What TV’s on at the BFI in September-October 2017? Including The Last Post, Liar and The Boy With The Topknot

Jazz greats and three UK TV previews with Q&As

Sacha Dhawan in The Boy With The Topknot
Sathnam (Sacha Dhawan), Boy (Himmut Singh Dhatt) © Parti Productions & Kudos - Photographer: Robert Viglasky

Every month, TMINE lets you know what TV the BFI will be presenting at the South Bank in London

We’re back to that curious time of year in the BFI calendar known as ‘September-October’, which is when we get a big rundown on both September and to a lesser extent October’s schedule, the latter of which will get a top-up in a month or so once the BFI catches up with itself.

There are two strands to the programming in this bi-month. The first is a jazz season, featuring archives appearances on British TV of greats including Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk.

The second, somewhat less surprisingly given the autumn TV season is nearly upon is, is previews of three upcoming UK TV programmes:

  • Peter Moffat’s The Last Post (with Jessica Raine and Ben Miles among others)
  • ITV’s suspiciously The Affair-like Liar (with that Ioan Gruffudd)
  • The Boy With The Topknot (featuring Marvel’s Iron Fist‘s Sacha Dhawan – yes, I will always be referring to him as that from now).

Q&As with cast and crew are scheduled for all three of those, so I’d book my tickets quickly, if I were you.



Wednesday 6 September

18:15 NFT1
TV Preview: The Last Post + Q&A with writer Peter Moffat and cast TBA
BBC One-Bonafide Films-The Forge Entertainment 2017. Dir Jonny Campbell.
With Jessie Buckley, Amanda Drew, Ben Miles, Stephen Campbell Moore, Jessica Raine, Jeremy Neumark Jones.
Ep1 60min

This new six-part drama series, written by BAFTA-winning writer Peter Moffat (The Night Of, The Village), is set in the mid-1960s in the shimmering heat of Aden (Yemen), where a unit of Royal Military Police officers and their families face the constant threat of insurgency and violence. Danger is everywhere, but life and love must continue, however far from home.

Saturday 9 September

18:20 NFT1
ITV 1964. Dir Philip Casson.

Ella Fitzgerald captured in concert with The Oscar Peterson Trio at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Her performance includes classics such as ‘Mack the Knife’ and ‘The Lady is a Tramp.’

+ Omnibus: Ella Fitzgerald at Ronnie Scott’s
BBC 1974.

TV cameras filmed Ella in a series of brilliant and intimate concerts at the famous London Jazz Club.

Tuesday 12 September

20:30 NFT3
Jazz 625: Dizzy Gillespie
BBC 1965. Dir Terry Henebery.

Dizzy Gillespie and his band perform on the much-loved BBC jazz series of the 1960s.

+ With Dizzy Gillespie at Ronnie Scott’s Club
BBC 1975. Dir Tony Cash.

Watch Gillespie in concert and in conversation about his career.

Tuesday 19 September

18:15 NFT1
TV Preview: Liar + Q&A with co-creators Jack and Harry Williams, director James Strong & cast TBA
ITV-Two Brothers Pictures 2017. Dir James Strong.
With Joanne Froggatt, Ioan Gruffudd, Zoe Tapper.
Ep1 46min

ITV’s new six-part psychological thriller introduces Laura Nielson (Froggatt), a bright and dedicated teacher, and Andrew Ellis (Gruffudd), a renowned surgeon whose son is a student at Laura’s school. An initial attraction leads to a date, but neither fully realises the far-reaching consequences that their meeting will have on each other or their families. Honesty and consequence go hand in hand in this tense and gripping story that examines both sides of a relationship, and both sides of the truth.

Wednesday 20 September

18:35 NFT3
Jazz 625: Thelonious Monk (pts 1 & 2)
BBC 1965/1966.

These two programmes feature Thelonious Monk and his band (Ben Riley, Larry Gayles and Charlie Rouse). Parts of this material were restored by the BBC in 1990.

Saturday 30 September

20:40 NFT2
Buddy Rich
TRT 90min

Gene Krupa (himself the one-time ‘king of the drummers’) called Buddy Rich ‘the greatest drummer ever to have drawn breath.’ Rich’s self-taught revolutionary style would go on to influence many generations of great percussionists, especially in the field of rock. With this fine selection of clips and shows we offer you a chance to hear him in conversation with Michael Parkinson and witness him in blistering action.

Buddy Rich and His Band
BBC 1974. Dir Stanley Dorfman.
+ Buddy Rich
ITV 1987. Dir Terry Henebery.

Tuesday 3 October

18:10 NFT1
TV Preview: The Boy With The Topknot + Q&A with actor Sacha Dhawan, author Sathnam Sanghera, director Lynsey Miller, screenwriter Mick Ford and producer Nisha Parti
BBC Two-Kudos-Parti Productions 2017. Dir Lynsey Miller.
With Sacha Dhawan, Joanna Vanderham, Anupam Kher, Deepti Naval.

Born to Punjabi parents in the West Midlands, Sathnam (Dhawan) returns home to reveal that he’s going to defy expectations of an arranged marriage, and instead learns a painful family secret. Based on the critically acclaimed memoirs of journalist Sathnam Sanghera, this is a touching, humorous and emotional story of a second-generation Indian growing up in Britain and how he juggles his family, love life and career.

18:20 NFT2
Lena Horne Various Extracts.

From dancing at the legendary Cotton Club when she was 16, Lena Horne conquered Broadway, became a Hollywood star and a top singer with some of the greatest jazz bands of the 30s and 40s. She did all of this without compromising her core values and eschewed any notion of racial stereotyping. Though she became the highest-paid black star in America, she was no stranger to British TV, and in this carefully selected compilation of appearances we celebrate Ms Horne in performance and in conversation.

Booking times

Patrons and champions’ priority booking: July 31st from 11.30am
Members’ priority booking opens: August 1st from 11.30am
Public booking opens: August 8th 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.