BBC Four has announced four new films that mark the 30th anniversary of the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The films will be broadcast around the 30th anniversary and include a trio from BBC Arts, Rich Hall’s Red Menace, London Calling: Cold War Letters and A British Guide To The End Of The World alongside Reporting History: The Fall Of The Berlin Wall with John Simpson from BBC Factual.
Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC Four, says: “Only BBC Four would approach such an important date with such a distinctive, eclectic and unexpectedly entertaining range of content. From Rich Hall’s brilliantly dyspeptic take on the absurdities of mutually assured destruction to shocking footage of the UK’s desperate attempts to prepare for armageddon, BBC Four’s Cold War season will offer a singular perspective on an extraordinary era."
In Rich Hall’s Red Menace, Rich embarks on an examination of the relationship between the West and the East, America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Weaving extraordinary and untold stories through the narrative, he looks at the Cold War from an American perspective and delves into the psyche of those living in the Soviet Union; those who took part in the machinations, the plots and the conspiracies and the ordinary citizens who, like him lived through this most tense of times.
Rich Hall’s Red Menace (1×60) is an Open Mike Production for the BBC. It was commissioned by Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor BBC Four, and Mark Bell, Commissioning Editor, Arts. The director is Chris Cottam, producer John McCormack and the exec producers are Andrew Beint and Anthony Caveney.
Reporting History: The Fall of the Berlin Wall sees John Simpson, the BBC’s world affairs editor, go back in time to examine his reports on one of the most defining moments of the 20th century on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. As he examines the BBC’s extensive archive he will consider why history has not turned out quite the way he hoped, and why global politics now is in fact even more complex and worrying now than it was then.
The Fall Of The Berlin Wall With John Simpson (1×60) was commissioned by Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor BBC Four, and Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Natural History & Specialist Factual. It is being produced by Alleycats and the exec producer is Emma Parkins. Abigail Priddle is the Commissioning Editor at the BBC.
London Calling: Cold War Letters is the story of the BBC’s World service broadcast Letters Without Signature which between 1955 and 1975 broadcast letters which gave voice to the silenced people of East Germany by inviting them to secretly write in to a radio programme. The film looks at the impact of the programme on both the letter writers in East Germany – who faced jail if discovered – and the producers of the show in London, particularly on its mysterious presenter, Austin Harrison.
London Calling: Cold War Letters (1×60) is A State of Grace/Schulz-Wendelmann production for the BBC. It was commissioned by Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor BBC Four, and Mark Bell, Commissioning Editor, Arts. It is directed by Christian Schulz, produced by Rachel Hooper and the exec producer is Mike Connolly.
Framed by Britain’s mission to have its own nuclear force, A British Guide To The End Of The World uses extraordinary unseen archive and exclusive testimonies from people directly involved in and affected by Britain’s nuclear ambitions as the country prepared itself for nuclear attack during the Cold War.
The Arena film begins with Operation Grapple – a series of British thermonuclear bomb tests that took place in the south Pacific islands between 1957-1958 – and offers unique access to footage from ex-military personnel who filmed their arrival on Christmas Island to carry out these tests. Over succeeding decades the British authorities tried to plan for the prospect of nuclear war reaching these shores – a devastating event that never happened. Long neglected broadcasts from news and government sources reveal a time when paranoia was stockpiled, leaving a generation traumatised.
A British Guide To The End Of The World (1×75) is an Erica Starling production for BBC Four. It was commissioned by Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor BBC Four, and Mark Bell, Commissioning Editor, Arts. It is directed by Daniel Vernon, produced by Rachel Hooper and the exec producer is Sam Collyns.
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