HBO – The One to Watch

BBC Radio 2

IN this richly illustrated feature the screen writer, actor and comedian, Stephen Merchant considers the unparalleled success of the entertainment giant, Home Box Office. He charts the pioneering development of the organisation as the first cable-channel in Manhattan with a special interest in boxing to its international lead in sport, drama and film for television – it has 40 million subscribers, roughly one-third of households – across America alone.

We go on Sex and the City location in New York and out to New Jersey with the Sopranos. We hear from leading figures working on both sides of the camera including Aidan Gillen from the Wire, Jane Alexander the star of the US release, Tell Me You Love Me as well as Peter Bogdanovich, Terence Winter and David Chase, the core team behind The Sopranos. Alexei Sayle joins in asan obsessive fan, who like many of us, is transported by the lives of people in the invented worlds created by HBO. HBO is changing film making and tv watching simultaneously.. join Stephen Merchant to hear how HBO has become The One to Watch.

Produced by Judith Kampfner

Broadcast: February 2008