BBC Online

Henry Moore gets the 21st century treatment as 21 newly-digitised documentaries are released online for the first time.

Okay, that’s the article in a nutshell… now here’s the in-depth bit.

The BBC and The Henry Moore Foundation have announced a new partnership that sees the BBC’s complete collection of television documentaries on Henry Moore digitised and released online to coincide with a major new retrospective of the UK’s most celebrated 20th century sculptor.

Tate Britain, which collaborated on the project, will be the first gallery to use the newly-digitised material, alongside its Henry Moore exhibition, allowing the public to get a deeper insight into this iconic British artist.

Henry Moore At The BBC encompasses documentaries, interviews and reports spanning nearly five decades, including all six classic programmes made by pioneering producer John Read.

Read’s first film portrait of Moore for the BBC was broadcast in 1951 to coincide with a Tate Gallery exhibition, and is considered to be the UK’s first television arts documentary.

Roly Keating, BBC Director of Archive Content, said: “The BBC archive is full of riches and these remarkable programmes are among the most precious. They comprise a treasure-trove of unique footage of a great artist, most of which has been unseen by the public for decades.

“We’re very grateful that, thanks to the support and enlightened partnership of The Henry Moore Foundation, working with Tate Britain, these programmes can be re-discovered and freely enjoyed by audiences across the UK, now and in the future.”

Richard Calvocoressi, Director of The Henry Moore Foundation, said: “This exciting partnership between the BBC Archive and The Henry Moore Foundation, with the support of Mary Moore and the artist’s family, sees the release of important archive footage on the artist. We are delighted that it will be accessible to a wide audience, and look forward to making it available to other arts organisations nationwide after its screening at Tate Britain.”

Jane Burton, Creative Director of Tate Media, said: “Tate is delighted to have played its part in making these wonderful archive programmes available to the public. Visitors to Tate Britain’s Henry Moore exhibition will be able to watch clips of Moore, including footage of him in his studio with some of the works featured in the show. We’ll also be showing highlights on Tate’s website.”

The Tate Britain Henry Moore exhibition runs from 24 February until 8 August 2010.

A new online collection featuring the recently-digitised programmes will also be released on 24th February and will form part of a permanent resource which the BBC has made available to UK audiences.

This can be seen by visiting bbc.co.uk/archive and will also be available from The Henry Moore Foundation website at www.henry-moore.org.

The partnership between the BBC and The Henry Moore Foundation is part of the BBC’s commitment to supporting and enabling the cultural life of Britain, particularly through access to archive content and investment in arts and music programming.

Other BBC partnerships include the British Library, the BFI, The Arts Council and The National Archives. It also builds on the 2008 partnership between The BBC and Tate, which enabled the public to access unseen archive footage of Francis Bacon to coincide with Tate Britain’s Francis Bacon exhibition.

In celebration of the partnership, Alan Yentob will present a special edition of The Culture Show on BBC Two on 18 March which will take a unique approach to Henry Moore, by looking at his life on film and the man behind the media image.

BBC Four will also screen a two-part documentary from the archive collection, Henry Moore: Carving A Reputation, on Saturday 20 March.

That’s what your licence fee goes on. Brilliant news, even if you think that art is just a bunch of ol’ cobblers.

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