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Mark Gatiss On John Min­ton: The Lost Man Of British Art, 9pm, BBC Four

THE sense of shar­ing a per­sonal pas­sion that Mark Gatiss brings to this lov­ing por­trait of the bril­liant il­lus­tra­tor, painter and teacher John Min­ton marks the film out and makes it a joy. With his dark good looks and rapidly evolv­ing style, Min­ton flour­ished on the bo­hemian Soho scene of the post-war era, rub­bing shoul­ders with the likes of Fran­cis Ba­con and Lu­cian Freud (who painted his por­trait in 1952). His paint­ings and daz­zlingly bright book il­lus­tra­tion soon brought him best-seller lev­els of fame, hailed as one of the ris­ing tal­ents of his gen­er­a­tion by Vogue mag­a­zine. Yet a dark and lonely streak ran through much of his work, rooted partly in the ten­sion he ex­pe­ri­enced as a gay man in a re­pres­sive so­ci­ety that branded his search for love il­le­gal. By 1957, he was dead by his own hand, aged only 39, and with his work al­ready fad­ing from pub­lic mem­ory. Fol­low­ing his foot­steps, Gatiss does a by turns vivid and melan­choly job of bring­ing him back into the light.

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