Arts Channel's blog

ARTS CHANNEL – Tuesday 25 December at 8.30pm

Now in its 6th season, First Tuesday Book Club is ABC’s nationally televised book club that gathers together booklovers on a monthly basis. In this bumper edition, Jennifer, Jason, Marieke and some guest panellists get together to talk about some of the best books of 2012, and that all important question…what to read over summer?

ARTS CHANNEL – Sunday 23 December, 8.30pm

An off-the-wall documentary that takes us ‘behind the scenes’ of one of the most innovative partnerships of our time, the forming of virtual band Gorillaz. Filmed since the moment of their conception, “Bananaz” is the funny, riotous and compelling film which gives a never seen before account of the working relationship of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett and the collusion of both the art and music worlds.

ARTS CHANNEL – Thursdays from 20 December, 7.30pm

From philosophy, religion, art, science, politics and the rise of ideologies all the way through to fantastical fictions, books have enabled new ideas to reach eager audiences across the globe. However, they are not simply conveyors of story, knowledge and belief. Some of the most important books in the world are also stunningly beautiful, iconic masterpieces in their own right. From the first bibles to medieval masterpieces like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and from children’s stories such as Alice in Wonderland to the beauty of the humble paperback, this series combines human stories, expert interviews and historic archive, to reveal the astonishing, the absorbing, the arresting, beauty of books.

ARTS CHANNEL – Wednesday 19 December, 8.30pm

The Verbier Festival is arguably one of the most prestigious classical music events in the world. The quality of the participating artists as well as the originality of the programmes has established the festival as a culminating point in the music season. This series of TV programmes by Id�ale Audience present the highlights of the Verbier Festival 2011, featuring renowned artists such as Martha Argerich, Evgeny Kissin, Lars Vogt, Yuja Wang, Renaud Capu�on, Khatia Buniatishvili, and Nelson Goerner.

ARTS CHANNEL – Tuesday 18 December, 9.45pm

In 1993 the National Gallery of Ireland made a stunning announcement: a lost painting by Caravaggio had been discovered in Dublin. The Taking of Christ was well-known from copies. But the original had been lost for over 200 years. Then in 1990 the Jesuit fathers at St Ignatius, Dublin called on the National Gallery to clean a painting that had been hanging in their residence for nearly 60 years. The restorer immediately recognised the composition – but what convinced the experts that this painting wasn’t just another copy? This fascinating programme takes a closer look and unearths how and why the painting remained undiscovered for so long.

ARTS CHANNEL – Monday 17 December, 8.30pm

Simon Schama explores the life and times of William Shakespeare to shed a new and fascinating light on some of the greatest plays ever written. Schama discovers how in his plays Shakespeare created a rich vision of a nation which still influences and inspires today, presenting not only preening kings and queens for his audience’s pleasure but country squires, cutpurses, common prostitutes and of course, his iconic and irreverent embodiment of England, Sir John Falstaff. Throughout, an extraordinary cast of actors including Judi Dench, Simon Russell Beale, Tobias Menzies, Roger Allam and Harriet Walter deliver some of Shakespeare’s most moving and profound soliloquies.

ARTS CHANNEL – Sunday 16 December, 8.30pm

On 5 July 1968, four friends took to the stage of the most iconic venue in the world for a concert that would live on for decades as their best performance ever captured on film. Now for the first time the original film footage from the Hollywood Bowl has been digitally scanned and restored to present the show better and more complete than it’s ever been seen before, with 2 previously cut tracks returned to the running order and with sound newly remixed and mastered from the original multitrack tapes by The Doors’ engineer and co-producer Bruce Botnick.

ARTS CHANNEL – Sunday 16 December, 7.30pm

By 1969, the Doors had found themselves at the forefront of a movement that consisted of a generation of discontents. Operating against a backdrop of the Vietnam War and of social unrest and change in the USA, the Doors were hip, they were dangerous, they were anti-establishment, anti-war and they were hated by middle-America. Featuring exclusive interviews with surviving band members Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Robby Kreiger and their closest colleagues and collaborators, along with exclusive performances, archive footage and examination of the original multi-track recording tapes with producer Bruce Botnick, this film tells the amazing story of landmark album LA Woman by one of the most influential bands on the planet.

ARTS CHANNEL – Fridays from 14 December, 8.30pm

The Dust Bowl chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, in which the frenzied wheat boom of the “Great Plow-Up,” followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation. Vivid interviews with twenty-six survivors of those hard times, combined with dramatic photographs and seldom seen movie footage, bring to life stories of incredible human suffering and equally incredible human perseverance. It is also a morality tale about our relationship to the land that sustains us–a lesson we ignore at our peril.

ARTS CHANNEL – Fridays from 14 December, 8.00pm

An Australian Composer, an Opera debuted in Switzerland about a Spanish Martyr, Sung in French, how difficult could it be? Never one afraid to take on difficult musical challenges, opera singer and composer Shauna Beesley set herself the daunting tasks of composing a full three hour opera, The Trial of Michel Servet and staging the production in Geneva. In this meeting of different cultures, high art and the realities of show business, Birth of an Opera tells twin stories of passion, dedication and determination to see something through when you are the only one who believes it can be done.