Long shot : I've been looking at old favourite Arts programmes on youtube this evening but there's one which was a vivid memory that I can't find any mention of.
I'm hoping someone might be able to help me identify the subject of the film. I had always had it in my head that the subject was called "Malcolm Cooper" but it seems likely from my examination of the South Bank Show archive/directory that this is mistaken ( although equally it may not have been the South Bank Show at all).
The film was about an artist who had had a very successful career producing fine art following a longish period in prison. At the end of the film he was shown his early prison pieces and came to the uncomfortable realisation that it was in fact by far the best work he had ever made: I seem to recall that the programme was left hanging with the thought that he may in fact give up art altogether on the strength of that disillusionment.
It may be that it predates the time when video recorders were common ( we got ours in 1984 (betamax) for the LA Olympics so I'm not expecting to be able to see it but I'd like to know who the artist was and whether he did give up?
It wasn’t Malcolm Morley was it? I don’t think he was in prison for a long time but he did start to paint there.
It also occurred to me that the programme you remember could have been an Arena one. Many of those arts documentaries are interchangeable in my mind between Arena and the SBS.
The description you give of an artist revisiting his earliest work and being so affected by it he suggest he might stop, or at least reassess what he was doing, is one I remember vividly. It was definitely Malcolm Morley as I remember his photo-realist Vietnam War picture. He won the Turner Prize in '84 so that seems to match the date given. I think it could have been an Arena programme but not sure.
Probably this edition of Omnibus, then?
It looks like you can buy it on DVD. Although this website suggests it was made in 1989, the extract makes reference to the previous year's Turner winner, so 1985
He's not posted for nearly two weeks, I assume he doesn't check in all that often. "Yes" seems a safe bet.