What TV’s on at the BFI in July 2017? Including Gross Indecency and Missing Believed Wiped: Pop TV

Two main strands of programming at the BFI in July: a season of programming about representations of gay representations on TV before and after the 1967 Sexual Offences Act and this year’s Missing Believed Wiped, featuring a whole bunch of programmes about pop music!

But there are a few other things, including a session dedicated to the fabulous Delia Derbyshire. All the details after the jump.

Monday 3 July

18:10 NFT3

On Trial: Oscar Wilde + discussion
Granada Television 1960. Dir Silvio Narizzano. With Micheál MacLiammóir, André Morell, Martin Benson, Harold Scott, JB Priestley. 52min

We launch our landmark Gross Indecency season with a screening of this gripping recreation of one of the most infamous trials in British legal and queer history. Wilde’s challenge to the prosecution’s moral judgement and unashamed defense of ‘the love that dare not speak its name’ retains extraordinary power, not least when interpreted with such skill by MacLiammóir. The screening will be followed by a stimulating discussion with experts including season curator Simon McCallum and Clare Barlow, curator of Tate’s Queer British Art show, who will explore the significance of Wilde as a queer historical icon, discuss other queer histories (and how we know and share them), and the role of TV and film in shaping public moral attitudes towards homosexuality in the UK, before and after the Sexual Offences Act 1967.

+ The Ballad of Reading Gaol
UK 1988. Dir Richard Kwietniowski. 12min

20:30 NFT3 (also Sat 8 July, 16:20 NFT2)

Play of the Week: South + Q&A with actor Peter Wyngarde*
Granada Television 1959. Dir Mario Prizek. With Peter Wyngarde, Graydon Gould, John Harrison, Bessie Love. 80min

The earliest surviving gay-themed British TV drama, South stars Peter Wyngarde as Lt Jan Wicziewsky, who visits a southern plantation as the American Civil War looms. The arrival of Eric MacClure (Gould) forces Wicziewsky to face up to his darkest secret: his love for another man. Barely two years after the Wolfenden Report, homosexuality was still taboo – making Wyngarde’s impassioned performance all the more extraordinary.

Monday 10 July

18:15 NFT3

TV Preview: Prejudice and Pride: The People’s History of LGBTQ Britain + Q&A with director Satiyesh Manoharajah and presenters Stephen K Amos and Susan Calman

The landmark 1967 Sexual Offences Act transformed the lives of LGBTQ people, offering them the chance to live openly for the first time. This unique series, presented by Stephen K Amos and Susan Calman and screening on BBC Four in July as part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia season, is the story of ordinary people in extraordinary times, told through their most treasured possessions.

Saturday 22 July

15:30 NFT1

Missing Believed Wiped: Pop TV 1
TRT 105min

Join us to relive the rock ‘n’ roll years with Cliff Richard and The Drifters in a very special Oh Boy (ITV 1958), and then enjoy some glam rock with Top of the Pops (BBC 1975) plus some fun, toe-tapping clips from Thank Your Lucky Stars, Time for Blackburn, Supersonic, A Whole Scene Going and more!
Joint ticket available with Pop TV 2 £15, concs £12 (Members pay £2 less)

18:00 NFT1

Missing Believed Wiped: Pop TV 2
TRT 105min

The BBC Presentation Department was responsible for several strands of pop programming. This session includes material from the much-revered Old Grey Whistle Test, Colour Me Pop and others. We also screen complete programmes A Day in the Life of Rod the Mod (ITV 1965) and episode 600 of Top of the Pops (BBC 1975).
Joint ticket available with Pop TV 1 £15, concs £12 (Members pay £2 less)

20:40 NFT3 (also Sunday July 30, 15:20 NFT3)

The Wednesday Play: Horror of Darkness
BBC 1965. Dir Anthony Page. With Alfred Lynch, Glenda Jackson, Nicol Williamson, Catherine Clouzet. 69min

The liberal middle-class mask well and truly slips in this intense love triangle drama penned by John Hopkins. A cosmopolitan London couple (Jackson and Lynch) find  their outwardly charmed lives upended by a troubled homosexual friend (Williamson). The BBC were sufficiently rattled to postpone its broadcast for a year. Stylishly shot and building to a shocking crescendo, this chamber piece simmers with suppressed desire and rage.

+ Come Dancing UK
1970. Dir Bill Douglas. 15min

Two men (Clive Merrison, Michael Elwick) meet on a deserted Southend pier. Is it a gay pick-up, or something more sinister? This early work from Bill Douglas, made during his time at film school, is alternately playful and menacing.

Tuesday 11 July

18:30 NFT1
TV Preview: Man in an Orange Shirt + Q&A with director Michael Samuels, writer Patrick Gale, exec producer Diederick Santer and actor Julian Morris
BBC-Kudos 2017. Dir Michael Samuels. With Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Julian Morris, Vanessa Redgrave, James McArdle, David Gyasi, Joanna Vanderham. 2 x 60min eps

In his first screen drama, best-selling British novelist Patrick Gale tells two gay love stories, 60 years apart. Linked by family and by a painting that holds a long-kept secret, Man in an Orange Shirt charts the challenges and changes to gay lives from WWII to the present day. Airing as a central part of the BBC’s forthcoming Gay Britannia season, this two-part drama also stars Laura Carmichael, Angel Coulby, Frances de la Tour, Julian Sands and Adrian Schiller.

Wednesday 12 July

20:45 NFT3

Delia Derbyshire: Experiments in Sound and Documentary + intro by David Butler, Delia Derbyshire Archive, and William Fowler, BFI Curator
TRT 104min

Delia Derbyshire crafted astonishing, rich, otherworldly electronic sounds at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop using effects and tape-to-tape sampling and manipulation. She’s most famous for realising the very first version of the Doctor Who theme. Join us as we celebrate what would have been her 80th birthday year and screen examples of her post-BBC work, typically accompanying impressionistic, independent documentaries on the arts such as Circle of Light – The Photography of Pamela Bone (1972) by Anthony Roland. Derbyshire’s spooky, sci-fi aesthetic took on very different resonances and sometimes included unadorned piano. The programme also includes titles by Elizabeth Kozmian-Ledward, Madelon Hooykaas and Elsa Stansfield, plus the bonus of a new work (set to a collage of very rare Derbyshire sounds) by Mary Stark.

Wednesday 19 July (also Saturday 22 July, 14:30 Studio)

18:30 Studio

Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot
BBC 2015. Dir Dearbhla Walsh. With Dustin Hoffman, Judi Dench, James Corden, Richard Cordery. 88min. Video. PG

Mr Hoppy (Hoffman) is harbouring  a secret crush on his widowed neighbour Mrs Silver (Dench), who lives alone with her tortoise. In order to win her over, he devises an elaborate plan that requires a magic incantation and 100 bigger tortoises. This beguiling romantic comedy, adapted for the BBC by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, boasts touching performances  by its two leads.

Wednesday 26 July

18:10 NFT3

Gays & Lesbians on TV: The Early Documentaries + intro by season programmer Simon McCallum

Broadcast in the years (and weeks) leading up to the Sexual Offences Act, these short documentaries represent a radical moment in our LGBT history. ITV current affairs series This Week was first off the blocks, and though firmly in heteronormative territory (‘normal people find what you physically do is disgusting’ comments presenter Bryan Magee), it was nonetheless a watershed moment for LGBT visibility.

And while the Act concerned gay men – lesbians not having suffered legal persecution – here’s a reminder that lesbianism was still socially taboo, with many gay women suffering the same ostracism, miserable marriages and mental health issues as their male counterparts. But you’ll hear some happier stories, too!

This Week: Homosexuals
Associated-Rediffusion 1964. 25min
+ This Week: Lesbians
Associated-Rediffusion 1965. 25min
+ Man Alive: Consenting Adults 1. The Men 
BBC 1967. 30min
+ Man Alive: Consenting Adults 2. The Women
BBC 1967. 30min

Patrons and champions’ priority booking: June 5 from 11.30am
Members’ priority booking opens: June 6 from 11.30am
Public booking opens: June 13 from 11.30am


Members: £9
Member concs: £7.20
Non-members: £11
Non-member concs: £8.80
Under 16s £6

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.