Update: Information concerning A Dark and Stormy Night has now been added. You can view a gallery of promotional pictures and information on the documentary here
The Art Of Gothic: Britain’s Midnight Hour – Episode One: Liberty, Diversity, Depravity
In this three-part series, Andrew Graham-Dixon looks back at 19th century Britain and its obsession with all things Gothic. The series explores how an inspired group of architects and artists spurned the modern age, turning to Britain’s medieval past to create some of Britain’s most iconic art works and buildings.
Inspired by the tumultuous Industrial Revolution, John Ruskin was among those who created architectural wonders, using the cutting edge of technology to create a brand-new British style of architecture. While in art and literature, the Gothic allowed Horace Walpole, Bram Stoker and Dickens to capture the terror, weirdness and social ills that plagued Victorian Britain.
Episode one of The Art of Gothic: Britain’s Midnight Hour begins in the middle of 18th century England, when an entirely surprising thing happened. Out of the age of Enlightenment and Reason a monster was born – a Gothic obsession with monsters, ghouls, ghosts and things that go bump in the night! From restrained aristocratic beginnings to pornographic excesses, this episode will show how the Gothic Revival came to influence popular art, architecture and literature.
Part One will be broadcast on the 20th of October on BBC Four from 9:00 – 10:00pm.
Horror of Dracula – Film for Horror Season
A man sent to slay a legendary vampire count becomes the bloodsucker’s latest victim. Setting out in search of further prey, he stalks the family of his would-be assassin. However, a fearless doctor and expert on the supernatural is determined to bring his reign of terror to an end. Hammer horror, starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Michael Gough
Hammer Horror’s Horror of Dracula will be broadcast on BBC Four from 10:00pm – 11:00pm
Dan Cruickshank And The Family That Built Gothic Britain
This is a story of architects bent on a mission to rebuild Britain. Triumphant and tragic, the story of the greatest architectural dynasty of the 19th century is a match for any Dickens novel.
Dan Cruikshank charts the rise of Sir George Gilbert Scott to the heights of his success, the fall of his son, George Junior and the rise again of his grandson Giles.
From the romantic heights of the Midland Hotel at St Pancras station and to the modern image of Bankside Power Station (now Tate Modern), Dan Cruickshank And The Family That Built Gothic is the tale of a family that shaped the Victorian age and left a giant legacy.
Dan Cruickshank And The Family That Built Gothic Britain airs on BBC Four on the 21st of October from 9:00pm to 10:00pm
The Art Of Gothic: Britain’s Midnight Hour – Episode Two
Episode two explores how, as the Industrial Revolution promised the modern world inexplicable wonders, Gothic art and literature became both backward and forward looking.
In her novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley warned of the dangers of how science could get out of control, while Sir Giles Gilbert Scott used Gothic architecture to memorialise Prince Albert as a medieval hero. This episode will also show how poets indulged in hallucinatory drugs to reach new Gothic heights.
The Art Of Gothic: Britain’s Midnight Hour -Part Two will air on the 27th of October from 9:00pm – 10:00pm on BBC Four.
The Curse of Frankenstein – Film for Horror Season
An obsessive scientist is determined to create life, and builds a creature using parts taken from various corpses. He succeeds in animating the monster, but its brain is damaged in the process, driving it mad and causing it to embark on a killing spree. The first in Hammer’s series of horror films inspired by Mary Shelley’s novel, starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
The Curse of Frankenstein will be broadcast on BBC Four on the 27th of October from 10:00pm – 11:00pm.
Architects Of The Divine: The First Gothic Age
Medieval historian Dr Janina Ramirez looks back at the 14th century – a time when craftsman and their patrons created a new form of architecture that was to be Britain’s first cultural style.
Architects Of The Divine: The First Gothic Age will show how the art and architecture of France dominated England for much of the medieval age. Yet British stone masons and builders were successful in making Gothic architecture of their own and inventing a national style for the first time – Perpendicular Gothic . This gave Britain a patriotic backdrop to suit its new ambitions of chivalry and power. From a grand debut at Gloucester Cathedral to commemorate a murdered king – to its final glorious flowering at Kings College Chapel in Cambridge, The Genius of Gothic will show how the Perpendicular age was Britain’s finest.
Architects Of The Divine: The First Gothic Age will air on the 28th of October from 9:00pm to 10:00pm on BBC Four.
Goth At The BBC
BBC Four airs a compilation of performances from the BBC to explore the ‘Goth’ style of British rock and pop in the 80s.
This was a period of music in which dry ice, doomy lyrics and dyed black hair (tortured skywards) were only some of the constituent parts of this very British ‘tribe’, which flourished alongside Stock, Aitken and Waterman. BBC Four delves into the archives uncovering classic performances from Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and many more.
Goth At The BBC will air on the 31st of October on BBC Four from 10:00pm to 11:00pm
The Art Of Gothic: Britain’s Midnight Hour – Episode Three
In the final episode, Gothic fantasy horror is outstripped by real horror, as the truth of mechanised warfare in 1914 dawns on an innocent world.
The programme highlights how the language of Gothic would come to encapsulate the horrors of the 20th century – from Marx’s analysis of ‘vampiric’ capitalism, to Conrad’s dark vision of imperialism and T.S.Eliot’s vision of The Wasteland, a Gothic narrative seemed to make sense of the modern world more than any other.
The Art of Gothic: Britain’s Midnight Hour Part Three will air on the 3rd of November on BBC Four from 9:00pm to 10:00pm.
No part of the Gothic season but a linked program is the final episode of The Secret Life of Books.
The Secret Life Of Books Episode Six
Nearly 200 years since it was first published, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has become shorthand for the dangers of science run amok. In this film Professor Alice Roberts explores how the book is about so much more.
Professor Roberts visits the legendary Villa Diodati in Geneva, where the precocious 18 year-old Shelley first conceived Frankenstein, before travelling to the Bodleian Library in Oxford to see the earliest surviving manuscript of the novel.
Through close examination of the text and by considering the influence of Shelley’s radical parents, Roberts discovers that this is a novel which contains many complex ideas, not simply a ‘monster’ story. The book’s many layers allow it to present ideas whilst simultaneously critiquing them. Roberts also explores how Percy Shelley’s annotations to the text reveal the fascinating nature of Mary’s literary and personal relationship with the famous Romantic poet, her husband.
The Secret Life Of Books Episode Six airs on the 4th of November on BBC Four and is on from 8:30pm to 9:00pm.