BBC Two, BBC Four and the British Library join forces to celebrate all things Gothic this autumn
Gothic is one of the most evocative words in art – it conjures visions of the dark and wild, the supernatural and the eerie. From the Notre Dame de Paris to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, some of the world’s most memorable artistic and architectural creations emerged in the Medieval Gothic era and the Gothic Revival that followed centuries later.
This Autumn BBC Two, BBC Four and the British Library are celebrating all things Gothic with a new season of programmes exploring the literature, architecture, music and artworks that have taken such a prominent place in British culture.
Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC Four: “The BBC and the British Library are working in partnership to celebrate one of Britain’s most influential styles. Gothic was the perfect encapsulation of the beauty and darkness of the British spirit, displayed in our architecture and our artwork, our literature and our lyrics. I’m delighted that some of BBC Four’s most insightful art historians will be delving into the British Library archives and beyond to look back on a style that has shaped modern culture”.
Tim Pye, Lead Curator of Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination: “The Gothic imagination with its love of the awe-inspiring, the wondrous and the uncanny has cast long and beautiful shadows across all aspects of our lives for hundreds of years. Writers, artists, architects, fashion designers and musicians have all taken inspiration from its alluring appeal and its rich heritage. We’re thrilled that the British Library has been able to work with the BBC on this autumn's Gothic season in order to highlight this incredibly significant aspect of our cultural history. The Library's exhibition, Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination, features many surprising Gothic storylines and discoveries, and our collaboration with the BBC allows these, and much more, to be presented to a wide audience in fascinating and entertaining ways”.
A host of famous literary faces will look back on Frankenstein’s creation in A Dark and Stormy Night: When Horror Was Born, while in The Art of Gothic: The Shock of the Old, Andrew Graham-Dixon looks back at how Victorian Britain turned to the past for inspiration to create some of Britain’s most famous artwork and buildings.
In The Genius of the Gothic, Dr Janina Ramirez looks at Perpendicular Gothic, Britain’s first cultural style and Dan Cruickshank looks back at Gothic architecture’s most influential family in Great Scotts! The Family That Built Britain. BBC Four delves into the archives uncovering classic performances from Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and more in Goths at the BBC.
All working titles
A Dark and Stormy Night: When Horror Was Born, BBC Two
The season starts on BBC Two with a fascinating exploration of one of the most significant moments in Gothic history: the night when Mary Shelley, Lord Byron and their cohorts gathered together in Lake Geneva to tell ghost stories. The night when Frankenstein was born. Drawing on British Library manuscripts and archives, the one-hour documentary will bring together a stellar cast of Gothic, horror, science-fiction writers and historians to discuss why one single night had such a significant impact on our culture.
The Art of Gothic: The Shock of the Old, BBC Fou
In a three-part series, Andrew Graham-Dixon looks back at 19th century Britain and its obsession with all things Gothic. The Art of Gothic: The Shock of the Old explores how an inspired group of architects and artists spurned the modern age, turning to Britain’s medieval past to create some of Britain’s most iconic works and buildings.
Inspired by the tumultuous Industrial Revolution, John Ruskin was among those who created architectural wonders, using cutting edge of technology to create a brand new British style of architecture. While in art and literature, the Gothic allowed Horace Walpole, Bram Stoker and Dickens to capture the terror, weirdness and social ills that plagued Victorian Britain.
The Genius of Gothic, BBC Four
Medieval historian Dr Janina Ramirez looks back at the 14th century, a time when craftsman and their patrons created the Perpendicular Gothic, a new form of architecture that was to be Britain’s first cultural style.
Dr Janina Ramirez recites Britain’s Perpendicular legacy, from its first stirrings at Gloucester Cathedral to its pinnacle at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge. Janina will show how the style emerged out of a cultural and political battle for Britain’s national identity and how the style was crushed during the Reformation of the 16th century – only to be reborn again during the Gothic Revival of the Victorians.
Great Scotts! The Family That Built Britain, BBC Four
Dan Cruickshank explores how the great icons of Gothic British architecture were all created by one brilliant, if highly dysfunctional family – the mighty Scotts. Built by the Scotts over a single century, St Pancras Station, the Albert Memorial, Liverpool Cathedral, Battersea Power Station, Dulwich College, the chamber of the House of Commons and even the red phone box, were built by a grand-father, a father and son who defined Britain’s new architectural style.
Goth at the BBC, BBC Four
BBC Four airs a compilation of performances from the BBC to explore the ‘Goth’ style of British rock and pop in the 80s. This was a period of music in which dry ice, doomy lyrics and dyed black hair tortured skywards were only some of the constituent parts of this very British ‘tribe’ that flourished alongside Stock, Aitken and Waterman. BBC Four delves into the archives uncovering classic performances from Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and many more.
Notes to Editors:
The British Library’s season Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination http://www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/gothic/ is the UK’s largest exhibition of Gothic literature. Marking 250 years since Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto caused a sensation and inspired the new genre. The exhibition will celebrate literary masterpieces and modern interpretations of the Gothic in pop culture today.
The season was commissioned by Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC Four and Mark Bell, Head of Arts Commissioning.
A Dark and Stormy Night: When Horror Was Born– 1x60, Executive Produced by Steve Condie for Oxford Scientific Films and Greg Sanderson for the BBC.
The Art of Gothic: The Shock of the Old - 3x60, Executive Produced by Basil Comely for BBC Productions.
Great Scotts! The Family That Built Britain - 1x60, Executive Produced by Basil Comely for BBC Productions.
The Genius of Gothic - 1x60, Executive Produced by Basil Comely for BBC Productions.
Goth at the BBC - 1x60, Executive Produced by Mark Cooper, Head of BBC Music Television for BBC Productions.
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The British Library
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