Most people know W.S.
Gilbert as the writer of comic operas such as 'The Mikado' and 'H.M.S.Pinafore' with Arthur Sullivan.
But there was far more to his life and work than that.
He was a prolific playwright,.
a writer of humorous verse including the 'Bab Ballads', a gifted artist and a theatre director who helped to revolutionise the way plays were produced onstage.
In this series of programmes to mark the centenary of his death, the writer and poet Ruth Padel explores five aspects of Gilbert's work and evaluates his significance and his legacy.
Key contributors include the director Mike Leigh whose movie 'Topsy-Turvy' depicts the relationship between Gilbert and Sullivan, as well as biographers, academics and performers such as Alistair McGowan who has performed and directed Gilbert and Sullivan operas and the singer Richard Suart who recently performed in 'The Mikado' at English National Opera.
Programme 4 examines Gilbert's achievements as a theatre director and looks at the ways in which he helped revolutionise theatre production.
He was part of a new movement to end the tradition of the actor-manager and put control of stagecraft into the hands of the director.
He also displayed meticulous attention to detail as far as costumes and sets were concerned.
We hear about the way he created miniature sets and plotted action using woodblocks - but how his cast of real characters didn't always respond as he would have liked.
Producer: Emma Kingsley.
Ruth Padel explores the ways in which WS Gilbert helped revolutionise theatre production.