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All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry

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Episode 3/3: Upper Class, Tuesday 19th June, 10pm, Channel 4

Grayson Perry - one of Britain's leading artists and winner of the Turner Prize - has always been fascinated by taste: why people buy the things they do, wear the things they wear and what they're trying to say about themselves when they make those choices. For the last year he's been travelling around Britain to the places, events and social rituals where people reveal the most about themselves - visiting people's houses, inspecting their possessions, decor, and cars - to explore the details of modern life, and the truths those details reveal about ourselves.

The three-part series sees him go on safari through the taste tribes of Britain - from the working classes of Sunderland to the middle classes of Tunbridge Wells and finally the upper classes of the Cotswolds - in a bid to get to grips with our differing takes on taste. But Grayson won't just be observing our taste - he'll also create a series of six imposing tapestries called ‘The Vanity of Small Differences' - his personal but panoramic take on the taste of 21st century Britain.

In his final journey to explore what our taste says about us, Grayson Perry lives amongst the upper classes of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire, and meets The Marquess of Bath and Longleat and Bohemian Detmar Blow along the way. "A sucker", as he freely admits, "for a crumbly old stately home", he is interested in analysing the continuing hold that upper class taste still has on the British imagination, and wants to know whether it is still something the rest of us should aspire to.

He finds that upper class taste can be as much a burden as a blessing. The reverence of the people he meets for tradition, ancestral inheritance and appropriateness makes Grayson wonder whether that makes it more difficult to develop taste of their own. Turning instead to the "new money" incomers who are increasingly buying up the Cotswolds stately homes, he asks why we assume that their taste is somehow worse than the old aristocrats' taste.

Finally, Grayson invites all of the contributors he has met to the unveiling of the tapestries he has made about their taste. As owners of magnificent old houses, they know plenty about tapestries - but Grayson's 21st Century take on the tapestry tradition - with his own very personal take on their taste - proves to be very different from the tapestries they're used to.

Episode 2/3: Middle Class, Tuesday 12th June, 10pm, Channel 4

Grayson Perry - one of Britain's leading artists and winner of the Turner Prize - has always been fascinated by taste: why people buy the things they do, wear the things they wear and what they're trying to say about themselves when they make those choices. For the last year he's been travelling around Britain to the places, events and social rituals where people reveal the most about themselves - visiting people's houses, inspecting their possessions, decor, and cars - to explore the details of modern life, and the truths those details reveal about ourselves.

The three-part series sees him go on safari through the taste tribes of Britain - from the working classes of Sunderland to the middle classes of Tunbridge Wells and finally the upper classes of the Cotswolds - in a bid to get to grips with our differing takes on taste. But Grayson won't just be observing our taste - he'll also create a series of six imposing tapestries called ‘The Vanity of Small Differences' - his personal but panoramic take on the taste of 21st century Britain.

In episode two, Grayson Perry embeds himself with the British middle classes in and around Tunbridge Wells. As someone originally from a working class background, but now living in middle class Islington, Perry is fascinated by social mobility and the rise of a new middle class. He begins his journey in Kings Hill, a new development of executive housing in Kent. He finds a world of aspirational, brand-led taste, with people keen to demarcate themselves from the working-class tastes they have left behind, but uncertain what new taste signals to send out.

"This is the class that are most aware of the meaning and status of the things that they buy... they're (the) most self-conscious ..." says Grayson.

Moving on to the middle-class heartland of Tunbridge Wells, Grayson explores the taste obsessions - from organic food and gastropubs, to vintage furniture and dinner parties - of the traditional middle classes. These are the Britons most acutely self-conscious about what their taste decisions say about themselves. But Grayson finds that, for all the differences between the many middle class "taste tribes" he meets, there is an emotional undercurrent all of their tastes share: a burning desire to show what good people they are. For the middle classes in particular, taste is a deeply moral issue.

Finally, Grayson invites all of the people he meets in Tunbridge Wells and Kings Hill to an unveiling of the tapestries he has made about their taste.

Episode 1/3: Working Class, Tuesday 5th June, 10pm, Channel 4

Grayson Perry has always been fascinated by taste - why people buy the things they do, wear the things they wear and what they are trying to say about themselves when they make those choices.

For the last year he's been travelling around Britain to the events and social rituals where people reveal the most about themselves. He's been visiting people's houses, inspecting their possessions, decor, and cars. Grayson Perry, one of Britain's leading artists, and winner of the Turner Prize, explores the details of modern life, and the truths those details tell us about ourselves through his art.And that's why he's decided to tackle the subject of taste for Channel 4.

In this three-part series, he goes on safari through the taste tribes of Britain, not just to observe our taste, but to tell us in an artwork what it means. The work he'll be creating is a series of six imposing tapestries called ‘The Vanity of Small Differences' - his personal but panoramic take on the taste of 21st century Britain.

In each episode, he'll embed himself with people from across our social spectrum - the working classes of Sunderland, the middle classes of Tunbridge Wells and the upper classes of the Cotswolds - in a bid to get to grips with our differing takes on taste. He will shop, eat, drink and socialise with his hosts, learning about and taking part in the revealing rituals of the Great British public.

Grayson Perry begins his journey in Sunderland, a city with strong working-class traditions and a proud heritage of shipbuilding and coal mining. Originally from a working-class background himself, Perry is interested in how our own family background - and the class journey we take shapes the way we define ourselves through what we wear, buy and how we live.

Perry goes to the places in Sunderland where the taste of the town is most on show:with the men of the city, he talks custom cars at the Hot Car Meet, body art at tattoo parlours and gyms, and football at the annual local derby with Newcastle United. And with the women, he puts his transvestism to good use, by dressing up for a big girls' night out on the town.

Perry discovers a culture of flamboyant display in Sunderland, as well as some surprising "ancestral echoes" of his own upbringing. He also confronts head-on the snobbery that surrounds many people's view of working-class taste.

But it's at a local working men's club, Heppies, that Perry experiences the epiphany that inspires his tapestries about taste in Britain, planting the seed of the big themes of class, taste and social mobility that will inform the work.

Finally, Perry invites all the people he meets in Sunderland down to London for an unveiling of his finished tapestry series, prompting a fascinating debate about what Perry has chosen to reflect back to them about their taste.

Director: Neil Crombie
Executive Producer: Dinah Lord
Production Company: Seneca Productions
Commissioning Editor: Tabitha Jackson

Past TX Information

ALL IN THE BEST POSSIBLE TASTE WITH GRAYSON PERRY 3/3
22 Jun 2012, 01:25
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