SCHAMA ON REMBRANDT – 2014
Here’s the masterful Simon Schama in full flow on his specialist subject – Rembrandt. In this programme from 2014 he looked at the works Rembrandt produced at the end of his life. An artist’s output is supposed to diminish with age both in quality and quantity. Not the case with Rembrandt who in the ‘rage of age’ produced one stunning masterpiece after another as his life drew to a close.
BRAZIL WITH MICHAEL PALIN – 2012
Working with Michael Palin was a dream come true. I’d grown up with the Pythons and then to be directing him on one of his epic journeys was very special. I made two programmes in the ‘Brazil’ series – one on the North East state of Bahia which is the most ‘Africanised’ of all Brazilian regions and one on the spectacular city of Rio De Janeiro.
THE FOOTBALL MEN – 1998
The Football Men was a three-part Arena made with the late, and in my opinion unsurpassed sportswriter, Hugh McIlvanney. It was about the trinity of great Scottish Football managers – Sir Matt Busby, Bill Shankly & Jock Stein. All three came from mining backgrounds and all were born not far from each other in what used to be the West of Scotland coalfields. We set out to make a trilogy that wasn’t just limited to football but was about politics, religion, social history and national identity. It was also a love letter to three great cities – Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool. The trilogy was nominated for an RTS Best Sports Documentary Award.
IN CHARLIE CHAPLIN’S FOOTSTEPS WITH TERRY JONES – 2015
Through working with Michael Palin I got to work with one of my other Python heroes, Terry Jones. Terry had a long-standing interest in silent comedies and this was his take on Charlie Chaplin. I structured it around readings from Chaplin’s autobiography – which includes riveting and harrowing accounts of his early life in Victorian South London.
FISCHER V SPASSKY
Given the recent interest in chess prompted by the success of ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ I thought I’d post this clip from a film I made in 1999. It was about the most famous chess match of the modern era – Bobby Fischer v Boris Spassky – a cold war battle of the giants.