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BBC2 gets ‘Real’

Life-swapping doc leads fall slate on pubcaster

LONDON — British politicians are invited to see how the other half lives in “My Week in the Real World,” one of the many docs unveiled Wednesday that are skedded for this fall on BBC2.

In “Michael Portillo — Being a Single Mother,” the Conservative politician takes time out from his swanky home in London to play the role of a single parent in Liverpool as part of the U.K. pubcaster’s £97 million ($158) program lineup, which aims to offer an “insightful, intelligent and entertaining look” at the modern world in which we live.

Britain’s rising gun and gang culture will also be examined in a series of “Guns and Gangs” docs as part of its keeping it real season.

Twenty years on from the shocking coverage of the famine in Ethiopia, which stirred Bob Geldof into organizing Band Aid, the BBC’s “Correspondent” team uncovers the stark reality of life in modern Ethiopia in “Ethiopia: Eating Stones.”

Popular documentary maker Louis Theroux returns with a program about the opening of one of America’s biggest legal brothels.

Headlining the drama slate is “Byron,” played by “Trainspotting” thesp Jonny Lee Miller; “Byron” hopes to offer an insight into the charismatic and rebellious poet while exploring contemporary themes such as the cult of celebrity and media manipulation. Comedian and thesp Steve Coogan, meanwhile, stars in “Pepys” a drama about Samuel Pepys, the philandering 17th century diarist.

Other series include: “The Millionaire Mind” will provide an insight into what it takes to make a lot of money by putting self-made millionaires through a series of psychological tests; “The Million Pound Property Experiment,” in which designer duo Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan must buy, renovate a sell seven properties in the $162,000 to $1.6 million range and see if it’s possible to make money on the deals; and “Time Commanders,” which uses the latest technology to take wannabe warriors into a virtual world to do battle with the greatest generals in history in a bid to change the course of history.

The channel seeks to take a fresh look at the lively arts in “Eroica,” which re-creates the drama of a private rehearsal of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s symphony in the palace of the composer’s patron in Vienna.

Entertainment fodder includes Stephen Fry and John Bird, who play Machiavellian spin-doctors, desperate to make the move from political communications into celebrity PR in “Absolute Power.” Fry will also host new game show “QI! (Quite Interesting)” in which contestants are rewarded for the most interesting answers regardless of whether they are correct.

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