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The South Bank Show returns to Sky Arts this May with six brand new episodes, as well as The South Bank Show Originals – thirty reversioned episodes which will bring some of the best of the most high profile arts documentary series in the world back onto television, with added contemporary contributions.

With a diverse line up, the six brand new episodes of The South Bank Show – presented, edited and written by Melvyn Bragg – will feature TV producer John Lloyd, actor Daniel Radcliffe, singer Angel Blue, author Kate Atkinson, playwright Abi Morgan, and a special episode on King Lear, with contributions from the National’s most recent Lear, Simon Russell Beale and director Sam Mendes.

For thirty five years, The South Bank Show made a widely acclaimed, significant contribution to arts broadcasting, profiling the world’s most renowned performers, artists, actors, writers and musicians forming a vast and vivid archive of 20th century culture.

The South Bank Show Originals will update some of the most famous episodes of the ITV series, adding new interviews, links and footage, including David Puttnam on David Lean and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa on Pavarotti. Over the course of the next five years, Sky Arts will reversion thirty Originals a year, beginning this July, with episodes featuring Francis Bacon, Iggy Pop, Pavarotti, Ingmar Bergman and Sylvie Guillem. Paul McCartney will kick off the new series as he did in the first episode of The South Bank Show in January 1978. The series was launched by London Weekend Television for ITV, where the show remained until 2010 when the network axed their arts output.

There will also be 15 editions of another new series – The South Bank Show Masterclasses which will see some of the leading lights of the arts such as Nicholas Hytner and Tracey Emin offering insight into their working practices.

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