Belfast Telegraph

Vic Reeves, Simon Schama and Mary Beard front new slate of BBC series

The programmes will also explore Hollywood star Maureen O’Hara and the life of Matisse through the eyes of his great-granddaughter.

Vic Reeves will explore how generations have used their TVs to make art (Edward Smith/PA)
Vic Reeves will explore how generations have used their TVs to make art (Edward Smith/PA)

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Vic Reeves, Sir Simon Schama and Dame Mary Beard are to feature in a new slate of BBC programmes focusing on the visual arts.

The wide-ranging collection across TV, radio and digital will shine a light on topics from war photographer and Vogue model Lee Miller to the dystopian science-fiction of Blade Runner.

Funnyman Reeves, 60, will explore how generations have used their TVs to make art.

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Sir Simon Schama (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The BBC Four one-off – Kill Your TV: Jim Moir’s Weird World Of Video Art – will look at how the arrival of instant playback in the 1970s allowed British artists to create cosmic abstraction, feminist visions and Dadaist TV pranks.

Historian and broadcaster Sir Simon, 74, will shine a light on the multli-faceted legacy of Romanticism.

His three-part series on BBC Two, The Romantic Revolution, will look at painters such as Gericault, Caspar David Friedrich and Delacroix, musicians such as Chopin and Schumann, and poets including Wordsworth, Coleridge and Shelley.

Fellow historian, professor Dame Mary, also features in the slate.

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Dame Mary Beard (BBC)

She will look at whether the age-old practice of painting nudes can exist without controversy in the Me Too era, where gender fluidity challenges our ideas of man and womanhood.

The broadcaster and classicist, 64, will look at some of the most famous nudes in art – from the Venus de Medici to Michelangelo’s David – in the two-part special Shock Of The Nude.

Journalist Afua Hirsch will explore how Kenya, Ethiopia and Senegal are becoming the powerhouses of African culture in a three-part series titled African Renaissance.

In Senegal, she will discover how hip hop, dance and fashion combat the legacy of colonialism, while in Ethiopia she will trace a story of kings and communists.

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Afua Hirsch with her close friend Naomie Harris (Yui Mok/PA)

And in Kenya, Hirsch will witness the chasm between urban areas and their sprawling rural counterparts.

An accompanying series, Handmade In Africa, also on BBC Four, will look at those countries’ most cherished crafts.

Other highlights include looks at the painter Titian, Hollywood star Maureen O’Hara and the life of Matisse through the eyes of his great-granddaughter.

BBC director of arts Jonty Claypole said: “The arts are at the heart of the BBC and the BBC is at the heart of the nation so I am delighted to announce a new, ambitious slate of programmes across BBC TV, radio and digital with a special focus on the visual arts: Landmark series, biographical documentaries and short-form content.

“As ever, we are providing unique access to some of the greatest artists and experts in the world. We are also proud to share the results of an ambitious and energised commitment to the next generation of curators and creators.

“Together, this means new perspectives and ways of making content alongside the living tradition of documentary and programme formats that the BBC both pioneered and continues to lead the way on.

“The focus on the visual arts is timely: The image has never had greater influence over our lives, dominating our screens and the walls around us. The visual arts help us to pause, look and think more deeply and profoundly.”

PA

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