BBC4 celebrates 5th with 'Edwardians'


LONDON -- Digital arts web BBC4 is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year with a look back at the past, focusing its lens on the Edwardian era and the surprising similarities between life then and now.

Heading the spring season is "The Edwardians -- People Like Us" which explores the legacy of an often overlooked period of British history that has nonetheless left a permanent mark on modern society, according to BBC 4 program head Janice Hadlow.

"It's our grandparents' generation -- a generation whose legacy still impacts on our everyday lives. We ride on their tube trains, shop in their department stores, read their tabloid newspapers, eat the same foods and use their inventions -- from Marmite to the vacuum cleaner."

More contemporary themes are explored in "The Way We Live Now," a mini-season of documentaries exploring the nature of Englishness.

The strand includes "Holidays," a new series by the makers of the award-winning series "National Trust" that takes a wry look at four very different vacation destinations and the kind of Brits who holiday at home and abroad.

In "The Hunt for Middle England," comedian Chris Addison attempts to track down a couple who represent core British values.

Factual highlights include a chronicle of the history of photography, "The Genius of Photography," which considers the importance of snapping as an art form and looks at a multitude of the world's greatest pictures, interspersed with interviews with renowned still takers such as William Klein and Martin Parr.

In its comedy strand, BBC4 presents the "Tight Spot" season, with four new comedies in which the central characters are all stuck in very different situations: "Freezing," "Stuck," "HR" and "Lift."

The strand features a stellar cast including Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Richard E Grant, Joely Richardson in "Freezing" and Jonathan Pryce and Nicholas Le Provost in "HR."