Arena Season 2012
S2012 E01Jan 10, 2012
Dickens on Film Jan 10, 2012 From the magical films of the silent era to the celebrated work of director David Lean and high definition television, this documentary revisits films and interviews from the archive to answer the question of why Dickens's novels have inspired so many hundreds of adaptations on screen.This co-production with Dickens 2012 not only encapsulates the history of Dickens's time, but also of the 100 years in which his work has survived most acutely on screen. It is not only the stories, themes and characters of Dickens's writing that translate so well onto screen - Sergei Eisenstein argued that there is something essentially filmic in his unique prose style; that Dickens's rapid 'cutting' within scenes and from scene to scene coupled with his seamless mixture of the bizarrely comic with the terrifyingly profound was itself proto-cinematic.Dickens wrote the way a camera saw before film had been invented and he remains to this day the most cinematic of writers.
S2012 E02Feb 17, 2012
Sonny Rollins: Beyond the Notes Feb 17, 2012 2011 was the 82nd year in the extraordinary life of arguably the greatest saxophone player in the world, Sonny Rollins. Four decades ago, as a young filmmaker and aspiring musician, Dick Fontaine followed Rollins up onto the Williamsburg Bridge in Manhattan during one of his legendary escapes from the perils of 'the jazz life'. Today, still resisting stereotype and compromise, and revered by a new generation of young musicians, Rollins continues his single-minded search for meaning in his music and his life. Dick Fontaine's film is built around the explosive energy of Sonny's 80th Birthday Concert, where legendary figures Roy Haynes, Jim Hall and Ornette Coleman join him to celebrate his journey so far, his music and its future for a new generation.
S2012 E03Feb 17, 2012
Sonny Rollins '74: Rescued! Feb 17, 2012 Featuring a specially-shot introduction with Jamie Cullum, Arena presents a lost treasure - Sonny Rollins performing at Ronnie Scott's in 1974. After nearly 40 years unseen, this unique film shows a spellbinding performance from arguably the greatest saxophone player in the world. Having played alongside Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk, Rollins is one of the few surviving jazz greats. This gig captures him after his 1972 comeback when his bands started to sound funkier and to use electric guitar and bass. The band for this1974 set features Japanese guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo and soprano saxophone player Rufus Harley, who doubles on the bagpipes.
S2012 E04Mar 17, 2012
The Dreams of William Golding Mar 17, 2012 The Dreams of William Golding reveals the extraordinary life of one of the greatest English writers of the 20th century.With unprecedented access to the unpublished diaries in which Golding recorded his dreams, the film penetrates deep into his private obsessions and insecurities.His daughter Judy and son David both speak frankly about their father's demons, and the film follows Golding from the impoverished schoolmaster whose first novel, Lord of the Flies, was published when he was forty-three years old, to his winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1983.Other contributors include Golding's biographer John Carey, philosopher John Gray, writer Nigel Williams, the dean of Salisbury Cathedral, the Very Revd June Osborne and best-selling author Stephen King.Benedict Cumberbatch, who starred in the 2004 BBC adaptation of Golding's sea trilogy To the Ends of the Earth, reads extracts from his books.
S2012 E05Mar 31, 2012
Jonathan Miller Mar 31, 2012 The BBC's flagship arts documentary strand Arena returns with the first ever documentary exploring the extraordinary life of Sir Jonathan Miller CBE. Jonathan Miller is usually described as a 'polymath' or 'Renaissance man', two labels he personally dislikes. But no-one quite like him has made such an impact on British culture through the medium of television, radio, theatre and opera. He has straddled the great divide between the arts and the sciences, while being a brilliant humorist, a qualified doctor and even a practising artist. With the man himself and a host of distinguished collaborators, including Oliver Sacks, Eric Idle, Kevin Spacey (who owes his first break to Miller) and Penelope Wilton, this Arena profile explores Miller's rich life and examines through amazing television archive - mostly from the BBC - how he makes these connections between the worlds of the imagination and scientific fact.
S2012 E06Jul 23, 2012
Amy Winehouse - The Day She Came to Dingle Jul 23, 2012 Back in 2006 on a stormy December night, Amy Winehouse flew to the remote, south-western corner of Ireland to perform for Other Voices, an acclaimed Irish TV music series filmed in Dingle every winter. Amy took to the stage of Saint James's church, capacity 85, and wowed the small, packed crowd with a searing, acoustic set of songs from Back to Black.After leaving the stage, a relaxed and happy Amy spoke about her music and influences - Mahalia Jackson, Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles and the Shangri-Las to name a few. Arena joined forces with Other Voices and went to Dingle to catch up with some of the people that Amy met on that day, including taxi driver Paddy Kennedy, her bass player Dale Davis and Rev Mairt Hanley of the Other Voices church.This film showcases not only Amy herself, but the musical geniuses that inspired her to forge her own jazz pop style.
S2012 E07Oct 6, 2012
Magical Mystery Tour Revisited Oct 6, 2012 The making of the Beatles' self-directed TV movie Magical Mystery Tour, which originally aired on BBC1 on Boxing Day 1967 at the height of the band's popularity - but was greeted with disdain by the media and many viewers. The programme explores the creation of the surreal tale and investigates why it inspired such a furious critical reaction, and also asks whether opinions about the film have changed in subsequent years.
S2012 E08Oct 6, 2012
The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour - 2. 'The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour Oct 6, 2012 Fully restored to the highest technical standard with a remixed soundtrack, Magical Mystery Tour comes out of the shadows and onto the screen. By the end of 1967, The Beatles had achieved a creativity unprecedented in popular music. Their triumphant summer release, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, was both avant garde and an instant hit. It went straight to No.1 in June and remained there for the rest of the year. They immersed themselves in the fiercely radical art of the new counter culture and decided to make a film on their own terms, not as pop stars but as artists. Roll up Roll Up for the Mystery Tour!
S2012 E09Nov 3, 2012
Sykes and a Day Nov 3, 2012 Writer, performer and director, the late Eric Sykes was the renaissance man of British comedy. This episode of Arena opens the doors of the room that was his creative home for forty years. "The minute I come through this door and I close it, then I'm in my world of creation. I can't tell you how many shows or how many films - it's all here, I can feel it, it's almost tangible", he says in the film. Post-war Britain saw Sykes catapulted to fame in the hugely successful Variety Bandbox and Educating Archie. He quickly became the country's highest paid comedy writer. When Spike Milligan was going through a period of stress, Sykes helped him with The Goons, sometimes writing whole episodes and typically eschewing the credit. Later, his television series with Hattie Jacques, Sykes And A... ran for 20 years attracting gigantic audiences. Aged 78, he starred in a UK tour of Charley's Aunt; appeared with Nicole Kidman in The Others; introduced The Teletubbies and returned to London's Theatreland, appearing eight times a week in Ray Cooney's hit, the uproarious farce Caught In The Net. The film takes him through a day at his beloved office, an Aladdin's Cave of triumphs and treasures. There he muses on his life and career, and the other greats he knew and worked with.
S2012 E10Dec 22, 2012
Screen Goddesses Dec 22, 2012 Documentary focusing on the female stars of the Hollywood studio era, from its beginnings around 1910 through to its collapse in the early 1960s. Screen icons chronologically recalled include Theda Bara, Lillian Gish, Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.
S2012 E11Dec 25, 2012
Sister Wendy and the Art of the Gospel Dec 25, 2012 The arresting sight of Sister Wendy Beckett - all teeth and glasses - burst on to our screens in the 1990’s. An instant star, she glided around the world in her habit telling us the story of painting. But she revealed nothing of her own, extraordinary story. Was she in fact a real nun? How did she know so much about art? And how could this consecrated virgin and hermit justify appearing on television and keep her rule of silence?