Entertainment & Arts

South Bank Show to profile Nicholas Hytner and Grime

Nicholas Hytner (left) and Dizzee Rascal
Image caption Hytner (left) has been artistic director of the NT since 2003

The South Bank Show will profile National Theatre boss Nicholas Hytner and the UK's grime music scene when it returns to TV on the Sky Arts channel.

The long-running arts series was axed by ITV in 2009, with long-running host Melvyn Bragg saying he was "baffled" by the decision.

Prince Charles called the end of the series a "sad loss".

Bragg will return to host the new series. "It's just great to be back in business," he said in a statement.

The first show, on 27 May, will feature the programme's first ever profile of Hytner - who took over the National Theatre in London in 2003.

As a director, he worked on Alan Bennett's History Boys and an adaptation of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. In 2010, he was knighted for his services to drama.

Novelist Pat Barker and Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti will also be subjects of upcoming episodes.

Benedetti, who won the BBC Young Musician of the Year award in 2004, was followed by cameras for more than two months. The programme will also feature her outreach work with Scottish schoolchildren.

"These are among the finest contemporary artists around today," said Bragg. "I'm delighted they've given our directors so much time and energy for these programmes."

Image caption Cuban dancer Acosta will perform in a show dedicated to the development of the male dancer

Mercury prize-winner Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder are among the artists lending their thoughts to a special episode exploring the origins of grime music and UK hip-hop in east London; while Bjork, Annie Lennox and Joan Armatrading contribute to an analysis of female singer-songwriters.

"The line-up for this series is truly extraordinary," added James Hunt, director of Sky Arts.

"Where else in the world could you go from Carlos Acosta to Dizzee Rascal with such ease?"

After its cancellation, The South Bank Show made its swansong on ITV in 2010, with a series of specials looking back at the programme's most famous subjects - from Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to Billy Connolly.

The show's demise, after 32 years, also saw Bragg stepping down as the ITV arts editor.

However, the awards ceremony connected with the series has continued, with the hit musical Matilda winning this year's theatre prize and Kate Bush beating Adele and PJ Harvey to the pop music prize.

The new series of The South Bank Show will begin on 27 May at 2200 BST on Sky Arts 1 HD and on Sky's on-demand service Sky Go.

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