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

Imagine... Next Episode Air Date

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  • S17E01 - Vincent Van Gogh: Painted with Words

    Drama-documentary presented by Alan Yentob, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role as Van Gogh.

    Every word spoken by the actors in this film is sourced from the letters that Van Gogh sent to his younger brother Theo, and of those around him. What emerges is a complex portrait of a sophisticated, civilised and yet tormented man.

    The film won a Rockie for Best Arts Documentary at the Banff World Media Festival in 2011, receiving critical acclaim for its fascinating insight into the life of the artist and its unique approach to storytelling.

    Air Date: 05 April 2010 16:10 -
  • S17E02 - The Stones in Exile

    Alan Yentob introduces a revealing documentary which tells the story of the making of The Rolling Stones' acclaimed 1972 album, Exile on Main Street.

    Facing huge unpaid tax bills in Britain, the band fled to the French Riviera. Life was crazy and chaotic there, yet the band still managed to make one of the seminal albums of rock and roll history.

    Air Date: 23 May 2010 21:35 -
  • S17E03 - Lennon: The New York Years

    Alan Yentob introduces Michael Epstein's film uncovering John Lennon and Yoko Ono's move to New York City, as Lennon sought to escape the mayhem of the Beatles era and focus on his family and private life. It was in New York that Lennon created some of his most famous work, writing most of his songs in his apartment at The Dakota on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

    Revealing the tumultuous life of one of the world's most famous couples as they adjusted to life in the Big Apple, the film charts the ups and downs of their creative and personal lives - including their battle against the immigration services, and Lennon's infamous "lost weekend".

    Michael Epstein's documentary also features never-before-heard studio recordings from the Double Fantasy sessions, and never-before-seen outtakes from Lennon in concert and his home movies.

    The film includes exclusive interviews with Yoko Ono and with artists who worked closely with Lennon during this period, including Elton John and photographer Bob Gruen.

    Air Date: 12 July 2011 21:35 -
  • S17E04 - Harry Nilsson: The Missing Beatle

    Alan Yentob introduces John Scheinfeld's documentary Harry Nilsson - The Missing Beatle, a film that tells the story of the riotous life and music of Harry Nilsson.

    Nilsson, a friend and hero of Lennon's, was one of the most successful and influential, but least known, songwriters of his generation. He is remembered as much for his wild lifestyle as for his outstanding performance of Everybody's Talkin' from the movie soundtrack Midnight Cowboy.

    The film showcases new and archived audio and film, including home movies, music videos, promotional films and segments from the unreleased documentary made during the recording of Son Of Schmilsson, Did Somebody Drop His Mouse? The film also features interviews with Robin Williams, Yoko Ono, Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman, Ray Cooper, the Smothers Brothers and Micky Dolenz.

    Air Date: 19 July 2011 21:35 -
  • S17E05 - Iraq in Venice

    Iraq and art are not words that usually go together. Yet this year, for the first time since Saddam Hussein's rise to power some 35 years ago, Iraq has a presence at the Venice Biennale - the show that is theCannes Film Festival or the Olympics of the international art world calendar.

    Thousands of years ago, Iraq was the cradle of civilisation - Mesopotamia, the 'land between two rivers' - the Garden of Eden. Decades of despotism, destruction and despair have stifled its art, but now, despite all the dangers and difficulties, art is re-emerging.

    Jill Nicholls' film tells the moving stories of six Iraqi artists, all scattered around the world, and follows them as they prepare their work for Venice. The artists include Halim Al Karim, who survived for three years in a hole in the desert, escaping conscription into the Iran Iraq war; as well as Walid Siti, dreaming of the mountains of Kurdistan in his East London studio and going back to Iraq to gather images for his work. Also Ali Assaf, poetically evoking his home town of Basra back in the days when it was called the Venice of the East; and Ahmed Al Soudani, whose visceral paintings of violence and chaos sell for six-figure sums.

    The theme of this Iraqi show is not war but water - 'wounded water'. There is a water shortage crisis looming - already a litre of drinking water costs as much in Iraq as a litre of oil. The artists explore this issue through contaminated dates (once the pride of Basra, until Saddam deliberately destroyed 20 million date palms), dried-up waterfalls in Kurdistan (the fountainhead on which all of Iraq depends), and outsize taps looming over piles of plastic bottles. But the work is always imaginative, never just didactic.

    This is an epoch-making event in the history of a war-torn country. The film opens a new window on that world, seeing it through the eyes of artists who have been torn away from it.

    Air Date: 26 July 2011 21:35 -
  • S17E06 - U2: From the Sky Down

    Imagine presents a feature-length documentary about the making of U2's seminal album Achtung Baby.

    Early in 2011, U2 returned to Hansa Studio in Berlin to discuss the making of Achtung Baby in this film directed by Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim (It Might Get Loud, Waiting for Superman, An Inconvenient Truth). From The Sky Down was then selected to open the Toronto International Film Festival on 8 September, the first ever documentary to open the festival in its 36-year history.

    Twenty years after the 1991 release of Achtung Baby, Davis Guggenheim traces the album's genesis using animation and previously unseen footage from Berlin and Dublin alongside interviews with the band as they reflect on what was a key chapter in their career.

    'In the terrain of rock bands - implosion or explosion is seemingly inevitable. U2 has defied the gravitational pull towards destruction... this band has endured and thrived. From The Sky Down asks the question why.' Davis Guggenheim.

    Air Date: 09 October 2011 21:35 -
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