The South Bank Show set to return on 22 November to Sky Arts with four artists at the top of their game: Gillian Anderson, Bernardine Evaristo, Benjamin Zephaniah and Simon Armitage

Wednesday 28 October 2020

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The South Bank Show will make a welcome return to Sky Arts on 22 November as part of a roster of shows on the now free-to-air channel. Edited and presented by Melvyn Bragg, the South Bank Show is the longest-running Arts show on British television. In this series, Melvyn interviews four artists at the height of their powers: Gillian Anderson, Bernardine Evaristo, Benjamin Zephaniah and Simon Armitage.

Gillian Anderson, one of the most highly-regarded actors working today, joins Melvyn for the first episode of the series. On stage at the Young Vic in London, where Gillian starred as Blanche Dubois in the award-winning production of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ in 2014, Melvyn and Gillian explore her diverse and prolific career across theatre, film and television, and discuss a range of work including The X-Files, Sex Education and The Fall, as well as Gillian’s extraordinary current performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown.

Author Bernardine Evaristo made history in 2019, when she became the first black woman to win the Booker Prize for her remarkable novel, Girl, Woman, Other. In the second episode of this South Bank Show series, Bernadine talks to Melvyn about her childhood and early life in South London, and the creative influences that inspired her to become both an internationally acclaimed writer and a powerful voice for equality and diversity.

Benjamin Zephaniah is a pioneer of performance poetry: in the third episode of the series, he joins Melvyn for a candid conversation about his life and work, and reveals how his troubled youth inspired him to channel his energies into poetry – and how, in his words, poetry saved his life. He also performs a selection of his poems, exclusively for the South Bank Show, and gives a unique insight into the creative process behind them. This is an intimate profile of a groundbreaking artist.

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage completes the series. In episode four, he talks to Melvyn about how his latest collection of poems Magnetic Field: The Marsden Poems provide a deeply personal perspective on his career as one of the most energetic and powerful forces in contemporary poetry. The film takes him back to his roots in West Yorkshire, and to the moors which have provided such an inspiration to him as, “a kind of page which could be written upon.”

Melvyn Bragg says: I’m delighted that Sky Arts is now free to air. The South Bank Show’s autumn season is a quartet tailor-made to suit this occasion. Gillian Anderson is one of the most famous and versatile actors of her time; Bernardine Evaristo, the first black female writer to win the Booker Prize, is enjoying phenomenal success; Benjamin Zephaniah continues to attract audiences all over the world with his vivid performance poetry; Simon Armitage, the Poet Laureate, seems to expand that role every month. Four artists at the top of their game.”

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, says: The South Bank Show continues to be the flagship show for the arts and we are delighted to share the brilliant line up of the new series on our new Freeview platform.”

The South Bank Show is part of a portfolio of content on Sky Arts produced by Directors Cut Productions, which includes The South Bank Sky Arts Awards, the only awards ceremony in the world to represent the entire spectrum of the arts, and The South Bank Show Originals, featuring famous past episodes with added footage and extra interviews and contributors.

The South Bank Show airs on Sky Arts, available for everyone to watch on Freeview Channel 11 and Freesat channel 147.

For more information please contact: calum.mcgarry@premiercomms.com and georgie.rennie@premiercomms.com

TX Dates for the South Bank Show 2020 on Sky Arts and NOW TV

Episode 1 – Gillian Anderson – Sunday 22 November, 22:45

Episode 2 – Bernardine Evaristo – Sunday 29 November, 22:45

Episode 3 – Benjamin Zephaniah – Sunday 6 December, 22:45

Episode 4 – Simon Armitage – Sunday 13 December, 22:45

Episode Directors

Episode 1 – Gillian Anderson – Suzannah Wander

Episode 2 – Bernardine Evaristo – Gillian Greenwood

Episode 3 – Benjamin Zephaniah – Suzannah Wander

Episode 4 – Simon Armitage – Navin Thapar

About Sky Arts:

As the UK’s only dedicated arts channel, Sky Arts exists to bring more art to more people across the UK. By throwing open the doors to make the channel free to air, we want to increase access to and participation in the arts. Offering something for everyone, whatever their passion, Sky Arts showcases the best of classical and popular music, theatre, opera, dance and the visual arts, as well as original drama and comedy.

About Sky

Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Across six countries, we connect our 24 million customers to the best entertainment, sports, news, arts and to our own award-winning original content.

Our technology, including the market leading Sky Q, connects people to everything they love - TV, music, games, online video, fitness and educational content, all in one place, easy. Our streaming service, NOW TV, brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service.

Building on the success of Sky Originals like Chernobyl, I Hate Suzie and Brassic, we are doubling our investment in original content by 2024 through Sky Studios. Sky News provides impartial and trustworthy journalism for free, while Sky Arts, the UK’s only dedicated free-to-air arts channel, makes the arts accessible for everyone. Our new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, is expected to create over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in the UK over the first five years alone.

We believe that we can be a force for good in the communities in which we operate. We’re committed to being Europe’s first net zero carbon entertainment company by 2030. We take pride in our approach to diversity and inclusion: we’ve been recognised by The Times and Stonewall for our commitment to diversity and we’ve put in place a new programme to invest £30million across our markets over the next three years to tackle racial injustice.

About Directors Cut Productions

Directors Cut Productions is an independent television production company based in Central London. Set up in 2010 by Melvyn Bragg and Cathy Haslam, who had worked together for 10 years at ITV, the company produces Arts and History Documentaries for UK television broadcasters. Directors Cut Productions produce all South Bank Show branded programmes for Sky Arts as well as producing the South Bank Sky Arts Awards.

For more information, visit www.directorscutproductions.co.uk or follow @dcptv_uk

About NOW TV

NOW TV is a leading UK streaming service, giving you the best TV, box sets, movies, sports and kids entertainment whenever, and wherever, you want it. Pick from the range of content passes including Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, Kids and reality TV with hayu.

You can stream content to watch through the NOW TV app, available on over 60 devices including the NOW TV Smart Stick and even download your favourite shows and movies to watch on the go.

NOW TV is the home of the best new and original British comedies, Oscar, BAFTA, and Emmy award winning dramas, Sky originals and movies. NOW TV customers can enjoy over 30 new movies every month and Sky Atlantic shows, without a contract.

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NOW TV also offers great value reliable broadband as a standalone contract-free service with NOW Broadband.

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