Not a massive amount of TV on at the BFI in June, but there are a few nuggets of goodness. For starters, there's a preview of the first episode of Ashley Pharoah's spooky BBC One period drama, The Living and the Dead. There's an entire day dedicated to the advent of sound in television and film, and its effect on women both in front of and behind the camera. A new documentary about Ken Loach's life and work, including his TV dramas, is getting repeated showings. And there's a season about architecture on TV, too. That's pretty good, actually.
Friday 3 June
20:30 Studio (also Saturday 4 June, 18:40, 20:40; Sunday 5 June 17:45, 20:15; Monday 6 June 18:40, 20:50; Tuesday 7 June 18:20, 20:55; Wednesday 8 June 20:45; Thursday 9 June 18:20, 20:50)
Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach
Director Louise Osmond was granted exclusive access on set and uses this as the starting point to assay Loach’s career, from his early work as a theatre director, to his TV dramas and later extensive career as an award-winning film director. Versus presents a surprisingly candid behind-the-scenes account of Ken Loach’s career as he prepares to release his final major film I, Daniel Blake.
This year will see Ken Loach celebrate his 80th birthday, release his 50th major work I, Daniel Blake, and commemorate Cathy Come Home’s 50th anniversary in November. Osmond’s documentary is more than just a document of Loach’s work but a playful study on the process and struggles of creating such a unique career and body of work.
Thursday 9 June
Architecture’s Arrival on Screen: Kenneth Clark + intro by Arts Producer John Wyver
Great Temples of the World: Chartres Cathedral
ATV 1965. Prod Alastair Reid. 45min
+ Great Temples of the World: Karnak
ATV 1966. Prod Jon Scoffield. 45min
Before his groundbreaking work on Civilisation (BBC 1969), Kenneth Clark tested out various formulas for presenting the arts on television. In his Great Temples of the World Series, Clark is his usual affable (if reserved) self, and invites the audience along with him as he investigates some of the most celebrated religious sites in the world. Chartres places the cathedral into the context of its stubbornly modernising town and provides an assessment that doubles as an introduction to Gothic architecture. In Karnak, we’re invited along for a journey that brings Clark’s connoisseur eye to bear on this magisterial, but less familiar, aspect of Ancient Egypt.
Monday 13 June
Nairn’s Journeys + Q&A with writer and filmmaker Jonathan Meades on Nairn, Architecture and Television
Nairn’s Europe: Oxford - Padua
BBC 1970. Prod Barry Bevins. 30min
+ Nairn’s Journeys: Football Towns: Huddersfield and Halifax
BBC 1975. Prod Barry Bevins. 30min
Ian Nairn set out to prove on national television that architecture was more than just structural design - that it was the creation of place, space and identity. These anecdotal documentaries show Nairn communicating this in his typically brilliant and quixotic style. They take viewers around the British Isles and Europe, with Nairn setting his sights on everything from major civic edifices to pubs and markets - witness here his barbed admiration of Oxford’s cloistered colleges and his love affair with the industrial north. Followed by a discussion with one of Britain’s greatest writers and architectural filmmakers.
Tuesday 14 June
TV Preview: The Living and the Dead + Q&A with director Alice Troughton, writer/creator Ashley Pharoah and cast tbc
BBC 2016. Dir Alice Troughton. With Colin Morgan, Charlotte Spencer, Nicholas Woodeson, Marianne Oldham. Ep1 60min
This intriguing and eerie story takes place in Somerset in 1894. When a young couple (Morgan and Spencer) inherit a farmhouse they’re keen to start a new life together, but their presence unleashes dangerous supernatural phenomena that puts their marriage to the test. Don’t miss this first look at the BBC’s new six-part drama, created by Ashley Pharoah (Life On Mars, Moonfleet).
Please check bfi.org.uk for announcements on special guests
Tickets £11.75, concs £9.20 (Members pay £1.65 less)
Wednesday 15 June
Perspectives on Pevsner + intro by Charles O’Brien and Simon Bradley, current editors of the ‘Pevsner Architectural Guides’
Contrasts: The Buildings of England
BBC 1968. Prod David Cheshire. 30min
+ Good Afternoon
Thames 1973. 10min (extract)
+ Travels with Pevsner: Worcestershire
BBC 1998. Dir Lucy Jago. 50min
Nikolaus Pevsner was the author of the Pevsner Architectural Guides, the essential handbook for any architecture enthusiast. These screenings celebrate his televisual legacy, showing the man at work in a special edition of Contrasts, alongside an episode of Travels with Pevsner, which reveals his influence on a generation of broadcasters - especially Jonathan Meades, who playfully deconstructs the historian’s seriousness.
Saturday 18 June
Breaking the Sound Barrier: Women Sounding Out in British Film and Television
During this rich day of illustrated talks and discussions with researchers and practitioners we’ll explore the complex relationship between women and sound in film and TV - from how the transition to sound affected women in the industry to celebrations of pioneering female composers, foley artists and sound engineers. Presented by Women’s Film & Television History Network, with support from MeCCSA’s Women’s Media Studies Network.
Wednesday 22 June
Cities & Critics + intro by director Mike Dibb
Where We Live Now: The Country & The City
BBC 1979. Dir Mike Dibb. 50min
The prodigious cultural theorist Raymond Williams makes a rare TV appearance charting the exploitative and sometimes poetic relationship between Britain’s rural landscapes and the rise of the industrial city.
+ Twilight City
C4 1989. Dir Reece Auguiste. 50min
The Black Audio Film Collective’s captivating docudrama explores London’s social and structural changes in Thatcher’s London, entwining a fictional émigré narrative with interviews from critics including Paul Gilroy and Homi Bhabha.
Sunday 26 June
Concrete at a Crossroads + intro by Joseph Watson, London Creative Director, National Trust
The Pacemakers: Basil Spence 1973 COI. 14min
+ Where We Live Now: Architecture for Everyman
1982 BBC. Prod Christopher Martin. 50min
+ Heart by-Pass: Jonathan Meades in Birmingham
1998 BBC. Dir David F Turnbull. 29min
Television has often spearheaded the contentious debates that surround the concrete and steel of Britain’s post-war townscapes. Here we can see TV’s contribution in its full range: from the Central Office of Information’s pithy, optimistic profile of Basil Spence and Patrick Nuttgens’ examination of the modern movement from the steps of The Southbank Centre, to Jonathan Meades’ droll reclamation of all things Brum.
Thursday 30 June
Transport as Architecture: Ballard to Banham
+ intro by director Harley Cokeliss and writer and journalist Paul Morley
1971 BBC. Dir Harley Cokeliss. 17min
+ The Thing is… Motorways
1990 C4. Dir Bob Bee. 20min
A Ballard double-bill sees the author deconstruct the beauty and menace of a motorised society in Crash! and then pile into a hatchback with Paul Morley to ruminate on the utopian sentiments behind motorways and service stations.
+ Reyner Banham Loves LA
1972 BBC. Dir Julian Cooper. 51min
In a compelling tribute to LA, Reyner Banham contends that the freeway is not only the best way to see architecture, but that it’s architecture itself.
Champions' priority booking: May 2 11.30am
Members' priority booking opens: May 3 11.30am
Public booking opens: May 10 11.30am
Prices (excluding gift aid)
£6.85 (member concs)
£8.35 (non-members concs)
Under 16s £6.00
Prices (including gift aid and voluntary contribution)
£7.55 (member concs)
£9.20 (non-members concs)
Reduced prices for weekday matinees. 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.