The Best Episodes Directed by Graham Strong
#1 - Airfix
James May's Toy Stories Season 1 - Episode 1
James takes model aeroplanes to a new level when he tries to make a full-size Spitfire out of Airfix. The venture soon hits problems when it becomes clear the giant 36-foot pieces may not be strong enough, and nobody knows how they will fit together. James hopes he can enthuse a group of reluctant teenagers to help him pull it off - but he soon realises he has another big battle on his hands convincing them it is a hobby to be proud of.
#2 - China
Man vs. Wild Season 4 - Episode 9
In Southern China Grylls arrives in the aftermath of a tropical typhoon. He tackles swollen rivers, scales slippery limestone faces, avoids disaster with stinging ants, and utilizes ancient tribal techniques to catch bats for food.
#3 - Plasticine
James May's Toy Stories Season 1 - Episode 2
James tries to make a garden entirely out of Plasticine and then enter it at the Chelsea Flower Show. He persuades thousands of members of the British public to help make the thousands of Plasticine flowers he needs, but will it be enough to persuade the guardians of the world's most prestigious horticultural event to let him make a garden with no real flowers in it? While visiting celebrities like Stephen Fry and Joanna Lumley are clearly impressed with James's creation, the RHS judges take a dimmer view, forcing James to defy tradition and take matters into his own hands.
#4 - The Wonder of Weeds
BBC Documentaries Season 2011 - Episode 125
Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins celebrates the humble and sometimes hated plants we call weeds. He discovers that there is no such thing as a weed, botanically speaking, and that in fact what we call a weed has changed again and again over the last three hundred years. Chris uncovers the story of our changing relationship with weeds - in reality, the story of the battle between wilderness and civilisation. He finds out how weeds have been seen as beautiful and useful in the past, and sees how their secrets are being unlocked today in order to transform our crops. Finally, Chris asks whether, in our quest to eliminate Japanese Knotweed or Rhododendron Ponticum, we are really engaged in an arms race we can never win. We remove weeds from our fields and gardens at our peril.
#5 - The Rules of Abstraction with Matthew Collings
BBC Documentaries Season 2014 - Episode 201
Documentary in which painter and critic Matthew Collings charts the rise of abstract art over the last 100 years, whilst trying to answer a set of basic questions that many people have about this often-baffling art form. How do we respond to abstract art when we see it? Is it supposed to be hard or easy? When abstract artists chuck paint about with abandon, what does it mean? Does abstract art stand for something or is it supposed to be understood as just itself? These might be thought of as unanswerable questions, but by looking at key historical figures and exploring the private world of abstract artists today, Collings shows that there are, in fact, answers. Living artists in the programme create art in front of the camera using techniques that seem outrageously free, but through his friendly-yet-probing interview style Collings immediately establishes that the work always has a firm rationale. When Collings visits 92-year-old Bert Irvin in his studio in Stepney, east London he finds that the colourful works continue experiments in perceptual ideas about colour and space first established by abstract art pioneers such as Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky in the 1910s. Other historic artists featured in the programme include the notorious Jackson Pollock, the maker of drip paintings, and Mark Rothko, whose abstractions often consist of nothing but large expanses of red. Collings explains the inner structure of such works. It turns out there are hidden rules to abstraction that viewers of this intriguing, groundbreaking programme may never have expected.
#6 - Titanic: A Commemoration in Music and Film
BBC Documentaries Season 2012 - Episode 77
A unique blend of music and documentary, the show features special performances from Bryan Ferry, Joss Stone, Nicola Benedetti, Alfie Boe, Charlie Siem, Maverick Sabre and the Ulster Orchestra. The performances wrap around a documentary which tells the story of the ill-fated ship, those who built her, the people who sailed on her and the enduring legacy of the tragedy.