BBC TwoThis World


Page last updated at 17:14 GMT, Thursday, 29 January 2009

Mandela at 90

This World has gained rare access to Nelson Mandela, after years of retirement from public life.

Nelson Mandela
Mandela at 90
Saturday, 31 January, 2009
2100 GMT on BBC Two

The film follows him at work in his office, on his travels and during some of his private moments.

For one year the cameras have closely yet discretely followed him as he meets the famous and the humble, the wealthy and the poor.

The film begins with a busy trip to Europe as he visits London, Paris and Monte Carlo to raise money for the children and young adults who are supported by his foundations.

Back home, "Madiba", as he is often called in South Africa, visits hospitals, meets world celebrities and statesmen and takes a little time off.

The documentary follows him as he prepares to return to London to raise further awareness around the HIV epidemic and to celebrate his 90th birthday.

Nelson Mandela has not done media interviews since 2004 and this behind-the-scenes documentary reveals the private man - irreverent, never cowed by authority and a formidable charmer.

Not only does Mandela meet public figures such as Gordon Brown and the Queen, but we also get glimpses of more personal encounters as he follows daily routines, voices his thoughts and reminisces about his origins and his years in prison on Robben Island.

In the background are a group of people with the task of safeguarding his legacy and protecting the Mandela brand from those who want to exploit it.

His evolution to mega-celebrity was never planned and their task is to maintain the integrity of his image.

This World talks to three of them - Achmat Dangor, the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Zelda La Grange, Mandela's executive assistant and spokesperson, and Verne Harris, the foundation's archivist.

The programme also includes interviews with Mandela's wife Graca Machel, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

This World will be broadcast on Saturday 31 January at 2100 GMT on BBC Two.

Producer: Denis Strauss

Director: Clifford Bestall

Executive producer: Lucy Hetherington

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