What TV’s on at the BFI in May? Including Peaky Blinders, The Hamburg Cell and Safe

The BFI left it a bit late putting out the PDF of its guide last month, so since I’m an intrinsically lazy person who couldn’t be bothered to type it all in manually, I decided to skip April and head into May instead. However, to be honest, although there’s a lot on at the BFI this month, there’s not that much tele. 

There is a preview of series 3 of Peaky Blinders, complete with cast and crew Q&A. There’s a new documentary about noted film and TV director Antonia Bird, Antonia Bird: From EastEnders to Hollywood, as well as a couple of her TV films, including Safe with Aidan Gillen, Robert Carlyle and Kate Hardie, and a docu-drama about the 9/11 terrorists, The Hamburg Cell. There’s also a free talk for seniors about TV director Alan Clarke.

But that’s it. Still, makes my life easier. What a lazy man I am.

Tuesday 3 May
20:15 NFT1
TV Preview: Peaky Blinders + Q&A with writer and exec producer Steven Knight, exec producer Caryn Mandabach, actor and exec producer Cillian Murphy and actor Helen McCrory 
Caryn Mandabach Productions-Tiger Aspect Productions-BBC TWO 2016. Dir Tim Mielants. With Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson. Season 3 Ep1 c.60min
Season three of Steven Knight’s Peaky Blinders sees Tommy Shelby pulled into the glamorous and dangerous world of international intrigue in 1920s Britain, putting his entire organisation and family at risk, and forcing him to question everything about his own ambitions and desires. 
Tommy comes face to face with a representative of a force beyond anything he’s previously encountered. The RTS and BAFTA award-winning show has sold in over 200 territories worldwide and airs on Netflix in the US.

Monday 9 May
11:00 NFT2
Seniors’ Free Talk: Made in Britain: The TV Dramas of Alan Clarke
A radical and uncompromising director, Alan Clarke (1935-1990) made a wealth of innovative and often controversial dramas for television. As part of the BFI’s Dissent & Disruption: The Complete Alan Clarke season (which runs across April and May), Sam Dunn, the BFI’s Head of Video Publishing, will introduce highlights from Clarke’s work. 

Thursday 12 May
18:15 NFT3
Premiere: Antonia Bird: From EastEnders to Hollywood + discussion with director Susan Kemp, filmmaker Mark Cousins and actor Steven Mackintosh
UK 2016. Dir Susan Kemp. With Robert Carlyle, Kate Hardie, Mark Cousins. c.90min
In this new documentary, Susan Kemp explores the life and work of the great British director Antonia Bird, who died in 2013. Bird blazed a trail from the radical hotbed of the Royal Court Theatre in the 70s, via the groundbreaking early days of EastEnders and Casualty in the 80s, all the way to Hollywood in the 90s and back again. She always had something urgent to say, but her career was a long struggle to get her voice heard. Featuring many of her close collaborators, including Robert Carlyle, Irvine Welsh, Kate Hardie and Mark Cousins, this documentary is the first to examine Bird’s legacy, and to place her where she belongs – among the most important British film, TV and theatre directors of her era.

21:00 NFT3 (also Saturday 14 May, 18:30 NFT2)
Safe + intro by former head of BBC Films David Thompson, academic Sophie Meyer and actor Kate Hardie*
BBC 1993. Dir Antonia Bird. With Aidan Gillen, Kate Hardie, Robert Carlyle, Neil Smals. 66min
There’s nothing safe about being a homeless teenager in London. Pumping with energy, burning with anger, marbled with bleak humour, Safe won best first feature at Edinburgh in 1993, and announced Antonia Bird to the world, along with Aidan Gillen, Kate Hardie and Robert Carlyle. Operatic and heartbreaking, this drama has rarely been seen since its first TV broadcast, so don’t miss it!

Sunday 22 May
17:20 NFT2
The Hamburg Cell
Ch4 2004. Dir Antonia Bird. With Karim Saleh, Maral Kamel, Agni Scott. 106min
The Hamburg Cell, a docu-drama about the 9/11 aircraft hijackers, is Antonia Bird’s most controlled film. She turns Ronan Bennett’s script into a propulsive thriller, and shows the bombers as human without ever flirting with sympathy. The world wasn’t ready for this in 2004, but like many of Bird’s films, The Hamburg Cell has become more powerful and necessary over time.

Champions’ priority booking: April 4 11.30am
Members’ priority booking opens: April 5 11.30am
Public booking opens: April 12 11.30am

Prices (excluding gift aid)
£9.15 (members)
£6.85 (member concs)
£10.65 (non-members)
£8.35 (non-members concs)
Under 16s £6.00

Prices (including gift aid and voluntary contribution)
£10.10 (members)
£7.55 (member concs)
£11.75 (non-members)
£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.