Monday, December 28, 2015

Civilisation takes time

In March 2014, BBC Director General Lord Hall announced that Kenneth Clark's 13-part documentary series, Civilisation, first broadcast in 1969, was to be remade "for the digital age."

“The idea for Civilisation came as I was standing in the queue for an art exhibition in London and I thought, blimey, look at this queue. It was full of all sorts of people: young and old, black and white, all sorts of different backgrounds. What can we do to make their experience even greater?”

There was no obvious sign of a tendering process for this project, but in April this year, the independent production company Nutopia, run by former BBC2 Controller Jane Root, was revealed as co-producer. They'd been working with Michael Jackson, a former Controller of both BBC1 and BBC2, now largely based in New York (but with a UK company address at Alan Yentob's Notting Hill house).

Last week it was revealed that Civilisation has morphed into Civilisations, which will have three presenters over ten episodes, with filming starting in March. And the project now has four partners - the BBC, with executive producers Jonty Claypole (Director of Arts, salary still undisclosed), Janice Hadlow (often working from home, on £235k) and Mark Bell, Commissioning Editor, Arts; Nutopia, represented by Michael Jackson and Peter Lovering; PBS, with Bill Gardner; and The Open University. The series producer is Ian MacMillan, formerly with the BBC and now a freelance. They could almost do an episode each....

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