To mark the end of the Queen's 90th birthday year, BBC One repeated Elizabeth at 90 – a Family Tribute. It was shown again at 2.10pm on Sunday 18 December. At its first transmission in April, it garnered 9.9 million viewers, achieving the highest audience of any BBC One programme that month.
BBC Four repeated John Bridcut's feature-length documentary Britten's Endgame on Sunday 4th December at 7.30pm, and it remains on iPlayer until early January. Through his final opera Death in Venice (featuring the tenor John Graham-Hall in the role of Gustav von Aschenbach), the film explores Britten's stream of creativity in the face of death, and the broadcast will mark the 40th anniversary of the day he died in 1976.
The 18-year-old schoolboy who was the inspiration for some of Benjamin Britten's music in the late 1930s has died in Australia at the age of 96. Wulff Scherchen, the son of the conductor Hermann Scherchen, first met Britten in Italy when he was only 13, and later developed an intense relationship with the composer, whose long affair with the singer Peter Pears had not yet begun. Scherchen described his feelings for Britten in an extraordinarily frank and touching interview in John Bridcut's 2004 film Britten's Children. He was shown re-visiting Britten's home in Suffolk, and sat on the floor as he remembered Britten playing Beethoven for him on the piano, which reduced him to tears of happiness. When their affair finally ended in the middle of the war, Scherchen married Pauline Woolford, took her surname, and from then on was known as John Woolford. Their marriage lasted 72 years until Pauline died earlier this year. His story was more fully documented in Bridcut's book Britten's Children, published in 2006. The book and the film are both available from the shop on this website.
The composer, Edmund Jolliffe, has been nominated for a Royal Television Society award for his score for Elizabeth at 90 – A Family Tribute, broadcast on BBC One in April. It was one of only three nominations in the Music category. Producer John Bridcut said: "Edmund's music is both inventive and original in the way it supports, but does not compete with, the images in The Queen's home movies. We are thrilled that his skill has been recognised in this nomination, as his contribution to the documentary was distinctive and remarkable." Jolliffe's previous work for Crux includes A Jubilee Tribute to the Queen (2012) and he also wrote the music for Charles at 60: The Passionate Prince (2008) and Fantastic Mr Dahl (2005).
Elizabeth at 90 – A Family Tribute has now been issued on DVD by BBC Worldwide, and is available from normal DVD retailers as well as on this website. It is also being distributed for international broadcast. The DVD contains the extended, feature-length version of the programme, as shown on BBC One on Sunday 24 April.
The Crux team has been celebrating its recent successes with what looks like its own label of Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough in New Zealand. "This wine", the label says, "certainly lives up to its namesake by setting palates a-twinkle". We like to be thought of as "bursting with zesty lime and tropical fruit aromas to create a super-fresh flavour". It makes enjoyable drinking under the Southern Cross constellation apparently, though in Britain we would have to travel back to the fourth millennium BC to test that experience. Available to all Crux supporters at Morrisons for £9 a bottle.