The South Bank Show

Sunday, 16 May 2010, 10:15PM – 11:15PM on ITV1

Nearing the end of The South Bank Show Revisited season, Melvyn Bragg meets up with the great New Zealand born soprano, Dame Kiri te Kanawa, in New York. Once again, she was appearing at The Metropolitan Opera.

Drawing mainly on a South Bank Show made about her in 1991, Kiri te Kanawa reflects on her early life as an adopted orphan, the place of Maori culture in her life and the enormous sacrifices her parents, in particular, her mother, made in order to support her. She talks of the pressures of life at the top, of her previous disillusionment with the world of opera and of her one-time desire to be “Tina Turner” rather than an operatic diva.

Kiri te Kanawa was the subject of two further South Bank Shows – excerpts from both are used in this new programme. The South Bank Show: Kiri at Christmas was transmitted in 1991. This was a concert filmed in Wellington New Zealand and The Royal Naval College, Greenwich . The South Bank Show: Kiri’s 50th Birthday was transmitted in 1994. This was an extended programme which followed Kiri te Kanawa preparing for her birthday concert at The Royal Albert Hall and contained an edited version of the concert.

The final two films in The South Bank Show Revisited season are: Victoria Wood and a film on Arts film making to include interviews with Ken Russell and Tony Palmer. The South Bank Show Revisited ��” a final season to cherish.

Presented and edited by Melvyn Bragg
Executive Produced by Jonathan Levi
Produced and Directed by: Alan Benson

Sunday, 9 May 2010, 10:15PM – 11:15PM on ITV1

Melvyn Bragg meets Judi Dench at the Rose Theatre in Kingston where she was recently performing in Midsummer Night’s Dream, re-uniting her with long time friend and collaborator, Sir Peter Hall, who is directing the production.

Since the 1995 South Bank Show, Judi Dench has gone on to become a huge international film star, recognised globally for her role as M in the James Bond franchise and has been Oscar nominated six times, and winning the award for her role in Shakespeare in Love.

The South Bank Show Revisited tracks this career change, tracing a path which began in the theatre but has branched out to take on television and film leading to her widely regarded status as a “national treasure” ��” a label she hates.

Melvyn Bragg and Judi Dench discuss how she began her career at the Old Vic and RSC and what she learnt as a theatrical actress, her love of being part of a Company and her sense of being an instinctive rather than a technical actress. She also talks about her Quaker upbringing and the effect this has had both personally and professionally.

They talk about her roles in the sitcoms A Fine Romance and As Time Goes By which she describes as being the hardest jobs she has ever taken on, her role in the popular Cranford, and now her return to what she loves best, the stage.

She discusses her portrayal of Titania as Queen Elizabeth I ��” a daring and provocative interpretation. She has taken on this role because she believes passionately in supporting regional theatre. She also talks of her sadness that the younger generations of actors do not seem to know their theatrical heritage.

This film shows Judi Dench at her instinctive and passionate best: championing the theatre and showing her love for acting as she continues to take on as many unsuitable roles as she can.

Other films in The South Bank Show Revisited season include: Kiri Te Kanawa, Simon Rattle and a film on Arts film making to include interviews with Ken Russell, Tony Palmer, James Ivory and others. The South Bank Show Revisited ��” a final season to cherish.

Presented and edited by Melvyn Bragg
Executive Produced by Jonathan Levi
Directed by: Archie Powell

Sunday, 2 May 2010, 10:15PM – 11:15PM on ITV1

The South Bank Show Revisited looks at the return of David Hockney to his native Yorkshire as he embarks on an ambitious new project which will see him take over the Royal Academy in 2012.

This film sees Melvyn Bragg explore why David Hockney has turned his back on America and retreated to the seaside town of Bridlington for his new projects. He talks about the giant landscapes (some up to 40ft long) he is painting for his 2012 exhibition and the techniques and difficulties of preparing such large pieces.

David Hockney also shares his passion for technology demonstrating a new video montage project he is preparing on his computer: a nine camera rig strapped to his car that records the same landscape in different focuses, colours and exposures and which is then stitched back together to form one giant screen. It builds on and extends the original nine screen montage he first made for The South Bank Show in 1984.

The South Bank Show Revisited features David Hockney at his outspoken best, whether he is demonstrating his terrific appetite for art and new projects and technologies or railing against the smoking ban and the nanny state he feels the country has turned into.

Other films in The South Bank Show Revisited season include: Judi Dench, Kiri Te Kanawa, Simon Rattle and a film on Arts film making to include interviews with Ken Russell, Tony Palmer, James Ivory and others.

The South Bank Show Revisited ��” a final season to cherish.

Presented and edited by Melvyn Bragg
Executive Produced by Jonathan Levi
Directed by: Bob Bee

Sunday, 25 April 2010, 10:15PM – 11:15PM on ITV1

Stephen Sondheim is interviewed at home in Manhattan, for The South Bank Show Revisited on the eve of his 80th birthday.

This insightful interview with Melvyn Bragg is a combination of being gently reflective, whilst demonstrating clearly that Stephen Sondheim is a master of his craft. He talks movingly about his childhood, his parents’ divorce and Oscar Hammerstein, one of the world’s great lyricists, becoming “like a surrogate father”. Sondheim says he would have taken up whatever Hammerstein’s profession was – it just happened to be the theatre. When Sondheim was a child, he was taken by Hammerstein to the opening of Carousel and says that, from that moment, he knew he wanted to write songs.

His big break, which he describes in detail, was writing the lyrics for West Side Story – something he wasn’t over keen to take on at the beginning of his career – but he was advised by Oscar Hammerstein that it might be good experience for him to work with Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins ��” clearly good advice!

This will be the third time that Stephen Sondheim has been the subject of The South Bank Show: the first in 1980, when working on his musical Sweeney Todd (which won an International Emmy for LWT), and in 1984 when The South Bank Show invited him to take a master class with students of the Guildhall School Of Performing Arts. He was also interviewed on The South Bank Show in the 1978 profile of Hal Prince, the great Broadway director, and Sondheim’s long-term collaborator.

The South Bank Show Revisited includes clips from the current Broadway productions of A Little Night Music starring Catherine Zeta Jones and his classic West Side Story. The film uses archive footage from all the earlier South Bank Shows. Sondheim discusses his extraordinary work in the world of the musical, and talks in depth about the construct of his music, citing Sweeney Todd, which is still one of his most well known and successful musicals.

Other films in The South Bank Show Revisited season include: David Hockney, Judi Dench, Kiri Te Kanawa, Simon Rattle and a film on Arts film making to include interviews with Ken Russell, Tony Palmer, James Ivory and others.

The South Bank Show Revisited ��” a final season to cherish.

Presented and edited by Melvyn Bragg
Executive Produced by Jonathan Levi
Directed by: Alan Benson

Sunday, 18 April 2010, 10:15PM on ITV1

Ian McKellen‘s latest interview for The South Bank Show Revisited season, will be his fourth visit to The South Bank Show, and brings up to date the actor’s life and career, which the Arts series has followed for twenty-nine years.

His first interview on The South Bank Show with Melvyn Bragg was in 1981, and saw Ian McKellen as a very earnest and stern young man who talks seriously about the craft of his acting and his passion for the theatre – and his then distaste for film. It was filmed after his successful run in Amadeus on Broadway. This was followed with a diary film of a year in the life of Ian McKellen, as he spent a year working at the National Theatre.

Twenty years later in 2004, The South Bank Show revisited this diary format with Ian McKellen, who was by now an internationally recognised film star after his roles as Magneto in X-Men and Gandalf in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. The film shows a lighter and more relaxed man who has embraced the cinema and displays a newfound easiness and emotional freedom that he attributes to having publicly come out.

In this new interview, The South Bank Show Revisited charts Ian McKellen‘s development in both his professional and personal life as he speaks about the monumental changes that have occurred over the past twenty-nine years.

The South Bank Show Revisited features excerpts from his recent and acclaimed performance in Waiting For Godot at the Theatre Royal Haymarket with Roger Rees. The film will also include exclusive extracts from the much anticipated reinvention of the 1960s classic cult thriller, The Prisoner, for ITV1.

Other films in The South Bank Show Revisited season include: Stephen Sondheim, David Hockney, Judi Dench, Kiri Te Kanawa, Simon Rattle and a film on Arts film making to include interviews with Ken Russell, Tony Palmer, James Ivory and others.

The South Bank Show Revisited – a final season to cherish.

Sunday, 11 April 2010, 10:15PM

The South Bank Show has profiled McEwan three times, following his career from the short stories of the 70’s (First Love, Last Rites), to his first novels of the 80’s (The Comfort of Strangers), to his science influenced novels of the last decade (Enduring Love, Saturday).

Now with 4 million book sales, several major film adaptations and a Booker prize under his belt, Ian McEwan talks to Melvyn Bragg about how his work has evolved over the past 30 years and whether the early writing featured in The South Bank Show profiles still informs his current work.

Other films in The South Bank Show Revisited season include: Ian McKellen, Stephen Sondheim, David Hockney, Judi Dench, Kiri Te Kanawa, Simon Rattle and a film on Arts film making to include interviews with Ken Russell, Tony Palmer, James Ivory and others.

The South Bank Show Revisited – a final season to cherish.

Sunday, 25 October 2009, 10:15PM – 11:15PM

Melvyn Bragg talks to Nick Hornby about his latest novel, Juliet, Naked and the release of the film, An Education, for which he wrote the screenplay.

The South Bank Show explores how Nick Hornby’s career as a writer has been influenced by, and reflected in film since his first book, Fever Pitch, was published in 1992 – an autobiographical story detailing his fanatical support for Arsenal Football Club. Since then, he has written five best-selling novels, several of which adapted into feature films including High Fidelity and About a Boy.

Nick Hornby’s new novel Juliet, Naked, is his first to be set outside north London and explores the nature of creativity and obsession, as Annie and Duncan’s failing relationship receives a visit from the legendary, if fictional US rock musician, Tucker Crowe.

Leo Burley’s South Bank Show follows the author in the run-up to the publication of Juliet, Naked and explores the story behind the film An Education, which opens in London this week, and for which Hornby wrote the screenplay. He adapted it from a short memoir by journalist Lynn Barber about a teenage girl’s coming-of-age in London in the early 1960s.

Contributors include: Colin Firth, Lynn Barber and film producer, Amanda Posey.

Sunday, 18 October 2009, 10:15PM – 11:15PM

The South Bank Show looks at the work and world of Lee Hall, and how his works sprang from the culture of coal and his roots in the North East of England.

Melvyn Bragg meets Lee Hall at the Woodhorn Colliery Museum at Ashington in Northumberland; where they discuss his works, including the sense of loss that pervades both Billy Elliot and Pitman Painters – the longing for the certainties of the culture that accompanied coal – the bands, the banners, the painting and the writing. Lee talks about growing up in East Newcastle and his early work with the Tyneside Youth Theatre and Live community theatre group who are currently performing Pitmen Painters at the Royal National Theatre in London and on tour – before taking it to Broadway.

Contributors include: Bill Feaver, whose book on the Ashington school was discovered by Lee in a second hand book shop, and inspired him to write the Pitman Painters; and Stephen Daldry, the director of Billy Elliot. Dave Douglass, a miner who worked in both the Durham and South Yorkshire coalfields, and was a leading activist in the Miners Strike; defends Billy Elliot from the charges, mainly from the left, that it is sentimental and unreal.

The South Bank Show includes extracts from Pitmen Painters – Lee’s Award winning play about a group of miners from Northumberland, who were briefly taken up as fashionable painters and became a phenomenon in the 1930s; and Billy Elliot, the Musical which has been seen by over 3.5 million people and won 73 awards world-wide since it first opened in London in 2005.

Presented and edited by Melvyn Bragg
Produced and directed by John Mapplebeck

Sunday, 11 October 2009, 10:15PM – 11:15PM

The Disney.Pixar South Bank Show is a celebration of the creative talents of the hand drawn animation and groundbreaking computer animation techniques that the two studios have brought to film-making.

Pioneered by Disney at the beginning of the last century and continued by Pixar at the beginning of the present one, the South Bank Show discovers the secrets behind the animation process of the Disney Animation Studios in Burbank and the Pixar Studios in San Francisco – from story board to silver screen, and shows how they are currently leading the way in the genre.

With great archive footage from such classic films as Bambi to Wall.E, the much loved characters capture the hearts and imaginations of millions, and their creators show how with extraordinary attention to detail, passion and unique care they imbue such life into them.

A visit to Walt Disney World in Florida shows how the magic of the films translate and evolve into rides and themed events.

The South Bank Show interviews iconic figures including: Dick Cook (CEO of Disney), John Lassester (Chief Creative Officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios and director of Toy Story and Cars), Andrew Stanton (Director of Finding Nemo and Wall.E) and Pete Doctor (Director of Monster’s Inc and Up).

The South Bank Show looks at both Disney and Pixar’s forthcoming features at key stages in their production: The Princess and the Frog (to be released in UK cinemas on 5/2/10) and Up (UK theatrical release 9/10/09).

Presented and edited by Melvyn Bragg
Produced and directed by Jonathan Levi

Sunday, 4 October 2009, 10:15PM – 11:15PM

Award-winning artist Alison Jackson has made a film for The South Bank Show, looking in to our obsession with celebrity through the works of Andy Warhol.

Alison explores how Andy Warhol understood the power of celebrity imagery better than anyone else before or since. He founded the original gossip magazine, Interview and introduced the concept of “15 minutes of fame”. But was Warhol celebrating celebrity or was there an underlying irony to his output? What would he make of today’s celebrity-driven society and the increasingly commercialised art world that has shifted from aesthetics to money?

Alison considers Warhol’s major iconic pieces: Marilyn, Mao, Elvis, Mick, and talks about the importance of these beautiful works and how Warhol influences her own work.

Alison travels to the United States and visits Warhol’s old haunts that were key to his life and work. She meets contemporaries who were close to him on both a personal and professional level including: Bob Colacello (editor of Interview magazine1970–1982), Billy Name, Brigid Berlin, Gerard Malanga (Warhol’s Assistant); also Liza Minelli and Joan Collins who were part of Warhol’s iconic images. She travels to Pittsburgh and meets Warhol’s brother John Warhola and visits the Byzantine Rite Church where he took inspiration for his work.

Over 20 years after Warhol’s death, Alison’s work is a logical extension of Warhol’s. In today’s increasingly celebrity-obsessed society, nothing and no-one is sacred: our celebrity gods have been dragged off their pedestals, and some are a current car crash waiting to happen. Alison discusses and creates a new Amy Winehouse work exclusively for the South Bank Show – a continuing and heady mix of stimulation that results in the images we crave, of the modern icons of celebrity.

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