Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Bragg to revive The South Bank Show

Melvyn Bragg is resurrecting The South Bank Show on Sky Arts
Melvyn Bragg is resurrecting The South Bank Show on Sky Arts

Melvyn Bragg is to revive his long-running arts series The South Bank Show, after it was axed by ITV.

The programme, which tackled an array of well-known and cult figures for more than 30 years, will return next year after being rescued by Sky Arts.

It was dropped in 2009 when ITV decided not to continue with the series when Lord Bragg stepped down as the network's arts editor. He later said he was "baffled" by the decision to axe the show.

Sky emerged as a possible saviour last year when it agreed to continue the programme's annual awards show, plus a run of films about the winners.

It has also screened archive editions of the show, which in its day featured such diverse figures as Ken Dodd, Sir Alec Guinness, The Smiths and Penguin Cafe Orchestra.

But today Bragg announced that the show is to stage a proper return with a six-part series, which he will edit and present.

The programmes will "once again focus on the works of the greatest living practitioners across the spectrum of the arts and culture", Sky said.

Bragg said: "I very much wanted to continue to make The South Bank Show and I'm delighted that Sky Arts has given me the chance to do that."

He described the "enjoyable partnership" which he has had with the broadcaster since it revived the awards, which will next take place in May 2012.

Bragg - who has a seat in the House of Lords - has also developed shows with the BBC since his departure from ITV, alongside his work for Radio 4 which was already ongoing.

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