Monitor (TV series)
Monitor was a BBC arts programme that was launched on 2 February 1958 and ran until 1965.
Huw Wheldon was the first editor from 1958 to 1965. He was also the principal interviewer and anchor. Wheldon set about moulding a team of talents, including John Schlesinger, Ken Russell, Patrick Garland, David Jones, Humphrey Burton, John Berger, Peter Newington, Melvyn Bragg, Nancy Thomas and Alan Tyrer. Monitor ranged in subject over all the arts.
The hundredth programme, made in 1962, was a film directed by Ken Russell and written by Wheldon, the celebrated Elgar. The Elgar film was innovative because it was the first time that an arts programme showed one long film about an artistic figure instead of short items, and it was the first time that re-enactments were used. Before this, only photos or location shots had been used in programmes. Russell, however, still met resistance from Wheldon in allowing actors to play the subjects of his films. The Elgar film includes sequences of the young composer riding his bicycle on the Malvern Hills accompanied by Elgar's Introduction & Allegro for Strings. Russell had a particular empathy with Elgar's music because, like the composer, he was a Catholic.
Wheldon's Monitor lasted until he had "interviewed everyone I am interested in interviewing", and he was succeeded by Jonathan Miller for the series' last season.
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