Given it’s August and everyone’s going on their holidays, don’t be surprised that there’s not a whole lot of TV on at the BFI. However, it’s by no means a desolate wasteland. There are TV previews of the forthcoming BBC Sitcom Season, including Young Hyacinth, as well as the first episode of the new series of Poldark. There’s also a season of TV and film directed by Jack Gold, including Film4’s impressive Stalin satire Red Monarch. And for Cult TV lovers, there are three episodes of Thunderbirds 65. Full run-down after the jump.
Monday 1st August
The Gangster Show: The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
BBC 1972. Director Jack Gold. With Nichol Williamson, Sam Wanamaker, Peter Frye. 100min
Produced by the great Tony Garnett, George Tabori’s adaptation of Brecht’s drama deftly exploits the additional depth and texture that the TV play can bring to such material. As the psychotic megalomaniac Ui, Nichol Williamson’s performance nods to Hitler, while Gold’s assured direction brilliantly uses the visual feel of the Hollywood gangster movie to emphasise the wider political points about the criminal aspects of unbridled capitalism.
Wednesday 3rd August
Punk on the Box
Just as punk music gave a shot in the arm to a music industry in danger of getting bloated and out of touch, so the punk ethic injected a refreshing dose of anarchy to the small screen as TV rose to the challenge of covering this sea-change in musical taste. One of the most memorable showcases for new music was Revolver (ATV 1978), a pleasingly messy, noisy and chaotic production purporting to come from a run-down club overseen by an owner (Peter Cook) who’s openly derisory about the featured artists. In this programme we include a compilation of acts from Revolver, plus extracts from The London Weekend Show (LWT 1977) and a complete edition of Sounds of the 70s (BBC 1993), which looks back at the punk phenomenon and its immediate aftermath. Artists featured in the screening include The Sex Pistols, Vibrators, X-Ray Spex, The Rezillos, The Clash, The Buzzcocks and The Lurkers.
Wednesday 10th August
TV Preview: Young Hyacinth + discussion with Shane Allen, BBC Controller Comedy Commissioning, writer Roy Clarke, actor Kerry Howard and others TBC
BBC 2016. Dir Sandy Johnson. With Mark Addy, Tamla Kari, Kerry Howard. 30min
It’s not the first time prolific writer Roy Clarke has imagined the earlier life of his creations – his series First of the Summer Wine was a beautifully judged look at the youth of his gang of geriatric bumblers from Last of the Summer Wine. Now he turns his attention to his other famous creation, Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced ‘bouquet’) from Keeping Up Appearances.
+ Further title(s) TBC
Please check the BFI website for updates
Tickets are limited to two per booker
Monday 15th August
ITV Sunday Night Theatre: Catholics: A Fable of the Future
HTV 1973. Dir Jack Gold. With Trevor Howard, Martin Sheen, Michael Gambon, Cyril Cusak. 78min
In Brian Moore’s powerful and thought-provoking adaptation from his own novel, Father Kinsella (Sheen) is parachuted into a remote Irish abbey to instruct the monks to cease holding mass in Latin and obey the orders of Rome – conflict is inevitable. Trevor Howard’s tortured Abbot is one of his finest performances as he’s forced to face up to his crisis of faith.
+ God Bless Thee Jacky Maddison
BBC 1974. Dir Jack Gold. With David Daker, Anne Raitt, James Garbutt, Jean Heywood. 30min
This drama, written by Tom Hadaway, is set in Northumberland in 1905. Jacky (Daker) declares his love for Ann (Raitt), but he’s from the local pit and she belongs to a tightly-knit fishing community recovering from terrible losses at sea. Can his love ever triumph over the cultural chasm between them?
Thursday 25th August
Channel 4 1983. Dir Jack Gold. With Colin Blakely, David Suchet, Carroll Baker, David Threlfall. 101min
Written by Charles Wood after a story by Yuriy Korotkov, this is a savagely funny satire on the nature of Stalin’s Russia. Blakely excels in the role of Stalin, perfectly capturing the unhinged nature of a man corrupted by total power, while David Suchet as the Chief of Police is forced to take ever more brutal and ridiculous measures to serve his master’s iron will. Gold successfully treads a difficult line between farce and irony here, and the film is a timely reminder of the refreshingly original, unexpected and quirky titles that were commissioned by Film4 in its early days.
Wednesday 17th August
TV Preview: Thunderbirds 65 – the New Episodes + Q&A
UK 2016. Dirs Justin T Lee, Stephen La Riviere, David Elliott. 85min. Digital
These exciting episodes – Introducing Thunderbirds, The Abominable Snowman, The Stately Home Robberies – are based on three original, audio-only stories featuring the original cast and have been filmed using classic Supermarionation techniques as part of the programme’s 50th anniversary. We see new recruits Parker and Lady Penelope visit Tracy Island for the first time, take a trip to Mount Everest and the Tower of London. Thunderbirds are go!
Visit bfi.org.uk for updates on the Q&A
Monday 22nd August
TV Preview: Poldark + Q&A with writer Debbie Horsfield, lead actors Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson and executive producer Damien Timmer
A Mammoth Screen production for BBC One. UK 2016. Dir Will Sinclair. With Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson. Series 2, Ep1 c.60min
Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson return as Ross Poldark and Demelza for a further 10 episodes of Debbie Horsfield’s BAFTA-winning adaptation of Winston Graham’s acclaimed novels. The first series peaked with 9.4 million viewers, generating phenomenal media interest and making a household names of its stars. It’s now 1790 and revolution is in the air. Ross Poldark must once again fight for his freedom when George Warleggan tries to steal his mine and have him hanged as a revolutionary. Can Demelza save Ross from himself?
Tickets limited to two per booker
Champions’ priority booking: July 4 11.30am
Members’ priority booking opens: July 5 11.30am
Public booking opens: July 12 11.30am
Prices (excluding gift aid)
£6.85 (member concs)
£8.35 (non-members concs)
Under 16s £6.00
Prices (including gift aid and voluntary contribution)
£7.55 (member concs)
£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.