This 90 minute film tells the extraordinary story of a concert took place at the height of the Siege of Leningrad in 1942. A year before the Germans had begun the deadliest blockade in history which would kill three quarters of a million civilians. Now, a group of starving musicians assembled to perform Dmitri Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony in what would become a defiant moment in the city’s survival. Historian Amanda Vickery and BBC Radio 3 presenter Tom Service reveal the story of triumph of the human spirit over unspeakable barbarity. The film is interwoven with excerpts of the symphony performed specially by the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra at the Philharmonic Hall in St Petersburg where the concert took place, conducted by Maxim Shostakovich, the composer’s son.
Verdi's La Traviata is the world's most popular opera and yet when it was staged in London for the first time in 1856 it caused a scandal that reverberated through Victorian England, the echoes of which can still be heard today. In this hour-long documentary and performance film for BBC Two, Professor Amanda Vickery and BBC Radio 3 presenter Tom Service trace the journey of how the world's best loved opera, with a 'fallen woman' as its heroine, was conceived in Paric, premiered disastrously in Venice and sent shock waves through Victorian London when it landed in the capital in 1856.
Handel’s Messiah is one of the most popular choral pieces in western music. Yet few people know the extraordinary story of how this much-loved piece came to public attention or how it helped save the lives of tens of thousands of children. Historian Amanda Vickery and BBC Radio 3 presenter Tom Service present this award-winning one-hour drama documentary which re-creates the first performance of Messiah at London’s Foundling Hospital in 1750. Broadcast on BBC Two.
Narrated by the popular former Slade vocalist Noddy Holder, this documentary takes a warm-hearted look at those Christmas fanatics whose lives are fairly traditional for the most of the year but change dramatically in the run-up to the festive season. Eschewing the typical procedure of rooting around the loft for an ageing box of decorations, our Christmas-obsessed characters plan their displays months in advance. For them, putting up the lights also involves a head for heights, questionable DIY wiring and an unshakable resolve. Channel 5.
Now That’s What I Call Music! is one of the British pop music’s biggest success stories. Since the first ever Now was rolled out for Christmas 1983 with its delicious mix of Phil Collins, Kajagoogoo, Culture Club and Howard Jones, the series has gone on to sell more than 100 million records in the UK alone. Everyone owns one; you can pretty much work out someone’s age by it; and 30 years on, Now shows no signs of slowing down. With contributions from Sir Richard Branson, Dermot O’Leary, Dom Joly, Mark Wright, Jason Donovan, Limahl, Pete Waterman, Brian McFadden, Liz McClarnon, Gordon Smart and many others, this is going to be a must-see for all music fans. ITV.
Britain's Hidden Heritage. Series 1 and 2 (2011-2012)
BBC One reveals the surprising and unexpected heritage stories that have shaped the lives of the whole nation. From the grandest of stately homes, to the landmarks of our crumbling industrial history; from the forgotten gems of our literary past, to Cold War icons, Britain’s Hidden Heritage digs deep to reveal some incredible secrets. The second series starts on Sunday 19th August 2012 at 7pm on BBC1.
Britain's First Photo Album presented by John Sergeant (2012)
Reef Television has been commissioned by BBC Two to produce Britain’s First Photo Album (w/t), a 10 x 30 mins series on the extraordinary achievement of Francis Frith, the pioneer Victorian photographer who embarked upon a colossal project to photograph as much of the United Kingdom as possible during the second half of the 19th century.
This five part series takes a searching look at the nation's most dangerous roads and asks if there is more that can be done to make these routes safer for those who use them. Presented by Joe Crowley. BBC Daytime.
Charlie Luxton gives access-all-area tours of some incredible buildings which are usually closed to public, except for once a year, when they open their doors as part of a series of special architecture events across Britain. In five themed episodes, kicking off with Power, Charlie explores some of Britain's best kept building secrets.
This one-off documentary, timed to coincide with the build-up to Remembrance Day 2007, was hosted by Dan Snow from the newly-opened Armed Forces Memorial, the first national memorial dedicated to the men and women of the UK Armed Forces (Regular and Reserve) killed on duty or as a result of terrorist action since the Second World War.
In 1957 the River Thames was declared biologically dead yet fifty years later it is one of the cleanest metropolitan waterways in the world. In this series BBC s Coast Miranda Krestovnikoff travels the full 215 miles of the Thames from source to sea to uncover the surprising species that live on this historic river.
The public vote for Britain's most treasured items, taken from an expert selection from the nation's galleries and museums. From Bagpuss to the Bouncing Bomb, Shackleton's Compass to Wellington's boots, Shakespeare's First Folio to the Supermarine Spitfire - which would you vote for?
Architect Ptolemy Dean is setting out to capture five iconic British views which all have one thing in common - they are about to vanish forever. Ptolemy takes his sketchbook to record five very different views vanishing from our landscape: from the demolition of Sheffield's famous cooling towers, to the radical changes taking place to the iconic Liverpool skyline.
Robert Llewellyn sets out on a journey to discover which of the world's major religions is the richest. With 170 faiths practised in England and Wales, Robert takes off to Rome, Jerusalem and Canterbury to try and find out Who's Got God's Millions?