 commissions Heathrow series, “Culture Show” docs

The British pubcaster has greenlit a four-part live special on London Heathrow called Airport Live (pictured), as well as eight half-hour documentaries to air on flagship arts program The Culture Show.
May 21, 2013

British terrestrial BBC2 is to air a series of live specials on London Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports.

Hosted by Dan Snow, Dallas Campbell and Anita Rani, Airport Live (four x 60-minutes, pictured above) will take viewers behind-the-scenes at the airport’s hangars and air traffic control center to understand the science, engineering and logistics that make consumer air travel possible.

“Air travel has become an everyday luxury that we take for granted, but behind the scenes it’s a fascinating web of processes all precisely managed to maintain equilibrium,” Snow said in a statement.

“Over four nights we’ll get the chance to see how it all works. We’ll take a look at the complex choreography of air traffic control, learn to fly the world’s largest passenger jet, the A380, and discover how weather plays a crucial role in keeping the whole operation running smoothly.”

The series will mix live and pre-recorded footage and take viewers to the air-side area, into the air traffic control tower, onto the tarmac as a plane prepares for departure, and into the service area.

Airport Live was commissioned by BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow; commissioning editor of documentaries/BBC1 acting controller Charlotte Moore; and the BBC’s commissioning EP for documentaries Clare Paterson. It will be executive produced by Lisa Ausden for BBC Productions.

In addition, the network’s flagship art series The Culture Show has commissioned eight 30-minute docs on contemporary British culture that will air this summer.

Anarchy Up North – A Manchester International Festival Special follows Maxine Peake as she transforms Shelley’s poem The Masque of Anarchy into a one-woman show for the Manchester International Festival; African Art examines modern art in Africa through the perspectives of artists and thinkers Ibrahim El-Salahi and Meschac Gaba; and Venice: A Tale of Two Cities follows art experts Alastair Sooke and Bendor Grosvenor as they head to the Italian city for the 2013 Biennale.

Elsewhere, Funny Women is about the ups and downs in the careers of several female comedians; Peter Doig profiles the painter as he prepares for the first major exhibition of his work at the Scottish National Gallery; The Traverse at Fifty is a retrospective look at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre on the occasion of its 50th anniversary; A People’s Palace for Birmingham explores one of the largest public libraries in the world; and Film On YouTube presented by Jacques Peretti examines whether the rise of online video is signaling a decline in TV broadcasting.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.