3D is huge at the moment. Almost every animated movie in the cinema these days is watched with a pair of 3D glasses, with Pixar recently remastering Toy Storys 1 & 2 in the format. Over the last year, a crop of horror sequels and remakes have been given the 3D treatment, and next month it’s set to get even bigger with James Cameron’s space epic Avatar, the most eagerly anticipated film of the year. Next year, special 3D televisions will start to come on to the market, with Sky launching the Sky 3D channel through it’s Sky+ HD service.
Next week, Channel Four gets in on the act, with a week of 3D programmes which you can watch with a pair of glasses you can pick up for free from Sainsbury’s. Unlike Sky’s state-of-the-art system which uses Circular Polarized 3D (similar to the system used in the cinema), Channel Four is using the more basic anaglyphic ColorCodeViewer 3D, which uses blue and amber filters. While the effect isn’t as amazing as with polarised glasses, it’s still good and most importantly you don’t need to buy a brand new television set to use it. So, what treats do Channel Four have lined up for us over the week? Let’s have a look…
The Paul O’Grady Show
The week kicks off with a few 3D moments throughout Monday evening’s Paul O’Grady Show.
Monday 16 November, 5pm on Channel 4
The Queen in 3D
This promises to be quite astonishing. In 1953, a pair of young film makers named Bob Angell and Arthur Wooster made a 3D colour newsreel of the Queen, entitled “Royal Review”, taking in her journey to the Coronation at Westminster Abbey and various other events including the Queen watching the Derby at Epsom, hosting a garden party and a taking a trip on the Royal Barge on the Thames. This two-part documentry will tell their story and show the incredible footage they made, as well as three other 3D films also commisioned by the BFI for the Festival of Britain, including “Sunshine Miners” which shows the rebuilding of post-war industrial Britain with vast machines turning farmland into coal mines, which should be quite a sight in 3D .
Part 1: Monday 16 November, 9pm on Channel 4
Part 2:Tuesday 17 November, 9pm on Channel 4
Derren Brown Presents the 3D Magic Spectacular
Derren’s recent “Events” series was a little hit and miss, but he has enough of a track record to prove he’s a great entertainer. Here, he hosts as some of the world’s top magicians join him on stage to perform dazzling trickery in 3D, along with some archive clips. Expect playing cards to fly in your face, and all sorts of other 3D gimmicks in what should be a spectacular show.
Monday 16 November, 10pm on Channel 4
Flesh for Frankenstein
When we think of 3D, we often think of 1950’s horror B-movies, one of a number of gimmicks producers would use to get people into the cinema in the face of the increasing popularity of television. This, however was from a couple of decades later, directed by Paul Morrissey and produced by Andy Warhol (it was indeed marketed in the US as “Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein”). An offbeat take on the Frankenstein story, the famous doctor is given fascistic overtones as he tries to build a super-race by making the perfect male and female from parts of corpses. With some quite graphic horror and plenty of naughty bits, this is definitely the weirdest offering of the week.
Wednesday 18 November, 12.40am on Channel 4
Friday the 13th Part III
A more mainstream horror movie, part of the early-eighties 3D renaissance that also gave us Jaws 3-D and Amityville 3-D, this was originally intended to be the closing part of a trilogy, attempting to end the Friday the 13th slasher franchise in 1982. Seriously. Nine films and a TV series later, we know the idea by now – Jason turns up in his trademark hockey mask and terrorises a group of teenagers camping in the woods.
Friday 20 November, 10pm on Channel 4
The Greatest Ever 3D Moments
Channel Four loves a good countdown show, this one looking back at the ten (yes, just ten) greatest three-dimensional moments from cinema and television should be great fun. But does this also mean we’ll see Stuart Maconie and David Quantick in 3D, and if so, do we really want that? Really, do we?
Saturday 21 November, 9.20pm on Channel 4
Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert
Every theme week is going to have a weak link and here it is. The Jonas Brothers make an appearance for good measure. If this was shown on the previous Sunday to open the week, a think a lot of people would be tuning in just to see how it looks, but by the end of the week I think we’ll have had our fill of 3D. Exciting as it is, I don’t think I’ll bother with 3D Miley. But, something for everyone, right?
Sunday 22 November, 3pm on Channel 4
As well as these programmes, there will be 3D videos sent in by viewers shown during continuity junctions, and some more 3D pop performances and interviews during the weekend’s T4.