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The Changin’ Times of Ike White
The story of Ike White, who recorded a legendary soul album while in jail for murder.
In 1974, Ike White recorded an album while serving life for murder. The album became his ticket to freedom. But, just as he was on the cusp of stardom, Ike disappeared.
Ike White was a gifted and critically acclaimed musician whose talent was discovered while he was serving a life sentence for murder. When he was released, he went into hiding under a pseudonym for decades. Masking his dark past, he had an incredible story that he hadn't told a soul.
Director Dan Vernon and producer Vivienne Perry spent 18 months tracking down Ike after hearing a track credited to him on an album of music recorded in prison. By then, he was known as ‘David Maestro’, his final assumed name after a lifetime of false identities. He had made an extraordinary journey from being in jail to industry adulation from the likes of Stevie Wonder. Ike was given the chance to record while he was inside by legendary producer Jerry Goldstein, who heard him play in a prison band. Jerry believed Ike was the next Jimi Hendrix and persuaded the prison governor to allow a recording studio into his jail - they created an album called Changin’ Times, viewed as a lost classic of soul and funk.
A huge campaign led to Ike's release and his life sentence was reduced. But then he disappeared. It was as if he’d been waiting for us to find him,’ says Dan. ‘He wanted to tell us his story.’ After a week filming with him, Ike gave Dan a box of personal archive with the promise of more the next time they met. But weeks after giving Dan the exclusive interview, Ike committed suicide. His widow asked Dan to come and visit, and revealed a wealth of videos, diaries and photographs that Ike had stored to tell his life story since he’d left prison. This incredible personal archive revealed a catalogue of different lives lived, wives and children, disconnected by false names and changed locations. It also revealed the enduring and powerful urge of an artist to create art from their experience.
Ike’s music serves as the only common thread in a narrative of fractured identities and reinventions. In this compelling feature documentary, extraordinary animation combines with Ike’s archive to try to understand and get inside the head of this complex, talented and ultimately damaged man.
The Burger and the King
A remarkable guided tour through the culinary world of Elvis Presley. (1996)
Fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are on the menu as Arena documents the life and cuisine of Elvis Presley - whose talent was matched by his appetite. (1996)
A remarkable guided tour through the culinary world of Elvis Presley, in his later years famed as much for his appetite as for his music. The King's passion for food is recounted by close friends, relatives and personal cooks who share the recipes that kept their idol happy. From the squirrel and raccoon dishes of his youth to the fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches that contributed to his demise. (1996)
- James Marsh
Desert Island Discs
A celebration of Roy Plomley's radio favourite with some celebrity castaways' help.
First transmitted in 1982, Arena celebrates Roy Plomley's classic radio favourite, with the help of celebrity castaways, including Frankie Howerd, Arthur Askey and Paul McCartney.
First transmitted in 1982, Arena celebrates Roy Plomley's Desert Island Discs with the help of many celebrity castaways, including Frankie Howerd, Russell Harty, Trevor Brooking, the Lord Mayor of London, Professor JK Galbraith and Arthur Askey. The special guest for the 40th anniversary programme was Paul McCartney who was also a fan of the show: 'I love its homeliness. It conjures up the best in traditional British pleasure, like the great British breakfast. It's an honour to be asked'.
- Executive Producer
- Anthony Wall
Six Days in September
Profile of John Hoyland, seen by many as England's finest abstract painter. (1979)
First transmitted in 1979, Arena profiles John Hoyland, seen by many as England's finest abstract painter.
First transmitted in 1979, Arena profiles John Hoyland, seen by many as England's finest abstract painter.
As a major retrospective of his work opens in London, Hoyland faces hostile criticism, starts a new painting and explains why, in his bleaker moments, painting can seem little more than ' flicking away in a corner with a feather duster '.
Chelsea Hotel in New York, a haven for some of the 20th Century's greatest talent. (1981)
First transmitted in 1981, this documentary looks at the New York's Chelsea Hotel - a haven for some of the 20th Century's greatest talents, from Mark Twain to Dylan Thomas.
First transmitted in 1981, this documentary programme looks at New York's Chelsea Hotel, a legendary haven for some of the 20th Century's greatest talent, from Mark Twain to Dylan Thomas. With appearances from Andy Warhol and William Burroughs, who have dinner in the room where Arthur C Clarke wrote 2001, and Quentin Crisp, who lived in the hotel for more than 35 years.
Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus
Jim White takes a road trip into the heart of the poor white American South. (2004)
First transmitted in 2004, Jim White takes a road trip into the heart of the poor white American South through a gritty terrain of churches, prisons, truckstops and coalmines.
First transmitted in 2004, this is a stunningly-photographed, thought-provoking road trip into the heart of the poor white American South. Singer Jim White takes his 1970 Chevy Impala through a gritty terrain of churches, prisons, truckstops, biker bars and coalmines.
Along the way are roadside encounters with present-day musical mavericks the Handsome Family, David Johansen, David Eugene Edwards of 16 Horsepower and old-time banjo player Lee Sexton, and grisly stories from the cult Southern novelist Harry Crews.
Masters Of The Canvas
Pop artist Peter Blake's fascination with masked wrestler Kendo Nagasaki. (1992)
When pop artist Peter Blake confessed that his fantasy was to be the mysterious masked wrestler Kendo Nagasaki, little did he know what the consequences would be. (1992)
When pop artist Peter Blake confessed that his fantasy was to be the mysterious masked wrestler Kendo Nagasaki, who never speaks and never removes his mask, little did he know what the consequences would be.
Poet and television producer Paul Yates, also fascinated by the persona of Nagasaki, read the article and proceeded to research the possibility of Blake painting Nagasaki's portrait as a centrepiece for a film which would also, he hoped, include an exclusive interview with Nagasaki himself. Does he exist outside the ring and, if so, who is he? (1992)
Into the Limelight - Tribute Bands
Meet the musicians who perform in tribute acts at the Limelight Club in Crewe. (2007)
Meet the musicians who perform at Crewe's Limelight Club, where the spirit of rock is alive in the form of tribute acts to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain. (2007)
An affectionate look at what goes on behind the scenes of the Limelight Club in Crewe, where for ten years tribute acts to the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Phil Lynott have been providing a post-industrial town the chance to hear some legendary live music.
In the Limelight, a converted Methodist church, the spirit of rock is alive, along with Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Phil Lynott - in reality John, Keith and Wayne. The posters on the club walls display more than a decade of tribute-band entertainment by the likes of Pink Fraud and Stairway to Zeppelin. Arena reveals the characters offering locals the opportunity to hear their favourite music performed live. (2007)
Voices from the Island
Nelson Mandela and other ex-prisoners recall their incarceration on Robben Island. (1994)
Nelson Mandela and his fellow ex-prisoners recall their incarceration on Robben Island, South Africa's Alcatraz. (1994)
Nelson Mandela and his fellow ex-prisoners recall their incarceration on South Africa's Robben Island. For three decades, the island housed not only political prisoners but convicts, lepers and the mentally ill. Yet amidst the hopelessness, Nelson Mandela and his comrades devised strategies and subterfuges with which they transformed life on the island, while the vision of a new South Africa began to take shape. (1994)
Miller Meets Mandela
Nelson Mandela talks to Arthur Miller in a rare and momentous interview. (1991)
Following his release from prison, Nelson Mandela opens up about his life and the turbulent times he's faced in this rare and momentous interview with Arthur Miller. (1991)
For the first time since his release from 27 years of imprisonment Nelson Mandela opens up about his life and the turbulent times he's faced in this momentous, in-depth and revealing interview with Arthur Miller. From the intimate setting at his home in Soweto, South Africa, Mandela discusses the popularity and rise to power of the ANC movement and the pivotal role it played in the overthrow of the Apartheid regime. Plus he shares his thoughts on the future of South Africa, exploring both his hopes and fears in relation to the political, social and economic prospects of the country, putting particular emphasis on his 'Freedom Charter' - his personal vision for South Africa. (1991)
Blues Night Sonny Boy Williamson Sings
Rare footage of the harmonica blues player Sonny Boy Williamson. (1985)
First transmitted in 1985, Blues Night presents rare footage of the harmonica blues player Sonny Boy Williamson.
First transmitted in 1985, Blues Night presents rare footage of the harmonica blues player Sonny Boy Williamson, who gave B.B. King his big break in 1948. ‘He was on the radio doing live performances when I first came to Memphis. He put me on his show to do this one song – a lady saloon-keeper hired me that day and I’ve worked ever since,’ King explained to the Radio Times.
Blues Night B.B. King Speaks
John Walters talks to B.B. King about his extraordinary life. (1985)
First transmitted in 1985, John Walters talks to B.B. King about his extraordinary life, from a childhood picking cotton in Mississippi to worldwide stardom.
First transmitted in 1985, John Walters talks to B.B. King - aided by his guitar Lucille - about his extraordinary life, from a childhood picking cotton in Mississippi to worldwide stardom.
Blues Night Chicago Blues
Performances by Muddy Waters, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy. (1985)
First transmitted in 1985, performances by Muddy Waters, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy showcase the tough urban music of Chicago.
First transmitted in 1985, Harley Cokliss’ classic blues documentary includes performances by Muddy Waters, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy, and shows how the tough urban music of Chicago developed out of the original rural blues.
Blues Night Blind John Davis
Studs Terkel and pianist Blind John Davis meet in Chicago to discuss the blues. (1985)
First transmitted in 1985, journalist Studs Terkel and pianist Blind John Davis meet in a Chicago bar to discuss and play the blues.
First transmitted in 1985, the great Chicago broadcaster and journalist Studs Terkel and pianist Blind John Davis meet in a downtown bar to discuss and play the blues. This interview was shot for "Omnibus: Studs Terkel's Chicago" but not shown in the final programme.
Blues Night Blues Medley
Blues medley featuring Fred McDowell, Lead Belly and Billie Holiday. (1985)
First transmitted in 1985, this medley of the blues features Fred McDowell, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Lead Belly and Billie Holiday.
First transmitted in 1985, this medley of the blues features Fred McDowell, Thomas 'Georgia Tom' Dorsey, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.
Huddie Ledbetter - better known as 'Lead Belly' - performs 'Pick a Bale of Cotton', and Billie Holiday accompanied by Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster and Roy Eldridge, performs her own composition 'Fine and Mellow'.
Blues Night Big Bill Blues
Big Bill Broonzy sings and plays the blues in a Belgian nightclub. (1985)
First transmitted in 1985, Big Bill Broonzy sings and plays the blues in a Belgian nightclub.
First transmitted in 1985, hard blues meets film noir as Big Bill Broonzy sings and plays in a Belgian nightclub back in the 1950s.
- Big Bill Broonzy
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