It's the final month of the BFI's 2015 calendar and rather than looking behind, most of the highlights of December are previews of forthcoming TV shows, complete with Q&As with cast and crew. Well, I say look ahead, but they're almost all all period dramas - ITV's Peter Pan reimagining Peter & Wendy, BBC's massive 20-part (Ed: surely shome mishtake?) Dickens crossover Dickensian and ITV's dying Churchill biopic Churchill's Secret. But there's also a preview of a new David Walliams kids book adaptation, a season of plays and TV films about love and a Missing Believed Wipe mini-season dedicated to continuity footage - yes, an evening dedicated to things like this:
Monday 30 November
From Hollyoaks to EastEnders: Love and Sex in the TV Soap + Q&A with Bryan Kirkwood, Exec Producer Hollyoaks, Dominic Treadwell-Collins, Exec Producer EastEnders, Hollyoaks cast members Kieron Richardson and Parry Glasspool, plus EastEnders cast TBC
Love and sex are key drivers of the TV Soap. From loveable rogues and heart-throbs to iconic strong women, tragic victims and that gay kiss, love has given us some of our most memorable soap moments. How do we feel about these portrayals of relationships, and how influential are soaps on the way we conduct our own relationships? Just where do the writers’ and producers’ responsibilities start and finish? Engage with some of your favourite soap characters and creative teams in our fun, clip-filled look at love and sex in the TV soap.
Please check bfi.org.uk for guest confirmations. December booking period applies
Thursday 3 December
TV preview: Peter & Wendy + Q&A with director Diarmuid Lawrence, writer Adrian Hodges, producer Stewart MacKinnon, producer Christian Baute and actors Stanley Tucci, Laura Fraser and Paloma Faith
2015 ITV. Dir Diarmuid Lawrence. With Laura Fraser, Stanley Tucci, Paloma Faith, Hazel Doupe, Zak Sutcliffe. 101min
ITV’s major new drama, from a BAFTA-winning creative team, is a re-imagining of JM Barrie’s much loved classic novel Peter Pan. Twelve year-old Lucy Rose anxiously awaits treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital for a serious heart condition. The day before her operation, she reads Peter Pan to a group of sick children, goes to sleep with thoughts of the classic tale in her head... and dreams her own version of the magical story into existence.
Saturday 5 December - 15:45 Studio
Thursday 10 December - 18:20 Studio
A Rather English Marriage
BBC 1998. Dir Paul Seed. With Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay, Joanna Lumley. 103min
Reggie, an ex-RAF pilot (Finney), and Roy, a former milkman (Courtenay), are two bereaved Englishmen trying to rebuild their lives in this beautifully acted film (adapted by Andrew Davies). When Reggie falls for glamorous boutique-owner Liz (Lumley) both men must learn to come to terms with their grief and the knowledge that, with age, love may either be a cruel self-deception or the path to salvation.
Monday 7 December
TV Preview: Dickensian + Q&A with writer and creator Tony Jordan and cast members TBC
BBC-Red Planet Pictures 2015. Dir (eps 1-5) Harry Bradbeer. With Stephen Rea, Pauline Collins, Caroline Quentin, Peter Firth. 2x episodes TRT 60min
With a fantastic ensemble cast, BBC One‘s 20-part drama series brings together some of the most iconic characters from the mind of Charles Dickens, including Scrooge, Fagin and Miss Havisham. In 19th-century London The Old Curiosity Shop sits next door to The Three Cripples Pub, while Fagin’s Den is hidden down a murky alley off a bustling Victorian street... With a wealth of back-stories sourced from the novels, Dickensian delivers fast-paced storylines with many surprising twists and turns.
Please visit bfi.org.uk for guest confirmations
Tuesday 8 December
All For Love: Love and the TV Comedy + discussion with BBC executive producer Jon Plowman, ‘Boy Meets Girl’ writer Elliott Kerrigan and cast members Rebecca Root and Harry Hepple
Love and relationships have always played a central part in the television comedy, from the gentle ennui of Carla Lane’s Butterflies, to the late-life blossoming of A Fine Romance and To the Manor Born. Then there are the couples we can relate to directly: Just Good Friends; Him & Her; Tim and Dawn in The Office Christmas Special (voted one of TV’s top romantic moments). Comedy also revels in the hopelessly mismatched: Rigsby and Miss Jones or Miranda and her frenetic pursuit of Gary. Join us as we look at some of TV’s best comic couples, including 2015’s groundbreaking transgender comedy Boy Meets Girl, to ask what makes us all fools for love.
Please check bfi.org.uk for final panel confirmations
Friday 11 December - 20:40 Studio
Saturday 19 December - 17:50 Studio
If Winter Comes BBC 1981. Dir Peter Sasdy. With Paul Scofield, Cherie Lunghi, Hilton McRea, Denis Lawson. 60min
Janos Nyiri’s play is set in a drama school in Budapest in 1954 and, since he had fled as the Russian tanks rolled into the city, this was a world he understood well. When a drama student confesses in class to being in love with a girl whose father is held responsible for a communist massacre, political ideology is pitted against humanity and love.
+ Laurence Olivier Presents: Harold Pinter’s The Collection Granada 1976. Dir Michael Apted. With Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates, Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren. 58min
Olivier selected Pinter’s award-winning drama - a forensic examination of sexual jealousy - for his series of TV plays for Granada. He’s perfectly cast as the ageing lover riddled with insecurity as his boyfriend receives a series of strange visits from a man who is himself convinced that the boyfriend is seeing his wife.
Sunday 13 December
TV Preview: Billionaire Boy + Q&A with David Walliams
BBC-King Bert Productions 2015. Dir Matt Lipsey. With James Thomson, Rebecca Front, Elliot Sprakes. 60min. Suitable for all ages
We’re pleased to preview this new adaptation of David Walliam’s warm and witty children’s book. Twelve-year-old Joe has everything that money can buy since his Dad made a fortune after inventing ‘Bumfresh,’ a new toilet roll. But Joe is lonely and without a friend, so what use is all the money in the world?
Treasures of Christmas Past
Created in conjunction with our colleagues at The TV Museum YouTube channel, this is a bumper collection of Christmas-time continuity (mainly from the BBC) ranging from the 1970s to the turn of the millennium - items which speak volumes about the style of TV at the time.
Joint ticket offer with Continuity and Beyond (below) £16, concs £12 (Members pay £1.70 less)
Continuity and Beyond
Following their incredibly popular continuity compilation at MBW in 2012, our colleagues at Kaleidoscope TV return with an all-new collection. Material recently uncovered includes rare continuity links from the long-defunct ATV and some great 1960s links from around the ITV regions.
Titles TBC, please check bfi.org.uk nearer the date
Thursday 17 December
TV Preview: Churchill’s Secret + cast and crew Q&A
ITV-Daybreak Pictures 2015. Dir Charles Sturridge. With Michael Gambon, Lindsey Duncan, Romola Garai, Bill Paterson. 102min
Michael Gambon and Lindsay Duncan star as Sir Winston and Clementine Churchill in ITV’s new feature-length drama. Set during the summer of 1953, Churchill - now Prime Minister for the second time and in his late 70s - suffers a life-threatening stroke, which is kept secret from the world. While his political friends and foe scheme to plot who will succeed him, Churchill’s adult children descend on Chartwell, unsure if he’ll pull through, and family tensions begin to surface.
See bfi.org.uk for confirmation on special guests
Thursday 17 December - 18:00 Studio
Sunday 27 December - 15:30 Studio
The Ballroom of Romance
BBC-RTE 1982. Dir Pat O’Connor. With Brenda Fricker, Cyril Cusack, John Kavanagh. 50min
Adapted from his own short story by William Trevor, this tale of frustrated dreams and thwarted love perfectly captures the desperation and hopelessness felt by many women trapped in 1950s rural Ireland. Pat O’Connor’s ensemble cast totally inhabit this claustrophobic world, and Brenda Fricker displays the acting talents that were to propel her to Hollywood.
+ Traces of Love
ATV 1979. Dir Jon Scoffield. With Petula Clark, David Kernan, Paul Jones. 52min
The TV musical is a very rare thing, and this one is a fascinating time capsule of attitudes to love and divorce 1970s style. Petula Clark sings and gives an impressive performance as an agony aunt unable to control her own affairs of the heart. Each lyric from ‘Start All Over Again’ to ‘Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye’ is used as an integral part of the story.
Sunday 20 December
Oranges are not the Only Fruit
BBC 1989. Dir Beeban Kidron. With Charlotte Coleman, Emily Aston, Geraldine McEwan, Kenneth Cranham. Ep1-3, 165min + interval
This production garnered a staggering six BAFTAs, including Best Actress for McEwan and Best Drama Series for Jeanette Winterson, who adapted her autobiographical novel. Young Jess’ troubled relationship with her deeply religious mother reaches a zenith when Jess reveals her burgeoning sexuality. Denounced by her mother, the church and her community, Jess dreams of escape through books and Oxford.
Tuesday 29 December
P’tang, Yang, Kipperbang
Channel 4-Goldcrest 1982. Dir Michael Apted. With Alison Steadman, John Albasiny, Abigail Cruttenden. 80min. Film. PG
Produced by David Putnam and displaying all the charm and wit of a script by the late great Jack Rosenthal, this TV film was made for a season on first love. As we live every moment of young schoolboy Alan’s crush on Ann, a clever use of fictional cricketing commentary by John Arlott provides a wonderfully dry critique on Alan’s progress.
Champions' priority booking: November 2 11.30am
Members' priority booking opens: November 3 11.30am
Public booking opens: November 10 11.30am
Prices (excluding gift aid)
£6.65 (member concs)
£8.15 (non-members concs)
Under 16s £6.00
Prices (including gift aid and voluntary contribution)
£7.50 (member concs)
£9 (non-members concs)
All shows are £6 on Tuesdays. Conc prices are available to senior citizens, students, unwaged and disability visitors. Proof of eligibility may be required.
As always, visit the BFI web site for more details.