Sky Arts will broadcast two new documentaries on E M Forster and Rudyard Kipling this autumn.
"Rudyard Kipling: A Secret Life", produced and directed by Adrian Munsey and Vance Goodwin will air in October. The Odyssey Television Premiere production will explore the "private life and devastating powerful secrets of one of our most famous and acclaimed writers."
Known for his extraordinary storytelling, emotive poetry (including the perennial favourite If), classic bestsellers such as The Jungle Book and the Just So Stories, little is known about the family that influenced and transformed Kipling (pictured right) as a writer and a man.
Endorsed by The Kipling Society, the documentary will look into the writer's childhood and the loss of two of his three children. The programme will interweave an analysis of Kipling’s public life as a successful writer and his private grief, including discussion of the three short stories he wrote after two of his children's deaths – They, Mary Postgate and The Gardener. The film will also address some long-held misbeliefs about Kipling and expose the influence he had on writers as diverse as T.S. Eliot and Siegfried Sassoon. With contributions from three leading Kipling biographers, Professor Harry Ricketts, Professor Jan Montefiore and Andrew Lycett, the programme also features an original orchestral music score and readings of key extracts from his work.
Fellow Odyssey Television Premiere production "E M Forster: His Longest Journey" will also be broadcast in October. Produced and directed by Munsey and Goodwin, the show—named after the novel Forster said was the favourite of all his works—will trace Forster's development as a writer and of the recognition of his homosexuality and his need to be true to his nature.
Through interviews with his biographers and literary critics as well as Helena Bonham Carter and "Howards End" director James Ivory, the film will discuss the resonances between Forster’s own life and the words he carefully constructed and his final long relationship with Bob Buckingham, the married policeman, in whose wife’s arms Forster (pictured left) died in 1970.
Discussing his reasons for making the documentary Munsey said he actually met the writer on many occasions and was inspired by his work. He said: "I lived on the floor above him in Kings College, Cambridge and often said good morning to him, but it was when I admitted to him that The Longest Journey was the best book I had ever read that our connection became real. We went for a drink to discuss the book. There were a number of other coincidences as I lived in the same college room that he had lived in 70 years earlier. I remain inspired by him to this day."
Picture credit: Getty