It’s time for our regular look at the TV that the BFI is showing, this time in March 2015. Surprisingly slim pickings this month, but there is a preview of Jimmy McGovern’s forthcoming Banished, complete with Q&A with McGovern, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey, a short season of Jenny Barraclough documentaries and a triple bill of Peter Watkins films, including The War Game and Culloden, a faux documentary about the Jacobean uprising. And as you can watch it below, it’s also this week’s The Wednesday Play… on a Tuesday.
Monday 9 March
UK 1961. Dir Peter Watkins. 18min.
BBC 1964. Dir Peter Watkins. 75min. 15
+ The War Game
BBC 1966. Dir Peter Watkins. 45min. 12A
A triple bill of early work by Peter Watkins, one of cinema’s great provocateurs, that takes in the past, near-present and future: Forgotten Faces recreates the Hungarian revolution on the streets of Canterbury; Culloden is an as-it-happens faux documentary about the Jacobean uprising; The War Game (banned for 20 years by the BBC) is a haunting film about the aftermath of nuclear war.
Wednesday 11 March
Man Alive: Gale Is Dead
BBC 1970. Dir Jenny Barraclough. 50min
This groundbreaking, BAFTA-winning film about a young girl destroyed by early rejection moved politicians to act on the state of the care system. It was one of the early Man Alive films that broke with documentary tradition and put ‘ordinary’ people in a central role. Barraclough courageously went against instructions to film Gale’s funeral – a judgement that was more than vindicated.
+ And the Queen Passed By…
BBC 1983. Dir Jenny Barraclough. 40min
This fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of a Royal Tour was shot while making the official BBC1 film to mark the anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne. It illustrates Barraclough’s love of telling a story from the point of view of its thousands of ‘extras’, and includes Michael Caine and his wife deciding what to wear for the Queen’s banquet while lessons on how to hold your knife and fork fill the airwaves.
TV Preview: Banished + Q&A with writer Jimmy McGovern, producer Sita Williams, director Dan Percival and actors Julian Rhind-Tutt, Russell Tovey and MyAnna Buring
BBC 2-RSJ Films-See-Saw Films 2014. Dir Dan Percival. With MyAnna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Russell Tovey, David Wenham. 60min
Jimmy McGovern’s fast-paced, fictional seven-part series Banished opens at dawn in New South Wales, Australia in 1788. Convicts transported on the First Fleet – and their masters – are waking up to another sweltering hot day in a fledging camp where anything can happen, and where death stalks everyone. With supplies running out and the group ill-equipped for life on this inhospitable shoreline, who will survive? McGovern is widely regarded as one of the finest writers working in TV today (The Street, Common, Accused), so don’t miss this special preview and discussion.
Friday 13 March
Go Tell It to the Judge
BBC 1977. Dir Jenny Barraclough. 60min
A small group of residents from a remote Pacific island travel to London to seek justice as their home is literally being mined from under them. This extraordinary inside story of the longest and most expensive case in British legal history had such impact that it actually altered the outcome of the case, and includes one of the first attempts at reconstruction within the documentary genre.
+ Iron in the Soul
Channel 4 1991. Dir Roy Battersby. Producer Jenny Barraclough. 50min
Presented by Stuart Hall, this powerful film with a wonderfully rich cast of characters tells the dramatic history of the English Caribbean and the mixed legacy of the British Empire. It includes an early planter’s scandalous diary detailing his sexual exploits and brutal methods of punishment; the little-known story of the poor whites known as ‘the Redlegs’; and the famous cricketer who took the world by storm and beat his old master.
Champions’ priority booking: February 2 11.30am
Members’ priority booking opens: February 3 11.30am
Public booking opens: February 10
Wednesday 18 March
Mr Attenborough and Mr Gandhi + Jenny Barraclough in conversation with Roger Graef
BBC 1983. Dir Jenny Barraclough. 50min
An unusually revealing look at the messy, funny, exhausting business of filmmaking is interspersed with incisive insights into what drove director Richard Attenborough to make his epic, Ghandi. We’re pleased to welcome Jenny Barraclough to the BFI stage to be interviewed by renowned documentary filmmaker Roger Graef. We’ll explore what has motivated her to choose such a fascinating range of subjects, from revolutionary leaders to heroic underdogs, and include clips from her films about Robert Mugabe and Margaret Thatcher.
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.