BBC to broadcast West End’s Uncle Vanya
James R | On 09, Sep 2020
The BBC will broadcast the star-studded West End production of Uncle Vanya as part of its extended Culture in Quarantine programming.
The production of the iconic Chekhov play, directed by Ian Rickson, was performed at London’s Harold Pinter Theatre at the start of the year. After its run was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the BBC has stepped in to film a version of the production, which was produced during lockdown without an audience. The impressive cast were present, though, including Toby Jones, Richard Armitage, Rosalind Eleazar, Aimee Lou Wood, Anna Calder-Marshall, Dearbhla Molloy and Peter Wight, with Roger Allam replacing Ciarán Hinds.
The production will be aired on BBC Four, continuing the channel’s Culture in Quarantine season of plays, such as Mike Bartlett’s Albion – filmed at the Almeida Theatre and still available on BBC iPlayer – and a previous collection of Shakespeare productions from the Globe Theatre.
It will form part of the BBC’s ongoing efforts to support the arts, which has been severely damaged by the pandemic.
Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore says: “The BBC is the biggest creator of arts content in Britain and our contribution to the cultural economy in the UK is something that I’m passionate about. I hope by extending Culture In Quarantine we can help keep the arts alive at a difficult time – it’s public service broadcasting at its best, supporting the cultural sector to get back on its feet and the nation to get the very best in arts.”
The extended season will also include art and exhibitions with #MUSEUMPASSION – a week of digital content and behind-the-scenes access to collections – further support for live music, with live concerts each week in the lead-up to Christmas on Radio 3, a new book club on BBC Two and the return of the Big Books Weekend festival, Novels That Shaped Our World, the first poetry festival since lockdown – Contains Strong Language – broadcast from Cumbria, and series of portraits of celebrated artists, including Marina Abramovic, Tracey Emin, Maggi Hambing and Brian Catling on BBC One, and a tribute to Alan Parker with a specially remastered version of The Evacuees on BBC Four.
In November, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Disabilities Discrimination Act, programming also will be broadcast across the BBC with a special focus on arts and disability.