Sky Arts has announced plans to blow the dust off ITV’s The South Bank Show archives and air re-worked episodes of the classic culture show over the next five years.

The first episode opened with Paul McCartney in 1978 and over the next 30 years went on to feature celebrated artists, musicians and performers including Sir Laurence Olivier, David Hockney, The Smiths, Nureyev, k.d. land and Pavarotti.

“I wanted The South Bank Show to stretch the then accepted boundaries of the arts,” says presenter, writer and editor Melvyn Bragg. “The idea that popular arts were shallow by definition and the traditional arts were profound was dead, I thought, and I wanted to prove it.”

Since moving to Sky Arts in 2012, the new version has upheld this tradition with performers as diverse as Dizzee Rascal to Alfie Boe and will continue to make new programmes as well as airing vintage episodes.

“It’s great to be part of Sky Arts enthusiastic commitment to Arts programmes. This is a major leap forward for us on The South Bank Show and with luck just the beginning of wider ranging possibilities.”