In John Minton: The Lost Man of British Art, Doctor Who’s resident polymath Mark Gatiss tells the story of Minton’s colourful, complex and bohemian life for the first time on television

Actor and writer Mark Gatiss has been obsessed with John Minton since he first discovered his work as a teenager. “I’m thrilled to be celebrating my love of this unjustly neglected artist on BBC Four,” says Gatiss. “John Minton’s life and art shine a dazzling light on a Soho long gone and a vanished England.”

A talented modernist painter and illustrator, Minton was responsible for well known posters for London Transport and Ealing Studios. He also did a wide range of paintings, set designs, and design work. But he felt out of place amid the ascendancy of the abstract school of art and had a troubled career. Gatiss leads this reevaluation of an artist whose unfashionable style was never fully appreciated in his lifetime. Meeting his friends, contemporaries, former models and students, including Bridget Riley and Peter Blake, he comes across unseen photos, lost paintings and rare recordings of a man whose life and work seemed to disappear overnight.

John Minton: The Lost Man of British Art airs as part of a season of Monday night BBC Four documentaries. The full season includes –

  • Mark Gatiss on John Minton: The Lost Man Of British Art
  • Katherine Rundell presents Abducted – Elizabeth I’s Child Actors
  • Black British Artists – Britain’s Hidden Art History

John Minton: The Lost Man of British Art headlines an entire season of new BBC Arts documentaries across the BBC

The other BBC channels will also be getting in on the act. There will be a new imagine… documentary, and programs on Sylvia Plath and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

  • BBC One will be profiling leading British artists Tacita Dean and Rose Wylie, for imagine…
  • Viewer favourite Fake Or Fortune? also returns to BBC One
  • Over on BBC Two, revealing documentary Life Inside the Bell Jar looks into the life of Sylvia Plath.
  • BBC Two goes behind the scenes as the Royal Academy celebrates its 250th Summer Exhibition helmed by artist Grayson Perry.
  • BBC Two also takes a foray into writer Angela Carter life from her childhood to the trip to Japan which transformed the way she saw the world.
  • Meanwhile, on BBC Four, Brenda Emmanus follows acclaimed artist Sonia Boyce as she prepares to launch an ambitious new exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery.
  • In the Big British Asian Summer Season, there’s a series of three artist profiles featuring Anoushka Shankar, Mahtab Hussain, and Raqib Shaw.

Jonty Claypole, BBC Director of Arts, says: “This summer, we’re putting artists centre stage on television, as BBC Arts profiles some extraordinary artists, including John Minton, Rose Wylie, Tacita Dean and performer Anoushka Shankar, as well as going behind the scenes of the 250th Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

“We’ll also be highlighting some of the UK’s forgotten masterpieces by black and Asian British artists through Sonia Boyce’s new exhibition in Manchester. Finally, we’re delving into lives of extraordinary female writers Sylvia Plath and Angela Carter, with two intimate and revealing films.”


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