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Artless television

The BBC's new arts series is isolated in a broadcasting landscape that has been all but stripped of arts coverage

By David Herman   May 2003

This summer, the BBC launches its new arts series, “Imagine”, presented by Alan Yentob. If anyone can relaunch the arts on television it should be Yentob. In the late 1970s, he started “Arena” (BBC2), one of the most original arts series, and in the early 1990s he was an exceptionally creative controller of BBC2. But why should arts television need relaunching? Whatever happened to the arts on television?

What happened was, in part, a loss of nerve. This has taken various forms. First, expelling the arts from the main channels. We have seen the almost complete disappearance of the arts…

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