It’s time for our regular look at the TV that the BFI is showing, this time in the month of April 2013 (as well a bit more March as well). This month, as well as the continuing celebration of Doctor Who, which reaches the Tom Baker years with Robots of Death, there’s a short season of Jacobean tragedies, including a panel with Dame Diana Rigg, and a season of documentaries and plays made by John Boorman for the BBC.
Mon 25 March 18:00 NFT3: Blood and Thunder: Women Beware Women
Granada, 1965. Dir Gordon Flemyng. With Diana Rigg, William Gaunt, Gene Anderson, Karin Fernald. 73min
+ Panel & Q&A with Gregory Doran and Dame Diana Rigg
A staging of Thomas Middleton’s drama that aired just before Rigg debuted in The Avengers. The panel will discuss Jacobean tragedy on television.
Thu 28 March 17:40 Studio: Citizen 63
BBC, 1963. 3x30min
+ Six Days to Saturday
BBC 1963. 30 min
John Boorman began his directing career in Bristol, making documentaries for BBC West. The three episodes of the five-part series Citizen 63 focus on individuals who somehow represent aspects of life in a changing Britain: businessman and pop-music agent Barry Langford, rebellious secondary schoolgirl Marion Knight and Alsation-owner and police inspector Richard Callicott. Six Days to Saturday, meanwhile, chronicles a week in the life of Swindon Town Football Club.
Tue 26 March 18:40 Studio: The Newcomers
BBC 1964. c180min
Continuing with his examination of everyday life in contemporary Britain, for The Newcomers, John Boorman availed himself of six half-hour episodes to cover half a year in the lives of a young couple, Alison and Anthony Smith, as they prepared for a major change to their routines: the birth of twins, and the consequent need to find a new home. The series, which saw Boorman experimenting with innovative style and techniques, was so well received that a sequel, Ten Years After, was made in 1973.
Fri 29 March 15:50 NFT3: The Quarry: Portrait of a Man as a Paralysed Artist
BBC 1966. 62min
+ The Great Director: The Epic Story of DW Griffith
BBC 1966. 50min
Though part of the Sunday Night documentary series, The Quarry was in fact John Boorman’s first TV fiction drama. About a sculptor undergoing a creative crisis, the film includes contextualising material which uses non-actors in semi-documentary scenes. Meanwhile, The Great Director, also made for Sunday Night, is a homage to a man Boorman even now considers to be of extraordinary importance and influence, not only for himself but for all fiction filmmakers.
Mon 1 April 15:00 NFT2: Hamlet at Elsinore
BBC-DR1964. Dir Philip Saville. With Christopher Plummer, Robert Shaw, Michael Caine, Roy Kinnear. 170min
Shot with outside-broadcast cameras recording to videotap around Kronborg castle.
Wed 10 April 18:10 NFT2: Stage 2: The Duchess of Malfi
BBC 1972. Dir James MacTaggart. With Eileen Atkins, TP McKenna, Charles Kay, Michael Bryant. 123min
John Webster’s 1612 political masterpiece.
Thu 18 April 18:00 NFT2: Play For Today: ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore
BBC, 1980. Dir Roland Joffé. With Cherie Lunghi, Tim Pigott-Smith, Kenneth Cranham. 135min
Shot around Chastleton House, the 1629 John Ford drama is relocated to early Victorian times to critique the morals of that time, as well as those of the Thatcher years.
BBC 1985. 40min
+ Lee Marvin: A Personal Portrait by John Boorman
BBC 1998. 55min
A complement to Boorman’s acclaimed book Money Into Light, Journey Into Light is a filmed essay-cum-diary about the trials and tribulations, the pressures and pleasures of filmmaking, particularly with reference to his experiences bringing The Emerald Forest to fruition. Lee Marvin… is both a tribute to and an anecdotal reminiscence about the star of Point Blank and Hell in the Pacific, who was also Boorman’s friend.
Sat 20 April 14:00 NFT1: Doctor Who at 50 – Robots of Death + Discussion
BBC 1977. Dir Michael E Briant. With Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Russell Hunter, David Bailie. 100min
Having been introduced in the previous adventure (The Face of Evil), Leela, a Sevateem warrior, is the Doctor’s new companion and she is a far cry from many of those who have gone before. A primitive force of nature, she is nevertheless intelligent in many area and recognises the cunning value of the Doctor’s huge intelligence. However, she often resists his attempts to ‘civilise’ her, relishing the strength she finds in her own savage ways. In Chris Boucher’s Robots of Death, she finds herself confronted by menaces far beyond her previous experience.
Please check BFI website for updates on special guests
Fri 26 April 18:10 NFT2: Performance: The Changeling
BBC 1993 Dir Simon Curtis. With Elizabeth McGovern, Bob Hoskins, Hugh Grant, Leslie Phillips. 92min
+ Play of The Month: The Changeling
BBC 1974. Dir Anthony Page. With Helen Mirren, Stanley Baker. 20min
Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s 1622 play and also the most recent presentation of a non-Shakespearean early modern drama. Includes a 20-minute extract from 1974 adaptation.
Mon 29 April 18:20 NFT2: Compulsion
ITV 2009. Dir Sarah Harding. With Parminder Nagra, Ray Winstone, Ben Aldridge. 93min
+ Blood and Thunder: The Changeling
Granada 1965. Dir Derek Bennett. With Derek Godfrey, Kika Markham, Hal Hamilton. 20min
A modern-day retelling of The Changeling.
Champions’ priority booking: 11.30am March 4
Members’ priority booking opens: 11.30am March 5
Public booking opens: March 12
£7.00 (member concs)
£7.50 (non-members concs)
Under 16s £6.00.
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.