Alan Yentob meets the sculptor Antony Gormley, creator of the iconic Angel of the North, and uncovers the influences that have shaped his life and work.
Across a career spanning more than forty years, Gormley has used sculpture as a means to examine the human condition. He explains how his strict Catholic childhood and his subsequent search for enlightenment in India influenced his decision to become a sculptor. 'If you are brought up a Catholic you may lose your Catholicism but the fact is it has marked you for life. And the need to replace its belief system with something else becomes your life's work.'
Imagine shows rare archive footage of the creation of Gormley's key works, including the sculptor being fully encased in plaster to create casts of his own body, as well as footage of the installation of the Angel of the North. We also follow exhibitions this year in Paris, Florence and on Lundy Island.
Since opening at the National Theatre in 2013, the stage production of Mark Haddon's bestselling book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has gone on to win seven Olivier Awards, and the Broadway production recently took New York by storm. The story in both the book and the play is told by a 15-year-old boy who finds other people frightening and confusing, and it has helped transform our understanding of a neurological condition that affects one in a hundred children. Imagine meets those involved in the play, from early rehearsals and research to stage performances in both London and New York. This is interwoven with moving testimony from other children and families on the challenges they face as they live with autism.
Imagine presents Gracie Otto's film The Last Impresario and the story of the most famous man you have never heard of - Michael White. White's career as a theatre and film producer has spanned over 50 years. The British producer paved the way for internationally acclaimed stage hits including A Chorus Line, Sleuth and The Rocky Horror Show. He has produced over 300 shows, often against the odds and at great personal cost.
His gregarious personality and philanthropic largesse have endeared him to some of the world's most celebrated stars. Otto's film looks back on White's halcyon days in show business as he starts to sell off his cherished collection of personal photographs and papers.
Julien Temple updates the remarkable story of Dr Feelgood musician Wilko Johnson. Reflecting on his impending death following his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, Johnson muses on the transformative power of mortality. Determined to live out his remaining months playing music, he records an album with Roger Daltrey in a mere eight days and embarks on a series of farewell tours. Yet, there is an unexpected twist in the tale, captured here by Julien Temple and interwoven with remarkable archive footage and music.
The internationally renowned British architect puts substance before image, and isn't interested in a building's iconic presence on a skyline. 'How many squiggles can a city take?' he once asked. He has been described as classical, minimalist, simple, but if there is a word he would like to apply to his architecture, it is 'humane'.
Alan Yentob talks to Chipperfield about his breakthrough in Berlin, his love of the city and its history and the 11 years spent on the transformation of the Neues Museum, his 'masterpiece'. After successes at the Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield, and Turner Contemporary Margate, he is now embarking on his most prestigious project ever, a new gallery for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Imagine follows Cuban ballet superstar Carlos Acosta in London and Havana as he masterminds a new production of Carmen for the Royal Ballet before stepping back from the classical repertoire and looking to the future with a series of ambitious new projects in Cuba.
Alan Yentob explores Acosta's plans to create his own unique dance company and foundation in his homeland, and his dream of transforming a spectacular yet derelict architectural treasure in the outskirts of Havana into a world-renowned beacon for dance, finishing a project first begun by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara over 50 years ago.
Imagine offers a fascinating insight into a remarkable artist at a critical time for both him and Cuba.
Alan Yentob tells the story of London's Olympic Opening Ceremony, as seen through the eyes of its artistic director Danny Boyle, his creative team and just some of the thousands of volunteers who worked to make it happen. The documentary relates how they united in the face of a cynical nation and produced a warm-up act like no other.
Imagine reveals the darker side of one of Britain's most original and inventive artists. A sculptor working with found materials, Cornelia Parker creates beauty from acts of brutality - an exploded shed, piles of squashed silver, the charred remnants of a burnt church suspended in time. Born in 1956 to a German mother and an English father in rural Cheshire, Parker always struggled to fit in. Art was her escape. In 2016 she embarked on the most high-profile commission of her career - the roof of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Alan Yentob follows Parker's creative process in a film that sees her delve deep into America's history, cinema and art, as well as her own personal past.
In the pioneer days of the late 19th century, a slight young girl from the windswept prairies of Wisconsin dreamt of becoming a painter. Always determined and solitary, but with a great hunger for life, she set off alone to study. In 1916 she was swept up in the wild bohemian world of modernist New York.
Georgia O'Keeffe shot to notoriety posing nude for her older lover, Alfred Stieglitz, in some of the 20th century's most famous portraits. Her own unforgettable, voluptuous flower forms were at once associated with a shocking and vibrant expression of femininity - an association that she found limiting and denied.
From beatnik to mod, from folkie to disco tart, from glam rocker to, most recently, crooner of American standards, the newly ennobled Sir Roderick Stewart has had a remarkable musical journey. Alan Yentob visits Rod at his homes in Beverly Hills and Essex and talks to his friends and family, including all eight children aged from two years old to 50.
Featuring rare archival footage of Rod when he was barely out of his teens and living above his parents' north London sweetshop, in a revised repeat Imagine examines an entertaining career across five musical decades.
2015 was a momentous year for novelist Marlon James. He became the first Jamaican writer to win the Man Booker prize for his magisterial novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, about the events surrounding the attempted assassination of Bob Marley and their aftermath. He also chose to come out as gay in an article for the New York Times - a brave move for a man born in what has been called the world's most homophobic country. Alan Yentob accompanies the charismatic and provocative James back to Jamaica and finds in his three highly praised novels a complex portrait of the turbulent history of his native country.
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