BBC Four Suite


People of status

You’re watching BBC Four

It’s art, it’s culture



The voiceover speaks. Bees wander the screen.

And now on BBC Four: The Golden Age of Public Service Broadcasting.

The Yentobs nod in approval.

Andrew sits at home. He’s enjoying avocado on toast.

It was prepared by his wife, Tamsin. They live in Guildford.

The documentary opens to the music of Portishead.

Crystalline montage justifies the licence fee.

The presenter has a doctorate from Cambridge.

Simplified facts seep from Andrew’s Samsung television.

Slow-motion montages of 3000-year-old jars.

In a cave, a soft-spoken American points. As instructed.

The voiceover imbued with the awe of a North London sound studio.

The presenter roots around in the earth. Like a real historian might.

And pulls an object from the ground.

Porcelain. Bronze. An antique shaving kit.

A status symbol.

Weren’t the old days good, coos Andrew.

Very sophisticated, replies Tamsin.

There was a middle-class all the way back then. Well done to them.

Andrew and Tamsin glow in satisfaction. They feel as if they’ve learned something.

The credits are squashed as the announcer forces a link.

Next on BBC Four, the Secret History of Hungarian Tramways.

Lauren Laverne descripts.



A cubist beehive.

Golden squares, fade from yellow to orange.

Flickering, shimmering.

The soothing sounds, dug from the archives.

Water-filled wine glasses played with a precise fingertip.


Two whole tones, followed by a semitone interval.

A brief pause.

On a fourteen second loop.

Such a brave new world.

BBC Four begins at 7:00pm.


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