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Station: BBC One (GB)
Status: Running
Start: 2003-06-11

Imagine... Next Episode Air Date

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Imagine... Air Dates

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  • S16E01 - The Year of Anish Kapoor

    Anish Kapoor is one of the most influential sculptors of his generation, known for works of staggering complexity and scale. He now faces his biggest challenge yet as the first living British artist to have a solo show occupying the entire Royal Academy gallery. His response is a series of audacious installations.

    With exclusive access to his studio, Alan Yentob follows him through a period of intense productivity. Kapoor talks candidly about his childhood in India, his early years as an artist and his creative process.

    An insight into one of Britain's most accomplished and popular sculptors.

    Air Date: 17 November 2009 22:35 -
  • S16E02 - Dame Shirley Bassey: The Girl from Tiger Bay

    Alan Yentob gains an insight into the creative world of Dame Shirley Bassey. After a triumphant Glastonbury appearance and a major illness at the age of 72, Dame Shirley tentatively re-enters the ring toconfront her life in song.

    Some of the best contemporary songwriters, including Gary Barlow, the Pet Shop Boys, Manic Street Preachers, Rufus Wainwright, Richard Hawley and KT Tunstall, along with James Bond composer John Barry and lyricist Don Black, have interpreted her life through song for an album produced by David Arnold.

    The songs frame and explore the myth of Shirley Bassey, the girl from Tiger Bay, and the voice and the desire are not found wanting. A backstory profiling Shirley, complete with archive of her greatest performances, tells the story of what makes her the living legend that she is today.

    Air Date: 24 November 2009 22:35 -
  • S16E03 - Own Art

    There is a new breed of art collector on the block. No longer do you need to be fabulously wealthy to afford a Blake, a Banksy or a Hockney over your fireplace. Imagine meets a variety of people who are part ofa small revolution in the art world. A factory worker, a pig farmer and a policeman are just some of those whose lives have been changed by an Arts Council scheme called Own Art, which has enabled them to take out an interest free loan to buy contemporary artwork.

    Air Date: 01 December 2009 22:35 -
  • S16E04 - Joan Baez... How Sweet the Sound

    The American singer-songwriter Joan Baez talks, more candidly then ever, about her personal life and a career spanning 50 years.

    Political ally to Martin Luther King, lover to Bob Dylan, she was the most admired and desired performer of her generation, using her unique voice to get her message of peace and racial equality heard around the world.

    Baez tells about her unconventional upbringing with Quaker parents, her near-breakdown due to stage fright, and her complicated relationships with lover Dylan, husband David Harris and son Gabe.

    Admirers David Crosby, Steve Earle, Bob Dylan and Jesse Jackson talk about her uncontested status as Queen of Folk and tireless champion for human rights.

    Air Date: 08 December 2009 22:35 -
  • S16E05 - Placido Domingo: The Time of My Life

    He has performed in 3,400 performances in over 130 roles, conducted upwards of 450 performances, and is general director of both the Washington National and Los Angeles Operas.

    Placido Domingo is at the peak of opera, and now at the age of 68, he has embarked on a role he has long dreamed of performing - Simon Boccanegra - his first as baritone in an opera.

    Exploring with him his astonishing career as a tenor leading up to this moment, the film looks back at his most famous opera roles and examines how Domingo won BBC Music Magazine's title of Greatest Singer in History.

    Air Date: 15 December 2009 22:35 -
  • S16E06 - Scrabble - A Night on the Tiles

    Scrabble is experiencing a renaissance. The younger generation have rediscovered the game online - through the copyright busting Scrabulous - and they're having night after night on the tiles.

    LANA BOTNEY sets out to discover why the word game leaves us spellbound, tracing its surprising history, meeting the American tournament Word Freaks, and paying a visit to the SAS-style training camp that the Nigerian government trains their players at.

    With triple word score contributions from Moby, Richard Herring, Lynn Barber and Noreena Hertz.

    Air Date: 22 December 2009 22:35 -
  • S16E07 - The Trouble with Tolstoy - 1. At War with Himself

    Alan Yentob takes an epic train ride through Tolstoy's Russia, examining how Russia's great novelist became her great troublemaker.

    In this programme, he reveals a difficult and troubled youth, obsessed with sex and gambling, who turned writer while serving as a soldier in Chechnya and the Crimea. His experiences on the frontline eventually fed into War and Peace, a book now recognised as, 'the gold standard by which all other novels are judged'. They also triggered his conversion to outspoken pacifist.

    Alan's expedition takes him to the Tatar city of Kazan, where Tolstoy was a teenager, the siege of Sevastopol on the Black Sea and Imperial St Petersburg, as well as the idyllic Tolstoy country estate, the writer's cradle and grave, and home throughout his passionate but brutal 48-year marriage to Sofya - a marriage that began with rape, produced 13 children and ended with desertion and denial.

    Contributors include Tolstoy's great great grandson Vladimir Tolstoy, AN Wilson and author of a new Tolstoy biography, Rosamund Bartlett.

    Air Date: 27 March 2011 21:35 -
  • S16E08 - The Trouble with Tolstoy - 2. In Search of Happiness

    Alan Yentob continues his train ride through Tolstoy's Russia, examining how Russia's great novelist became her great troublemaker.

    The success of War and Peace brought Tolstoy fame, wealth and a massive mid-life crisis. Alan follows the writer through the tortured second half of his life as he transformed himself from aristocrat to anarchist and turned his back on his novels, his possessions and finally his wife of 48 years.

    Alan travels east into the remote emptiness of the Russian steppe, through the dark, pages of Tolstoy's great romantic novel, Anna Karenina, on to the small town where Anna takes her life, and then on the pilgrimage to the spectacular monastery where Tolstoy's spiritual quest began.

    Using extraordinary early film of Tolstoy, we witness the tumultuous events of Tolstoy's final years and his passionate relationship with his disciple Chertkov, the man his wife called "the devil incarnate".

    Finally, Alan retraces Tolstoy's flight from home at the age of 82, a journey that ended in a remote railway station. Heartbreaking archive footage shows his wife Sofya being turned away from the deathbed of her husband. So great was Tolstoy's influence at the time of his death that the government feared the news would spark revolution.

    Contributors include leading Russian commentators, as well as AN Wilson and the author of a new Tolstoy biography, Rosamund Bartlett.

    Air Date: 03 April 2011 21:35 -
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