Television

BBC World documentaries to showcase Hollywood icons

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BBC World's strategy is simple - building up audience strength through impartial in-depth analysis. Talking Movies host Tom Brook who met the press last night in Mumbai highlighted the channel's latest programme strategy that will be unveiled in The Hollywood Years to air each weekend in March.

Brook said his show aims not just at keeping the discerning Hollywood buff informed with the latest developments in the Hollywood industry but also filtering out the hype. The idea of the show came about as he felt that he could offer content with a global perspective.

Admitting that the show was an improvised version of Barry Norman's show that stopped airing four years ago, Brook said he would try to expand the show's editorial brief by showing footage of Bollywood functioning, hinting that he might return to India for the purpose. 

The Hollywood Years goes behind the scenes to bring the inside story of some of Hollywood's iconic figures. The action commences this Saturday with Lee Strasberg, who created and taught method acting. Two documentaries are dedicated to the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock. Alfred the Auteur gives us insight into the famed director's lonely childhood, while Alfred the Great shows the technique the master used in classics like The 39 Steps and Vertigo to create fright among the audience. 

As a percussor to the Academy Awards, Talking Movies has a section where each week a nominee section will be analysed. Brook said that the parties after the ceremony on 25 March would be the channel's main thrust, wherein Brook will be reporting from Elton John's annual bash, while correspondents would be stationed at other events like Vanity Fair. The channel will bring to viewers the reactions of winners and losers. Speculating on the nominees, Brook said he fancied the chances of A Beautiful Mind winning some top awards. While he enjoyed the technique used by India's entry in the foreign language film category, he felt that Lagaan's length of four hours could work against it.

Actor Kabir Bedi, who was present on the occasion, dwelled on the tough and humbling experience Asian actors go through while auditioning for a role. He urged Bollywood filmmakers to learn from the mistakes and experiences of their western counterparts.

Head PR BBC World Sarah Lindsey said that BBC World was now available in 200 million homes as against last year's figure of 173 million. Last month the channel had announced that as a result of new agreements with PBS networks in America, the channel is available in 80 per cent of American television households. In India the channel reaches 11 million homes. The

BBC also claims to have more than 150 advertisers on board, including Allianz, American Express, Prudential ICICI, Xerox Modicorp, Castrol GTX Extra and Opel Corsa. The past few years have seen more than 75 new advertisers coming in, an increase attributed to the focus on industry growth sectors such as IT, sports, business and finance.

An official BBC release claims to have won critical acclaim over the past few years, with Hard Talk bagging the best current affairs programme award at the Indian Telly Awards in July 2001 and Wheels the Indian motoring show being named the best magazine programme at the Asian Television Awards 2000. 

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