What TV’s on at the BFI in March 2012

Beyond the Fringe

Time for our regular look at the TV that the BFI is showing, this time in the month of March 2012. Highlight of the month is a Peter Cook season that includes episodes of Not Only But Also and Peter Cook and Co, as well as an extended version of the 60m version of Beyond the Fringe that the BBC showed. But there’s also a preview of ITV’s forthcoming Titanic and the next series of Horrible Histories, as well as some more Dickens, including the BBC’s Bleak House and some US TV adaptations of his work, and an ITV Chekhov play.

Wed 7 March 18:10 + 20:30 NFT2: Across the Atlantic: A Celebration of Classic US TV Dickens Dramas
Drawing on the unique collections of the Paley Center, this is a two-part celebration of Dickens on the American small screen. The exact line-up is subject to final confirmation, but will include material never before screened in the UK, from Christmas specials and animated material through to renditions of classic novels.
A voluntary donation of £10 (members £8.50) is requested per programme to cover costs.

Thu 8 March 18:10 NFT1: Beyond The Fringe
BBC 1964. Dir Duncan Wood (extended version) 116min (unconfirmed)
This famous stage show launched the careers of Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett, Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, as well as almost single-handedly kick-starting the satire boom that dominated TV in the 1960s. The original BBC version was only 60 minutes long.

Thu 8 March 20:40 NFT2: Play of the Week: Three Sisters
ITV 1963. Dir Joan Kemp-Welch. With Jill Bennett, Ann Bell, Margaret Gordon 75min
Associated Rediffusion pulled together a strong cast for Anton Chekhov’s penultimate play, here adapted by Leo Lehman. The action takes place in Tsarist Russia in a small provincial town where three sisters find their boredom alleviated only by visiting officers from a regiment billeted nearby and their own dreams of one day returning to the excitement of Moscow. The charming nature of the surface of the play doesn’t hide the mosaic of shattered dreams and forced compromise that haunts the main protagonists.

Sat 10 March 13:00 NFT3: Bleak House
BBC 1985. Dir Ross Devenish. With Diana Rigg, Denholm Elliott, Peter Vaughn, Bernard Hepton, Kathy Burke. 8x52min + intervals

The most lavish Dickens production by the BBC up to that point.
Tickets £13.75, concs £10.75 (members pay £1.50 less)

Mon 12 March 20:40 NFT3: Not Only But Also
BBC 1965-1966, 1970. Compilation c100min
A compilation of episodes of the TV sketch show starring Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. Introduced by one of the show’s original producers, Joe McGrath.

Fri 16 March 20:40 NFT3: Peter Cook and Co
ITV 1980. Dir Paul Smith. With Peter Cook, Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Beryl Reid, Paul Wilcox. 55min. Plus a full supporting programme of Cook TV appearances (total r/t c100min)

A one-off special that illustrates the esteem in which Cook was held by his peers.

Wed 21 March 18:20 NFT2: Peter Cook Oddities and Rarities
Sketches, interviews, adverts, chat show appearances and comedy monologues, including the notorious Derek and Clive.   

Sun 18 March 13:00 NFT1: TV Preview: Horrible Histories
Multi-award winning TV sensation Horrible Histories is back this spring with a fabulous selection of sketches, silly songs and popular pastiches all packed with strange facts, rotten rulers and weird and wonderful moments from the past. This is your opportunity to get a sneak preview of the new CBBC series. Created by some of Britain’s finest comedy talents, Horrible Histories tells you about all the best bits of history and lets you laugh yourself smart! We hope to welcome some of the creative team from the show to share some of their secrets from behind the scenes. Preview courtesy of CBBC and Lion/Citrus Television

Tue 20 March 18:20 NFT1: Preview: Titanic + Q&A with Julian Fellowes, Nigel Stafford-Clark and Simon Vaughan, Jon Jones and cast Deep Indigo-Sienna Films-Mid Atlantic Films-Lookout Point-ITV Studios 2012. Dir Jon Jones. With Linus Roache, Celia Imrie, Toby Jones, Geraldine Somerville, Maria Doyle Kennedy. Episode One: 46min
As we look towards our Titanic season in April, we present this new production, written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes. Titanic is the extraordinary re-telling of that doomed voyage, weaving action, mystery and romantic narratives featuring fictional and historical characters, before coming together in an explosive finale. While James Cameron’s 1997 film was primarily a love story between the two central characters, BAFTA-winning producer Nigel Stafford-Clark was inspired by the hundreds of untold stories of those aboard, and the drama provides a unique portrait of the society which gave birth to the liner, and which was heading as obliviously towards its own nemesis in 1914 as Titanic was towards its iceberg. Presented in association with BAFTA
Tickets £10, concs £6.75 (Members pay £1.50 less)

Champions’ priority booking: 11.30am February 6
Members’ priority booking opens: 11.30am February 7
Public booking opens: February 14

£8.50 (members)
£5.25 (member concs)
£10.00 (non-members)
£6.75 (non-members concs)
Under 16s £5.00.

All shows are £5 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.