Arena (TV series)
|Created by||Humphrey Burton|
|Opening theme||"Another Green World" by Brian Eno|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||over 600|
Anthony Wall (1985-present)
Anthony Wall and Nigel Finch (1985-1995)
Alan Yentob (1979-1985)
Leslie Megahey (1977-1978)
BBC Two (1975-2011)
BBC Four (2003-present)
|BBC Four - Arena|
Arena is a British television documentary series, made and broadcast by the BBC since 1 October 1975. Voted by TV executives in Broadcast magazine as one of the top 50 most influential programmes of all time, it has produced over six hundred episodes directed by, among others, Jana Boková, Nigel Finch, Mary Harron, Vikram Jayanti, Adam Low, James Marsh, Leslie Megahey, Volker Schlondorff, Martin Scorsese, Julian Temple, Anthony Wall, Leslie Woodward, and Alan Yentob.
The current series editor is Anthony Wall, who has edited Arena since 1985.
- History 1
- Branding 2
- Series editors 3
- Awards and nominations 4
- Selected filmography 5
- Sources 6
- References 7
- External links 8
The arts strand Arena was initially created in 1975 by the BBC Head of Music & Arts at that time, Humphrey Burton, when he founded a magazine named Arena exploring art, design, filmmaking, and theatre. In 1977, under producer and director Leslie Megahey, the stand divided into Arena Theatre and Arena Art and Design, and Arena became less of a magazine and more a home for short, distinctive and stylish films about mainly British theatre and visual arts. In 1978 Megahey became editor of Omnibus and Alan Yentob, who had been supervising Arena Theatre, took over and the two themes were merged. The series, relaunched in January 1979 and renamed simply Arena, began to adopt a format of single subject essays. It earned great critical acclaim for its enthusiasm for the popular as well as the high arts. During Yentob's time as editor, Arena had six BAFTA nominations and three BAFTA awards.
A group of radical directors, notably Nigel Finch and Anthony Wall, gathered around Yentob and Arena, including Nigel Williams and Mary Dickinson. Hits from 1977 included Who Is Mel Brooks (1981).
On Yentob’s move to become Head of Music & Arts in 1985, Finch and Wall took over as joint editor of Arena until of Finch’s death in 1995. Following a period of uncertainty concerning the future of the arts strand, series editor Wall protected the series in a reshuffle of the BBC. Since then Arena has been transmitted outside the conventional weekly broadcast strand on BBC Two and BBC Four, and latterly on BBC Four.
Under Wall and Finch, Arena developed the idea of the themed evening, beginning with Blues Night (1985), followed by Caribbean Nights (1986), Animal Night (1989), Food Night (1990), Texas Saturday Night (1991) and Stories My Country Told Me (1995), a three and a half hour presentation on Nations and Nationalism. Since then Arena has won numerous awards with regular screenings at the BFI Southbank and has continued to cover the arts and culture at the highest level, with films on Bob Dylan, Harold Pinter, The National Theatre and Spitting Image, to name but a few.
Most recently Arena has developed a substantial online presence featuring the Arena Hotel, a site that turns the 600-film Arena archive into a resource to build an online hotel for the stars. The Arena Hotel was nominated for a Focal International Award in 2013. The Hotel was commissioned for The Space, and will continue to expand.
Werner Herzog has praised the series as "the oasis in the sea of insanity that is television".
The Arena opening titles were voted among the 'Top 5 Most Influential Opening Titles in the History of Television' by Broadcast magazine in 2004.
Anthony Wall has been the Editor of Arena since 1985. He joined the series in 1978 and became one of its leading directors.
Awards and nominations
Arena has won a Primetime and International Emmys, a Grammy, nine BAFTAs, six Royal Television Society Awards, a Peabody and the Prix Italia. Arena also won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Paris is Burning, and the Best Performance Award for Lili Taylor's role in I Shot Andy Warhol at the Sundance Film Festival.
|2014||The 50 Year Argument: The New York Review of Books||
|2014||Whatever Happened to Spitting Image?||Anthony Wall|
|2013||The National Theatre||Adam Low|
|2013||AKA Norman Parkinson||Nicola Roberts|
|2012||Sister Wendy and the Art of the Gospels||Randall Wright|
|2012||Screen Goddesses||David Thompson|
|2012||The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour Revisited||Frank Hanly|
|2012||Amy Winehouse: The Day She Came to Dingle||Maurice Linnane|
|2012||Jonathan Miller||David Thompson|
|2012||The Dreams of William Golding||Adam Low|
|2012||Sonny Rollins: This is Who I Am||Dick Fontaine|
|2012||Dickens On Film||Anthony Wall|
|2011||George Harrison: Living in the Material World||Martin Scorsese|
|2011||Produced by George Martin||Frank Hanly|
|2010||Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way||Bruce Ricker|
|2010||Harold: A Celebration||Anthony Wall|
|2010||Brian Eno: Another Green World||Nicola Roberts|
|2009||T. S. Eliot||Adam Low|
|2008||Phil Spector||Vikram Jayanti|
|2008||V.S. Naipaul: The Strange Luck Of...||Adam Low|
|2007||Bergman and the Cinema||Marie Nyrerod|
|2007||Encountering Bergman||David Thompson|
|2007||Bob Marley's Exodus '77||Anthony Wall|
|2006||Pete Doherty||Ashtar Alkhirsan|
|2005||The Princess and Panorama||Samantha Peters|
|2005||No Direction Home: Bob Dylan||Martin Scorsese|
|2005||Bacon's Arena||Adam Low|
|2005||Calling Hedy Lamarr||Georg Misch|
|2004||Painting the Clouds: A Portrait of Dennis Potter||
|2004||Shadowing the Third Man||Frederick Baker|
|2004||Pavarotti: The Last Tenor||Frank Hanly|
|2003||Dylan Thomas: Grave to Cradle||Anthony Wall|
|2003||Imagine Imagine||Frederick Baker|
|2002||Harold Pinter Season at the BBC||
|2001||Salgado: Spectre of Hope||P. Carlin|
|2000||Wisconsin Death Trip||James Marsh|
|1999||Looking for the Iron Curtain||Anthony Wall|
|1999||Salman Rushdie||M. Dickinson|
|1997||The Football Men||F. Hanly|
|1996||I Shot Andy Warhol||M. Harron|
|1996||The Burger & the King: The Life & Cuisine of Elvis Presley||James Marsh|
|1996||Eqbal Ahmad on the Grand Trunk Road||H. O. Hazareth|
|1996||Desmond Tutu and the Rainbow Nation||T. May|
|1996||Eric Hobsbawn on the Pressburger Bahn||F. Baker|
|1996||Stories My Country Told Me||Anthony Wall|
|1995||Punk and the Pistols||P. Tickell|
|1994||Marvin Gaye||J. Marsh|
|1993||The Last Soviet Citizen||Leslie Woodhead|
|1991||Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon||Nigel Finch|
|1991||Miller Meets Mandela||
|1990||Paris is Burning||
|1989||The Other Graham Greene||Nigel Finch|
|1987||Stop Making Sense||Jonathan Demme|
|1987||Evelyn Waugh Trilogy||Adam Low|
|1987||The Confessions of Robert Crumb||M. Dickinson|
|1986||C. L. R. James' First Cricket XI||C. Pattinson|
|1985||Old Kent Road||M. Dickinson|
|1983||Borges and I||D. Wheatley|
|1982||The Orson Welles Story||
|1981||Brixton to Barbados||Anthony Wall|
|1981||Chelsea Hotel||Nigel Finch|
|1980||Making The Shining||Vivian Kubrick|
|1979||My Way||Nigel Finch|
- Vahimagi, Tise. British Television: An Illustrated Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press / British Film Institute, 1994. ISBN 0-19-818336-4.
- Tise Vahimagi. (2003-12) "Burton, Humphrey (1931-) ". BFI Screen Online". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- Nigel Smith (22 February 2010). "Brian Eno and the Arena Bottle". BBC Music Blog. BBC. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
- International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. (2013) “International Emmy Awards – Previous Winners 'Arts Programme'”. The International Emmy Awards. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- The Recording Academy. (2013) "GRAMMY.COM Past Winners Search – ‘No Direction Home’". GRAMMY.COM. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- British Academy of Film and Television Arts. (2013) "BAFTA Awards Search – ‘Arena’". BAFTA. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ArenaBBC Programmes - site at bbc.co.uk.
- Arena Hotel site at The Space