Arena (TV series)
|Created by||Alan Yentob|
|Original channel||BBC Two/BBC Four|
|Original airing||1 October 1975|
Arena is a British television documentary series, made and broadcast by the BBC. It has run since 1 October 1975, and over five hundred episodes have been made. Arena covers all manner of subjects, from profiles of notable people such as Bob Dylan to the Ford Cortina car. Arena was originally conceived by the producer Alan Yentob, who also did on-camera presenting and interviewing work for the programme. The current series editor is Anthony Wall.
Arena has presented many themed nights examining a single subject in various ways, including; an "Animals Night" (16 December 1989), "Food Night" (15 December 1990), "Cuba Night" (2 January 1999) "Bus Night" (10 December 2005) and the ambitious "Radio Night", simulcast on BBC2 and BBC Radio 4 on 18 December 1993.
Over the years, Arena has also covered Salvador Dalí, Mark Boyle, the Mona Lisa, the Chelsea Hotel in New York, Howard Hodgkin, Richard Hamilton, Anthony Caro, Marc Chaimowicz, the Cable Street Mural, John Byrne, John Hoyland, Robert Natkin, Harold Pinter, Orson Welles, Dire Straits, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Bob Marley, etc. In My Way (1978), a documentary film devoted to the song, Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols sung his version.
In 1988, Arena itself was the subject of an edition titled "Ten Green Bottles" (a reference to its iconic title sequence, which depicts a floating green bottle with a neon sign inside).
- 'Arena remains one of the premier brands in documentary television'- Esquire magazine
- 'Arena is the oasis in the sea of insanity that is television'- Werner Herzog
- 'This should be compulsory viewing for today's formulaic programme-makers.' -Daily Mail
- 'The series has always been able to treat both high and popular culture with gravitas.' -The Times.
Theme music 
Anthony Wall (series editor) 
Anthony Wall has been with Arena for most of the strand’s 30 years, first as a director and since 1985 as Series Editor. As director, producer and executive producer, Wall has personally won three BAFTA awards, three Royal Television Society awards, the Prix Italia, an International Emmy and the Special Medallion at Telluride.
Recently Anthony has produced Arena: Bacon’s Arena, a portrait of the painter, and Arena: Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus, which received a nomination for International Critics’ Prize at the IDFA in 2004. He co-produced the multi-award winning No Direction Home - Bob Dylan for Arena directed by Martin Scorsese in 2005. In the last year Anthony has continued to oversee a diverse output of arts films at Arena: the strand profiled the contemporary media phenomenon Pete Doherty, as well as the lives of the Saints and the history of popular Radio Four soap opera The Archers.
To date, Arena has won nine BAFTAs and two International Emmys. Arena has also won the grand jury prize for 'Paris is Burning' and the best performance award for Lily Taylor's role in I Shot Andy Warhol at the Sundance Film Festival.
Selected filmography 
- 2008 Paul Scofield
- 2008 Cab driver
- 2007 Bob Marley: Exodus
- 2006 The Archers
- 2006 Pete Doherty
- 2005 Dylan In The Madhouse
- 2004 Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus
- 2003 Dylan Thomas – From Grave To Cradle
- 2002 My Way
- 2001 Sykes and a Day
- 2001 The Private Dirk Bogarde
- 1999 Looking for The Iron Curtain
- 1998 The Brian Epstein Story
- 1997 William S. Burroughs
- 1995 The Peter Sellers Story (three parter)
- 1994 Phillip K Dick
- 1993 Tales of Rock 'N' Roll: Peggy Sue, Heartbreak Hotel, Walk On The Wild Side & Highway 61 Revisited (Four part documentaries on the songs that were sung by Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Lou Reed & Bob Dylan)
- 1989 Heavy Metal
- 1988 Slim Gaillard’s Civilisation
- 1987 Salvador Dalí
- 1987 How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria
- 1986 Maytime On The Mosquito Coast
- 1984 David Inshaw - Between Dreaming and Waking
- 1984 The Everly Brothers - Songs of Innocence and Experience
- 1983 The Life And Times Of Don Luis Buñuel
- 1982 Desert Island Discs, Upon Westminster Bridge, Private Life of the Ford Cortina
- 1981 Superman – The Comic Strip Hero, Today Carshalton Beeches Tomorrow Croydon, Brighton To Barbados
- 1980 Luck and Flaw
- 1975 Theatre (featuring Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Tynan)
- Vahimagi, Tise. British Television: An Illustrated Guide. Oxford. Oxford University Press / British Film Institute. 1994. ISBN 0-19-818336-4.