BBC Plans Special Programming for Britpop's 20th Anniversary

Liam Gallagher of Oasis
Liam Gallagher of Oasis
 Jim Ross/Invision/AP

LONDON -- The BBC will devote a season across its television and radio stations to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of "the birth of Britpop," complete with footage and tunes from bands such as Oasis, Elastica, Pulp, Supergrass, Sleeper and The Verve.

The season, entitled Britpop at the BBC, will play out on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 6 Music and TV channel BBC Four on April 6-11.

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In the wake of the U.S. grunge scene, which invaded the U.K. in the early '90s, fresh British groups such as Suede and Blur spearheaded the Britpop movement by writing and singing about topics that were uniquely British, evoking the essence of their 1960s counterparts like The Who, The Kinks and The Beatles.

Soon the scene was brimming with a wealth of bands, including Oasis, Elastica, Pulp, Supergrass, Sleeper and The Verve, bringing British alternative rock back into the mainstream.

BBC plans include a weeklong return of the legendary Evening Session on Radio 2, a range of documentaries, plus interviews with artists who were pivotal to the movement, plus a Top 30 countdown on channel 6 Music, asking U.K. listeners to vote for the song that sums up Britpop for them.

Britpop at the BBC will also go out online at bbc.co.uk/britpop, delivering exclusive archive clips and photo galleries.

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BBC Radio 2, 6 Music, Asian Network and popular music TV controller Bob Shennan said: "To mark the 20th anniversary of Britpop, the BBC is uniquely able to raid its own incredible television, radio and picture archives. And through our current lineup of presenters -- including those who lived, breathed and were central to the scene two decades ago -- Britpop at the BBC will be bringing this era back to life once more."

To add some first-hand perspective on the pinnacle of the Britpop movement, two of the people behind the biggest bands -- Alan McGee of Oasis and Andy Ross of Blur -- will take part in the series.

The pair will give present-day insight into the media frenzy that surrounded their bands’ legendary 1995 chart battle in the U.K., which pitched Oasis single "Roll With It" against Blur's "Country House."

Separately, BBC Radio 2 and BBC One will broadcast world-exclusive programming featuring George Michael, promising to give the behind-the-scenes story of his critically acclaimed orchestral tour, Symphonica, as well as the highlights of a special charity performance he gave during the tour. Michael gives a rare interview in BBC Radio 2's "Up Close with George Michael," a two-part documentary that will hit the airwaves March 18 and 25. It was recorded in October 2011, shortly before George contracted pneumonia, which forced a delay to the tour. Produced by Sue Clark Productions and presented by former Ready Steady Go host Vicki Wickham, the broadcast tells the story of Michael's tour and the making of the album, also entitled Symphonica, which will be released in March. Michael talks openly about his prison experience, his drug rehabilitation and how he rewarded himself by going on tour in 2011 and 2012.

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