It’s time for our regular look at the TV that the BFI is showing, this time in the months of October and November 2013. And what a pick there is. There’s a big collection of TV previews, including episodes of the news series of Wizards Vs Aliens and This Is Jinsy, the first episode of Yonderland from the Horrible Histories cast, the first episode of the final series of Poirot mysteries on ITV, including a Q&A with David Suchet, and Mark Gatiss’s adaptation of The Tractate Middoth, complete with documentary on MR James and Q&A.
On top of all that, there’s a season of Gothic movies and TV, including Channel 4’s Dead Set, BBC1’s classic Louis Jordan adaptation of Count Dracula introduced by the director, and a panel discussion about vampires that involves none other than Russell Tovey, Anthony Head and Toby Whithouse.
Sign me up.
Sat 26 October 13:30 NFT1: TV preview: Wizards Vs Aliens
CBBC 2013. With Scott Haran, Percelle Ascott and the voice of Brian Blessed. 2x28min
Two episodes from the second series. Special guests may be attending.
Sat 26 October 14:30 NFT2: Count Dracula
BBC 1977. Director Philip Saville. With Louis Jordan, Frank Finlay. 152min
Perhaps the definitive television adaptation of Stoker’s novel, boasting an intelligent script by Gerald Savory and the fantastic visual flair of Philip Saville’s direction. Pushing the boundaries of technology at the time, Saville creates complex visual montages and soundscapes that evoke the inner psyche of his title vampire. Add to this Louis Jordan’s stunning, erotically charged performance as the count and we have a classic that arguably comes closest to capturing the essence of Bram Stoker’s masterpiece. Introduced by the director.
Sun 27 October 13:00 NFT1: TV preview: Yonderland + Q&A
Sky1 HD 2013. Dir Steve Connelly. 2x30min
Family comedy from the cast of Horrible Histories. Q&A with the cast
Tue 29 October 18.20 NFT1: TV preview: Dead Man’s Folly + Q&A
ITV 2013. Dir: Tom Vaughan. With David Suchet, Zoë Wanamaker, Sean Pertwee. 90min
A preview of the first episode of the final series of Poirot. Introduced by Agatha Christie’s grandson, and featuring a Q&A with David Suchet.
Tickets: £11, concs £8.50 (£1.50 less for members)
Fri 1 November 20:20 NFT2: Mystery & Imagination: The Curse of the Mummy
Thames TV 1970. Dir Guy Verney. With Isobel BLack, Patrick Mower, Donald Churchill, Graham Crowden. 70min
John Russell Taylor’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s The Jewel of the Seven Stars.
+ Nightmare: The Birth of Horror
BBC/Wall to Wall 1996. Dir Derek Towers. 50min
Documentary on Bram Stroker.
Mon 4 November 18:30 NFT1: Cool Gothic and the New Vampire
Ever since Anne Rice gave the vampire a conscience in Interview with the Vampire, the Gothic myth has been reinterpreted for a new generation. Here the creative minds behind such ‘new Gothic’ works as Being Human, In the Flesh and Buffy are assembled to discuss the resurrection of Gothic myths. Illustrating their arguments with clips, our panel will examine the whole ‘Cool Gothic’ phenomenon. Panel includes Russell Tovey, Anthony Head, Toby Whithouse, Dominic Mitchell and Lily Loveless (All panellists work permitting – please check BFI website for confirmation).
Tue 5 November 20:40 NFT2: Stranger than Fiction
A compilation of just some of the most fascinating documentaries, news reports and curious items that have appeared on television about Gothic over the years. Including Robert Muller’s brilliant Freudian deconstruction of the main Gothic myths Omnibus: The Need for Nightmare (BBC 1974. Dir Harley Cokliss. With Michael Gough, Ben Kingsley 52min); Bookmark: The Vampire’s Life (BBC/Oxford Films & TV 1993. Dir Anand Tucker. Extract 10min); American Vampires (Yorkshire TV 2001. Dir Mark Soldinger. Extract 10min); Open Space: Lucifer Over Lancashire (BBC 1987. 28min); Nationwide – Whitby Report (BBC 1977 8min)
Wed 6 November 18:15 NFT3: TV preview: This is Jinsy + Q&A
Sky Atlantic 2013. With Chris Bran, Justin Chubb, Alice Lowe. 2x23min episodes
Two episodes from the forthcoming second series. Q&A with the cast, plus producer James Dean and director Matt Lisped
Thu 7 November 20:40 NFT2: Supernatural: Countess Ilona + The Werewolf Reunion
Dir Simon Langton. With Billie Whitelaw, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Charles Kay, Edward Hardwicke. 100min
Two episodes from Robert Muller’s classy series that provide a unique twist to the mythology of the werewolf. Countess Ilona (Whitelaw) invites four former lovers to the remote castle of which she is now the mistress. As their flaws are laid bare, she takes a terrible revenge on them all; one by one they are murdered by a strange beast in the surrounding forests. Muller’s sparkling dialogue raises the horror genre to new heights of erudition.
Thu 14 November 18:10 NFT2: Zombie Night Event: Dead Set + Panel and Q&A
Channel Four/Zeppotron 2008. Dir Yann Demange. With Jamie Winstone, Andy Nyman, Riz Ahmed. Episode 1 60min, Panel 45min, episodes 2- 5, 4 x 30min
Taking its cues from reality television, Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set dared to imagine what would happen if zombies attacked the Big Brother house, and in doing so it reinvented the zombie genre. After the first episode we will be joined by Charlie Brooker, Jamie Winstone, Andy Nyman and director Yann Demange to discuss the series (work permitting).
Fri 29 November 20:30 NFT1: TV Preview: The Tractate Middoth
2013 BBC. Dir Mark Gatiss. With Louise Jameson, Roy Barraclough, Sacha Dhawan. 30min
Mark Gatiss’ directorial debut is a chilling adaptation of MR James’s story The Tractate Middoth. The hunt for an elusive Hebrew text provokes terrifying apparitions in a library and a menace from beyond the grave.
+ MR James: Ghost Writer
2013 BBC. Dir John Das. 60min
Mark Gatiss explores the life and work of MR James, following in his footsteps across England and France to find out how a seemingly respectable Victorian academic became the master of the English ghost story. Followed by panel and Q&A with Mark Gatiss, Jon Das and BBC commissioning editor for Arts Mark Bell.
Champions’ priority booking: 11.30am September 30
Members’ priority booking opens: 11.30am October 1
£7.00 (member concs)
£8.50 (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.