BBC - British Broadcasting Corporation

07/24/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/24/2020 03:20

BBC Music television to present a feast of new and archive music documentaries in the coming months

When Bob Marley Came to Britain (1 x 60m)

In the 1970s, Bob Marley rose from humble beginnings in his homeland of Jamaica to become a global superstar. It was a journey that took him to Britain - the place he came to regard as his second home. Featuring rarely-seen archive and interviews with people who met and knew him, When Bob Marley Came to Britain, narrated by Obaro Ejimiwe and produced by Wise Owl Films for BBC Two, looks at Marley's special relationship with Britain. It reveals how his presence helped influence British politics, culture and identity, during a time of massive social and civil unrest in the UK - and how his universal message of One Love and unity helped inspire a generation of Black British youth.

This film also takes a revealing look at Marley's time in Britain: the houses he lived in, football kickabouts in Battersea Park and visits to the UK's growing Rastafarian community, including secret gigs in the North of England. It was in Britain that Marley established himself as an international artist, recorded some of his most successful albums and performed some of his most memorable concerts.

The film features interviews with photographer Dennis Morris, who accompanied Marley on tour, founding member of the reggae band Aswad, Brinsley Forde, The Cimarons' Locksley Gishie, reggae legend Marcia Griffiths of Bob Marley's vocal group The I-Threes. and filmmaker and BBC Radio 6 Music presenter and film maker Don Letts. There are also memories of the most important gigs he played in Britain, including early Wailers gigs in small pubs and clubs when the band were still largely unknown, a now-legendary acoustic performance in the gym of a Peckham High School and a triumphant show at the Lyceum theatre in London.

Don Letts says: 'Bob believed in music as a tool for social and personal change and consequently it went some way into making me the man I am today.'

Soul America (3 x 60m)

This three-part series from BBC Studios chronicles the journey of soul music from its birth in gospel in the early 1960s, when it delivered an assertive, integrated vision of black America, and produced its first generation of stars including Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin.

The origins and evolution of soul music is explored throughout the series, which features contributions from The O'Jays, Mavis Staples, Fred Wesley, Mary Wilson, Peabo Bryson, Candi Staton and more. The series then moves through the late 60s and early 70s, when inequality, poverty and racism led to more radical black politics and the emergence of a harder soul sound from artists such Isaac Hayes, James Brown and the Temptations - as well the revolution of black heroes in cinema, inaugurated by the arthouse film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.

The final episode explores the 70s and 80s, when a second coming of soul men led by Teddy Pendergrass, Marvin Gaye and Luther Vandross offered a black female audience slow jams and sexual healing, and mid-70s disco became a lucrative side-line for female singers such as Candi Staton and Millie Jackson.

The programmes are narrated by Carleen Anderson, who fronted the Young Disciples and the Brand New Heavies and has worked with artists including Bryan Ferry, Paul Weller and Dr John.

Top Of The Pops: The Story Of 1990 (1 x 60m)

The documentary explores how, after the global political upheaval of 1989, the new decade soon demonstrated that the new pop grammars of hip-hop and dance all too often bewilder the entertainment-focused, old-school institution of the BBC's weekly chart show.

Artists such as Betty Boo, MC Tunes and Beats International bring the British take on hip-hop to the studio, whilst Adamski, Orbital, 808 State and Euro-dance sensations Snap! deliver their brand of beats to the TOTP audience.

In a year in which even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and John Barnes embrace rap, breakthrough hip-hop artists share the studio with some big balladeers including Sinead O'Connor and Maria McKee. As Milli Vanilli lose their Grammy Award for lip syncing, Top Of The Pops begins to question its own miming policy.

Hip-hop kids and the indie underground are beginning to enter the pop mainstream, but despite the new zeitgeist the battle for the Christmas Number 1 is a stand-off between the old and new guards: Cliff Richard and Vanilla Ice. Top Of The Pops: The Story Of 1990 features contributions from Adamski, Seal, Betty Boo, Orbital, Norman Cook and the Beats International vocalist Lindy Layton, Paul Hooton (The Farm) and Penny Ford (Snap!).

Count Basie: Through His Own Eyes (1 x 75)

A revealing biography, produced by Eagle Rock Entertainment, and told in Count Basie's own words. It uncovers for the first time the private passions and ambitions that inspired the world-famous bandleader and pianist. Until now, little was known about Basie's private and family life, but director Jeremy Marre has uncovered a treasure-trove of home movies and photo albums that expose Basie's remarkable relationship with his wife Catherine, whose pioneering support for African-American causes placed her at the side of Martin Luther King.

Through Basie's intimate footage and letters - and interviews with friends like Quincy Jones and Annie Ross - we discover the Count's protective love for his disabled daughter Diane 'who was never out of his heart and mind: the hidden core of his creative life'.

Basie's musical achievements were remarkable: the first African-American to win a Grammy, he brought the Blues to the big band podium. He was 'the King of the Swing Kings'. The programme features rare performances with Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis Jnr. and many others and digs deeper to explore the inner motivation and passions that drove Basie's career as he became a unique link between jazz and America's turbulent social history. Count Basie: Through His Own Eyes was the final film produced and directed by renowned music documentary director Jeremy Marre, who died aged 76 in April 2020.

BBC Arena: Fela Kuti - Father of Afrobeat (1 x 80)

From Plimsoll Productions comes the story of pioneering Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, who created a sound for a continent. In 1997 over one million people gathered in Lagos for the funeral of Fela Kuti, Africa's biggest artist, who gave the world Afrobeat, yet was also a thorn in the side of Nigeria's military regimes.

A counter-cultural revolutionary, he fought injustice with his music and provoked society with his lifestyle, on one occasion marrying 27 wives in a single ceremony. When he died from a disease that carried huge stigma in Africa, there was fear his legacy would die with him, but this film shows that the impact of his life and music is still felt today. Exclusive testimony reveals the complex man behind the maverick performer.

Ronnie's: Ronnie Scott & His World Famous Jazz Club (1 x 102m)

The history of the illustrious Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club comes alive in Ronnie's: Ronnie Scott & His World Famous Jazz Club (1 x 102m) from Goldfinch.

The venue was eponymously named after the late tenor saxophonist Ronnie Scott, who founded the club with business partner Pete King. The club doors first opened in London's Soho in October 1959 and it was inspired by the vibrant post-war jazz venues in New York, including the Three Deuces. Since then, Ronnie's has consistently played host to many of the world's greatest jazz legends, including Chet Baker, Count Basie, Miles Davies, Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Rich and Nina Simone who, along with many others, are all featured in the film. As well as a host of archive performances from the past 60 years, Ronnie's features previously unseen, restored footage as well as new interviews with his friends, family and the music elite, including Chris Blackwell, Quincy Jones and Sonny Rollins.

Jazz 625: The British Jazz Explosion (1 x 90m)

The iconic music programme Jazz 625 returns to BBC Four for one special night in November 2020 with a 90-minute special. The programme will celebrate the brilliant new wave of young UK jazz musicians who are making a joyful noise across the globe and will feature performances from some of the biggest stars of the current scene. There will also be features exploring the origins of the current movement and the spaces and venues that have helped shape its music. The show will be co-hosted by Mercury Prize 2020 nominated artist, drummer, band leader and BBC Radio presenter, Moses Boyd.

Also, in the coming weeks and months, BBC Four will offer another chance to see the two-part series, I Can Go For That: The Smooth World Of Yacht Rock (2 x 60m) presented by Katie Puckrik, which explores the 1970s American music phenomenon of yacht rock, the mini-series about the partnership between Jimmy Lovine and Dr. Dre, co-founders of Beats Electronics, The Defiant Ones (3 x 42) and 1Xtra's Grime Symphony (1 x 120m) first broadcast as part of the BBC Proms season in 2015 and presented from London's Royal Albert Hall by MistaJam and Sian Anderson, featuring performances by Wretch 32 and Jules Buckley's Metropole Orkest.