BBC arts commissioner Mark Bell is to send Question Time host David Dimbleby sailing around the UK in one of three new in-house series.

BBC1’s 4 x 60-minute Britain and the Sea (w/t) follows Dimbleby as he explores Britain’s maritime art and culture in his red-sailed cutter. He will visit the places, ports and forts that inspired the seascapes of artists such as Turner and Constable, as well as music and literature.

Britain and the Sea will TX this autumn and is exec produced by Basil Comely and series produced by Alexander Leith.

Art critic and Modern Masters presenter Alastair Sooke is turning his gaze to the Roman Empire with 3 x 60-minute BBC4 series Treasure Of Ancient Rome.

It will argue against the perceived wisdom that the empire “plundered or copied from other civilisations”, and Sooke will examine how the Romans went from being art thieves to pioneers of the new artistic style of realism.

Jonty Claypole will exec produce the series for the BBC, with Tim Dunn series producing.

Claypole is also exec producing A History of the World in Three Colours for BBC4, featuring art historian James Fox.

In the 3 x 60-minute series, Fox will explore the importance of the colour gold in the time of the Pharoahs, the blues used by Renaissance artists, and the white of the Enlightenment period. Also scheduled for an autumn TX, it is directed by Matt Hall.

Bell described all three series as “fresh and original”.