BBC Two announces the return The League of Gentlemen & host of new commissions

BBC Two announces the return The League of Gentlemen & host of new commissions

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Wednesday, 23rd August 2017
Credit: BBC

Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, has unveiled a range of new factual, comedy, drama and arts programming coming to the channel at the Edinburgh TV Festival. 

The new titles include an interactive history series about the 20th Century, a behind-the-scenes documentary exploring the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a documentary looking at the changes in the British Army over the last year, an 80s LA drama from director John Singleton, a film about legendary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and three special episodes of The League of Gentlemen.

“It has been an exhilarating year on BBC Two with major new series like Hospital commanding headlines and standout pieces like King Charles III, Muslims Like Us and Top Of The Lake winning critical praise," said Patrick Holland.

"It is hugely exciting to be guiding the channel as it evolves to be ever more timely, challenging and mischievous."

He added, "These new commissions demonstrate my ambition for BBC Two - to bring the increasingly complex and changing world to the audience through challenging perspectives, human engagement and great storytelling.”

Icons: The Story Of The 20th Century

The history series explores the pivotal moments and societal steps taken in the 20th Century and the iconic people who changed the way we live. 

Icons will look at the individuals who defined our view of great leadership, those who struggled for equality and civil rights, inventors who transformed everyday life and those whose work has gone on to influence the lives of billions. 

Each episode will focus on a different category and be presented by a well-known public figure who will discuss three icons of the 20th century in their respected area, chosen based on their achievements by an expert panel.

The episodes will show how the iconic figures made an impact on life today and will come from a range of fields, from leaders, scientists, revolutionaries, inventors, to activists, artists and entertainers.

Members of the public will be able to vote for their winner in that field, concluding with a live final that will decide an overall winner: the ultimate icon of the 20th Century.

The series will be accompanied by a strong online presence and will partner with museums, foundations and educational institutions across the country.

Inside The Foreign Office

The documentary series investigates the past year in The Foreign and Commonwealth Office at a time of dramatic change and uncertainty. 

With exclusive access to the government department, the three-part documentary series will observe the staff fight for the UK's influence in Europe after the divisive Brexit vote, battle ever-growing global conflicts, as well as the forming of new political relationships as a new administration is put in place in the US.

The BBC Studios series will observe how staff deal with the thousands of Britons abroad seeking help, including the senior figures who are responsible for shaping Britain’s role in our global society.

The series takes a look at how the department negotiates overseas and works to ensure UK citizens and businesses are safe following the dramatic exit from the EU, examining the role of modern diplomats and what their position entails.

The League of Gentlemen

The hit comedy The League Of Gentlemen will return to BBC Two later this year for special episodes to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the show's debut on BBC Radio.

The original members Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson will reunite to play the eccentric characters of Royston Vasey once again for three episodes.

After winning the Perrier Award for Comedy Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1997, the comedy troupe took the series to BBC Radio before launching the award-winning series on BBC Two from 1999 to 2002.  

Army: Behind The New Frontlines

Credit: BBC

The documentary series explores the struggles and challenges the British Army face during a time of uncertainty and political unrest, with intimate access to those on the frontline.

The three-part series will examine the recruitment challenges that face the British Army, as well as budget struggles and the new threats at home and overseas.

Army: Behind The New Frontlines follows British soldiers over the space of a year as they operate across the globe as they tackle terrorism in Iraq, a humanitarian crisis in South Sudan and Russian aggression in the Baltic States.


Sergio Peris-Mencheta as Gustavo Zapata in Snowfall (Credit: BBC)

John Singleton's hard-hitting drama follows a group of people living in Los Angeles at the start of the crack cocaine epidemic in 1983 and the impact it has on the people and culture of the city.

The ten-part series tells the stories of four different characters, including Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), a young street entrepreneur on the road to success in the corrupt drug world, and Mexican wrestler Gustavo Zapata (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) who becomes embroiled in a power battle in a Mexican crime family.

Emily Rios stars as Lucia Villanueva, the daughter of a powerful Mexican crime lord, and Carter Hudson plays CIA operative Teddy McDonald, who begins an operation to fund the Nicaraguan Contras whilst attempting to escape secrets from his own past. 

Basquait: From Rags to Riches

Jean-Michel Basquiat (Credit: BBC)

Almost 30 years since Jean-Michel Basquait passed away of a drug overdose, he was thrust into the spotlight again when one of his 1982 Skull paintings was sold for over $100 million, placing the artist in iconic historical alignment with Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Francis Bacon.

The film features exclusive interviews with the graffiti artist's two sisters, Lisane and Jeanine Basquiat, who talk about his art and share personal anecdotes about their brother for the first time for a television documentary.

Prestigious art dealers who enhanced his reputation, fellow artists and close friends disclose their own accounts of Basquiat and his artwork, revealing the details of his unique talent, his drug abuse and racism he encountered in his life.

The film celebrates the legendary artist's powerful artwork and the impact that his work had on modern art. 

All titles are working titles.

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Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, has unveiled a range of new factual, comedy, drama and arts programming coming to the channel at the Edinburgh TV Festival.