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Monitor (TV series)

For the NBC Radio program from 1955 to 1975, see Monitor (NBC Radio).
For the NBC TV newsmagazine from 1983 to 1984, see Monitor (TV).

Monitor was a BBC arts programme that was launched on 2 February 1958 and ran until 1965.

Huw Wheldon was the first editor from 1958 to 1965. He was also the principal interviewer and anchor. Wheldon set about moulding a team of talents, including John Schlesinger, Ken Russell, Patrick Garland, David Jones, Humphrey Burton, John Berger, Peter Newington, Melvyn Bragg, Nancy Thomas[1] and Alan Tyrer. Monitor ranged in subject over all the arts.

The hundredth programme, made in 1962, was a film directed by Ken Russell and written by Wheldon, the celebrated Elgar. The Elgar film was innovative because it was the first time that an arts programme showed one long film about an artistic figure instead of short items, and also it was the first time that re-enactments were used. Prior to this, only photos or location shots had been used in programmes. Russell however still met resistance from Wheldon in allowing actors to play the subjects of his films. The Elgar film includes sequences of the young composer riding his bicycle on the Malvern Hills accompanied by Elgar's Introduction & Allegro for Strings. Russell had a particular empathy with Elgar's music because, like the composer, he was a Catholic.[2]

Wheldon's Monitor lasted until he had "interviewed everyone I am interested in interviewing", and he was succeeded by Jonathan Miller for the series' last season.

The theme tune was "Marcia" from Serenade for String Orchestra (Op. 11, 1937) by Dag Wirén.[3] The book Monitor: An Anthology, edited by Huw Wheldon, was published by Macdonald in 1962.


  1. ^ James, Anne (2015-01-15). "Nancy Thomas obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-01-24. 
  2. ^ BBC Music Magazine June 2007
  3. ^ Other British Programmes

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