Our Classical Century


Series 1 - Episode 4 1980s-Present



Many touchstones in this final instalment bring home the popularisation and democratisation of classical music from the 1980s up to now. Ravel’s Bolero zoomed up the pop charts in 1984 thanks to Torvill and Dean’s skating triumph. They’re on hand here, as are Nigel Kennedy, who reinvigorated “aural candy floss” Vivaldi in 1989, and Vanessa-Mae, who irked traditionalists with her hot-pants-in-Ibiza pop-video take on Bach.

The Three Tenors’ Nessun Dorma and the birth of Classic FM are all ticked off Suzy Klein’s checklist, co-hosting here rather superfluously with Alexandra Burke. And Anna Meredith, whose fabulous work lit up the Albert Hall last year, praises the “massively freeing” state of modern composition.


Suzy Klein and Alexandra Burke explore the world of classical music from the 1980s until the present day when the walls between classical and popular culture began to come down. Classical music and opera were the soundtrack of great national moments of joy and sadness, of entertainment and mourning, and also became accessible to millions through the advent of new technologies. Featuring performances by Nigel Kennedy and Steven Isserlis, and contributions from Sir Simon Rattle, Vanessa-Mae and Torvill and Dean. Last in the series.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Suzy Klein
Presenter Alexandra Burke
Director James Giles
Editor Guy Crossman
Editor Ian Merrylees
Executive Producer Richard Bradley
Executive Producer Steve Condie
Producer James Giles
Producer Mira Aroyo
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