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BBC Plans Extensive Series Of Elvis Programs

December 07, 2009 | Other
BBC TV and radio are lining up a massive series of programming across the network to celebrate what would have been Elvis Presley's 75th birthday in January.
In a repeat of the formula used to mark the release of The Beatles Remasters series in September, the two-week season starts on Boxing Day and runs until the singer's birthdate on January 8.
Radio 2 will broadcast 10 documentaries covering various aspects of Presley's career, from his gospel roots and relationship with Dewey Phillips, the first DJ to champion his music, to his movie output and the branding which turned him into an icon.
The series begins at 10pm on December 26 with model and actress Jerry Hall presenting Gospel According To The King, about Presley's roots in church music. This is followed by a two-part examination of his acting career, Movie King Or Celluloid Sell Out?, at 11.30pm on December 28 and 29, presented by music journalist Paul Morley.
The second episode will be preceded by Paul Gambaccini's documentary Red, Hot And Blue, about Presley's relationship with Phillips. Gambaccini is also the presenter of Elvis The Brand, a two- parter broadcast on January 4 and 5. Gambaccini describes the programme as the story of "cultural obsession for what is arguably the most influential celebrity brand in history. This is analysis of Elvis as both cultural icon and commercial goldmine".
Among other programmes are Don't Start Me Talking About Elvis, an oral history of The King's fans first broadcast in 2007, while Rob Brydon's World Of Elvis: The Las Vegas Years on January 2 explores Presley's tenure in Sin City.
Elvis: When The King Met The President on January 5 tells the story of his 1973 visit to then US president Richard Nixon to offer his services in the fight against drug abuse and Communist brainwashing while Seventies pop star Suzi Quatro presents Graceland on January 7, about her lifelong fascination with Presley, including an anecdote about the occasion in 1974 when she declined an invitation to visit him at his lavish abode.
And, in the wake of his extended radio profiles of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Judy Garland, pop historian Michael Freedland marks The King's life with a six-part series starting on Elvis's birthday on January 8.
On television, BBC Two will dedicate the evening of January 2 to an Elvis Night comprising the in-concert films Elvis Presley: The Comeback from 1968 and 1973's Elvis In Hawaii, as well as a compilation of his home movies, and a new documentary, Elvis In Vegas. This is executive-produced by BBC TV head of music Mark Cooper and will examine "the untold story" of how Presley's career was transformed by his on-off residency in Las Vegas from 1969 until his death in 1977, and also how this boosted the Nevada city's fortunes.
Directed by Jeremy Marre, the film aims to show how the scheming of manager "Colonel" Tom Parker and the excesses of Vegas in turn destroyed Presley. Among contributors are his wife Priscilla Presley, Tom Jones, Nancy Sinatra and songwriters Leiber & Stoller.

The season is brought to a close with a two-hour edition of Claudia Winkleman's Arts Show on BBC Two on January 8, rounding up Presley's career and examining his legacy. 

Vegas Sun wrote on December 07, 2009
I hope they pay more attention to detail in their story, than they did in their press release. Last time I checked, Elvis visited Nixon in 12/1970, not 1973.
DeLorean wrote on December 07, 2009
All that good publicity and all you can point out is a typo. Anyway, can't wait for this - very good news.
Vegas Sun wrote on December 08, 2009
That`s quite the typo. BTW, the 3 key is nowhere near the 0 key. It`s a factual error, not a typo. There are many well done documentaries on Elvis, hopefully this is another one, but yes, that`s what I pointed out, it`s a bad error in a press release. We`ll see how the finished product is, I hope it`s good.
al shookup wrote on December 08, 2009
Surely they could have used someone better than Jerry Hall! What with her boring monotonous voice and her lack of knowledge about anything except making a quick buck, she will be sending us all to sleep in no time at all.
Brian Quinn wrote on December 08, 2009
Although, at first glance, the BBC2 radio programmes look impressive they are all on late at night when not many people will be listening. In contrast Michael Jackson has massive prime time TV and radio exposure with concerts, documentaries, tribute shows and a six part competition 'Dance Like Michael Jackson. Even Abba has more than Elvis. Not very impressed.
Steve V wrote on December 08, 2009
How about for the 75th a nice DVD anthology set akin to the Beatles Anthology. Now that would be something worth celebrating. All these years later and there is not a decent DVD anthology put out on Elvis. Nothing but DVDs by Mafia hangers on, ex-girlfriends, and shoddy cheap video companies. A real shame.